Original Release Date: April 1985
When did I first read it: Must’ve been in 92, the summer holiday after the issue was released in Hungary (which was in October 91), the comic book also included issue #8.
On the cover we see a pretty bad situation, with Ratchet being confronted by Megatron, presumably in the Ark. Ratchet tells Buster to flee, as he may not survive – an appropriate judgement of the situation, really. Megatron’s face is shown only in a very shadowy way, entirely black besides white spots where his angry eyes and wide open mouth are, a bit overly cartoony compared to the rest of the cover art. Also, I’m not sure what Buster is supposed to be doing in that picture… pressing the “garage door” opener to make his exit? Overall an interesting cover that makes you curious about what is going to happen in the issue and how this situation will play out.
On their way back from the Ark, Ratchet and Buster meet a group of students on a camping trip. After leaving Buster with the students, Ratchet is left to contemplate on what to do next. Meanwhile, Soundwave infiltrates and takes over an aerospace plant owned by Blackrock (just like the oil-drilling platform Shockwave took over previously). Blackrock pays a visit to Josie Beller, his employee that got badly injured during Shockwave’s attack. Back inside the Ark, Ratchet sees the fate of the Autobots for himself and meets Optimus in his current state. Back at his father’s repair shop, Buster is gripped by a major headache that seems to make metal objects float. During a confrontation with Megatron, Ratchet manages to use the former Decepticon leader’s hate of Shockwave to strike a deal with him. In this part we also get another small glimpse into what happened with Shockwave in between the Ark’s crash and his return in issue #4.
Thoughts on content
Putting the fate of the Autobots and by extension, of Earth, on Ratchet’s shoulders makes this story arc really interesting. He is completely out of his element, not a warrior at all and has to go up against one of the most powerful Decepticons shortly after the shock of talking to the head of Optimus Prime. We get to see that he is able to think quickly even in stressful situations, which makes sense for a competent doctor. Through the events and some dialog in the issue we can also deduce what Optimus actually did to Buster, without it being spelled out directly. This part of the story certainly takes the “brain as a biological computer” view to a rather extreme point, but I didn’t mind at the time and even while I see it as more absurd nowadays, it doesn’t detract from the comic overall for me.
I like the art in this issue significantly more compared to the previous issues, both humans and Transformers look a lot better. The fights between Soundwave and the humans as well as Ratchet versus Megatron, while short, flowed well and looked quite good. Overall, a nicely filled issue that I enjoyed back then and in my opinion still holds up.
“In search of— DINOBOTS!”