Battle at Oil Valley

Written by Josepha Sherman
Illustrated by Brad Joyce

This book was published by Marvel Books with a copyright of 1986. ISBN 0-87135-101-3.

The scans live here: Browse them at your leisure. "FC" is the front cover. You can use the oil-valley-all.html file to load all the pictures on one page (may be slow). These scans were sent by Derik Smith.

Artwork notes:
[ Dirge and Starscream with gigantic fuselages. ][ Hot Rod looking strange. ]The characters seem to be based on their standard cartoon/comic models, but there is a lot of distortion in the relative sizes of parts, and occasionally they look incredibly odd, such as in page 20, to the right. There are also frequent perspective problems where characters are drawn small, but appear to be in the foreground, also seen in the same example where Buzzsaw appears to be almost as large as Starscream.

A lot of the artwork just generally looks strange. Partly due to the size stuff, but also in some of the posing. It basically looks like this was done kind of quickly without a lot of care. (Not that I really expect much different from a random licensed coloring book.) Even though the characters are mostly on-model (again, aside from their fluctuating proportions), I still find it one of the funnier books to look at. The art in some of the coloring books is just sort of bad without being amusing. This one makes me smile.

Story notes:
This is one of those exciting stories that takes place sometime in the middle of "Transformers: The Movie". Galvatron and Ultra Magnus are the faction leaders, Hot Rod and Cyclonus are around, and Starscream is not dead yet. Which, I guess, means that this entire story actually takes place during Starscream's coronation ceremony. Perhaps one of the cuts in that scene actually hid a few days worth of adventuring. Galvatron arrives, takes over, then they all go back to Earth, establish a new headquarters there, raid Oil Valley, return to Cybertron, and only then does Starscream try to finish his coronation and get blasted by Galvatron.

[ Newly redesigned Autobot City ] The only catch in setting it during the coronation is that Autobot City is mentioned a few times as a shelter, which implies that it is not in ruins. On the other hand, it looks vastly different than it did in the movie, so maybe it was quickly rebuilt in the time the Decepticons were flying to Cybertron and back. There's also the problem of the later scene in the movie, where Galvatron leads his attack on Autobot City, and judging from the dialogue it seems to be the first encounter between the Autobots and the new Unicron-built Decepticons. This book can't take place any later than that second Autobot City battle, though, because afterwards all the relevant Autobot characters flee from Earth until after Unicron is destroyed.

One other possibility is that the book takes place post-movie in some area of time in which Starscream was temporarily coporeal again and Rodimus Prime was not holding the Matrix (having gotten so angsty he needed to take a break, maybe, or perhaps Dennis Barger stole it). Both of these things did happen at least once in Season Three, so one could guess that they might have both happened simultaneously at some point also. It's possible that Starscream's ghost had merely possessed some poor unknown Skyraider rather than getting a body of his own. That helps make it a little more believable. He is referred to as Starscream, but we have no way of knowing what his color scheme was.

[ The workers celebrate. ]Summary:
Galvatron is pacing at his headquarters when he suddenly decides his army is running low on fuel. He takes his troops to Oil Valley, where a large number of oil wells are set up. At the same time, Hot Rod and Daniel are out joyriding, and are admiring the same valley. When the Decepticons arrive, Hot Rod and Daniel had back towards Autobot City (with the Decepticons in pursuit) to get help, which they find in the form of the Dinobots. The Dinos head to the Valley while Hot Rod goes into the city to alert Ultra Magnus. Magnus and a bunch of 1984 characters roll out to help the Dinobots, who are already engaged in battle. During the commotion, Galvatron tries to slip away to return to the oil field to get some oil for himself, but Grimlock follows and they engage in a one-on-one fight. Before long, Galvatron orders a retreat, and the human oil workers line up to cheer the Autobots as they drive home.

The good bits:
[ Part of the fight between Grimlock and Galvatron, but with the fighting context removed. ][ Soundwave appears to be lifting his head off his body. ]In this picture from page 19 (right) Soundwave is supposedly just listening really hard, but to me it looks like he's volunteering to become a Headmaster.

On page 29 Starscream "drops a missile" on Slag, which is funny on its own (and reminiscent of Swoop's attack in Big Looker book Decepticon Hijack), but the picture shows Slag simply being zapped by a very distorted jet.

Taken out of context, I think the picture from page 44 (left) would be great for a caption contest or something. Grimlock just looks like he's carrying that tower around, and Galvatron is scolding him, or dancing, or something. It helps that his right, lower leg is twisted funny and has motion lines around it.

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Last updated on 2004-Nov-20.