The Transformers #26
Marvel Comics (March, 1987)“Funeral For A Friend!” WRITER: Bob Budiansky PENCILER: Don Perlin INKER: Brett Breeding LETTERER: Janice Chiang COLORIST: Nel Yomtov EDITOR: Don Daley
Ratchet is feeling sorry for himself after being unable to restore Optimus Prime. As the other Autobots head to his funeral to launch him into outer space, he goes to a junkyard to find parts to repair the other damaged Autobots and gets captured by a car thief called The Mechanic. The human also takes Ratchet’s cryogenic sprayer and laser scalpel, then follows him back to The Ark, stealing a power booster rod controlling the base’s new defense system. With a little help from the still damaged Prowl, Ratchet uses the Mechanic’s fear of the police to chase him off before he does any more damage. Now out of his funk, Ratchet and First Aid work to repair the Autobots damaged by their own defense system.
What they got right: Like “Warrior School” before it, this Ratchet-focused story gives the doctor a good showing. There must be something Budiansky likes about this guy. The introduction of the Mechanic as yet another human threat to the Autobots works well enough, with his engineering background making it easy for him to adapt to Cybertronian technology.
What they got wrong: I’m not sure how Ratchet uses a cryogenic sprayer in his work but should it be powerful enough to freeze him in an ice prison? And why did the defense system NEED a power booster rod, basically unconnected to the machinery, to operate the on/off switch? It just seems like excuses to give the Mechanic powerful weapons.
Other notes: I fit #26 here in continuity, while the last two issues of G.I. Joe & The Transformers go together. That’s why there are two Transformers issues in a row, while Saturday & Sunday will see the last two issues of the crossover. As for the Mechanic he will make one more appearance in a few issues and never be heard from again (unless he pops up in the UK comics or something.)
Recommendation: I like Budiansky’s Ratchet stories even if Bumblebee is still my favorite Autobot. These stories do make Ratchet one of my favorites and it’s worth reading to see how death affects him. It’s a better showing than Optimus will have in Furman’s run when he must morn Ratchet’s passing.