|Marvel U.S. > Issue # 41|
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|Marvel UK > Issue #174–175|
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It starts with Grimlock vs. Fruitloop Multipuck, but things never end that simply do they?
Having acquired Optimus Prime's mind on a disc, the Autobots on the Steelhaven were attempting to build a new body for the Autobot leader, and failing. Realizing they didn't have the resources to rebuild Prime, they approached Grimlock, leader of the Autobots on Earth.
Grimlock didn't want to help, and instead demanded Fortress Maximus hand over the fugitive Goldbug. Once he had Goldbug, he challenged Fortress Maximus to one-on-one battle for the leadership of the Autobots under the Code of Combat.
In the brig, Goldbug found Blaster, strapped to an energy-sucking Variable Voltage Harness. Goldbug talked Blaster into fighting in the injured Fortress Maximus' place.
The battle soon drew Blaster and Grimlock away from the rest of the Autobots. This was rather unfortunate because Ratbat's Decepticons had been watching and chose this moment to attack the Autobots' combined forces.
Onslaught led the Decepticon assault on the Autobots, while Bonecrusher (!) led the Constructicons in an attack on the Ark, to retrieve Decepticon prisoners.
Without strong leadership, the Autobots were losing the battle, so (rather than taking command) Fortress Maximus ordered the skeleton crew on the Steelhaven to depart the moon to get some help in rebuilding Optimus Prime.
Grimlock and Blaster were still fighting when Blaster noticed the battle going on far in the distance. Setting their differences aside, the two Autobots rejoined the battle. Working together, Grimlock and Blaster managed to turn back the Decepticons and damaged their ship enough to force a full Decepticon retreat.
- Originally published: June, 1988
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- Helicopters should not be able to fly in a vacuum, but obviously no one ever told Vortex. (Okay, planes can't fly in vacuum, either...)
Items of note
- Unlike in the cartoon, writer Bob Budiansky always made sure sound didn't travel in space sequences in the Transformers comic. To this end there's no 'sound effects' during the entire 13-page moon battle sequence. The Transformers used radio to communicate over these pages.
- This even plays a part in the plot — Grimlock and Blaster don't notice the Decepticon attack on their fellows immediately because they can't hear the battle.
- Broadside and Outback briefly make their first US appearances here. This is a bit of an oddity since characters tended not to 'just appear' in the Marvel comics without some explanation how they got there. Artist José Delbo, who had to draw over 120 different Transformers for this issue's 3-way battle — many of them in multiple modes — may simply have "oopsied," while trying to cram them all in. In the UK stories both characters were active on Cybertron, and changes were made when the story was reprinted to accommodate this. (see below)
- How can one not love the nicknames all through this issue? "Doc Ratchet," "Grimbo," and of course Grimlock's constant reworking of Fortress Maximus' name. He calls him "Fruitloop Multipuck," "Forktongue Maxiface" and even the ever-classic "Fullstrength Motleypuss."
- The letters page of this issue featured two competitions, Spot the Shingo and a competition to name all the Transformers pouring from the Ark on page 10 of the issue. The prizes were not really disclosed.
- The massed Autobots apparently sit around on the Moon licking their wounds until issue 47, at the beginning of which they are all back on Earth. It's implicitly clear that Optimus Prime eventually picks them up using the Steelhaven (after rescuing Sky Lynx from the Cosmic Carnival), re-assumes command, and then they all return to Earth, but it's not depicted outright.
- Mecha molars are first mentioned in this comic.
- The Decepticons retrieved by the Constructicons in this issue were captured in battle with Omega Supreme way back in U.S. #19.
- Optimus Prime was put on a disc after his death in U.S. #24.
- There are numerous references to the previous issue, including the acquiring of the Prime disc, the rebuilding of Goldbug, and the creation of the Pretenders.
- Fortress Maximus was still recovering from his battle with Shockwave in issue #39.
- The title was given a second "L." (Because that's the correct spelling in the Queen's English, you colonial fools)
- Issue #174 included Transformers A-Z's for Jazz and Jetfire.
- A flashback to the events of "Spacehikers!" (actually re-drawing a panel from that story) again includes an appearance by Sandstorm, among the Autobots encouraging Blaster to assume leadership of the Autobots. Unfortunately in the UK-originated material Sandstorm, was with the Wreckers on Cybertron and could not possibly have been present on the Ark at this time. It's possible that this non-speaking block colored Autobot was instead a generic lookalike (from a purely continuity standpoint,) though artist José Delbo certainly intended it to be Sandstorm.
- Issue #175 features some of the most aggressive art edits done to a U.S. story to bring it into line with UK continuity. Because Broadside was a member of the Wreckers, (and on Cybertron at this time,) Broadside's close-up had to be edited to turn him a new character; the head partially redrawn and his blue parts colored green, creating a new, generic robot. (detail at right)
- The boxes containing the rescued Decepticons were edited to remove and rearrange the names, since most of the "inactive" Decepticons defeated by Omega Supreme had already been revived during UK "Target: 2006" storyline. The Constructicons' mission now only freed Rumble and Buzzsaw (and possibly Skywarp, absent since his "destruction" in Target 2006 but back among Ratbat's forces in their next appearance.) Long Haul's dialog to his fellow Constructicons was also altered, discarding a statement about the many Decepticons they had to free and replacing it with a much vaguer "We have a lot more work to do!" In U.S. continuity the rescued Decepticons were; Buzzsaw, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Rumble, Frenzy and Starscream.
- In the Grim Grams for issue #174, Grimlock states that he doesn't want a toy of his Cybertronian form to be created and that people should be happy with him as he is!
- In the Grim Grams for issue #175, Grimlock identified the generic transformer from the opening splash page of UK issue #164 as "Chuffer".
- U.S. issue 40 cover: battle royal by Jose Delbo
- UK issue 174 cover: Grimlock and Spike by Jeff Anderson
- UK issue 175 cover: Grimlock and Blaster by Lee Sullivan
- None yet identified.