The Transformers #21

Now that’s what i call an airshow!

The Transformers #21

Marvel Comics (October, 1986, although for some reason the publishing info lists it as 1987. I’m pretty sure it didn’t take over a year to get this out.)

“Aerialbots Over America!”
(I’m starting to think either Budiansky or Chiang really likes exclamation points)
WRITER: Bob Budiansky
PENCILER: Don Perlin
INKERS: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
COLORIST: Nel Yomtov
LETTERER: Janice Chiang
EDITOR: Michael Carlin

With the Space Bridge operational (no word about Spanner’s fate and there never will be), Megatron calls Shrapnel, Kickback, and Bombshell to Earth, transforming them into Insecticons, as part of his plan to break into Hoover Dam and steal the water as a new power source for the Decepticons on Cybertron. The plan involves taking over the mind of a human who controls the plant. Optimus sends the Aerialbots, despite not having their programming complete, to the rescue, but the man’s young daughter may actually save the dam. Meanwhile, Donny and Jetfire search for the seven Autobots that came over the space bridge, but the government’s new Rapid Anti-Robot Attack Team got to them first…and they’re lead by Circuit Breaker!

What they got right: The Aerialbots make their debut as do the Insecticons and (hard to get into the synopsis) Ramjet, Thrust, and Dirge, the replacements in the ‘Con ranks for Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp (taken down in #19), and they’re all used well. The set-up to Circuit Breaker and the introduction of RATT make a nice teaser for the next story arc. Megatron’s reaction when the human under his control, Ricky, breaks free of it because of his daughter and conscience.

What they got wrong: Nel’s back to being lazy with his coloring. The splash page with Bombshell in his new insect form overlooking the family is the best example. The branches that Bombshell is standing on, Bombshell himself, and the family are all colored in. Ricky’s car is all orange as is the sidewalk, steps, and houw, and the other car is yellow. Also, as much as I defend kid characters, that’s when they’re done right. Little Maria’s fine, but there’s this kid at the dam named Billy who keeps driving his mom nuts even when he should be as scared as everyone else, even at his age. He’s a little brat and I don’t like him. I think he was put there as a bit of comedy but he just doesn’t work.

Other notes: The three new Seekers didn’t get to do much when they debut in the “Return To Cybertron” two-parter, where they and the (future) Insecticons debuted. RATT would continue to be a threat to the Transformers, mostly the Autobots because it’s easier when the targets don’t fight back, for all of Budiansky’s run, but dropped by Furman in favor of the Neo Knights. (Yeah, their day is coming.) Putting Circuit Breaker in charge of RATT will soon lead to all of Budiansky’s human supporting cast (except for his version of the Witwickys and G.B.) eventually getting together. And yes, Hoover Dam would appear again in Transformers fiction, as the site of the frozen Megatron and the All-Spark in the first live-action Transformers movie.

Recommendation: A decent story that’s worth checking out.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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