Transformers: Best Of UK – Space Pirates
IDW (October, 2008)WRITER: Simon Furman ORIGINAL SERIES EDITORS: Steven Harris & Denton J. Tipton COLLECTION EDITOR: Justin Eisinger COLLECTION DESIGN: Chris Mowry “Space Pirates” PENCILERS: Dan Reed, Doug Braithwaite, & Lee Sullivan INKERS: Dave Harwood & Lee Sullivan COLORISTS: Evan Peters & Steve White LETTERER: Glib “Worlds Apart” PENCILER: Will Simpson COLORISTS: Steve White & Abadiz LETTERER: Annie H “Wrecking Havoc” ARTIST: Bryan Hitch COLORIST: Evan Peters
LETTERER: Steve Parkhouse
When the original Marvel run happened back in the 80s, Marvel UK would run the stories weekly. Since the original comic was monthly, they made their own stories to fill in the time. You may remember my review of one of those stories, “Man Of Iron“, that was reprinted in the US to give Bob Budiansky a break while working on other Transformers comics, like Headmasters and I think Transformers Universe. This is where Simon Furman came from, and sadly ideas he had there came over here. Does that make the stories good? Are they better because they didn’t change what I enjoyed about Marvel Transformers at the time? Let’s find out.
“Space Pirates” exists in this strange universe where the Movie adaptation (not necessarily the movie itself) and the adaptation of the episode “The Big Broadcast of 2006” (the issue I didn’t review because I hate the episode so much I can’t remain unbiased about it) are canon and somehow the future even thought that’s impossible. It’s hard to explain in the span of this review. The Quintesson’s planet is about to pull a Krypton but instead of launching a space baby the Quintessons plan to conquer Autobot City (or Autobot City: Earth) to draw both Autobots and Decepticons into a trap and steal the Creation Matrix Of Leadership. It’s a convoluted plan that means making Arcee an idiot for abandoning her guard post to go for a run (the kind of think the real Arcee from the Movie would have chastised Hot Rod for) and then making her bait for Rodimus Prime. Of course, we know Furman hates Arcee anyway. The story itself is Furman’s old “slaughter and mass destruction” stuff. Didn’t care for it.
“Worlds Apart” confuses me because I don’t have access to the original UK stories. Therefore I’m not sure how this would fit into the timeline of the Headmasters miniseries as far as when Headmasters and Targetmasters work together, which I don’t remember them doing on Nebulos before Galan and Zarak moved their factions to Earth to spare Nebulos. That said, I like the story but there’s more confusion. Furman never really DID anything with Headmasters in the US comics, like he didn’t even care about them at all. And yet here’s a story in which Highbrow and his Nebulan partner Gort aren’t getting along and their two perspectives are making for a questionable fusion, just as Scorponok wants the Autobots secrets concerning binary bonding since they’ve had trouble creating their own Headmasters and Targetmasters. It’s a good character piece and a study of how the binary bonding process works internally between Transformer and Nebulan. Why weren’t there more stories like this from Furman? Maybe he does better with shorter tales?
“Wrecking Havoc”, our final tale, disproved that. The problem is the one I mentioned before, how the Movie/cartoon adaptations don’t fit with what Budiansky was planning for the main title. He had nothing to even do with the adaptation until IDW threw him a bone with a re-adaptation some years recent…and nothing since. Furman is trying to reconcile Cyclonus and Scourge’s origins in the movie with their appearance as Targetmasters in the Headmasters miniseries as the two hope their Targetmaster partners will help them overpower Galvatron (who for some reason can shrink into a handgun…which he actually can’t, because he lost that with his Megatron body) and get his time-travel device so they can return to 2008 (where Furman set his future tales, three years after the movie adaptation). However, the Wreckers drop in to attack Galvatron and a free-for-all in a small town proves to be a problem. It’s a continuity nightmare and I had trouble following everything despite having some knowledge of this time period. Casual Transformers fans who never saw the UK stories beyond that “Man Of Iron” reprint are going to get lost. IDW skips some stories in this collection, which doesn’t help much either.
Overall, I wish each story arc had its own collection to better form a continuity even though the US and UK stories really don’t connect. It’s worth getting out of curiosity but there are better story collections for that which I’ll possibly look at in the future.