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|Marvel U.S. > Issue #23|
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|Marvel UK > Issue #94–95|
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Megatron has a message for Optimus Prime, and sends the Battlechargers out to deliver it.
At RAAT headquarters, Circuit Breaker experiments on Skids in an attempt to learn more about the Transformers. Meanwhile, Megatron recruits Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck from Cybertron to deliver a message to Optimus Prime — challenging him to a duel to the death.
The Battlechargers depart, irritated that Megatron still acts like he's in charge after a four-million-year absence. Deciding that they'd rather run rampant on the unsuspecting planet Earth, they pause to ponder what they should do. They observe a family, the Actons, on summer vacation. One of the family members, Noah, is bored with the vacation. Noah rebels by writing "Vacations are the pits" on a store wall. This act of defiance inspires the Battlechargers to follow the Actons on their tour of America, spray-painting Cybertronian graffiti on national monuments as they go. Their targets include Mt. Rushmore and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
These acts of graffiti are broadcast via news reports, and RAAT is sent to investigate and engage the robot(s) perpetrating these crimes. When the Battlechargers strike the Washington Monument, Circuit Breaker discovers a link between the incidents and the Acton family and is able to intercept the Battlechargers at the Acton's next stop, Independence Hall in Philadelphia. While RAAT is able to prevent Independence Hall from being vandalized, Circuit Breaker is injured while saving Noah Acton from being killed in the crossfire. She is ordered to stay behind and recover while RAAT journeys to intercept the Battlechargers at the Statue of Liberty (this time having taken the appropriate precautions to avoid civilian interference).
Circuit Breaker is frustrated by her inability to join in the fight, but is too weak to go against the robots alone. Donny Finkleberg convinces her to use the Autobots she has imprisoned to fight the Battlechargers. This is done by means of building the bodies of these Autobots into a jury-rigged gestalt, which she controls from a position at the gestalt's chest. They engage the Battlechargers at the Statue of Liberty, but not before the robots manage to deface the Statue with another message, this one intended for the humans and written in English: "Humans are Wimps". Circuit Breaker is able to defeat the Battlechargers, who are last seen falling to the ocean as burnt-out husks.
Circuit Breaker frees the Autobots, apparently as part of an agreement she made with them in order to gain their cooperation. She and Finkleberg are fired from RAAT for this act of insubordination.
Finkleberg returns to his New York apartment and watches the televised report of the defacing of the Statue of Liberty. In an act of uncharacteristic self-sacrifice, Finkleberg signs over the $50,000 he earned for betraying Skids, in order to fund repairs on the monument.
- Originally published: December, 1986
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Heh heh heh! Let's tell the fleshlings what we think of them! Heh heh heh!"
"Oh, Runamuck, what a wonderfully wicked thing to write! You really do have a talent for the one-liner!"
"Yours is funny too, Runabout. It makes me laugh. [pause] Heh heh."
- — the Battlechargers take on the Washington Monument
"Heh heh! That was the most fun we've had yet, Runabout!"
"A marvelous experience, Runamuck! We simply must stop by again some day! But these fleshlings -- they never get as angry about what we write as that other fleshling did a few days ago in the parking lot, Runamuck."
"Yeah. They just seem... confused."
"No doubt our wit is too slyly subtle for them to appreciate."
"Yeah, that's it! Heh heh."
- — the Battlechargers reflect on their graffiti skills.
"My friction ray will hit her first, Runabout! Heat up her molecules, make her explode! Heh heh! Big mess! ...I love a big mess!"
- — Runamuck (miscolored as Runabout)
- Circuit Breaker protests that it would take days to get the Autobots operational. This is apparently part of the justification in using the Circuit Breaker-controlled gestalt. Yet, after the battle (which itself was the next day), only "several hours later," the Autobots are gone, apparently restored to their autonomous forms.
- Unsurprisingly, Runabout and Runamuck have their colors switched in one panel while in Philadelphia.
- When the Battlechargers transform on the Staten Island ferry, at least one of their speech balloons is misdirected. They also seem to have exchanged places, compared to the previous panel.
Items of note
- The Battlechargers are awesome in this issue. Runamuck laughs nonstop like Beavis of Beavis and Butt-Head fame (heh-heh), and Runabout seems to have delusions of sophistication. Both of them seem very impressed by the literary prowess of their graffiti. When we finally get to see what they're writing, it turns out to be stuff like "Humans are Wimps".
- What's really fun about them is they genuinely appear to be friends, delighting in each other's company. It's a dynamic rarely seen in Transformers, especially among the Decepticons.
- One of the funniest moments in the issue doesn't even involve Runamuck and Runabout — it's when Megatron whomps Soundwave in the face with a car exhaust system on page 4.
- There's no incontrovertible proof that the Battlechargers ever delivered Megatron's message. Their dialog seems to indicate that they just decided to ignore their orders and run rampant. ("Maybe we should forget about that tin-headed tyrant, Runamuck!" "Yeah — we could have a lot of fun on a world like this, Runabout. Heh heh.") In the G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover, Optimus Prime reflects that "the threat of Megatron, hated leader of the Decepticons, is far more serious than I'd originally believed," with an editor's reference to Transformers #23, but that seems an odd response to a challenge for a duel to the death.
References to past issues
- Circuit Breaker continues to collect Transformers' faces in this issue, adding Skids and the Aerialbots to her collection. They were captured in issue #22.
|Specifics: UK cover|
- U.S. cover: Battlechargers defacing the Statue of Liberty by Herb Trimpe
- UK issue 94 cover: Battlechargers by Lee Sullivan
- UK issue 95 cover: reuse of art from U.S. cover, with some new word balloons
- None yet identified.