Transformers UK: Issue #328
Story: A Savage Circle (Part 2)
Back-up strip: Machine Man 2020
Cover date: 23rd November, 1991
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Andy Wildman (story and cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Ratchet is horrified to learn that he still shares a mind-link with his greatest enemy, the manical Megatron!
Cybertron is falling to pieces but at last the Autobots have a way off it, thanks to Grimlock. It turns out that he stole three Decepticon battle cruisers more than four million years ago and as luck would have it they were still in the hiding place where he left them. By an even greater stroke of luck they are still in working order too, and now there is no time to waste for everyone to get on board and pursue the Decepticons.
Aboard the Ark, stolen a couple of issues ago by Shockwave and Starscream, the future Decepticon leader Galvatron has bumped into his present day self, Megatron, and taken the opportunity to destroy the cancer at his core. He was built to perfection by Unicron but still suffers from the madness that always plagued Megatron. In another manifestation of it, Galvatron had decided to murder his former self, but just as he is about to pull the trigger he hesitates. Although he is not of this timeline, there is a chance that he could cancel himself out if Megatron dies, and Galvatron decides that he cannot afford to take that risk. Starscream and Shockwave come along moments later and find Megatron on his knees and still suffering from the beating he has taken, and from the effects of his mind still being fused with the Autobot Ratchet. Shockwave will take the opportunity to eliminate this rival once and for all, and Starscream will do the same to Ratchet, whom he finds in a similar condition nearby.
On Cybertron the Autobots are busy transferring their cargo on to the ships and discovering a new respect for their leader and saviour Grimlock. Even Prowl seems to have changed his mind, and nearby in a cargo box doubling up as a cell, the Neo Knights and Hi-Q are discussing their next move. Hi-Q reveals that his time as Optimus Prime's Powermaster engine had the unexpected side effect of joining their minds together. Prime had died before the process could be completed, and now Hi-Q must seek out The Last Autobot to save himself and Cybertron. It is all very cryptic and GB Blackrock is sceptical, but the other Neo Knights are willing to help.
Meanwhile Megatron reels backward from Shockwave's blast and nurses his smouldering shoulder. Ratchet is also on his knees, but then something snaps and he lashes out at Starscream with uncharacteristic fury, and power. As Shockwave moves in to kill Megatron, so Galvatron steps out of the shadows and mounts a surprise counter assault. The two 'trons feel a sudden kinship and decide to join forces so that they might together rule the galaxy - starting with the destruction of Shockwave!Nearby, Starscream prepares to fire and Ratchet throws off his aim, setting fire to the Nucleon and causing a violent explosion. A second, more powerful, one follows and the Ark falls to Earth in flames, as it did millions of years ago.
Coincidence is an amazing thing isn't it? The Autobots are stranded on a dying world with no way off it and amazingly Grimlock has three spaceships tucked away that he never mentioned. It turns out he pinched them off the Decepticons four million years ago and hid them so well that they were never discovered in all that time. And they still work! I wouldn't have thought three ships would be enough for the entire Autobot population, but maybe some have transformed into small vehicles or devices, or maybe most were killed by Unicron anyway. You have to wonder where characters like the Wreckers and Ultra Magnus are at this time. The last we knew they were on Cybertron and should have been part of the Unicron war.
A couple of other nitpicks, where does Galvatron's Decepticon insignia disappear to on page four? One frame its there and then it isn't. And on Repugnus' AtoZ entry it lists his first appearance as "right here" when he actually appeared back in 1987 in the Headmasters series. By the looks of it the stubbies have cocked up again. Speaking of the Monsterbots though, they have not been seen since the Autobots were attacked on the moon back in issue UK#175. Perhaps they were rendered inoperative, or perhaps the writers just forgot all about them.
It is good to see Ratchet fighting back, not the docile doc anymore (perhaps it's a Megatron assimilation), and you can almost feel that punch thanks to Wildman's artwork. I'm still dubious about some of his faces but overall the art is good (or maybe I'm just getting used to it). I think that Nucleon explosion is a might overdone though - it took out a large section of the Ark and I can't see how Ratchet, Megs, Starscream, or anyone, could have survived it. Though I presume they are still in tact by and large. Certainly we know Galvatron gets out.