Transformers UK: Issue #325

Story: Exodus (Part 1)
Back-up strip: Machine Man 2020
Cover date: 12th October, 1991
Price: 55p
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Andy Wildman (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story


Synopsis:

By Omega Steve


Fangry is none too pleased when Grimlock makes him look like an idiot by bouncing an oil drum off him!

The Transformers were successful in preventing Unicron from destroying their home planet of Cybertron, but his attack has inflicted a terrible toll. Despite the many sacrifices made to save it, the living metal world is literally tearing itself apart, and is now battered by quakes, lightning and howling wind.

Decepticon Powermasters Darkwing and Dreadwind run for cover in the direction of a headquarters now used by the tenuous Autobot-Decepticon alliance. They have been summoned to an 'emergency meeting' to discuss the unfolding disaster and Darkwing is busting to take out his frustrations on someone. As the reach the entrance the Autobot insignia slips from its holdings above the door and flattens Dreadwind. His comrade interprets this as a sign: all of this must be the Autobots' fault.

Inside the main hall, Prowl loses his temper and orders a few Decepticon agitators to shut up. He then tries to smooth things over with a few conciliatory words, while the Autobot leader Grimlock sighs, then bounces an oil drum off Fangry's head and calls him a 'dumb con'. Prowl is aghast, and Fangry makes a furious lunge at Grimlock, only to be halted by Bludgeon's unsheathed sword. With calm restored Blaster tells everyone that the situation is dire and the only option is to abandon planet.

Elsewhere, Shockwave and Starscream have reached the same conclusion and are preparing to leave on the stolen Ark. Starscream is keen to get underway before they get discovered and they also have a world to conquer (Earth most likely).

As ships prepare to launch, Prowl pleads with Grimlock to make a speech and reassure the other Autobots. The new leader declines and suggests Prowl do it. Prowl flips. He has a go at Grimlock for betraying the trust that Optimus Prime placed in him, and is told in return that he's jealous he (Prowl) was not named leader. Grimlock stomps off leaving his second in command deeply angered, while nearby tempers are starting to fray between Autobots and Decepticons.

Bludgeon and Krok watch with interest and reveal their belief (and intention) that the truce will not hold. Then as if to prove the point, Fangry comes flying through a window on the receiving end of a blow from Grimlock. The Decepticon Headmaster transforms into his bat-wolf mode and goes on the attack - promising that the Autobot leader will 'die a thousand terrible deaths'.

******

Comments:

The combined Autobot-Decepticon badge looks cool and the scene with the giant insignia flattening Dreadwind is mildly amusing. He and Darkwing have been established as a comedy double act as far back as issue 240 in the black and white (puttup!) story, Out to Lunch. At the risk of contradicting earlier statements, Wildman should be congratulated for the way he conveys the emotions of his characters through facial expressions here - for example Fangry's surprise at having a beaker bounce of his head, and Prowl's disbelief at Grimlock for doing it. Likewise Grimlock's body language makes his boredom obvious to the reader. As a rule I don't agree with the idea of robots twisting their faces in human-like expressions, because they are made of metal not flesh, but it does compliment the story in these instances.

The problem with Exodus so far, is that it still has a feeling of anticlimax about it. We have just concluded the most epic battle the Transformers have ever faced, with the planet and their very lives at stake against Unicron, and a few weather problems don't quite cut it. Perhaps if more was made of the danger, with characters caught up in the tremors/storms and fighting for survival it might convey some more drama.

As it is, the attitudes seem to be, okay the planet is dying so let's leave. A couple of issues ago they fought tooth and nail to save the home world and nobody seems particularly gutted about it self destructing. I am finding Prowl's bossiness a bit annoying but equally Grimlock's lack of leadership is leaving something to be desired. Having said that though, the fact that there is conflict and not harmony between leader and deputy, has potential for good stories.

I don't know why Blaster seems to loose his visor in every Furman story but I wish it wouldn't happen. The visor is one of the elements that makes Blaster look different to all the other Autobots. He is also a lot more exciting in the earlier stories that Budiansky wrote and is downright dull these days.

There are a couple of new characters in the issue who I don't recognise - one is a grey Decepticon stood next to Soundwave on page 7 and the other is orange and white, next to Bumblebee and Silverbolt on page 5. I'm guessing they are new comers from the Action Master toy range, and if anyone can put names to them please let me know.

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