The Decepticons attack the Ark, and everyone has a bit of a scrap.
Issue
018
Writer
Simon Furman
Pencils
Mike Collins
Inks
Jeff Anderson
Colours
Gina Hart
Release date
18/05/1985
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hound, Jazz, Mirage, Gears, Huffer, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Windcharger, Prowl
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Soundwave, Frenzy, Rumble, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Thundercracker, Skywarp
Humans featured
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Locations featured
Mount St Hilary, Oregon
Story synopsis
First there is a recap, summarising the events that led to the Transformers being stranded on Earth. Four million years ago the Ark was under siege from the Decepticons and the Autobots in their weakened state were no match for them. The Ark’s computerised brain, Auntie, calculated the only logical course of action and so Optimus Prime pressed the button that sent the Ark crashing to Earth.

The story fast forwards to the present day and the Ark is under attack once more. Megatron leads an assault on the Autobots’ battered spacecraft that lies within Mount St Hilary. As the Decepticons close in the Autobots take evasive action.

Prime leads the counter-attack and the scene erupts into a ferocious battle as the Autobots and Decepticons fight it out. Soundwave cripples Jazz whilst Windcharger and Ravage tussle. Meanwhile the belligerent Rumble taunts Sideswipe whilst shaking the ground with his earthquake ability. But Sideswipe is none too pleased and with a mighty punch sends Rumble flying…
Remarks
Raiders of the Last Ark remains a bit of an oddity. The only early (partly black and white) UK story never to be reprinted at some point, its notable only for Guardian’s first appearance (in issue 20). The story is terribly flimsy, showing that Furman still had a fair bit to learn. Standards would have to improve, as this inferior issue is no doubt the worst one so far.

Anderson’s inks do make Collins’ artwork look a little tidier, but ultimately take away the grit whilst exposing the flaws even more. However, at other points the artists pull no punches, with deliciously nasty renderings of the likes of Laserbeak and Jazz getting crippled. Sadly Megatron remains a curiously squat looking character.

The story is too short again, a case of another 11 page story being stretched across two issues. The result is an uninvolving read that ends too abruptly.
Character development
Optimus Prime demonstrates his skill at being a commander in the field. “Arm up and follow me outside!” and “Pick your targets – and make sure your shots count!” are amongst the orders he issues to his men in the midst of the battle.

Rumble proves that he’s all talk when he taunts Sideswipe only to get swiftly punched out. His profile reads: “He compensates for his small size by always acting tough… Rumble's small size severely limits his strength; he can be easily beaten by most of the Autobots in any sort of physical struggle.”

Sideswipe is the most fired up that we’ve seen him so far, and is utterly contemptuous of Rumble during their little skirmish.
Trivia
The Ark was clearly no ordinary spaceship: “a marvel of technology – impossibly fast, enormously powerful.” Also “the last of the great Arks” hints that there were Arks built before the present one.

The fact that the Ark is described in such revered terms suggests that it was more than just a barge to ferry the Autobots on a mission to blow up asteroids. The Ark appears to be very much a “city in space”, and perhaps the Autobots had eventual hopes to use it for other purposes, such as a ship with which to explore new worlds, or a home away from home if Cybertron ever was destroyed utterly by war.

Laserbeak has a “force beam” that “tears through the hull” of the Ark.

Windcharger uses his “powerful magnetic field” to hurl Ravage away from him. The Transformers Universe elaborates: “He can cast powerful magnetic fields at distances up to 700 feet. He can levitate a 10-ton block of steel at that distance. He can attract objects that are affected by magnetism toward him or repel them.” Unfortunately in this case Ravage can use the electro-magnetic field that he usually uses to avoid detection to negate Windcharger’s power.

Laserbeak receives a direct hit in this issue, which subsequently shatters him into pieces and yet he survives to appear in later issues. These kind of messy incapacitations were commonplace in early UK stories (see Man of Iron and the destruction of the Seekers).

Jazz’s flame-thrower has no effect on Soundwave’s armour.

Continuity-wise this story follows more or less after The Enemy Within, as is clear from Megatron’s intentions to strike at the Autobots at the end of last issue, as well as Starscream’s absence in this one (he was no doubt temporarily incarcerated). All of which points to this story being set amongst the action of issue 7. The only complication here is the presence of Gears in this story, who must have made a swift recovery after his fall in Prisoner of War.
Good quotes
Bad quotes
“I’m tougher than you’ll ever be!” Rumble.
Mistakes
Story rating
3 star
Art rating
4 star
Media
Reviewed by
spiderfrommars

Read more