|Marvel U.S. > Issue #58|
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|Marvel UK > Issue #246–248|
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Why would anyone EVER deliberately bring Starscream back to life?
On Cybertron, Ratchet has responded well to the medical challenge and advanced technology being used to re-corporate Starscream. Almost too well — he has to rein himself in and remember he is being forced to work on this project. As Megatron leaves him to continue his work, Ratchet takes special note of the three deactivated Autobots he brought with him from the Ark, and the three prototype Pretender shells Megatron has on display. He resolves to... stay busy. Megatron offers Dreadwind and Darkwing permanent jobs and they like the idea, especially as they are not entirely sure they managed to lose the Mecannibals. Outside two of the creatures consume a dead Transformer...
Back on Earth, Optimus Prime has had enough of being jerked around, and makes a command decision — the other Autobots are to make their way to the shuttle and return to the Ark as quickly as possible to deal with whatever threat Ratchet might be facing up there. He nominates himself to stay and cover their retreat from any reprisal by Scorponok and the Decepticons. As the Autobots reluctantly follow Prime's orders, the Decepticons swarm over Optimus, pressing him to the ground. Seeing this, Hot Rod chooses to leap free of the rising shuttle at the last minute, and rushes back to his leader's aid.
No need, though. Optimus Prime once again demonstrated why he's the most hardcore pacifist around. With one shrug of his mechanical muscles, he sends the three Decepticons attacking him flying. He then approaches Lord Zarak to calmly discuss the situation, and continues to do so even after taking a point blank zap from Scorponok's tail to the chest. Prime does his best to make Zarak see reason, that they both have been manipulated by the Air Strike Patrol and whomever is truly giving them orders.
Speaking of "whomever", Megatron is checking on Ratchet's progress and finds Starscream completely repaired and completely mindless... just as Megatron likes him. Per Megatron's instructions, Ratchet has rendered Starscream's mind a total blank slate, with none of that pesky screeching and overthrowing to get in the way of his uses as a warrior. But, as Ratchet tells Megatron that it's time for him to uphold his end of the bargain and disable the explosives on the Ark, the Decepticon laughs at him and prepares to send the detonation order anyway.
Needless to say, Ratchet is hardly surprised, but it is also too soon for the counter-plans he has set in motion to bear fruit. Desperate for time, he triggers an explosion in the laboratory to escape his Micromaster guards. As he runs through the corridors, though, he finds that Megatron has already sent Starscream to Earth by way of the dimensional portal, thanks to a pre-programmed set of personality commands. He then runs into Megatron himself. Uh-oh.
On the Ark, Blackjack is almost done setting the explosives, when he realizes the other Autobots are on their way back in the shuttle. Looking for a weapon to blast them with, Blackjack runs into Kup, who has reactivated and is pointing a gun in his face. Startled, the Micromaster drops the triggering mechanism, starting the countdown on the copious amounts of explosives.
Just as Optimus and Zarak reach an accord on Earth, Starscream arrives through the dimension portal, pre-programmed to hail the glories of Megatron for all who will listen. Oh, and destroy all who are listening, too. Mustn't forget that.
Back on Cybertron, Megatron is interrupted in his execution of Ratchet by some bad news: his other Pretender prototypes have mysteriously begun glowing. Putting two and two together, the Decepticon tyrant realizes what has become of the deactivated Autobots just as Jazz, Bumblebee and Grimlock spring to life as... the Classic Pretenders!
- Originally published: November, 1989
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- When he first separates from Scorponok, Zarak's face is mistakenly colored flesh-toned, and his chest is purple instead of yellow.
- The somewhat abstract U.S. cover promises the reader "Optimus... OUT OF CONTROL!", but nothing of the sort really happens.
Items of note
- This being 1989, Hot Rod has yet to learn about interfering with "Prime's fights".
- Transformers Universe profiles for the Technobots are found after the main story.
- From issue #248 of the UK comic the Action Force back-up strip was now titled G.I. Joe the Action Force, although the cover logo would not change until issue #249.
- The fate of the Mecannibals would be revealed in the UK story "Out to Lunch!" However due to the UK comic suspending its printing of the US material and running reprints of old UK stories for eleven issues, "Out to Lunch" appeared six issues before the Meccanibal scene here.
- Part of the reason Zarak decides to trust Optimus is that he recalls Prime's selflessness when it came to the Underbase in US #50.
|Specifics: UK covers|
- U.S. cover: Megatron blasts Ratchet by Jose Delbo
- UK issue 246 cover: A Demon in Seawatch's eye by Stewart Johnson
- UK issue 247 cover: Demons and Classic Pretender Autobots by Jeff Anderson
- UK issue 248 cover: Classic Pretenders by Geoff Senior
- None yet identified.