Story by Suzanne Weyn
Art by Frank Springer
This book was published by Marvel Books with a copyright of 1985. ISBN 0-87135-036-X.
These images came to me from TF Raw, but the person who scanned them has been lost to the sands of time.
This book starts by recapping the "origin story" so to speak, with the war on Cybertron, space chase, crash on Earth, volcanic eruption awakening the ship's computer, etc.. In the present, Ratchet has finished building a "space communicator" to try to reach any nearby space ships. The Decepticons learn about this and plot to send a fake message luring the Autobots away from their camp. While the other Autobots are out on patrol, Bumblebee receives the prank email and falls for it, heading out and leaving the camp unguarded. Bumblebee finds his friends in time to warn them of the occupation, and Prime decides to give Megatron a taste of his own medicine: sending a message from "Martians" warning that they're about to blow up the camp. This scares the Decepticons outside, right into the Autobots' ambush. Big Fight At The End. Cons run away. Happy ending!
This book was drawn by Marvel veteran Frank Springer who also drew the original four-issue miniseries of the TF comic. Everyone is drawn in their standard models except for Bumblebee, who has his common-for-coloring-books blockhead design.
- Many of of the individual character drawings are lifted directly from their model sheets (as seen in Transformers Universe) or other coloring books and comics.
- In the Cybertron flashbacks, the Decepticon jets appear in their Earth F-15 modes.
- One generic robot appears in the flashback to Cybertron, and two more in the "being repaired by the ship computer" scene.
- The Bot and Con ships are original designs, not resembling the ships from either the cartoon or comic series. This is a little curious given that Springer himself presumably designed the Ark (its comics incarnation at least) while drawing the original comic miniseries.
- The picture of Megatron holding the Earth on page is a redraw of page 6 from Bumblebee to the Rescue by Steve Ditko and John Tartaglione, but using Megatron's updated helmet model.
- A lot of the background technology has an almost Kirby-esque feel, but this is not too surprising given Springer's long history working in Marvel's house style.
- Starscream's pose on page 29 really feels like a comic panel I've seen before, but it doesn't seem to be in Springer's 4-issue mini so I'm not sure. It reminds me of some "seeker coming down out of the sky and transforming" panel.
- In page 40's transformation art, Brawn is suddenly toy-based despite being in his cartoon model on the previous page.
The "Autobot camp" depicted here is NOT the crashed Ark at the volcano. This is very clearly established by the fact that the Decepticons' fake message asks the Autobots to go "to the volcano area", which will leave the camp empty and ripe for the picking. Also, when Bumblebee arrives at "the volcano", there's tropical foliage there as if it's NOT set in the Pacific northwest???
Like a lot of ancillary media from these years, the story focuses heavily on Bumblebee and his relateable vulnerabilities while still showing him to be a courageous and valuable member of the team. In this book he's both homesick and naive, but does the right thing when he realizes his mistake and is still able to save his friends.
The good bits
- When the story picks up in the present, the Autobots are all feeling glum because it's a rainy day outside and they're trapped in their HQ until it stops.
- Bumblebee's giant shocked head on page 32 looking down at the Decepticon invasion.
- The cover image of Megatron snatching the message printout is wonderful and also appears inside on page 38.
- Another re-used composition: Huffer crushing guys over his shoulders on p45! This originally appeared in Decepticon Patrol (p42) where the characters were in bizarre one-off designs. Here, Springer has redrawn it with updated designs and, brilliantly, added TONGUES! The text on the two pages is nearly identical as well.