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A big ape is rolling in his grave...

Marvel U.S. > Issue #54
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Marvel UK > Issue #232–235
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It's the latest craze — young, crass heroes with no time for the adults' rules!


Three men head into the New Jersey swamps in the dead of night, in order to deal with alleged "creature sightings" that have been plaguing their community. They thought it would be a bear — they were wrong. The Decepticon Pretender known as Iguanus steps out of the marsh, and blows the would-be hunters away with his hurricane air blaster. They take off on foot as fast as their puny human legs can carry them.

A few days later, Optimus Prime and Hi-Q pull into an abandoned gas station. Because of the recent losses they suffered at the hands of Starscream, the Autobots of Earth have requested reinforcements be sent from Cybertron by Trans-Dimensional Warp. Those reinforcements arrive in the form of eight Micromaster Transformers — the Off Road Patrol and Race Car Patrol, commanded by Powertrain and Roadhandler respectively. After the Micromasters and Hi-Q toss several cliches back and forth about size, discipline, and the overconfidence of youth, Optimus proceeds with the mission briefing the Micromasters have been selected for.

Two seemingly unrelated stories have caught Prime's attention. One, the creature sightings now being substantiated by interviews with the erstwhile hunters, and second, a bizarre weather phenomena causing massive storm fronts to gather and hold steady over Manhattan, New York, and the surrounding New Jersey swamplands where the three men supposedly saw their "creature". Fearing Decepticon activity, Prime sends the Micromasters to investigate the situation.

At the same time, Cecilia Santiago — the reporter who interviewed the hunters — has entered the swamp in the hopes of finding the creature for herself.

In the new Decepticon underground base in New Jersey, Scorponok is outlining their latest energy-gathering plan for the Pretenders. They have constructed a massive energy conversion device within their base, and the stormmaker installation in the nearby swamps has been responsible for the growing weather problems. Scorponok plans to gather the full electrical power of the storm he has created. While Skullgrin guards the storm-maker, Finback and Submarauder lay an extended cable underwater from the base to Manhattan, in order to absorb and conduct the electricity back to the base. Iguanus is to place their electrostator device at the proper place as a high-tech lightning rod, gathering the total electrical potential of the storm and channeling it down through the ground and the conductor cables. Bugly and Bomb-Burst are charged with retrieving Iguanus before the electrical surge strikes the electrostator and overwhelms him. As the Pretenders disperse to carry out their duties, Iguanus has a little fun at Skullgrin's expense, taunting him as a "fleshling lover" thanks to his recent movie career.

Back in the swamp, Cecilia has wandered into sight of the stormmaker station. After overhearing the Decepticons' plans, she tries to escape but makes too much noise and is captured by Iguanus. The reptilian Pretender is prepared to exterminate her right there, but Skullgrin tries to convince him to give the woman over to him. As they grapple with one another, Mudslinger arrives on the scene. As he and the rest of the Off Road Patrol jump into battle with the two Pretenders, Cecilia runs off to safety. Powertrain radios the Race Car Patrol to intercept the human as she emerges from the swamp, in case she has any information.

Roadhandler succeeds in picking her up on the side of the road, but Cecilia quickly sees through his "mannequin driver" disguise. After a brief conversation to convince her of his good intentions, Cecilia tells Roadhandler what she overheard about the threat to New York City. Roadhandler tries to get rid of her after that, but she proves tough to shake.

Iguanus has moved on from the swamp, and approaches his destination at the Empire State Building. He plans to place the electrostator at the very top of the antenna, channeling the electrical energy down through the building and out through the conduit cables which Finback and Submarauder have placed by the river. This will feed the Decepticons massive amounts of power, but destroy half the city in the process.

Back at the swamps, the Off Road Patrol manage to delay Skullgrin long enough for Mudslinger to destroy the storm-maker, but its too late — the storm has grown too strong on its own, and can no longer be dissipated so easily.

As the Race Car Patrol and Cecilia make their way to the top of the building, King 'Con Iguanus grabs the woman with his tail and dangles her high above the streets below. Iguanus drops her into Roadhandler's waiting arms, and triggers the electrostator on top of the building. Roadhandler uses his projectile fist to knock the device loose, however, forcing Iguanus to leap out into space in a vain attempt to retrieve it. Instead, the lightning strike down on the device, channeling the full electrical force through Iguanus alone. The electricity disperses, the Decepticons receive no energy, and Iguanus is crispy-fried in the process. As the Pretender crashes to earth, the Micromasters decide to set up residence in the Big Apple...


Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencil Art: Jose Delbo
Ink Art: Danny Bulanadi
Colorist: Nelson Yomtov
Letterer: Jim Massara
Editor: Don Daley
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

  • Originally published: July, 1989

Major characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans


  • None yet identified.

Items of note

  • This issue is the first appearance of the Race Car Patrol, Off Road Patrol, and of the Micromaster concept in general.
  • The Decepticon base underneath the New Jersey garbage dump makes its first appearance here. A new base was necessary after Starscream destroyed both Ratbat's island ship and Scorponok's starcruiser in U.S. #50. Also, this was foreshadowed by Scorponok's scouting mission for Skullgrin in #45.
  • This story is the second appearance of an overt King Kong homage in the official G1 fiction, the first being the cartoon episode "City of Steel".


  • Optimus Prime mentions the Autobots' recent staggering losses, U.S. #50, and their failed attempt to repair those warriors, #52#53.
  • Iguanus and Skullgrin argue over how Skullgrin's time as a movie star in U.S. #45 may have made him too friendly towards humans.


They're actually both looking for characterization.
Let's see what you can see...

This article is in need of images.

Specifics: UK covers
  • U.S. cover: Iguanus, Micromasters and Cecilia by Jose Delbo
  • UK issue 232 cover: Thunderwing and Micromasters by Lee Sullivan
  • UK issue 233 cover: Bomb-Burst, Submarauder and a friendly chap by Jeff Anderson
  • UK issue 234 cover: Arcee vs Horri-Bull by Geoff Senior
  • UK issue 235 cover: Deathbringer and a defeated Prime by Geoff Senior

Not so gentle, really

235 cover


  • None yet identified.