Looking back at comics – Transformers “Generation 1” US #4

Original release date: December 4th, 1984

This issue was the second part of the first comic that I read back in the day (the Hungarian comics bundled 2 issues in one)

Cover

Titled “The Autobots’ Last Stand!”, the cover image does a good job putting that into picture. A few Autobots (Optimus Prime, Huffer, Bluestreak and Mirage) are shown, quite literally with their backs to the (mountain) wall, Decepticons charging (flying) at them from the front of the cover. There is a bit of a coloring issue, with Megatrons upper body being brown, but other than that, it’s a good cover.

The top left shows Megatron below the Marvel text and above the Transformers header, “#4 in a four-issue limited series” is written.

Story synopsis

After a heated discussion (and some flames courtesy of Jazz), Sparkplug suffers a heart attack and has to be taken to a hospital. Ratchet volunteers as he has the appropriate vehicle mode and Buster “drives”. Meanwhile the Decepticons affect repairs and refuel. Before preparing for the potentially final battle with the Decepticons, Optimus learns of the fight between the Dinobots and Shockwave that happened around 4 million years ago while the rest of the bots were still “asleep” on the Ark, a probe is sent to investigate what happened. After refueling (some of the remaining Autobots transfer their reserves to a selected group), 5 Autobots remain and as the Decepticons arrive, the battle starts. While the fight goes on, the probe that had been sent from the Ark digs up another Transformer. Soon, the Autobots are on the verge of defeat, but just in time the corrosive property of the fuel that Sparkplug supplied the Decepticons with kicks in and the fight is seemingly over. As the Autobots survey the battlefield, something (or rather someone) knocks them all out with a bang. It turns out that the bot found by the probe was Shockwave, which leaves us at the end of the issue with a rather bad situation for Autobots (Ratchet being the last known active one left) and humans alike.

Thoughts on content

Artwork quality in this issue is pretty much unchanged from before, with several miscolourings and some errors on the Transformers drawings here and there.

In this issue, we learn that the Dinobots were created because Shockwave went to earth at the time the dinosaurs wandered the lands. Though we don’t know what happened during their confrontation, by the end of the issue we know that at least Shockwave survived.

Conclusion

The overall story continues to showcase an increasingly desperate situation for the Autobots and at the end, it still takes a turn for the worse, despite a short moment of hope. Up to that point it was already clear that Megatron is a very powerful Decepticon, but Shockwaves strong entrance shows that he is a force to be reckoned with as well.

Reading it definitely makes you wonder how the Autobots could get out of this…

Thinking back, I really liked that they started the story out this way, putting the good guys into this much of a bad spot this quickly, a stark contrast to the cartoon.

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