Title: Man of Iron
Original Release Date: January 12th, 1985
When did I first read it: In 1991, when this issue (and the other issues of this short story) was published in a pocketbook format
The original cover shows Jazz apparently emerging from a forest, meeting a human child that seems startled. The artwork for Jazz makes him look much more like his toy compared to what we previously saw of him in the US comic or the cartoon show. Without knowledge of the story, I would expect one focused on just a few characters, maybe mainly on Jazz and the child (while not completely true, the story does have significant focus on those two).
Note: Originally, this story appeared in the UK comics after the first 4 US issue story arc, as filler until the continuation was available. It was later printed in the US issues #33 and #34, as UK issues are shorter in comparison (so this issue was the first half of US #33).
We start out with jets (that look suspiciously like Decepticons) dropping bombs on a human castle, for no apparent reason. The curator of the castle (Roy Harker) is called and on his way he stops to send his son Sammy – who is playing in the forest near the castle – back home. As kids do, Sammy shows no interest in returning, hiding from his father while playing with a bow and arrow, a feather placed in his headband. As he tries to retrieve an arrow from a tree, to his shock he sees Jazz standing next to the tree, looking at him. Running out of the forest, one of the panels is a slightly different depiction of the cover. Scared, Sammy runs home and we see Jazz parking in front of the house shortly afterwards, confirming through communication with “Autobot Leader” (presumably Optimus Prime) that he is to maintain surveillance. After being called home, Roy tells his son the story of the “Man of Iron”, a robot that apparently appeared over 900 years ago and looked similar to Jazz.
Thoughts on content
From the start, this story has a VERY different feel to it, much more contained and mysterious, written largely from the humans’ perspective. I do like this kind of story as it makes the overall Transformers war feel bigger as we get a glimpse into some lives affected by it. The lone robot appearing in the middle ages was an interesting element as well, allowing for speculation on how he got there (maybe another Autobot sent out from the Ark?). The artwork was also very different in style, not my favorite, but not bad either. Since this is a filler story, it isn’t directly following the previous US issue, which is pretty clear given what happened at the end of US issue #4 (UK #8).
UK Issue #10