Transformers - A nitpicker's guide

 

Marvel's 'dumb stubbies' (as Grimlock liked to call them) are to be commended for churning out such a high-quality comic as Transformers week-in-week-out. But even the best of us make mistakes and with thousands of readers out there it's a fair bet that they won't go unnoticed! So this page makes a point of exposing those niggly inconsistencies or embarrassing moments that the writers and illustrators would rather we forgot. More nitpicks will be added from time to time so check back often. And if you want to join in you can post nitpicks or nitpick explainers on the bulletin board.


 

Oops we hung up the wrong mechanoids...
Issue 23: Buster is depicted on the front cover discovering the fallen Autobots 'strung up like slabs of meat' in the Ark. The problem is that among the strewn limbs is the leg of Soundwave and the torso of one of the Decepticon jets. Red faces for the Decepticon who hung them up by accident.

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Take him out ..er whatever your name is

Take him out Dead End!!
A classic blooper from issue 64 (thanks to daff.net for reminding me of this one). Here Menasor doesn't seem to know what his right arm is called and slags off Deadend for not firing. In fact it is Drag Strip!! Apparently Marvel UK had received a few letters about this and when the story later appeared in collected comics it had been corrected.

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Ratchet the Decepticon?
In issue 25, p26, as Ratchet observes the enemy-occupied Ark he's been drawn with a red Decepticon insignia! Could it be that on finding out the Autobots are no more he's decided to switch sides? I tend to think that the illustrator (Alan Kupperberg) got so used to drawing Decepticon badges throughout this and the previous issue that he'd forgotten there were even such things as Autobots.

Even worse in issue 119, first story page, the Autobot leader Rodimus Prime is also drawn with a red Decepticon badge.

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We want Omega Supreme!!
Target 2006 - fantastic storyline. But how come Omega Supreme was absent? Back in issue 71 Omega axed half a dozen Decepticons single-handedly and sounds to me like just the kind of bruiser the Autobots needed to take on Galvatron. What can the explanation be?
A bit of a stretch here, but perhaps Omega just hasn't been programmed for away missions at this stage, and has to remain at his post guarding the Ark. Or it could be that his omission was a deliberate plot device to enable Galvatron to appear even more menacing and build the tension. After all it wouldn't do for Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge to have been blasted to bits by Omega Supreme early on in the saga, thereby putting Target 2006 to bed early.
All of this raises an interesting point - what would have happened (plot-wise) if Omega Supreme had joined the Autobot attack and fought Galvatron? I foresee two outcomes: One that he would have had to be defeated alongwith the other Autobots (which would have tarnished Omega's credability somewhat); Or two that Galvatron would have come off the worse and would have ceased to be the threat he was throughout Target 2006.
In the story they deal with the Omega Supreme issue in a rather lame way (it has to be said). In part one (#UK 79) Jazz suggests 'sicking Omega' on the remaining Decepticons but Hound pipes up 'too late' as the three Decepticon reinforcements arrive. After this the Autobot's mightiest warrior is conveniently forgotten!

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Ratchet gathers spare parts

Ratchet's quick fix..
In issue 109 Ratchet goes to a scrap yard looking for spare parts that he can use to repair Prowl and the other fallen Autobots. But to say that Transformers are highly advanced and complex machines the parts he gathers are incredibly basic - such as a driveshaft for Gears and thermostat for Bluestreak! I'm tempted to wonder how much difference these simple parts could really make.
Then in the following issue Ratch saves himself from the Mechanic by reactivating Prowl - who uses his police car mode to scare the law-fearing human away. That the mechanic fell for it is one thing, but the only parts Ratchet used to fix Prowl was a set of police lights!!! Come on now Mr Budiansky, surely Prime's second in command is made of sterner stuff than to stop working every time his lights fail?

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Galvatron present and future..
Something I always wondered about was just because Galvatron had fled to Earth's past (ie the 1980s) how come he was always absent from future storylines? Quite often we'd see characters such as Soundwave, Kup or Shockwave existing in the present day and still knocking around in the year 2007 etc, so why not Galvatron?
I thought if Galvatron had time-jumped back 1987 (#113) then he should have been able to plot and plan for the years in between and would finally catch up with the year 2007, whereupon he could resume control of the Decepticons. There would have been no need for Rodimus Prime to scour the galaxy for him or for Shockwave to takeover the leadership.
Cleverly, an explanation is provided in the storyline Time Wars when Galvatron is consumed by a rift in time and destroyed. So presumably he wouldn't be available when 2006 came around (again!). But I just wonder whether the writers had planned this from the outset OR if they hadn't swatted up on their 'Back to the Future' style paradoxes initially and managed to tie-up the loose ends by accident.

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Two Megatrons..
Generally the UK storylines managed to fit quite neatly into the US continuity with surprisingly few conflicts. This suggests to me that the writers on both sides of the Atlantic were probably aware of what the other was doing and tried to avoid pitfalls. But in the case of the Megatron "Back from the Dead" saga (US#56 UK#240-242) the usual trans-Atlantic harmony seems to break down.
In the US continuity Megatron is last seen destroying the space bridge with himself on it (in US#25, UK#108) and lays deactivated on Cybertron until his return in US issue 56 (UK#240-242). But UK readers were led to believe that the same Megatron had been deposited to the tunnel system under London - and went on to make occasional appearances in the next 100 or so issues. What makes this obvious discrepancy all the more bizarre is that "Back from the Dead" was the first US story by regular UK writer Simon Furman, who you might imagine would be better placed than most to avoid a conflict of this nature.
Furman attempted to explain the mess to UK readers in the story entitled "Two Megatrons!" (issue 244). In it we are told that the Megatron who has appeared in the UK story since issue 108 was in fact a duplicate created by Lord Straxus in case his attempt to takeover Megatron's body failed (see UK#103). But the problem with that is that in stories "Salvage" and "Time Wars", Furman clearly believes that the Megatron he is writing about is the genuine article. Add to that the Megatron we see in London's sewer system has the same torn face that the real Megatron received in an attack by the Predacons - it is unlikely that Straxus would have created a duplicate with the same wounds Megatron was to incur some issues into the future.

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Floppy Prime
After Prime is blown to bits in issue 106 it emerges that the human Ethan Zachery has stored his programme on a floppy disk. This later allows for him to be downloaded into a new Powermaster body. But what I want to know is how eons of memories and experiences (not to mention the vestiges of the creation matrix in Prime's mind) can be condensed on to a single floppy disc. Must be one big disk!

Intruder alert??
In part one of Club Con (issue 194) the Autobots are giving Blaster a workout. Somehow Outback is present when he's supposed to be on Cybertron, but more importantly one of the 'Autobots' putting Blaster through his paces is none other than a Decepticon battlecharger!