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Earthlings: THE S.T.A.R.S. need your help now!

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PackIn EarthlingsTheSTARS Front

OR MAYBE JUST A HUG!

"Earthlings: THE S.T.A.R.S. need your help now!" was a toy pack-in flyer from which other toys could be ordered. The Transformers available were the Omnibots and Time Warrior. A selection of G.I. Joe vehicles could also be purchased. A small amount of story content helped sell the characters, who were only available through mail-order.

Synopsis

Note: This flyer is written in the second person, recruiting the reader into an Autobot-allied human organization. Thus, the message itself is considered here to be part of the fiction.
PackIn EarthlingsTheSTARS Inside1

S.T.A.R.S. seems harmless now, but if the Autobots have their way, someday this will overlook Rio de Janeiro.

Seeking to expand the newly-formed Secret Transformers Autobot Rescue Squad, Overdrive sent a message to potential recruits (apparently within the U.S. military, judging by the tail-end of the message). It began, "Earthlings: THE S.T.A.R.S. need your help now!" He explained that the reinforcements from Cybertron (of which he was a part) had helped the Autobots overcome what had been desperate odds against the Decepticons. But the Decepticons wanted revenge, and they were building fortresses all over the planet from which to strike anew. Some of the fortresses had been found, but Optimus Prime wanted human allies in place before the Autobots mounted their assaults. So Overdrive's audience was invited to join S.T.A.R.S. and was treated to these "top-secret plans":

An assault on a Decepticon fortress would begin with the Omnibots using Time Warriors to synchronize their attack to the minute. Racing onto the scene in car mode, they would deploy their missile systems. And... presumably they would fire the missiles, but the plans ended there without saying so. One would hope that they had strategized beyond that point, and Overdrive just didn't want to reveal any more "top secret" information. But whatever the case, he switched gears with a quote from Optimus Prime: "Earth allies like you are desperately needed! We must thwart the forces of evil now!"

PackIn EarthlingsTheSTARS Inside3

I got the membership, but not the instant respect. Maybe I wasn't using the Control Center right.

Overdrive touted the benefits of joining S.T.A.R.S., such as receiving:

  • A Transformers Control Center, from which the recipient could "command" his or her "own Earth sector"
  • A S.T.A.R.S. iron-on patch, the display of which would ensure "instant respect from Autobot allies"
  • A poster
  • A S.T.A.R.S. membership card with "a magical picture that changes from Autobot to Decepticon"
  • And an Autobot Tech Spec Manual with information about Cybertron and the Transformers.

"Be one of the S.T.A.R.S.!" Overdrive lamely insisted.

His message then took an interesting and revealing turn, segueing into the subject of G.I. Joe. "And don't forget," he added, "while you're battling for the S.T.A.R.S., the G.I. Joe Mobile Strike Force is fighting other battles in other places." He encouraged his audience to use vehicles such as the Manta ("for your G.I. Joe amphibious missions"), Polar Battle Bear, and JUMP Jet Pack in its battles against Cobra. He also mentioned the Heavy Artillery Laser, Wolverine, Field Light Artillery Cannon, and even the Cobra H.I.S.S.

Notes

PackIn EarthlingsTheSTARS Inside4

Only if they turn into robots.

    • This flyer continues a loose story that began in Reinforcements from Cybertron! and would continue in future years' pack-ins. This micro-continuity conforms to no particular major continuity, but it's also vague enough that it doesn't contradict anything too blatantly.
    • For unknown reasons, Hasbro just this once offered G.I. Joe toys in the same flyer with Transformers and allowed the reader to use either Robot Points or the Joe-equivalent Flag Points.
    • Within the fiction, some of the other S.T.A.R.S. recruitment material is still explicitly aimed at children. Young Johnny mans his Control Center, and the adolescent Spike Witwicky flashes his patch. However, the way the G.I. Joe content is worked into this message, it sounds very much like this is an attempt to recruit from the ranks of G.I. Joe.
    • The second-person storytelling is standard in S.T.A.R.S.-related material. While this flyer isn't as narratively troublesome as its predecessor, the fourth-wall breakage still results in odd metatextual effects. For instance, the Control Center, described as a device for commanding a sector of Earth, is in the same sentence said to be made out of "full-color graphic board." Also it can be used "for storing and displaying Transformers and fits on a dresser or bookshelf."


References

  1. Scans and article on YoJoe!

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