|Marvel U.S. > Issue # 43|
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|Marvel UK > Issue #180–181|
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Tales from a hopefully-forgotten future, or Wreck-Gar's story-time torture theatre!
On a distant planet, Wreck-Gar is being tortured for information about a mysterious but valuable canister. He finally gives in to the pain, and begins to "squeal"...
The Quintessons disgorge the Sharkticons on the planet of Junk to recover a lost artifact. When Wreck-Gar learns of their presence, he leads his fellow Junkions in driving off the Sharkticons. Realizing that the Junkions' power and defensive nature will make recovering their canister by force too difficult, the Quintessons arrange for a more passive approach.
The next day, Wreck-Gar and his people awaken to find a massive new projection TV and satellite dish waiting for them, transmitting the Universal Broadcasting Network. Instilling the programming with hypnotic harmonics, the Quintessons begin broadcasting subliminal xenophobic messages to the Junkions, convincing them that "all other lifeforms all their enemies!"
As word of the Junkions' transfixation spreads, space scouts Sky Lynx and Astrotrain bring word of it to their respective Autobot and Decepticon camps. Rodimus Prime instructs the Aerialbots to commit further surveillance, but Galvatron couldn't be any less interested.
On Junk, the second hypnotic signal begins transmitting, influencing the Junkions to adopt the principles of neatness and organization. In effect, the Quintessons are making the Junkions search for their cannister, and leave it neatly labeled and categorized somewhere for them to retrieve.
As the Aerialbots begin their reconnaissance run, though, they get caught in a crossfire between the now-xenophobic Junkions and the hiding Quintessons. Fireflight uses his photon displacer gun to disrupt the Quintesson ship so that they can't track the Aerialbots anymore. The Autobots manage to regroup and form Superion, attacking the Quintesson ship head-on. His attack on the ship's force field overloads their systems, causing a feedback explosion which knocks Superion for a loop, but also destroys the Quints' weapons. They beat a hasty retreat while Superion is rescued by Sky Lynx.
Back on Junk, though, another aspect of the Quintessons' system damage becomes evident, as the Junkions are now being fed the message of "caring and sharing". In following that directive, Wreck-Gar realigns the satellite dish to broadcast the Quintessons' subliminal message out into the universe. This puts the entire universe on the edge of interstellar war, and the center of the conflict is the planet Junk, where the majority of hypnotized warmongers felt compelled to travel to.
As the Autobots and Decepticons arrive, Omega Supreme deals with the space armada while Rodimus Prime heads down to Junk and battles a hypnotized Galvatron, who was also drawn into the conflict. By freak coincidence, he happens to redirect one of Galvatron's blasts perfectly to catch a passing Quintesson ship, sending the canister it had come to retrieve hurling out through the vacuum of space.
In the meantime, Ultra Magnus and Blaster have come up with a plan to stop the hypnotic broadcasting. Omega Supreme carries Blaster high into the air, where he broadcasts a high volume musical jamming signal. His mind momentarily cleared, Galvatron wails about how TeeVee bewitched him, and destroys the projection screen and antenna.
Freed of their mind control, the Junkions join the Autobots in driving the Decepticons off of Junk. It's all over, but the Autobots still have no idea what this all was about. In the meantime, the Quintessons lament the loss of their canister.
With Wreck-Gar's story concluded, the torturer turns to his shadowy employers with pride at a job well done. Unfortunately for him, his employers are the Quintessons and they know full well that Wreck-Gar's story is full of slag. They sentence the torturer to death for his incompetence. The Junkion concludes the story with a touching "Good night children... everywhere!"
Writer: Ralph Macchio, Simon Furman (UK framing sequence)
Pencil Art: Alan Kupperberg, Lee Sullivan (UK framing sequence)
Ink Art: Dave Elliott
Colorist: Nelson Yomtov, Steve White (UK framing sequence)
Letterer: Kurt Hathaway, GLIB (UK framing sequence)
Editor: Don Daley
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
- Originally published: August, 1988 (UK version: 28 August and 3 September, 1988)
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- Superion is depicted as barely taller than Rodimus and Ultra Magnus on one page.
- In one panel, Omega Supreme is depicted as large enough for Ultra Magnus and Rodimus Prime to be comfortably riding inside. On the next page, he's barely taller than Galvatron. On the other hand, this is not to be unexpected.
- Galvatron apparently a ventriloquist, as his speech bubbles are redirected towards Omega Supreme and later Cyclonus on one page.
- Scourge is referred to as "Sweeps".
- On page 18, Galvatron buries Rodimus in a rock slide. On 19, their battle continues. On 20, Rodimus finally breaks free of the rocks holding him down. Uh...?
- In the UK epilogue, the Quintesson uses the fact that Cyclonus and Scourge are back in time as evidence that Wreck-Gar's narrative is false. But that didn't happen until "Legacy of Unicron", after these events supposedly took place.
Items of note
- This has one of the more convoluted back-stories of any comic. U.S. #43 was written as a fill-in issue, an adaptation of a cartoon script from Season 3. Unfortunately, as a tale from the cartoon continuity, it makes no sense when read in sequence with other U.S. issues.
Real world references
- Not surprisingly, the "Good night children... everywhere!" line was a TV reference to a cult 60s show known as The Prisoner — specifically an episode with a similar premise to Wreck-Gar's current situation.
- Appropriately, a shadow image of the show's bicycle wheel appears in the closing panel.
- Backup Strips: Action Force & Combat Colin
- While the UK offices were in no position to pass up on any US material being produced, issue #180 also completely conflicted with the Movie-Future they had established. To sidestep continuity problems, Simon Furman wrote a framing sequence establishing U.S. #43 as an imaginary story dreamed up by Wreck-Gar, as part of a lead in to his Space Pirates! arc.
- In issue #181, UK writer Furman takes a not-so-subtle dig at the quality of the story via his Quintesson interrogator.
- U.S. issue 43 cover: Rodimus vs Galvatron by Herb Trimpe
- UK issue 180 cover: Wreck-Gar reading the story itself by Lee Sullivan
- UK issue 181 cover: Wreck-Gar dreaming of Rodimus and Galvatron fighting by Lee Sullivan
- None yet identified.