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|Marvel U.S. > Issue #24|
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|Marvel UK > Issue #105–106|
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Optimus Prime kills himself over a video game. Seriously.
Ethan Zachary is a programmer at Energy Futures Industries who works on a device called a hydrothermocline. The hydrothermocline is intended to draw energy from the different thermal layers of the ocean, and is seen as a potentially inexhaustible power supply for the world.
Megatron wants to steal the hydrothermocline, and takes Combaticons to the laboratory where the hydrothermocline is being stored. Optimus Prime and the Protectobots show up to stop them. After a bit of grandstanding, during which Ethan is captured, it becomes clear that if the Autobots and Decepticons continue to fight, they will end up destroying the very thing the Decepticons have come to steal. Ethan offers a compromise: the Transformers fight their battle in a computer-generated virtual world — a computer game called Multi-World.
Megatron agrees, but only if the stakes are increased to include not only the hydrothermocline, but also the life of the losing leader. Optimus Prime agrees to these terms, and the game is played. The Protectobots must fight the Combaticons while remaining true to their principles, assisting and/or sparing the lives of the inhabitants of the computer world while the Combaticons attempt to destroy them. This gains the trust of assistance of these computer characters, who help the Protectobots defeat the Combaticons.
At last, Megatron and Optimus Prime face off, but while Megatron has lost the assistance of his Combaticons, Optimus Prime still has the Protectobots, now in the form of Defensor. Defensor kills Megatron, and himself, in the game by destroying the platform they're standing on. But, Megatron cheats by using a "back door" password, enabling himself to be recreated in the game at any point. He chooses, in this case, right behind Optimus Prime, from which point he shoots Prime in the back. Prime manages to avoid falling by holding on to a ledge, but defeats Megatron only at the cost of the lives of the computer generated characters.
Although this earns him victory in the game, Optimus Prime feels that he has "cheated" by sacrificing his principles (unaware of how Megatron has already cheated previously). Prime tells Ethan to destroy him instead. Ethan presses the button, and Prime is destroyed.
The Decepticons leave with the hydrothermocline, and the Protectobots gather up the shattered body of the Autobot leader. As they leave, we see that Ethan Zachary has saved a copy of Optimus Prime's character on a five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk.
- Originally published: January, 1987
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- On page 10, Optimus Prime tells Brawl that Autobots don't cheat. The speech bubble appears to be a response, but it is depicted as being spoken by Blades. (It's probably meant to be an aside, with Blades giving his own thoughts on the subject, but it's not very clear.)
Items of note
- Prime's entire memory fits on a five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk. No, seriously. IT DOES.
- Even by today's standards, the Multi-World is an incredible computer game. The graphics and AI put even modern games to shame. No wonder Ethan needed cheat codes.
- Scenes that take place in Multi-World are displayed in comic panels with 'cut' corners.
- The Protectobots and the Combaticons make their first appearance with no introduction or origin offered. Under US continuity, it seems that we are to simply assume that the Protectobots and Combaticons were created just before this story occurs (in the same fashion as the Aerialbots and Stunticons in "Heavy Traffic"). However, a Matrix-induced dream sequence in the UK story "Second Generation!" shows the Protectobots being created on Earth prior to this story's events. It's worth noting that a brief flashback in "Club Con!" shows Defensor on Cybertron several centuries ago. This is very likely an error, though, as he was depicted as "normal" height and is standing next to Sunstreaker, who should be on Earth at the time, not to mention that in the same issue, a Battlecharger is drawn among the Autobots, proving continuity wasn't at its best that day! On the other hand, in Generation 2, the Combaticon Onslaught is shown to share an unknown history with the Cybertronian Mindset, which is difficult to resolve with his Earthly construction.
- References to past issues Wheeljack extracts the Cerebro-shell injected by Bombshell in "Heavy Traffic" and uses it to learn of Megatron's plans.
- This issue was reprinted as issue 7 of IDW Publishing's Generations series.
- In UK issue 105, the start of Hot Spot's objections to Prime leading the mission in Multi-World was blacked out to make a better cliffhanger for issue #106.
- So... Optimus is willing to kill himself out of guilt of killing video game characters?
|Specifics: UK cover|
- U.S. cover: Megatron shooting Optimus in the game by Herb Trimpe
- UK issue 105 cover: Defensor vs. Bruticus by Lee Sullivan
- UK issue 106 cover: reuse of art from U.S. cover, recolored and cropped, with a new caption to boot by Robin Bouttell
- None yet identified.