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Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom

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MarvelUS-31

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Marvel U.S. > Issue #31
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When Buster learns that the Decepticons are hypnotizing humans into giving them fuel, only he can thwart their plans.


Synopsis

Shockwave stages the capture of an oil tanker to demonstrate his superior leadership to Fuel Auditor Ratbat, but is embarrassed to discover that the tanker was emptied before the siege. Ratbat suggests that, rather than having the Decepticons expend their own energy, it would be more fuel efficient to have the humans obtain fuel for the Decepticons. When Shockwave suggests that humans are unpredictable, and they shouldn't be used, Ratbat tells Shockwave that he already is.

Meanwhile, business at Sparkplug Witwicky's service station is booming, thanks in no small part to the installation of a "Wash and Roll" automated car wash at the station. Not all is well with Buster, though. Business is so good that Sparkplug needs his son to help out at the station, and Buster never gets to get away to pursue his own interests, such as spending time with his girlfriend, Jessie. Not only that, but news of a fuel shortage has him worried.

At the corporate headquarters of Blackrock Enterprises, G.B. Blackrock holds a press conference touting the success of "Wash and Roll" car washes, and announcing the debut of the "Wash and Roll" Mark II. After the members of the press leave, Blackrock pulls out a cassette from his jacket, which promptly transforms into the Decepticon Ratbat.

That evening, Jessie arrives to spend some time with Buster, and to try out the new car wash. While making out with Buster in the middle of the car wash (so that Buster's eyes are averted from the front of the car), Jessie is hypnotized by the flashing lights at the end of the car wash. Buster notices that something is wrong almost immediately, and when Jessie tells him that she has to leave, he decides to follow her. Buster finds himself at a Blackrock Oil Storage facility, where Jessie begins to siphon the fuel from her truck into a silo. Buster is able to snap Jessie out of her trance by flashing his headlights at her, but before they can both leave, they discover that Buster's father Sparkplug is among a group of people arriving at the facility. Buster stays to watch, and sees G.B. Blackrock address the people assembled, explaining to them all that while the current "Wash and Roll" washes only hypnotize people temporarily, the new "Wash and Roll" Mark II will have permanent effects. Before Sparkplug becomes the first "customer" of the new car wash, Buster intervenes, and is confronted by Ratbat. With help from Jessie, Buster is able to escape, and Buster throws a crowbar at a large neon sign, causing a bright flash that wakes up the hypnotized people present. The Decepticons flee, and G.B. Blackrock promises to dismantle all the "Wash and Roll" stations currently in existence, and to use the profits from the stolen gasoline to help the poor.

Credits

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Don Perlin
Inks: Jim Fern
Colors: Nelson Yomtov
Lettering: Rick Parker
Editor: Don Daley

  • Originally published: August, 1987

Major characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans
Regulars

Guests

Errors

  • Why should the hypnotized G.B. Blackrock need to explain the nature of the "Wash and Roll" stations to already hypnotized people?
  • Sparkplug states his name is "Irving", while he states his first name is "William" in "Prisoner of War".

Items of note

  • Sparkplug Witwicky's service station is a subsidiary of Blackrock Enterprises.
  • This is the only time Buster Witwicky and G.B. Blackrock, two of the comic's most prominent humans, ever meet face-to-face.
  • References to other Transformers continuities/issues: The Wash and Roll is the culmination of Ratbat's plan in sending the freighter to Earth in "Crater Critters".
  • This is one of the few issues of the series in which no Autobots appear (outside a one-panel flashback).
  • You know where the issue's title obvious derived from, and this is not the first time.
  • This issue was reprinted by IDW Publishing as Transformers: Generations issue #12. It received a new cover by Nick Roche that seems somewhat inspired by Evil Dead.
TFGenerations12

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Covers (3)

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Specifics: UK cover
  • U.S. cover: Ratbat attacks Buster and Jessie by Bob Budiansky
  • UK issue 128 cover: Shockwave leading an attack against an oil tanker by Dave Hine and John Burns
  • UK issue 129 cover: Ratbat attacks Buster by Robin Smith

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