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The Price of Life!

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MarvelUS-70
This is really gonna traumatize some kids.
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Marvel U.S. > Issue #70
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Marvel UK > Issue #309–310
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The coming of... Ratchetron! Uh, Mega-Chet? Uh...

Synopsis

Megs ratch
Two bots collide, on the inside
X-BoB58Added by X-BoB58

Shock. With the hideous fusion of Megatron and Ratchet having been retrieved from subspace and deposited before them, the only word which can describe the feelings of the assembled Autobots is shock. The unreality of the moment ends when Kup enters the room and, seeing the Megatron side of the creature, takes aim with his laser. His distraction gives Megatron an opening to belt Prime in the face, and Kup then fires on the Decepticon. Before any more damage can be done, though, Nightbeat disarms his fellow Autobot and forces him to take a second look—at Ratchet. As Nightbeat explains the situation, Kup has to question whether Ratchet would even WANT to go on living in his current condition. Before the discussion can heat up from there, "Megatron" rams through the Autobots, leaving them stunned.

As Kup gets up to pursue the creature, Prime picks up Nightbeat's side of the conversation and the two begin to debate the survival of Ratchet versus the danger of Megatron. As Ark security officer, Kup insists the creature is too much of a threat to everyone on-board the longer it remains functional, and yet Optimus cannot choose to throw away his friend's life so wantonly after just getting him back, whatever his condition.

Meanwhile, on Hydrus Four, Grimlock begins his search for the well of Nucleon. With a local mechanoid as his guide and comic-relief sidekick, Grimlock is forced to endure another round of blatant exposition until, mercifully, the Dumb Guide is chased off by one of the Hydrusian mechanoids who has apparently been driven mad by the Nucleon. The creature is rotting away, yet somehow still capable of animation, and gives Grimlock a meager fight before it is too damaged to continue struggling.

Back on the Ark, things have gotten worse. The fusion creature has damaged Sureshot and sealed itself in the engine room, creating serious wreckage out of critical systems just as the Ark is beginning to make planetfall to meet the Decepticons for the surrender. Kup lays this all on Prime's head and goes so far as to threaten to invoke the Crisis Act and relieve him of command; after this incident and Optimus's decision to surrender the Autobots to Scorponok, Kup is sure many of the crew would back him in that action. Turning to look the other Autobots in the eyes, Prime realizes his security officer isn't half wrong. Without another word, he takes the gun offered to him by Kup and bashes his way into the engine room.

The fight is short-lived; despite all its power, the Megatron fusion is in constant agony and totally off-balance. Optimus Prime quickly overwhelms the entity, but as he is staring down the barrel of the gun into its optics, Prime just can't go through with the deed. He's then shocked when the creature (clearly under Ratchet's control at this point) pulls the gun back into line with itself and begs Prime to end its life.

On Hydrus Four, Grimlock is forced to deal with the second guardian of the well the same way he did the first: brutally. Reaching the island where the well of Nucleon sits, he finds the last of the three guardians, who is far more coherent and far less violent than his friends. He tells Grimlock that Nucleon is not the prize he thinks; it revitalizes mechanoids, sure, and truly doesn't affect any two the same way, but it also causes wasting depletion and utter madness. In order to satisfy his doubts, Grimlock exposes himself to the Nucleon first before his fallen Dinobots. He emerges from the well feeling magnificent and prepares to load his comrades into the energy post-haste. The little dying robot can only say, "Time will tell..."

In the Ark's medi-bay, Optimus Prime receives a prognosis on the patient(s) from Fixit. The good news is, the doctor can save Ratchet's life. The bad news is, he cannot do so without also saving Megatron; the two robots have become so tightly entwined with one another that it would be impossible to do otherwise. Under the hard stares of his fellow Autobots, Optimus tells Fixit to preserve the life of both patients...

Credits

Script: Simon Furman
Art: Andrew Wildman
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Colors: Nelson Yomtov
Lettering: Rick Parker

  • Originally published: September, 1990

Major characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Others

Errors

  • None yet identified.

Items of note

  • "Defend the well!" Note the double meaning in that phrase.
  • A Transformers Universe profile for Powermaster Prime is found after the main story.
  • Kup states there are around thirty active Autobots on the Ark, along with sixty deactive and in stasis. Since less than sixty have been confirmed as killed on-panel in events like "Dark Star", then either characters who've vanished (like the Monsterbots) should be assumed dead or the Earth-based Autobots had more troops around than those represented by toys. Or Simon lost count.

References

  • Nightbeat outlines his theory from last issue again, explaining the events from the end of U.S. #59.
  • Prime's announcement that he plans to surrender to the Decepticons also happened last issue.

Covers

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Specifics: UK covers

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