Looking back at comics – Transformers “Generation 1” US #2

Original release date: July 10th 1984

Like with Issue #1, this is effectively my first close look at this issue (only started with #3 back in the days)

Cover

An action-focused cover, with Megatron shooting at Optimus Prime, seemingly hitting him in the chest at close range, while holding Sparkplug Witwicky and standing on Bumblebee with one foot. The art style is much closer to the actual depictions of the characters this time, though Bumblebee has a rather exaggerated look on his face and Megatron seems to be sporting a colorless visor over his eyes . The action takes place on a pile of car wrecks, with the Witwicky Auto Repair building visible in the background.

In the top left box, we have a picture of Megatron below the word Marvel this time. Curiously there is also a small box with Spiderman in the bottom left corner of the cover, swinging to… somewhere.

Definitely an eye-catcher as a cover, the words “Optimus Prime vs. Megatron!” below the Transformers header seem a bit superfluous though, if you didn’t guess from the big cover picture itself.

Story synopsis

The Decepticons attack a nuclear power plant in construction, take it apart and leave with the pieces. Meanwhile Sparkplug (not believing a word of Busters’ recap of events at the drive-in cinema) repairs Bumblebees’ wound/leak. Bumblebee then transforms, revealing himself to the two humans. After a short introduction, he leaves to return to the Ark, with Buster accompanying him (his father’s enthusiasm for that is rather limited of course). On the way back they cross paths with Busters’ friends, but shortly before that Ravage notices them, remembering their encounter at the drive in cinema. While Jesse and “O” tell Buster about the Decepticon attack on the power plant, Bumblebee notices he lost too much fuel and they return to Sparkplugs’ garage. On the Ark, the Autobots have analysed their fuel situation – it is rather bleak. They think about how to acquire more fuel, during that Bumblebee contacts the Autobots, informing them of the possibility of converting car fuel to their needs, prompting them to leave for Sparkplugs’ garage. Since Ravage has informed Megatron about his findings, the Decepticons arrive shortly after the Autobots and a fight breaks out, with the Autobots seemingly gaining the upper hand. But Megatron manages to knock out Bumblebee and capture Sparkplug, prompting Optimus Prime to engage him directly. During the fight, Megatron drops Sparkplug, who is then picked up by Starscream shortly afterwards. Starscream transforms and flies away with his captive. The issue ends with the Decepticons leaving and the Autobots unable to pursue due to being too low on fuel. The last panel teases Spider-Man in the next issue.

Thoughts on Content

The nuclear power plant in the beginning doesn’t exactly look like one… like at all. Ravage knowing that the Autobots made contact with Buster is curious, he at most could have witnessed Buster driving off with Bumblebee from the drive-in cinema, if even that.

Characters still have different designs and coloring (e.g. Bumblebee’s head or Optimus Prime’s face) and are based on their toy designs. Coloring overall is inconsistent and there are some instances of parts missing from a character (wings or parts of a leg for example). A lot of text/dialog refers to basic character descriptions / setting up characteristics like behavior or weaponry, but more of it is done through internal monologue or narration, compared to the “let me introduce myself to all these characters that have most likely known me for a while now already” in the first issue… so that’s an improvement at least. Mirage is shown to waver in his loyalty to the Autobots a bit, though it seems to be mainly motivated through his desire to return home.

Conclusion

Plotwise this issue made some nice progress while leaving on a cliffhanger and the situation is getting worse for the Autobots, making the reader curious how the story continues (especially as this was originally advertised as a 4 issue limited series, a plan which was most likely always open to extension and probably got abandoned very quickly). The art and dialog/narration could definitely use some improvement though.

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