Transformers UK: Issue #326
Story: Exodus (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Machine Man 2020
Cover date: 26th October, 1991
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Andy Wildman (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Bludgeon wins cheers from his troops when he declares the ceasefire over and the ways of conquest back on!
Unicron's attack on Cybertron may have failed, but the planet seems to be falling apart anyway, leaving the Transformers with no option but to evacuate. The trouble is that there aren't enough ships to go around, and making matters worse the Ark has been stolen by Shockwave and Starscream.
The two Decepticons have carried out repairs and are conducting a final inspection of the interior before take off. They arrive at the life support bay containing all the deactivated Autobots and Starscream wonders why the doors have been ripped off. But Shockwave decides (perhaps unwisely) that it is not worth worrying about and they go on their way. Moments later a powerful fist belonging to Megatron punches its way out of one of the repair pods.
At the Autobot-Decepticon combined headquarters on Cybertron, the shaky alliance has taken a notable turn for the worse. Grimlock impacts into a wall as Fangry unleashes a powerful blast of compressed air against him (the pair started fighting at the end of last issue). Most opponents would be busted into pieces by the attack, but Grimlock is now Nucleon enhanced and is able to resist the forces and take Fangry down with his fists. A flabbergasted Prowl jumps in to break it up and accuses Grimlock of failing to act like a leader. He should be working to preserve the peace between Autobot and Decepticon not thinking with his fists. Decepticon leader, Bludgeon, attempts to manipulate the situation by appearing as the injured party. He demands assurances that the Autobots are serious about peace, and insists they prove it by revealing their evacuation plans. Prowl agrees.
Elsewhere the Neo Knights and GB Blackrock have been imprisoned inside a huge box and carried about one of the departing crafts by a giant robot. Thunderpunch is aggrieved by their treatment, especially given the role they played in the fight against Unicron, but unfortunately nobody knows what they did except Optimus Prime - and he's conveniently dead. Blackrock is concerned for the sanity of Circuit Breaker who seems to be retreating further into herself, and Hi-Q in the next cell also appears to be having a mental episode. He keeps telling everyone of the need to 'wake the Last Autobot' and seems to think that he (Hi-Q) is Optimus Prime!
Hours later, Grimlock and Prowl watch as the last of the Decepticon space cruisers launches towards the stars. Prowl is having doubts that he did the right thing by sharing details of their long term settlement plans with the old enemy. Grimlock walks away saying nothing, and is informed by Snarl that 'everything is set'.
Aboard one of the ships, Bludgeon has assembled a council of senior Decepticons to discuss their next move. He tells them that the Autobot plan to colonise an uninhabited world is weak, instead they will conquer the universe and build a galactic empire just the great Decepticon leaders intended. His words are greeted with much enthusiasm and cheers from his followers.
While back on Cybertron, Prowl is sick to his circuits as he learns from Wheeljack that the Autobot ships have all been sabotaged by the Decepticons. Whether they like it or not they are stranded on this dying world. And nearby the Ark is taking off with a stowaway on board - none other than the future Decepticon, Galvatron, who was brought to this era by Unicron to be his herald. Galvatron's plan is to dispatch the traitors Shockwave and Starscream and proceed to Earth where he will conquer the planet as he did in his own era. He strides confidently and then falters, a look of shock appears on his face as someone approaches. Suddenly he is face to face with his former self, with Megatron!
The issue ends with the typical Furman dramatic ending - future and present collide as Galvatron and Megatron come face to face. I expect it will have been a shocker for the US readers but less so for their UK counterparts who have seen this before. The pair met up in the 1986 Movie-tie in story, Target 2006, they did battle in Altered Image and were allies in Time Wars. However those latter of those encounters involved the clone Megatron, while this Galvatron is from an alternate future than the one who featured in the earlier UK stories. This time travel business is confusing stuff.
Other points of note: it is good to see the Decepticons finally reverting to type and announcing their continued intention to conquer. I was getting a little bored with the alliance, and Prowl's naivety was starting to grate as well (although not as much as Grimlock's detached arrogance). I am sceptical about the plans to evacuate everyone on barely a handful of ships, because it doesn't seem nearly enough to contain a habitable world full of Autobots and Decepticons. Unless of course, the majority of the population has been destroyed by Unicron? Where is Ultra Magnus, the Wreckers and all the other Cybertron bods?
I have to wonder how the Neo Knights are not starving to death by now, seeing as they were transported from Earth a full 10 issues ago, which even in story terms has to amount to a good days ago. What have they been eating? It seems unlikely that there are organic substances on Cybertron for them to ingest. You could argue that the same is true of those Transformers with Nebulan mouths to feed, and one would expect that there is a stash of food aboard the Ark - but that has been stolen.
And while we are on the subject, why didn't Shockwave and Starscream check the status pods. That was their opportunity to ditch any Autobots that might wake up during the trip to Earth and potentially scupper their plans.
These last few issues still have the air of transition about them, as the comic moves from the pre-Unicron war stages, to an era of unknown. At least with the truce ended and the Decepticon threat re-emerged it feels as though the foundations for future stories are beginning to fall into place.