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MarvelUS-37

Mommy! I want one of those giant orange toys!

Marvel U.S. > Issue # 37
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Marvel UK > Issue #154–155
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The biggest black mark on the Predacons' hardcore reputation.

Synopsis

Ever since Grimlock took the Autobots off Earth, the Decepticons have been running wild, staging more and more daring raids on human-run facilities around the country. Because of this, Triple-I has come under heavy bureaucratic fire for failing to fulfill their mission objectives and keep the robots contained. Director Forsythe is becoming increasingly more demanding of results from his top man, Walter Barnett, and the Autobot captives under their control. However, the Throttlebots' professed ignorance of the raids, and their repeated explanations about the two different factions of Transformers, fall mostly on deaf ears. Barnett has seen the Transformers in battle against one another, but despite his suspicions that the captives are telling the truth, he finds himself unable to convince Forsythe and the higher-ups of this fact.

Matters only get worse after Forsythe makes a public declaration that Triple-I will execute their Transformer prisoners in retaliation for any future attacks by the robots. Naturally, the Decepticons jump at the humans' offer to kill six Autobots for them if they just go ahead and steal some more energon. Before Barnett can convince Forsythe of anything, the next raid takes place and Forsythe becomes unable to go back on his promise for any reason, due to political concerns. In desperation, Barnett comes up with a way to save the Autobots by removing their individual brain modules and placing each one in an electronic toy car. Thus, the Autobots' empty shells are destroyed the next morning at a public (and rather gruesome) execution by car-compactor, yet the Throttlebots survive hidden away in Barnett's briefcase. Now fully committed to helping the Autobots, Walter Barnett begins making plans with Goldbug to reconnect him to his fellow Autobots.

Back at Triple-I, Ratbat and the Predacons stage an assault on the base to confirm the Autobots' deaths. Forsythe and his men try in vain to fight back, but are easily brushed aside, or just annihilated. As Razorclaw and Ratbat examine the crushed cubes, though, they determine there is no sign of the Autobots' brain modules, and Ratbat begins tracing the scent of their fuel to finally track down and exterminate their prey. Forsythe is finally forced to admit he was wrong about the existence of the factions. Good going, dude.

In Portland, Oregon, Walter Barnett has brought Goldbug to the Witwickys' garage. Due to his past history with the Autobots, Goldbug believes Buster is the only human who can safely approach the Grimlock-commanded Ark unmolested. With his father's consent, Buster and Barnett take the family pick-up truck for the journey. After they leave, though, Ratbat and the Predacons arrive to "question" Sparkplug about the Autobots, and tear his garage down around him. On their way to the Ark, Goldbug and the other Autobots begin to run low on power, having used up too much juice from their batteries. Stopping off at a local mall, Buster and the Autobots are stalled long enough for the Decepticons to catch up to them, and the Predacons begin tearing the place apart.

A comical melee ensues, with the Predacons attempting to pounce on the little toy Throttlebots, and failing miserably. Ratbat, meanwhile, pinpoints Buster with his senses, and begins personally stalking the human to take his revenge for past encounters. After Barnett manages to crash a security gate down on Ratbat, however, he tells Buster to get away while he collects the rest of the Autobots. Buster is able to recharge Goldbug using batteries from his boom box, and then grabs his old friend and tosses him and the stereo back in the pick-up truck to hightail it to the Ark . At Mount St. Hilary, however, they find the volcano deserted, and the space ship gone. Goldbug and Buster manage to hook up an intergalactic transceiver, and begin broadcasting a distress call for the Autobots of Cybertron. But, they are soon interrupted by Ratbat, who snuck aboard the pick-up hidden inside Buster's stereo. He crushes Goldbug in his claws, and begins to advance on Buster...

Credits

Script: Bob Budiansky
Pencils: Jose Delbo
Inks: Ian Akin and Brian Garvey
Colors: Nelson Yomtov
Lettering: Bill Oakley
Editor: Don Daley
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

  • Originally published: February, 1988

Major characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans
Regulars

Guests

Errors

  • Goldbug's head is consistently colored blue this issue, like the toy, but unlike the golden head he sports in his past and future appearances.
  • Buster manages to pull Stupid Human Trick #1 — never carry around a tape player without fully checking it for foreign cassettes or glaringly obvious insignias.
  • The battery case on Buster's tape player is inexplicably opened by pushing one of the cassette player controls — rewind, fast forward, change batteries. While this conceit allows Ratbat to hitch a ride and thus provides a bang-up cliffhanger, TAPE PLAYERS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!

Items of note

  • Walter Barnett is apparently a genius with micro-electronics and comparative xeno-biology/technology. Yup. Move along now.
  • Somebody who looks like Clark Kent appears on bottom of page 3.
  • Spike Witwicky is mentioned for the first time in this issue.
  • Goldbug's radio S.O.S. is picked up by the Autobots of Nebulos in Headmasters #4, and is the catalyst for that cast of characters joining the main series next issue.
  • Buster and Barnett attempt to find batteries at 'Radio Shed', a parody of Radio Shack.
  • The half-built office building the Constructicons ransack and demolish by stealing its steel girders was in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

References

  • At Grimlock's behest, the Autobots repaired the Ark and left Earth behind in U.S. #35.
  • Goldbug and the Throttlebots were captured by RAAT in U.S. #32.
  • Buster and Sparkplug recall first meeting Bumblebee in U.S. #2.
  • Buster disrupts Ratbat's Wash and Roll scheme in U.S. #31.

UK printing

  • In Grim Grams for issue #154, Grimlock blames the stubbies for not clearly showing he never intended to harm the Spacehikers, and explains how Legacy of Unicron clears up why Headmasters takes place in the present, even with future Decepticons Cyclonus and Scourge appearing it.
  • The UK issue 155 cover features Transformers A-Z for Hook and Hotspot
  • In Grim Grams for issue #155, Grimlock explains that Gears has two mottos, that having good art all the time would spoil people and that he believes the UK origin, as seen in Legacy of Unicron, trumps that of Season 3 of the U.S. cartoon.

Covers (3)

  • U.S. issue 37 cover: The Predacons attack Buster and the Throttlebots by José Delbo
  • UK issue 154 cover: Crushed Throttlebots by Bryan Hitch
  • UK issue 155 cover: the Predacons and Buster by Bryan Hitch
MarvelUK-154

154 cover

MarvelUK-155

155 cover

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