Hey, gang! I'm back, and with the next installment in the trade series, Classics UK Volume One! If any of you don't have the book yet, run out and get it; we'll wait for you. Got it? Good show. Now, before we embark on our next journey into robofantasy, allow me to set the scene for you, gentle readers, especially you wacky colonials over the pond.
Picture a small lad, his knees scuffed from scrumping for apples, rushing down to the local newsagent with 25 shiny pennies for his favourite new comic, and maybe a little extra for a sherbet fountain or liquorice catherine wheel. A gentleman cycles past on his penny farthing, en route to a snifter of brandy at the club, while his wife gossips about the neighbours at Mrs Weatherby's tea shop.
...at least that's how I imagine it was; I didn't live in the country at the time, and my Transformers comics arrived in a plain cardboard tube like the rankest type of pornography. Enough setup, anyway; let's enjoy some of the Kingdom's finest Transformers stories...
Issues #UK9-12: Man of Iron
Okay, we're "somewhere in southern England"; real specific, guys. And we meet this slackass George Cousins, who's totally sleeping on his castle-guarding job. Good thing those THREE ATTACKING FIGHTER PLANES wake him up, although for top-of-the-line war machines, they sure don't manage to blow up much of the crumbling, centuries-old castle. Curious George calls in UNIT... I mean, the generic military, as well as the curator, charisma-void Roy.
Roy's son Sammy likes playing injun in the woods; this is in the days before paedophiles were invented, and kids were allowed outside. Of course, he DOES run into a menacing metal giant, but that's not quite as bad. Actually, I dunno, the giant (or Jazz to you or me) DOES follow the kid home. Little creepy if you ask me...
Anyways, Roy isn't just a wearer of appalling jumpers, he also knows his robohistory, specifically about the Man of Iron (Eeeee! They said the title!) that sporadically haunts the castle. He reckons there might be a connection between THAT mysterious metal man and SAMMY'S mysterious metal man. I dunno, Roy... that's quite a leap.
Anyway, in appallingly horrifying style (seriously, it's macabre as hell), Mirage strides through the silent village, peeps in through Sammy's window and then reaches in... I mean, jeez, if this was your first Transformers story you'd be sleeping with the lights on for weeks.
Anyways, turns out there's something big an' weird under the castle, and Sammy has obviously never heard of Stranger Danger because he gets into a strange talking car; surprise, surprise, it whisks him away from his aghast mother as he screams "Mum! Help meee!" ...okay, seriously, Marvel UK writers. Did you not GET what Transformers is about? It's a knockabout scifi romp, not nerve-shredding horror concerning the abduction and, as I'm sure we'll see, dismemberment of an innocent child?
...oh, no, wait, it's Jazz again. Sammy actually seems pretty okay with the whole thing, at least until the Decepticons turn up and shoot at- HOLY CRAP THEY JUST BLEW TRAILBREAKER APART! HOLY &%$" HE'S ON FIRE! AW MAN THAT'S SO AWFUL... AAAAHHHH! NOW ONE OF THE 'CONS HAS SMASHED THROUGH A BRIDGE! HE'S ON FIRE TOO! EVERYBODY'S ON FIRE! I CAN'T... um, yeah, so MUK combat is a little more visceral than the US stuff. After Trailbreaker makes another jet go all explodey, Jazz takes Sammy (again, pretty fine with all this ultraviolence; stiff upper lip and all that) to meet Optimus, who explains the 'Bots are there to track a signal or somesuch.
Back at the castle, the Man of Iron (there it is again!) comes out and blows hell out of the assembled soldiers, before a sneaky 'Con makes him go boom. So long, MoI; we hardly knew ye, but life is cheap in these sceptred isles. The Autobots have a big scrap with the remaining Deceps, and eventually drive them off. I bet you think Prime's gonna go free the Autobot navigator from the ship below the castle, now, right? Wrong; this is BRITISH Optimus: he just blows the thing up. If that was an option... they probably could have done it earlier, but then I guess they wouldn't have gotten to set as many things on fire.
And ever after, Sammy is haunted by the experience... yeah, that's right; the story ends with a small child having PTSD. Welcome to UK Transformers, guys!
YOMTOV WA... oh, right. Never mind.
You exist because we allow it. You will end because we demand it.
Oh, and OK to print...