The Transformers #3
Marvel Comics (January, 1985)WRITER: Jim Salicrup PENCILER: Frank Springer INKERS: DeMulder & Esposito LETTERS: Chiang & others COLORIST: Nel Yomtov EDITOR: Bob Budiansky
Megatron forces Sparkplug to convert fuel for the Decepticon cause, but their collecting of the resources he needs draws attention from the military, the White House, the Kremlin, and even SHIELD. Robbie sends Peter Parker to get some shots, which draws Spider-Man into the mission to rescue Sparkplug alongside Gears. While the rescue goes fine, Gears is damaged, but not before telling the Autobots that the Decepticons have what they want. Spider-Man is told that they can ask no more of him, and outside of the Savage Land appearing in a future issue this is the last tie to the regular Marvel Universe. (See “other notes”.)
What they got right: It’s the obligatory Spidey appearance, and he and Gears actually make a pretty good team. There’s a bit of foreshadowing to the appearance of the Dinobots and Shockwave.
What they got wrong: Shockwave (in the usual “I don’t have time to color him” blue and once in the “I ran out of blue” reddish-pink ) appears in two consecutive panels. The Transformer dialog is still a bit stiff and even Buster has his moment when he visits the Ark. “…I’m beginning to feel very small and insignificant before it.”
Other notes: Since this was originally intended to be a four issue mini-series I guess they didn’t mind having it crossover with the mainstream Marvel Universe. Marvel no longer has the license and that makes anyone else (like IDW or Titan) unable to reprint this issue. SHIELD agents Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan appear in one panel as does Robbie Robertson, plus the Savage Land appears in issues #7 & #8, plus of course Spider-Man, wearing his shapeshifting black suit. (We’re told that this takes place prior to Spider-Man #258, where I believe he learns that the outfit isn’t just an outfit.)
The world of the Transformers would be written out of the Marvel Universe, although Circuit Breaker appeared in an issue of Secret Wars II. I haven’t read it in a while, but I think the Beyonder supposedly pulled her from another dimension, thus making the split official. Transformers would later be shown to take part in the same universe as G.I. Joe, which will bring more questions later on.
Recommendation: Unless Marvel gets the license again, the only way to see this story (legally) is by tracking down the original comic. It’s a pretty good story and has some significant events going into the next issue so if a “here’s what happened” text isn’t enough for you, it’s worth picking up.