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The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!

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MarvelUS--55

Budiansky goes out on a high note... or not...

Marvel U.S. > Issue #55
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Marvel UK > Issue #236–239
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Aaaaaand in this cornah... ROOOOOADHANDLERRRRR!


SynopsisEdit

Roadhandler is guest-spotting on Cecilia Santiago's TV show, New York Talks. On air, he details the events of the last few weeks: it seems Roadhandler and his fellow Micromasters have broken ties to Optimus Prime and the other Autobots in order to take an aggressive approach to the Transformers' dealings with humans. He and the others have become local vigilantes in Manhattan, taking down human crooks while winning over the public good will.

One of Cecilia's other guests isn't as impressed as the general public, though: local wrestling star Jake "The Jackhammer" Jackson, who challenges Roadhandler to a match in the ring. Roadhandler heartedly accepts, and only later learns the unfortunate truth that (some of our reading audience may want to turn away now) Wrestling is fake. Jake was only challenging him for the publicity. Still, Roadhandler's Cybertronian honor (re: macho pride) won't let him back down from the fight.

At Arnie's Gym the next day, Roadhandler, his "manager" Swindler and "bodyguard" Free Wheeler arrive to practice with Jake. The Jackhammer quickly learns, however, that it's not as easy as it looks to lift someone who weighs 89.3% of a ton. Roadhandler helps by playing along, leaping into the air in time with Jake's "throw" to crash down straight through the center ring.

After some more practicing, the match for "Interplanetary Wrestling Championship of the Universe" is scheduled. As the match begins, Jake and Roadhandler trade a few opening moves before the human pulls out a full-fledged jackhammer and goes after the Autobot. After Jake's jackhammer is crushed, the two pull their patented "jump/lift" trick and Jake tosses Roadhandler out of the ring. The Autobot has his own trick, though, and lands in vehicle mode only to roar back into the ring and pin his opponent. As Roadhandler thanks the audience for their support and respect, he says good-night.

As the crowd piles out, an ominous suited figure makes his way to the docks. Met by Submarauder in submarine mode, Lord Zarak is escorted back to his robot body, where he joins with Scorponok and places a special request to Cybertron... for reinforcements...

Over the following weeks, Roadhandler continues to rack up fame and prestige in the ring, which he in turn uses to spread Autobot values of honor and heroism. He takes a special interest in the local kids who make up his fan club, and even begins teaching them a regular course in self-defense, while encouraging all his fans to stand up for themselves and do their part to clean up the streets.

One day, however, he is approached by Lord Zarak and his new "talent": the Decepticon Micromaster Air Strike Patrol. Zarak is concerned about the growing popularity of the Autobot cause and, after threatening innocent lives if Roadhandler doesn't comply, convinces him to meet his opponent Storm Cloud in the ring for a public match. Cecilia doesn't trust Zarak to keep to the rules, and makes her own arrangements with Swindler just in case things turn ugly.

Her instincts prove correct as, on the night of the fight, the remaining members of the Air Strike Patrol make an attempt to kidnap Roadhandler's fan club before they make it into the arena, to hold as hostages and ensure he loses the match. Roadhandler begins to throw the fight, but luckily the other Autobot Micromasters were looking out for the fan club, and bring them safely inside the arena for Roadhandler to see. The champ begins to fight back in earnest, and brings Storm Cloud down for the count by using the side ropes to lasso the Decepticon in his jet mode, and send him crashing into the ring.

Realizing that his human friends will always be in danger from the Decepticons, Roadhandler publicly decries his audience and especially his fan club, resigning from the wrestling stage effective immediately. He and the Micromasters drive off into the night, presumably to link back up with the rest of the Autobots.

CreditsEdit

Writer: Bob Budiansky
Pencil Art: Bob Budiansky and Jim Fern
Ink Art: Mike Gustovich
Colorist: Nelson Yomtov
Letterer: Jim Massara
Editor: Don Daley
Editor-in Chief: Tom DeFalco

  • Originally published: August, 1989

Major charactersEdit

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans

ErrorsEdit

  • When Roadhandler, Swindler and Free Wheeler arrive at the wrestling gym and transform, Swindler and Free Wheeler have switched colors.
  • Scorponok is depicted here as a miscolored version of Lord Zarak's armored form.

Items of noteEdit

  • This is the final issue which Bob Budiansky penned, and it shows.
  • Storm Cloud's mysterious "purpose" will be revealed next issue.
  • Jake trains at "Arnie's Gym," likely a reference to the "Governator".

CoversEdit

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Specifics: UK covers
  • U.S. cover: Wrastlin' Roadhandler by Jose Delbo
  • UK issue 236 cover: Half Prime-half Deathbringer by Lee Sullivan
  • UK issue 237 cover: Carnivac fights a mechanical hound by Geoff Senior
  • UK issue 238 cover: Mayhem Attack Squad vs Carnivac by Andrew Wildman
  • UK issue 239 cover: Mayhem Attack Squad by Geoff Senior

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