The Transformers #4
Marvel Comics (March, 1985)WRITER: Jim Salicrup PENCILER: Frank Springer INKERS: Akin & Garvey LETTERER: John Workman COLORIST: Nel Yomtov EDITOR: Bob Budiansky
The Autobots are less than happy with Sparkplug making fuel for the Decepticons, willingly or otherwise. As they argue, Sparkplug and Buster try to run but Jazz’s attempt to stop them leads to Sparkplug suffering a heart attack, forcing Ratchet to rush him to a hospital. Now with NO way of getting fuel, the Autobots appear to be no match for the Decepticons…except that Sparkplug poisoned the fuel. Victory belongs to the Autobots…until the arrival of Shockwave! (As seen in my very first Friday Night Fight.)
What they got right: As a finale (which it was intended to be), it’s pretty good. The story wraps up quickly, although I assume Ratchet having to run off with some paramedics was also added in as it serves no point if this was the finale. It does help with events in the next issue. We also see Jessie and “O” and the reaction of the world around them to the presence of the Transformers. Mirage gets some character development and the “final battle” is well done, as is the way Shockwave and the Dinobots are introduced.
What they got wrong: The dialog still has its stiff moments.
Other notes: Intended to be the finale of a 4 part mini-series, sales pushed Hasbro and Marvel to greenlight a full series, which also moved from bi-monthly to monthly. While this arc wasn’t bad you’ll note I mentioned that the dialog was a bit stiff. The art kind of was, too, but nothing was hugely wrong with these issues. However, being a DC/cartoons guy I didn’t see the kind of “energy” I look for in a comic. This would change as Bob Budiansky moved from editor to writer, penning all but one issue and one mini-series (two if you count the movie adaptation) of over half of the first series of stories.
Recommendation: While not the most exciting stories, it was still a decent start. I still recommend it for historical significance if nothing else.