The Earthbound Autobots, not knowing what else to do, go to spy on the Decepticons, hoping they will be able to figure out what happened to Prime and co. Instead they witness Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge burying Megatron and Soundwave under a cliff and taking off with the Constructicons. Meanwhile on Cybertron, Xaaron decides to send the Autobots' greatest warrior Ultra Magnus (yay!) to earth to investigate the fate of the Matrix, even though he is integral to the planned uprising.
Issue
079
Writer
Simon Furman
Pencils
Jeff Anderson
Inks
Jeff Anderson
Colours
Tony Jozwiak
Release date
20/09/1986
Autobots featured
Hound, Jazz, Smokescreen, Ironhide, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Ratchet, Gears, Bumblebee, Emirate Xaaron, Impactor, Whirl, Roadbuster, Ultra Magnus
Decepticons featured
Cyclonus, Scourge, Galvatron, Megatron, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Mixmaster, Longhaul, Scrapper, Scavenger, Bonecrusher, Hook
Humans featured
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Whirl, Ultra Magnus
Locations featured
Eastern Wyoming, USA and Cybertron
Story synopsis
The issue opens with Cyclonus and Scourge terrorising humans as they test their new powers. Cyclonus comments that with their power it would be easy to rule, but Scourge reminds him they are here to build for the future. Cyclonus continues to suggest conquest but is quickly quietened by Galvatron, who is riding in his cockpit in laser pistol mode (and, true to his villainous nature, not wearing a seatbelt). Galvatron announces that it is time to announce their arrival to Megatron.

Meanwhile, slightly bewildered after Prime's vanishing, Ironhide, Smokescreen and Hound are led by Jazz to spy at the Decepticons at their coal mine base. Here they observe Megatron briefing the Constructicons, Soundwave and Laserbeak as to their current situation. Megatron mentions the recent defeat at the hands of Omega Supreme, but just as Smokescreen takes the cue to suggest letting Omega loose on the remaining Decepticons, Galvatron arrives.

Megatron instructs Soundwave to scan the new arrivals to verify their claim that they are fellow Decepticons, which Soundwave duly does. Megatron goes on to question Galvatron’s identity, asking if he came over the space bridge. Galvatron dismisses talk of Straxus and announces himself as leader of the Decepticons from the year 2006. Galvatron then asks if he can borrow the Constructicons to aid his plans for the future. Megatron however does not take kindly to the suggestion that he is to be replaced, and blasts Galvatron at point blank range.

Cyclonus and Scourge prepare to shoot, but a seemingly unharmed Galvatron stops them from shooting and tells them to do as planned. Scourge and Cyclonus seem quite happy to stick to the original script and promptly slam the shocked Megatron and Soundwave against the stone wall of the coal mine. Galvatron then transforms to cannon mode and blasts the cliff, burying Megatron and Soundwave. Laserbeak then settles on Galvatron’s shoulder as the future Decepticon tells the Constructicons they now work for him. The Decepticons depart, followed in secret by Hound and Jazz, while a worried Ironhide stays at the coal mine and Smokescreen heads back to the Ark to report.

Meanwhile on Cybertron, we witness a conversation between Impactor and Xaaron as they travel underground to Autobase. Impactor protests that they cannot delay the plans for Operation Volcano, but Xaaron insists that establishing the fate of the Matrix (put in doubt by the extinguishing of the Matrix Flame last issue) is more important. Xaaron and Impactor continue to debate as they walk through Autobase, but Xaaron leaves the final word to Ultra Magnus who insists that, to investigate the Matrix’s fate, he must travel to Earth!
Remarks
After last issues prologue, we are treated to Part 1 proper of Target 2006. However, to be honest, this continues to feel like a prologue as events continue to take shape and the key players are manoeuvred into position. That’s not to say that this is a bad issue, and there is still plenty to like about the story.

For one we are treated to a proper showcase of Cyclonus and Scourge, both in their brutal antics at the start of the issue and a nice comparative showcase of their power as they take down a surprised Megatron and Soundwave. It is also 'nice' to see some genuine carnage at the start of the issue (Cyclonus blows up half a passenger train, presumably with a large number of casualties). All too often, especially in the G1 cartoon, the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, as perhaps is the nature of a toy licence, is portrayed in a fairly ‘unrealistic’ (yes, I am reviewing a comic about sentient transforming robots - thanks) manner, with little in the way of death or carnage. However, here we see Decepticons genuinely revelling in domination over weaker life forms with a horrific impact on many lives. This trend in the UK series started back in The Enemy Within, continued through Dinobot Hunt, and would later become a hallmark of many of Furman’s best stories, though at this stage in the comic’s history it was still something of a departure. Most of all its nice to see a writer on a childrens license unafraid to address adult themes.

There is more to enjoy - Galvatron’s stand off with Megatron is quite well handled and leads to some interesting hints for the reader as to Galvatron’s true identity (bear in mind that at this point most - if not all - UK fans did not know who Galvatron was). Its certainly a landmark meeting between the two Decepticons, and Galvatron's easy ousting of Megatron as leader (where Shockwave had previously failed) is a big temporary shake up for the comic. That said there are some flaws with the exchange, which we will get to later.

Also it’s nice to see the Autobots in such disarray. Furman expresses this well with Jazz snapping at Hound, and the clear fact that the Autobots have no idea what’s really going on.

However, all that said, while the story moves along nicely, there are a number of points that don’t stand up to greater scrutiny.

For starters, the opening is explained by Galvatron as him giving Cyclonus and Scourge a chance to ‘show off their new powers’, but at the end of the day, Cyclonus blows up a train and Scourge flies through a petrol station. Would, say, Ramjet struggle to do either of these things? One thinks not. In fairness their power is more ably demonstrated in their engagement with Megatron, and Cyclonus describes their actions as demonstrating ‘a fraction of their power,’ but the opening pages still fall a little flat. It is also a tad dubious that Galvatron is happy to let his warriors act with abandon in this era, showing little concern for the timestream.

As stated before there are also a few issues with the exchange between the two ‘atrons. Worst of all is the fact that Megatron comes across as a bit of an idiot, not willing to listen to someone he has established as a fellow Decepticon, and who also has a big arm cannon and a name that ends ‘atron.’ Come on son, its not difficult. However, Megatron’s actions can possibly be explained by his shock at finding out he is to be replaced in 2006.

In addition to this though, Megatron’s defeat is also unconvincing. Essentially he is smacked against a wall and then buried under a fairly small pile of rocks. Its possible to attribute this to the art rather than the plot, but either way the ease of Megatron’s dispatch seems a tad far fetched.

Furman also makes a nasty mistake in drawing attention to Omega Supreme, who through the entire Target 2006 saga THE AUTOBOTS DON’T BOTHER TO USE AT ALL! Gah. Frankly it’s a big plot hole, although to be fair it only becomes apparent in issue 81.

While it serves to set things up nicely for later issues, the plot developments on Cybertron are very contrived. Firstly, why can’t finding out what has happened to the Matrix wait until after Operation Volcano? Whilst there may be a good reason for this its never really made explicit beyond Xaaron and Magnus saying it has to take precedence. However, the only reason it has to take precedence is because Ultra Magnus apparently has to be the one to go to Earth and find out what has happened. Why not just send someone else? Because… he must fight Galvatron in a later issue. Okay, it leads to some tasty action, but damn its forced.

On top of all this we are treated to some clunky dialogue, including Magnus’ introduction which includes the words, "I, Ultra Magnus." Let’s be clear – no one talks like this. No one who should be entitled to the vote anyway…

None of these flaws detract from the pace of the issue, but they do stand out on rereading, which is a shame. As stated this issue also feels like a continued prologue, but that is no bad thing in itself. Overall its still a good story, with the casual defeat of Megatron and the introduction of Magnus to keep the epic air about things. It’s just a shame that some details aren’t dealt with in a tighter fashion. As good as Furman is in relative terms to most others who have written Transformers, he does suffer from not paying much attention sometimes and being a bit lazy with set ups. It produces good results, but with a bit more commitment he could be a better writer.

On the plus side, the art is a little better this issue than last. Anderson seems to cope best when he has fewer Transformers to draw, and there seems to be a greater sense of symmetry about his renderings than there were in the opening chapter. Also Galvatron and co undoubtedly look better in their more stylised movie designs, as they are drawn in this issue. All this is aided by Jozwiak’s vibrant painted colours.

This issue was reprinted in Collected Comics 15, as well as the Titan trade paperback 'Target 2006.'
Character development
Cyclonus and Scourge are given more attention this issue, and it generally comes across that Cyclonus is slightly more strong headed and thuggish. Scourge, whilst still clearly a violent being, has a more reserved air about him. Cyclonus is described as, "the sleek, deadly killer whose only interest is conquest... whose only pleasure is mayhem!" Scourge is, "a remorseless, implacable hunter... without emotion, without mercy!"

Jazz initially seems to have taken the position of nominal leader in Prime's absence. However, he doesn't seem particularly comfortable with this as is evidenced in his snapping at Hound. But no one seems in real authority and it is later Ironhide who issues the instructions for the continued monitoring of the Decepticons. It fits with their positions in the Autobot hierarchy that Jazz and Ironhide would be amongst those to take control, but overall there is a real sense of an inability to cope in Prime, Prowl and Ratchet's absence.

Megatron, as stated earlier, comes across as rather stupid, or at least rash.

Galvatron is calm and collected, and its later issues that we'll see what a deadly temper he has (and by issue 101 he will be descending into insanity). He mildly loses his composure at the point where Cyclonus and Scourge are going to shoot Megatron (this makes sense when his true identity is eventually revealed in future issues). He keeps his liuetenants firmly in check at all times.

Laserbeak shows his willingness to side with whoever is in charge by settling on Galvatron’s shoulder moments after he was sitting on Megatron’s. Perhaps he has realised, intuitively, who Galvatron is.
Trivia
Galvatron’s comment that he is allowing Cyclonus and Scourge to test their new powers indicates that they time jumped shortly after their reformatting by Unicron. The most likely time is right after the point in the movie when Galvatron orders: "Decepticons, to Earth!"

The Decepticon base’s defence systems are still inoperational at this point after the Autobots attack in issues 70 and 71.

Soundwave gives us a rare display of his mind reading powers in this issue. His eyes twinkle when he does this (or maybe he just fancies Galvatron…).

Unicron is mentioned for the first time in the comic.

Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge have apparently been enhanced so Soundwave’s mind reading powers only work at a superficial level. This is the first time in the comic it is alluded to that Unicron had somehow improved the trio.

Galvatron mentions that he remembers Straxus, and refers to him as an unimaginative tyrant.

Galvatron appears undamaged by Megatron’s fusion cannon.

Galvatron alludes to his true identity first when he prevents Cyclonus and Scourge from shooting Megatron, and second when he says, “Ah Laserbeak! Appearances may be deceptive to some, but not you, eh?”

The Autobots on Cybertron are shown using underground disused utility ducts to move around. We are informed that these tunnels serve to connect the scattered remnants of the resistance. This, and the fact that Volcano’s bait is a meeting of the resistance chiefs, suggests that there is at least nominal communication and co-ordination between different factions of ‘bots. This is also apparent in the fact that Xaaron and co know the Matrix is on Earth, information procured by Perceptor’s 'bots in issue 67.

Xaaron mentions that the extinguishing of the Matrix Flame indicated that the power of the Matrix may now be beyond the Autobot’s reach. This is the last ever mention of the Matrix Flame and the nature of its relationship with the Matrix is never really explored. The flame obviously somehow enables the Autobots on Cybertron access to the life giving powers of the Matrix, but there is no evidence to substantiate this. We do know Magnus was granted life this way, but only by his UK factfile (see issue 81).

Xaaron mentions that it is possible that Prime may have died without being able to pass the Matrix on. This is the first time the notion of succession is mentioned in the comics since Shockwave's discussion on its origins in issue 23. The notion is possibly revisited because of the movie's influence.

Whirl appears in the sewers with Xaaron and Impactor but is not mentioned by name.
Good quotes
“I am the ultimate Decepticon. More powerful than any that have ever existed. In my time I rule supreme!” Galvatron.

"Hear me... from this day on you serve Galvatron. Serve me well and you will reap the rewards... defy me and you will die! Now begins a new era of Decepticon rule... Galvatron's rule!" Galvatron.
Bad quotes
"Raak!" Laserbeak.
Mistakes
Story rating
7 star
Art rating
7 star
Media
Reviewed by
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