We return to the alternate future of the Starriors, robots battling for the future of mankind, even though few of the bad guys know they are the bad guys. For those of you who missed our previous trip here, Starriors was a line of robot action figures that came in bipedal and motorized wheeling version. Like other robot toys of the time (even Robotix did this for a brief time) they were split up into two warring factions because that’s how we did things in the 1980s. The plot revolves around the Protectors trying to find and reawaken man. Standing in their way are the Destructors, but only their evil boss Slaughter Steelgrave knows what the Protectors are really up to, since at least some of his forces would change sides if they knew man might still exist.
The mini-comics were produced by Marvel Comics, who also made shelf versions of the comic, some of which I actually own and have already reviewed on this site. I searched for a while for scans and Virtualnaut finally answered the call…then changed their URL for some reason so I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get back to this series. Now that I can let’s see the second issue, as the Protectors find themselves in a forest…but in a post-apocalyptic world we’re not allowed to have nice things.
Marvel Comics/Tomy (1984)
Unfortunately no credits are given in these mini-comics. Here’s the site you can find the scans I’m using. Hopefully they don’t change the URL again before our next go-around for this series.
The comic starts with Crank arguing with Think Tank. The other Protectors are worried Crank might accidentally damage Think Tank until their leader Hotshot stops him. (Nowadays “Hot Shot” is a popular Autobot name.) Think Tank has explored this area before and thinks going North will get them closer to where man lies in hybernation but something is drawing Crank to the West. They decide to go West for a while but as it looks like they’ll find nothing they come up on a forest. Crank used to be a botanist, which brings up a few questions based on his model name (Wastor) and the big honking drill on his chest, but this is the forest he used to work on. Now they’ve grown into very big trees, a sign that whatever messed up Earth in this universe may no longer be an issue and plant life growing is a good sign for mankind.
However, they were followed by the Destructors, who want to trash the renegade protectors because Slaughter Steelgrave (odds that his original job was birthday parties?) is keeping Hotshot’s actual goals from them. If man shows up he’s out a power base. Battle is joined and I think someone didn’t know who was whom because some of the word balloons are clearly going to the wrong character…unless one of the Protectors is trying to destroy his allies instead of his enemy. Then again, Auntie Tank is clearly not playing well with her comrades so at this point who knows?
While this is going on Crank is worried about his trees being damaged. Not only did he put a lot of work into this forest that he just recently was able to remember, but it’s a sign that man could return. However he puts his teammates first during the fight, like when he stops Auntie Tank from blasting Hotshot after Backfire’s attack…backfires. Runabout gets a shot on Auntie as well, hoping to stop her from bringing in Deadeye. If you don’t remember, he’s the giant blind poet dinosaur killing machine (as in he’s shaped like a dinosaur) who gets firing orders from Cricket, a clicking Pteranodon which was part of his toy’s gimmick. Not that it matters because a burning forest tends to draw attention and Cricket draws Deadeye to the battle anyway. His arrival stops any chance of getting Slaughter to confess what’s really happening as the Protectors have to flee. Crank manages to save one of the new saplings and plants it elsewhere in the hopes that someday it will become another great forest.
Overall this was a pretty good story for the space allowed. That’s why I get so annoyed when larger comics (like the DC Scooby-Doo run I’ve been going over) fail to take full advantage of much larger space and number of pages. There’s around 17 pages of story here with only two panels per page, three if you’re lucky, and sometimes only one splash page. And yet there’s a more complete story than a comic with 22 pages and potentially nine panels of space to work with. Here we get Crank strangely drawn to a particular direction, reawakening memories lost over time of the forest he planted, the bad guys attack, nearly everyone getting to do something and at least half the characters showing some kind of character trait for the kids to give their toys, and a satisfying conclusion with hope for a better tomorrow. Why is this a struggle for today’s writers who sometimes can’t finish a story in four regular sized comics?
Next time, if I haven’t lost them in the recent computer change, it’s back to the Super Powers Collection to see another supervillain get his own minicomic and his own butt kicking.