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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

MARVEL TRANSFORMERS COMICS GUIDE

Marvel US nav: US Intro | Story List | US #1-10 | US #11-20 | US #21-30 | US #31-40 | US #41-50 | US #51-60
US #61-70 | US #71-80 | Comics Magazine | Transformers Universe | Transformers the Movie | Headmasters
G.I. Joe and the TFs | US G2 Intro | G.I. Joe #138-142 | G2 Special | US G2 #1-6 | US G2 #7-12 | Cover Images

US #71 - #80

| #71 | #72 | #73 | #74 | #75 | #76 | #77 | #78 | #79 | #80 |

#71 - "Surrender!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: October 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #311-312 [UK], Titan Books: All Fall Down [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: The Best of Simon Furman [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: On Earth, the Ark has arrived outside the Decepticon base, where Prime tenders his surrender to Scorponok. The Autobots are disarmed, while Prime seeks assurances of an alliance from Scorponok. The Decepticon is evasive, concentrating more on how the Autobot surrender has improved his own standing amongst his demoralised troops. Meanwhile, Shockwave and Starscream continue to plot their coup in a secret underwater base off the coast of England. In a cel in Scorponok's base, Optimus Prime becomes frustrated with not having an audience with Scorponok, and begins to doubt his choice. On Cybertron, Galvatron is bombarding Autobase. Quickmix persuades Xaaron to flee underground, while he and the remaining Autobots try to hold the Decepticon off. However, Galvatron sends Hook, Line and Sinker to deal with them, and sets off after Xaaron himself. Back on Earth, Prime runs out of patience, breaks out of his cell, and frees Kup and Hot Rod. In the Decepticon control room, Zarak and Bludgeon observe four approaching airborne Transformers on the radar, but Zarak is distracted, pondering on is betrayal of Prime. Just then, the Autobots break in. After a brief stand-off, Prime appeals to Zarak. The Nebulan combines with Scorponok, and is about to agree a truce with Prime when Shockwave arrives, devastating the underground base. On Cybertron, Galvatron has caught Xaaron.

Notes: Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold joined up with Scorponok's forces following the events of #61. According to Mindwipe, Scorponok's troops number "twenty or more". Shockwave has recovered and repaired Runabout and Runamuck since #23.

It's fair to assume Needlenose, Spinister, Ruckus and Windsweeper [who surrendered to the Autobots in #66] were handed over to the Decepticons as part of the surrender.

Errors: Misfire is bright red. Soundwave has blue on his faceplate. Highbrow's in his blue/grey Yomtov scheme. Bomb-Burst gets called 'Bomb-Blast'.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Optimus Prime, Jazz [flashback], Ironhide [flashback], Prowl [flashback], Wheeljack [flashback], Getaway, Kup, Blurr, Scorponok, Apeface, Soundwave, Misfire, Skullgrin, Cloudburst, Bomb-Burst, Highbrow, Submarauder, Thunderwing [flashback], Octopunch, Bludgeon, Fangry, Horri-Bull [first appearance], Shockwave, Ravage, Runabout, Runamuck, Triggerhappy, Mindwipe, Starscream, Galvatron, Quickmix, Xaaron, Hot Rod.

Notable Others: Recoil, Zarak. Unicron is seen in Optimus' explanation to Unicron.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Punch and Counterpunch.

Review: More glorious character-driven intrigue. The two storylines are both enticing, and the flashback at the start is great. Optimus Prime is really becoming the lead character in the storyline, with Scorponok and Zarak providing another interesting avenue. Galvatron is on awesome form, and there's barely a wasted frame. A masterpiece.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*]

#72 - "...All This and Civil War 2"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: November 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #313 -314 [UK], Titan Books: All Fall Down [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Shockwave and his group begin to pick through the debris of the Decepticon base, looking for survivors. However, Starscream finds a very angry Scorponok. Inside the ruined complex, Optimus Prime checks Hot Rod and Kup, and begins to free his troops. The fracas has not gone unnoticed by the New York population, and the military and president are notified. Meanwhile, Scorponok easily deals with most of Shockwave's faction, and it's left to Shockwave to battle him personally. On Hydrus Four, the Dinobots are all active again, but Grimlock's leg briefly locks up, and he ponders the warning he was given by the robot outside the Medi-Centre. Scorponok and Shockwave battle just off Manhattan Island. Back on Cybertron, Galvatron interrogates Xaaron for a way to defeat Unicron. The Autobot tells him of a legend that says if all of Primus' children stand together as one, they can defeat Unicron. On Earth, Prime takes Nightbeat to try and reason with Shockwave while the other Autobots regroup and try to contain the battle between the Decepticon factions. However, the Neo-Knights - Blackrock's team of superhumans - interrupt.

Notes: Grimlock has revived the other Dinobots since #70. Blackrock's team are known to the US President.

Errors: How did Runabout and Runamuck get to New Jersey? Can they swim quickly or something? Weirdwolf and Misfire swap colour schemes on page 5. Triggerhappy has white legs and fists as Scorponok bats him aside.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Shockwave, Starscream, Runabout, Runamuck, Mindwipe, Triggerhappy, Ravage, Scorponok, Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Fangry, Misfire, Weirdwolf, Soundwave, Horri-Bull, Kup, Grimlock, Slag, Swoop, Snarl, Sludge , Xaaron, Galvatron, Nightbeat, Highbrow, Bludgeon, Octopunch, Skullgrin.

Notable Others: Circuit Breaker, Thunderpunch, Rhapsody, Hector.

Extras: The issue contained Universe profiles on Landmine and Skullgrin.

Review: The breakneck pace wanes just a little, but Prime's dilemma and Starscream's preposterous prancing add lustre to another fine script, with classic character archetypes back to the fore. The highlight is superbly-drawn Shockwave/Scorponok battle - one of the best fight scenes of the entire run, in which Wildman proves that he can do dynamics as well as emotions - though the excellent characterisation is maintained without getting smothered by the action. Furman's giving Prime arguably the best writing he ever had, while Scorponok and Grimlock grow in stature with each line.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0]

#73 - "Out of Time!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: December 1990

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #315 -316 [UK], Titan Books: All Fall Down [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Galvatron tries to get Xaaron to reawaken Primus to summon the Transformers, and is frustrated at the time the process is taking. However, Unicron sends Hook, Line and Sinker to check up on him. On Earth, the Neo-Knights attack the Transformers. Circuit Breaker knocks out Scorponok, but Nightbeat intervenes. Shockwave takes the chance to shoot Circuit Breaker. She survives, and thinks Nightbeat was the one who fired at her. Hook, Line and Sinker attack Galvatron, and the Decepticon easily kills Line and Sinker. On Earth, Mindwipe has hypnotised Soundwave, planning to use him to command the Decepticon troops. However, Mindwipe's then jumped by Kup and the Autobots, who hijack his plan. Meanwhile, Circuit Breaker has knocked out Nightbeat, and then moves on to Optimus Prime, oblivious to Blackrock's pleas to leave the Autobots alone. Shockwave uses this opportunity to line up another attack on Scorponok. Blackrock points out to Circuit Breaker that Shockwave is the Transformer who caused her so much pain. She blows the Decepticon out of the sky, draining herself as she does so. Prime persuades Scorponok to cease fighting and work on the alliance. On Cybertron, Galvatron finishes off Hook, to find that Primus has reawakened, and possessed Xaaron. Primus then teleports all of the New Jersey combatants to Cybertron, including the Neo-Knights. Deep in space, on a barren world, the Matrix stirs.

Notes: The Neo-Knights' powers are down to 'genetic quirks' [aside from Circuit Breaker's, of course]. Hector's codename is Dynamo. Soundwave is Scorponok's second in command. Shockwave caused huge injuries to Josie Beller in #6.

Errors: On page 19, the three Decepticons behind Soundwave have no legs.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Galvatron, Xaaron [possessed by Primus] , Landfill, Scoop, Quickmix, Starscream, Triggerhappy, Scorponok, Optimus Prime, Shockwave, Nightbeat, Mindwipe, Soundwave, Kup, Sureshot, Highbrow, Waverider, Fangry. Thunderwing's body is seen.

Notable Others: Unicron, Hook [destroyed by Galvatron], Line [destroyed by Galvatron], Sinker [destroyed by Galvatron], Thunderpunch, Circuit Breaker, Dynamo, Rhapsody, GB Blackrock.

Extras: The issue contained a two-page art spread featuring the original Optimus Prime and Megatron battling in New York.

Letters Page: Transmissions is art-only, with two fan drawings of Optimus Prime - one by Dan Khanna.

Review: After such a glorious run, this is something of a slip. Circuit Breaker's always meant death to any decent story before, and she's still on form here, her myopia bludgeoned home. The opening segment's not as bad, but still not especially interesting considering what we've got used to. An improvement comes in the second half, marginally. Galvatron makes it worth reading, though Circuit Breaker's still a huge problem. Quite why Furman felt the title needed a human super-team when gimmicky human characters have been such a problem over the years I don't know...

[*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0][0]

#74 - "The Void!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: January 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #317 -318 [UK], Titan Books: All Fall Down [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: Primus, through Xaaron, tells the Transformers how Unicron had once purged the universe of nearly all matter. From the remaining fragments, life sprang. Unicron then set to work destroying it, hoping to be one with the void once again. However, the sentient core of the universe created Primus to battle him. Primus trapped them both in asteroids - Unicron used his to form a transforming planet, while Primus made his a planet, and gave life to the Transformers to defend himself. In Earth orbit, the Dinobots have boarded the Ark to find it deserted. They plot a course for Cybertron, and pump Nucleon into the stasis pods onboard - unaware one contains Megatron. On Cybertron itself, a cult of Unicron's acolytes plan Prime's death. Scorponok confides in Prime that he is afraid of dying in the upcoming battle. Prime says he also fears death, especially as Primus seems to be treating the Transformers as nothing more than tools. They agree to die proudly, fighting side by side. They're then attacked by the Unicron acolytes. Galvatron watches unseen, saving them from one acolyte and signalling for reinforcements. Elsewhere, the Matrix manages to put enough power through Thunderwing to take him into space and head towards Cybertron. Back on Cybertron, Autobot and Decepticon reinforcements arrive, and finish off the acolytes. Primus arrives, and reveals they were left with dormant commands from Unicron to attack the lead unit, and by naming Prime as such he flushed them out. Prime is incensed, but then suffers another crippling internal pain. However, Kup notices something worse - Unicron has arrived.

Notes: It would seem that when using Xaaron as a conduit, Primus' powers are reduced, and this is why Grimlock and the other Dinobots aren't summoned to Cybertron - Primus probably aimed for the biggest concentration of Transformers on Earth. It's also possible Primus purposefully omitted them, realising their plans to revive vital reinforcements and arrive under their own speed. Cybertron has a breathable atmosphere.

I'm really not sure what the reference Snarl makes to a Transformers signal on Earth that 'seems to be in two parts'. All I can think of is Spike, maybe, but that still doesn't make sense. Possibly something Furman meant to come back too, but didn't because of the cancellation? Or was the original intention to have Fortress Maximus stashed somewhere on Earth, rather than the Ark as was shown in #79 ?

Errors: Ratchet's name is spelt "Rachet" on his stasis pod. How did the Neo-Knights' helicopter get teleported because Nightbeat is touching it? Apeface is eating a banana on the splash page. Blackrock was wearing a white shirt last issue, and is now in a pink one. Thunderpunch's costume is green on the splash page.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Xaaron [possessed by Primus], Snapdragon, Skullcruncher, Apeface, Horri-Bull, Skyfall [first appearance], Krok [first appearance], Soundwave, Bomb-Burst, Highbrow, Siren, Hosehead, Dreadwind, Darkwing, Sureshot, Runabout, Nightbeat, Kup, Hot Rod, Fangry, Optimus Prime, Fixit, Runamuck, Stranglehold, Bludgeon, Octopunch, Starscream, Scorponok, Mindwipe, Shockwave, Weirdwolf, Ravage, Landfill, Quickmix, Backstreet, Crankcase, Battletrap, Quake, Snarl, Grimlock, Swoop, Slag, Sludge. Thunderwing's body is seen again, possessed by the Matrix.

Notable Others: Thunderpunch, Circuit Breaker, Dynamo, Rhapsody, GB Blackrock, Unicron. The original forms of Unicron and Primus are seen in flashback.

Extras: The issue contains Universe profiles on Darkwing and Dreadwind.

Review: The first three pages are startling both visually and in the ground they cover, and the splash page looks wonderful. After that, it settles down a bit, the plot slowing down and the execrable Thunderpunch detracting from the interesting angle taken with the uncaring Primus. There is some superb characterisation for Scorponok and Optimus Prime [their conversation about death is one of the best Transformers scenes ever], but aside from that the storyline seems to be treading water - the acolytes seem like padding.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0]

#75 - "On the Edge of Extinction!"

[cover]
Cover: Geoff Senior
Cover Date: February 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Geoff Senior
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #319 -322 [UK], Titan Books: End of the Road [Worldwide], IDW Publishing: The Best of Simon Furman [Worldwide], Titan Books: Best of Transformers Volume 1 [UK only].

Synopsis: The Transformers scatter as Unicron attacks the planet. Primus tries to rally them, but panic is widespread. Shockwave and Starscream decide to run, while Blackrock and the Neo-Knights try to find some cover. However, Thunderpunch talks Blackrock into making a stand, as Unicron presses home his onslaught. Primus is briefly able to bind Unicron, but his old enemy realises there's only a small portion of Primus left, and destroys his enemy's vessel. Galvatron decides to inspire the Transformers, attacking Unicron alone. He's swatted aside, but his gesture causes the others to start fighting back. The Transformer casualties continue to mount, while the Neo-Knights struggle to be effective against such a huge enemy. Blackrock decides to gamble Circuit Breaker's sanity. Scorponok is among the Transformers killed by Unicron, when suddenly the Ark arrives - Grimlock has brought reinforcements. Prime once again tries to rally his troops once more when the Creation Matrix also attacks Unicron, tainted by evil. The Matrix attacks Unicron, but tainted by evil, it can do him no damage. He transforms to planet mode to finish off Cybertron. However, Blackrock goads Circuit Breaker into attacking Unicron. He tells Prime he's bought him a chance with her sanity, and to use it. Prime, having left Hi Q on the surface, takes the fallen Matrix, and flies into Unicron, destroying him. Later, after the battle, Runabout and Battletrap are strolling around, when the former is taken and destroyed by a mysterious creature.

Notes: Among those revived by Grimlock are Prowl, Skids, Silverbolt [Underbase casualty, see #50], Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Blaster [Underbase casualty, see #50] and Wheeljack. The Matrix has been tainted since it came into Thunderwing's possession in #65. It would seem Quake escapes Unicron's attack - there's no tank debris in the explosion, and the character appears several times later on. Prime is able to purge the Matrix of evil.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Scorponok [killed by Unicron], Xaaron [possessed by Primus, body destroyed by Unicron] , Kup, Optimus Prime, Getaway, Squeezeplay, Bludgeon, Stranglehold, Octopunch, Sureshot, Iguanus, Mindwipe, Cloudburst, Brainstorm [eaten by Unicron], Ravage, Apeface, Skullcruncher, Dreadwind, Chromedome, Shockwave, Starscream, Galvatron, Hosehead, Darkwing, Cloudburst [destroyed by Unicron], Nightbeat, Siren, Jazz, Hot Rod, Highbrow [crushed by Unicron], Finback [destroyed by exploding cannon], Misfire, Hardhead [crushed by Unicron], Bomb-Burst [crushed by Unicron], Waverider [destroyed by Unicron], Quake, Joyride [destroyed by Unicron] , Grimlock, Prowl, Snarl, Skids, Silverbolt, Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Blaster, Wheeljack, Slag, Swoop, Sludge, Fangry, Weirdwolf, Runabout [eaten by demons], Battletrap. The body of Thunderwing is used as a vessel by the Matrix, and destroyed by Unicron.

Notable Others: Unicron [destroyed by Optimus Prime, using the Matrix], Thunderpunch, Circuit Breaker, Dynamo, Rhapsody, GB Blackrock, Hi Q.

Production Notes: This "double-sized" issue contained 36 pages of strip instead of 20, with a resulting new price of $1.50.

Extras: The issue contained Transformers Universe profiles for Fangry and Squeezeplay.

Letters Page: A two-page Transmissions contained another page of fan art.

Review: A glorious issue. The scripting is absolutely superb, with the Transformers running in fear so much more believable than them just shooting at Unicron. Best of all is the reaction of Shockwave to the Chaos Bringer, and even Thunderpunch is compelling. It's all enhanced by Senior's art, which fits the scale like a glove. "Edge of Extinction" is peppered with characterisation which sets the carnage well above that of, say, "Dark Star" - Highbrow's doomed charge, the great little comedy sequence with Nightbeat, Galvatron's solo attack on Unicron. Scorponok gets the most touching death scene of the series, and the arrival of the Ark and the Matrix set up a grandstand finish. Furman doesn't disappoint - inspired by Scorponok, Prime confronts his own fears, cleanses the Matrix and faces Unicron. The story was an intended conclusion to the series, though the inserted page with Runabout and Battletrap is an effective coda. This is by now much, much more than a comic designed to sell toys. The penultimate page is one of the most beautiful in the comic's whole run.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*]

#76 - "Still Life!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: March 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #323 -324 [UK], Titan Books: End of the Road [Worldwide].

Synopsis: As the Transformers count the cost of the battle against Unicron, Optimus Prime delivers a message to Prowl before dying. Elsewhere, Hi Q is on the run from the demon creatures. At the Transformers' new HQ, Prowl tells Grimlock he was named as the Autobot leader by Prime. Grimlock seems unimpressed, claiming he has a task of his own to complete - finding the Ark, stolen during the battle, which still has deactivated Autobots inside. He sets off with the Dinobots. Blaster has more bad news, of seismic disturbances on Cybertron, while the Decepticons consider their next move. Soon after the Dinobots leave the Autobot base, Grimlock's body locks up totally. Just then, Hi Q runs up to them, and he's being followed. The Dinobots are soon cornered by the demon creatures, refusing to abandon Grimlock. Elsewhere, Shockwave and Starscream repair the Ark, planning to take Earth while everyone else is busy on Cybertron, unaware that Galvatron is watching. The Dinobots are being overwhelmed by the demons, but Hi Q realises Grimlock is in a chrysalis stage. The Nebulan is able to accelerate it using his Powermaster energy, and the Dinobot is freed, though the Nucleon exposure accelerates Hi Q's own metamorphosis - he's becoming Optimus Prime. Grimlock drives off the demons - but he can no longer transform.

Notes: Grimlock claims the Autobot/Decepticon war is caused by genetics. The demon creatures were first seen in UK #245, and live just under Cybertron's surface - presumably the changing conditions forced them out. Grimlock's new body is based on the Action Master figure.

Errors: Bomb-Burst's jet mode is shown among the wreckage, despite his Pretender shell being crushed by Unicron last issue. It's possible, though, that he'd split the robot from his shell, though the shells haven't been shown to have the power of speech when they don't have a Transformer inside. Grimlock's faceplate is coloured red in the second panel of page 11.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Darkwing, Kup, Jazz, Prowl, Wheeljack, Optimus Prime [who dies from his injuries], Bludgeon, Quake, Krok, Rad [first appearance], Blaster, Krok, Grimlock, Siren, Snarl, Swoop, Slag, Sludge, Galvatron, Starscream, Shockwave. The bodies of Apeface, Scorponok, Cloudburst, Bomb-Burst, Sureshot, Hosehead and Runamuck are seen, casualties from Unicron's attack.

Notable Others: Unicron [flashback], Hi Q.

Extras: The issue contained Transformers Universe profiles for Grotusque and Horri-Bull.

Review: Furman and Wildman cleverly decide to return to the character-driven material rather than to try and match the spectacle of "On the Edge of Extinction". The story mainly concerns Grimlock, with Prowl an excellent foil for the Dinobot's stubbornness and arrogance. Sadly, big ideas concerning the Nucleon and the Powermaster concept are balanced out by a dull script. Similar to the acolytes in "The Void", the demons really feel like padding - the idea of them being a threat never really occurs, and they're chased off rather easily.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0]

#77 - "Exodus!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: April 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #325 -326 [UK], Titan Books: End of the Road [Worldwide].

Synopsis: The tremors on Cybertron are getting worse, and the alliance leaders call a summit to decide what to do. Blaster announces that due to Primus' apparent destruction, Cybertron is breaking up, and the Transformers need to evacuate. Shockwave and Starscream have already reached the same conclusion, and the Ark is ready for launch. The alliance is becoming more and more strained, and as the evacuation preparations go ahead, Fangry and Grimlock fall out and fight. Shockwave and Starscream prepare to launch the Ark, unaware something has stirred in the stasis pods. Meanwhile, Grimlock trounces Fangry until Prowl intervenes, deflating some of the tensions. Onboard one of the freighters, the Neo-Knights meet up with Hi Q. Later, the Decepticons have all evacuated, and Bludgeon briefs his troops on their new plan - conquest. Soon after they've left, the Autobots find their own starships sabotaged - Bludgeon has betrayed them. Onboard the Ark, Galvatron stumbles across the latest Transformer to be reactivated - his past self, Megatron.

Notes: Bludgeon is now Decepticon commander, with Krok as his second-in-command. It's not clear why Soundwave seems to have been demoted. Prowl's original plan was to colonise a barren world and start the Transformers' civilisation from scratch. Circuit Breaker is in a catatonic state following the events of #75. Megatron has been on the Ark in stasis since he was separated from Ratchet in #70, and was accidentally infused with the Nucleon in #74.

Errors: Grimlock's faceplate is coloured red in the second panel of page 1.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Darkwing, Dreadwind, Prowl, Krok, Grimlock, Soundwave, Treadshot [first appearance], Crankcase, Fangry, Quake, Squeezeplay, Bludgeon, Blaster, Bumblebee, Silverbolt, Rollout [first appearance], Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, Jazz, Shockwave, Starscream , Megatron, Snarl, Galvatron.

Notable Others: Thunderpunch, Dynamo, Circuit Breaker, GB Blackrock, Rhapsody, Hi Q.

Extras: The issue contained Transformers Universe profiles for Weirdwolf and Skullcruncher.

Review: An excellent quasi-political saga, with crackling dialogue and believable characterisation throughout, as well as a doom-laden feeling. That said, the exact direction of the title now seems a little unfocused following the battle with Unicron, though at least Bludgeon finally stabbing the Autobots in the back allows the plot to move forward a little. Some fine characterisation helps the whole thing hang together, but "Exodus" really feels like a 'bridge' story.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0][0]

#78 - "A Savage Circle!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: May 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #327 -328 [UK], Titan Books: End of the Road [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Megatron and Galvatron battle on the Ark, and their life readings are detected by Shockwave and Starscream, who set off to investigate. Meanwhile, the Decepticon force arbitrarily selects Klo as the first planet on its' agenda for conquest. On the rapidly declining Cybertron, Prowl bemoans his stupidity when something unexpected happens. Back on the Ark, Ratchet is also functioning, but finds himself mentally linked to Megatron. Grimlock has a trick up his sleeve to get the Autobots off Cybertron. Grimlock has revealed he hoarded away three Decepticon battle cruisers, and orders the Autobots to get on board. On the Ark, Galvatron realises it is madness to kill Megatron, when Shockwave and Starscream arrives. Galvatron hides, and Shockwave prepares to kill the disorientated Megatron. Starscream stumbles across Ratchet, and decides to kill him also. Inside a storage crate, Hi Q, whose psyche has merged with that of Optimus Prime, pleads with Blackrock and the Neo-Knights to stay on Cybertron and try to find someone called The Last Autobot. Back onboard the Ark, an enraged Ratchet fights back against Starscream, while Galvatron tackles Shockwave. He and Megatron decide on an alliance to rule the galaxy. Ratchet realises this, and destroys the tank of the Nucleon inside the Ark, causing the ship to crash into Earth. Meanwhile, Bludgeon is closing in on Klo.

Notes: This story takes place in 1991. The alternate Galvatron was converted by Unicron after a near-fatal defeat at the hands of Optimus Prime, though this time in took place in 2005. Klo has a peaceful population, a 'good level' of technology and abundant natural resources. Grimlock stole the Decepticon ships and hid them in Cybertron's Rad [presumably Radiation] Zone - which is rarely used - in the event of the Dinobots becoming unhappy with Optimus Prime's leadership. They were probably stowed away before Arklaunch, as Grimlock has actually rarely returned to Cybertron since - he only had spare time on Cybertron between #59 and #60. This lends further weight to the idea that the future Dinobots worked together as a unit on Cybertron before the Ark left.

Note that contrary to common rumour, Shockwave is not explicitly killed by Megatron and Galvatron - they're poised to do so when Ratchet blows the Nucleon tanks, but what happens then is anyone's guess.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Grimlock, Prowl, Blaster, Galvatron, Megatron, Starscream, Shockwave, Ratchet, Optimus Prime [flashback], Fixit [flashback], Wheeljack, Inferno, Ironhide.

Notable Others: GB Blackrock, Hi Q, Dynamo, Circuit Breaker, Rhapsody, Thunderpunch.

Extras: The issue contained Transformers Universe profiles for Pounce and Repugnus.

Review: The plot finally kicks in for a frantic instalment. There's lots going on, all intriguing and all vital. Yet again, Furman doesn't let this smother the outstanding character-work, and Ratchet lashing out at Starscream is one of the most powerful frames in Transformers history. Still, Wildman really captures the desperation on Cybertron, even if he can't quite pull off the fight scene - it really looks like Megatron and Galvatron just spend a few pages striking enraged poses at each other. On the plus side, Grimlock, as always, has a plan, and Prowl wins huge audience kudos for simply backing down when he realises he's been outthought by the Dinobot. Add into this Galvatron's moment of clarity, and the Furman/Wildman team are back to their very best.

[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][0][0]

#79 - "The Last Autobot?"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: June 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #329 -330 [UK], Titan Books: End of the Road [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Spike Witwicky finds himself drawn to the wreckage of the Ark, in Northern Canada. He has been called there by Fortress Maximus, his old partner. Galvatron has escaped the crash alive, and started attacking the Canadian military. On Cybertron, Hi Q has been able to persuade the Neo-Knights to stay on the planet. Dynamo's power seems to have established contact with the Last Autobot. Meanwhile, the Autobots pursue the Decepticons to Klo, Grimlock having placed a tracer on one of their vessels. However, the Decepticons are already laying waste to the planet, and they have found Grimlock's tracer. Bludgeon begins to arrange an ambush for the pursuing Autobots. Spike reluctantly pulls on his control suit, and merges with Fortress Maximus once again. He soon tracks Galvatron, and attacks him, but the enraged Galvatron battles back. Maximus and Spike finally work together, and are able to knock Galvatron out. On Cybertron, Dynamo finally raises the Last Autobot from the heart of Cybertron.

Notes: Spike's mental bond with Fortress Maximus was first shown to work over such distances in #51. The Earth authorities are claiming the Transformers have left Earth. This story starts six days after the Ark's crash. Dynamo tried to tap Cybertron's energy in #75. Sparkstalker appears to have been killed off-screen by Flamefeather. The Last Autobot is the final Guardian left by Primus.

Errors: The Neo-Knights have been on Cybertron at least a week, surely? So what have they had to drink? [most likely there are some supplies for Nebulans that they've had a share of]. They must bloody stink, too.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Galvatron, Fortress Maximus, Prowl, Silverbolt, Nightbeat, Grimlock, Snapdragon, Dreadwing, Quake, Horri-Bull, Squeezeplay, Fangry, Crankcase, Battletrap, Bludgeon, Octopunch, Stranglehold, Krok, Cerebros, Fortress Maximus, Megatron [flashback], Shockwave [flashback], The Last Autobot [first appearance].

Notable Others: Spike, GB Blackrock, Hi Q, Dynamo, Circuit Breaker, Rhapsody, Thunderpunch.

Extras: The issue contained a Transformers Universe profile for Fortress Maximus.

Review: Sadly, the Spike plotline is something of an unwanted intrusion, adding another thread to the ball when the Cybertron and Klo plotlines are much more interesting and deserving. It's a bog-standard vague teamwork monologue - one covered in "Man in the Machine" to boot, where Spike and Maximus reach the same conclusion. The Ark group weren't something that vitally needed tying up, and there's too little on the more interesting plot to save it. The rest is the now-uniform high-quality mix of fine scripting wrapped in expressive art, though.

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#80 - "End of the Road!"

[cover]
Cover: Andy Wildman
Cover Date: July 1991

Script: Simon Furman
Pencils: Andy Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Rick Parker
Colours: Nel Yomtov

Later Reprinted By: Transformers #331 -332 [UK], Titan Books: End of the Road [Worldwide].

Synopsis: Thanks to a lack of tactical appraisal from Grimlock, the Autobots walked straight into an ambush on Klo, and are now being wiped out. Only Grimlock, Prowl, Blaster, Slag and Kup seem to have escaped, and they are found by one of the Decepticon hunter squads. A short distance away, Bludgeon and another group of Decepticons are attacked by the Neo-Knights, who then say the main event is about to arrive. The Last Autobot is also on Klo, with Optimus Prime - the Last Autobot having completed Hi Q's transition to being Optimus, and build the Autobot a new body. Elsewhere, Grimlock's team battle furiously against the Decepticon hunting party. Bludgeon claims the Last Autobot is a lie, meant to be a destroyer of worlds. Prime argues that this is simply a Decepticon distortion of the truth, and Bludgeon sets his troops on Optimus. As Prime battles, the Last Autobot uses his powers to revive the fallen Autobots on the battlefield. Optimus contains the Decepticons until Grimlock's group arrives, and the Autobots and Neo-Knights rout the Decepticons. Bludgeon orders the retreat, promising to take the Decepticons into exile, but planning to regroup off-planet. Prime reveals to the jubilant Autobots that Cybertron was not destroying itself, but rebuilding. The Autobots can go home.

Notes: Bad fanfic writers might want to note that Stranglehold dreams of giant women when under Rhapsody's power. The Last Autobot is the last repository of Primus' power. Optimus Prime's new body is modelled on the Action Master figure. It's fair to assume all the casualties on Klo are revived by the Last Autobot. The Last Autobot is the last repository of Primus' power. Optimus Prime's new body is modelled on the Action Master figure. It's fair to assume all the casualties on Klo are revived by the Last Autobot.

Errors: Blaster is much less damaged than the art originally made him seem. Yomtov signs off by not bothering to colour Prime's head or left shoulder in the third frame of the last page.

Transformers featured [in rough order of appearance]: Getaway [destroyed by Dreadwing], Dreadwing, Bludgeon, Battletrap, Snapdragon [destroyed by Blaster], Horri-Bull, Crankcase, Strangehold, Horri-Bull, Siren [killed by Bludgeon], Fangry [destroyed by Grimlock], Quake, Weirdwolf, Octopunch, Grimlock, Prowl, Blaster, Slag, Kup, Sludge, Snarl [flashback], Swoop [flashback], Wheeljack, The Last Autobot, Optimus Prime, Squeezeplay, Horri-Bull [killed by Optimus Prime], Ravage [killed by Grimlock], Inferno, Hot Rod, Sludge. Slapdash, Sky-Fall, Silverbolt, Inferno, Air Raid, Snarl, and Nightbeat can all be seen in the wreckage on page 3.

Notable Others: Rhapsody, Dynamo, Thunderpunch, Hi Q [flashback, used as the core of the new Optimus Prime], Circuit Breaker [flashback], GB Blackrock [flashback].

Letters Page: Furman hijacks it in order to say farewell to the readers, and Yomtov even gets an inch at the end. Read this page here.

Review: A well-structured script helps, though it's frustrating that so much has happened on Klo which could have been told in the last two issues. Bludgeon is really coming into his own here, and the crushing defeat of the Autobots really sets up a barnstorming finish. Furman manages a fitting end for the Transformers, and introduces new ideas to the book right to the very end. That religion would be a plot-point in a comic which began by claiming Cybertron had naturally occurring gears, levers and pulleys creating sentient life is amazing work. Everything's measured just right, and while a lot's not tied up, that's not really the point.

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