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Trigger-Happy!

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Transformers annual 1990

Aren't we supposed to be fighting in the fun park?

Backstreet panics!

Published in: Transformers Annual 1990
Preceded by: Destiny of the Dinobots!
Followed by: Dreadwing Down!

Story: Ian Rimmer (part one)/Dan Abnett (part two)
Art: Art Wetherell/Stephen Baskerville

Featured characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Autobots Decepticons Humans

Synopsis

Backstreet is speeding along a mountain road, unsure if he's being pursued by humans, Decepticons or - even worse - Autobots. He loses concentration for a moment and speeds over the edge, falling downwards. His pursuers - Getaway and Joyride - assume he's accelerated away. They have been sent by Optimus Prime to bring Backstreet in and know he will be furious at their failure.

Once his pursuers have gone, Backstreet climbs back onto the road, using his proton cannons to generate a kick-back to boost him. Once back on the roadside he relaxes and recalls how he got into this mess.

Two days ago the Autobots had set up an ambush to capture Crankcase and Ruckus, who had captured details of Scorponok's attack plans. The Autobots wanted the plans as well. Landfill, Quickmix and Scoop were set up to block the route near the human settlement Rivers' Town, whilst Optimus Prime, Dogfight and Override were hiding to snare the Decepticons. Backstreet was stationed as lookout. They would maintain radio silence and Backstreet was given a signalling device. Backstreet's orders were to remain observing after signalling, in case more Decepticons came. If so, he was to speed down and warn the others, and explicitly under orders no to engage the enemy as this could harm the humans.
Backstreet had followed the orders when he saw Needlenose, Spinister and Windsweeper flying in low. Backstreet realised he couldn't outrun the jets to warn Prime but even though he could shoot them down he was under orders not to. Having long told himself that a moment's indecision can be fatal, he blasted away, firing well clear of the town in order to alert the Autobots. But instead he just gave his position away to the Decepticons and found himself having to fight back against them. He then saw Crankcase and Ruckus speeding away and knew the ambush had failed.
Then Override had appeared and berated Backstreet - the ambush was wrecked; Prime had been disobeyed; and the blasts had hit Rivers' Town, causing human casualties. Backstreet tried to explain but Override wouldn't let up, even though they were still under fire. The Override suggested Backstreet would face a court martial. This was too much and the Autobot panicked and fled.

Backstreet is now isolated and alone, when he sees several headlights in the distance. He worries about who is coming after him now.

Optimus Prime is leading a search party, worried that Backstreet can cause more damage in a panicked state. Override asks what will happen to Backstreet, who did after all disobey a direct order, but Prime refuses to pre-judge the issue and wants to know Backstreet's side of the story as well as the reason for fleeing - is Prime such an ogre?

Megatron is also leading a search party for Backstreet. His troops ask inane questions about why they are doing so but the days of Megatron's "furious, uncontrolled outbursts" are over as he now looks forward to a glorious future as Galvatron. Megatron explains that he wants to capitalise on the current anti-robot feeling to turn the humans against the Autobots and towards Megatron. This will provide him with a power base not only against the Autobots but also against Shockwave and Scorponok's factions. Ruckus and Megatron agree that Galvatron would approve.

Backstreet sees vehicles getting closer. He spots a tank and assumes it is Warpath. But then he sees more military vehicles and assumes the Decepticons have sent the Combaticons after him. He determines to not go down without a fight and speeds towards them, ambushing them at a turning in the road and blasting away. He deals with a number of vehicles but hears strange cries. As he speeds away he realises that howls came from humans!

The news of the unprovoked attack reaches both the Decepticons and Autobots. Megatron is pleased that Backstreet is doing the job of turning the humans against the Autobots for him! Prime is relieved that no human was killed, but feels that Backstreet is now too dangerous and the search must be increased. "And if it's clear that he is totally beyond reason... we must terminate him!"

Don Stracher, the night watchman at the long closed Riverway Fun Park, has discovered the doors of the Cyclorama 3-D cinema are ajar and someone has crushed the lock. He heads in, not concerned about any danger as he's dealt with school kids, drunks, tramps and thieves easily. A huge robot on the other hand send him running. Backstreet is equally shocked.

The Autobots continue their search, with the majority wanting to help straighten Backstreet out and rebuild his confidence. But Optimus Prime is worried that Backstreet is endangering humans and could succumb to an offer to join the Decepticons to escape the Autobots. Prime wants to help the Autobot but may have to resort to harsher methods. Meanwhile Override is feeling guilty about his earlier conversation with Backstreet and wonders if he should confess or keep silent for his own sake. He decides the latter option.

Spinister is nearing the fairground when he picks up a radio signal between Don Stracher and the police about a robot. Spinister signals Megatron and heads into the fairground. Backstreet doesn't see the approaching Decepticon. Megatron signals all Decepticons ordering them not to molest Backstreet until he arrives, but Spinister decides that roughing him up won't meet that and the initiative could even get him a promotion. The first Decepticon to reach the fairground is Scoop and Spinister convinces him to join in a little fun with the Autobot. Spinister flies in firing and Backstreet tries to take him down, only for Scoop to fire upon him.

Override has now confessed about speaking with Backstreet and Prime is furious, wondering what consequences Override has caused...

Backstreet is saved by the arrival of huge Transformer who knocks Spinister sideways and then proceeds to rough up Scoop. He tells the two Decepticons to disappear for a long time. Backstreet recognises the new arrival as Megatron. The Decepticon leader smiles at Backstreet and asks him to join them.

Override reluctantly admits that he told Backstreet the latter would probably get a court martial and that Prime would probably order his termination. Scoop is angry at Override, whilst Prime realises that Backstreet would jump at any chance of escape. Dogfight reports picking up a transmission between Spinister and Megatron about Backstreet. Prime believes that a show in force will worry Backstreet further so heads to the fairground alone.

Quake and Needlenose watch as Megatron seeks to look sincere and feel sorry for Backstreet who doesn't know what's in store for him if he accepts. Megatron points out he's ordered his troops to wait outside as a gesture of goodwill and offers Backstreet protection and a place in the Decepticons. Backstreet is nervous and unsure. Megatron then gets firmer and threatens death if Backstreet refuses. Backstreet responds that he'd rather die being quickly terminated for his crimes by the Autobots than suffer a slow death at the hands of Megatron. The Decepticon leader tells him to take his time thinking what's best for him.

Prime races to the fairground and thinks how well he knows Megatron that if a single Autobot is turned to the Decepticons then victory will be his. Arriving at the fairground he knocks aside Quake and Ruckus, then heads inside to see Backstreet refusing the offer. Prime intervenes just as Megatron is about to strike Backstreet. The other Decepticons start firing but Megatron orders them back, wanting to crush Prime himself. The two fight fiercely whilst Backstreet runs for cover, worrying what he's done. Megatron fights furiously, knowing he cannot die because he has seen his future as Galvatron. But Prime has already died once on Earth! The two foes throw bits of the fairground at each other whilst shouting about Backstreet. Prime declares that Backstreet could have been made to see sense and is a virtuous individual. If he had gone bad he would have joined the Decepticons in a moment, but because he didn't "there's still hope [and] he's still worth fighting for!"

The fight continues but Megatron overpowers Prime and puts his fusion cannon to his old foe's head. "It's over, Prime." Suddenly Megatron is knocked backwards by a double blast. Prime rises quickly to see Backstreet urging him to flee before the other Decepticons attack. But Prime transforms to his battle station and soon sends them running. Then he and Backstreet transform and roll out.

Later at the Autobots' base Backstreet pleads guilty to the charges of disobeying orders and endangering humans when he attacked the convoy. Optimus Prime announces that the only sentence is the end of solo look-outs so in future when there is radio silence no Autobot will be left isolated in such a position. The other Autobots cheer as Prime and Backstreet thank each other.

Errors

  • Megatron's Decepticons include Scoop, who transforms into "a yellow construction excavator" and the illustration shows the correct robot mode being attacked by the Decepticon leader. Yet Scoop is an Autobot and shown on Optimus Prime's forces in this story. Have the Decepticons made a copy?

Continuity

It's not entirely clear where this story fits into the continuity of the regular comic as many of the Autobots and Decepticons were never shown as being under the command of Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively or even operating amongst the Transformers on Earth at all (the Triggerbots, the Triggercons and the Double Targetmasters). Additionally Megatron was never shown as leading the Decepticons on Earth during Optimus Prime's period as a Powermaster.

Reference is made to a conflict within the Decepticons between Megatron, Shockwave and Scorponok. This is identical to the scenario seen in "Aspects of Evil!: Scorponok", which also features Landfill and Quickmix operating on Earth. The best fit would appear to be before the "Aspects of Evil!" story, wherever that is placed in continuity - see Aspects of Evil!#Continuity.

Items of note

  • This is the only story from Marvel to explicitly identify the existence and identities of the Double Targetmasters. However the only Nebulan companion identified is Holepunch and even that is only with the Decepticon Scoop.

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