Welcome to issue #20! I was starting to wonder if I was going to make it this far. Now that I have a pretty decent routine down these reviews are getting easier. A note to those following along: Once issue 24 has been reviewed, I will be hopping over to Headmasters #1. As I understand it, that is what comes after issue 24. Then we will bounce back and fourth between Transformers and Headmasters till the end of the Headmasters run with issue #4. Currently, I am not aware of any trade paperback books that contain the Headmaster story line. So if you are reading along, it looks like you have to read from the actual comic books.
Issue #20 was a good story. I seem to enjoy these one off stories that Marvel did. This story focuses on Autobot, Skids, as he befriends a human and mentally fights with his role within the Autobots. Lets check out this cover art.
The cover of issue 20 gives you a sense that something big is going down in this issue. A showdown between Megatron and Skids. Every kid in the 80s knew that skids didn’t stand a chance. So, looking at this cover with the eyes of my younger self, I do have some concern over the safety of this Autobot. I am not a big fan of the yellow background of this issue. I have never been a fan of yellow to begin with. Megatron stands like a monolith in the middle of a western city looking directly at Skids. “THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US, AUTOBOT – - DRAW!” Megatron says with his speech bubble, the last word ‘DRAW’ written in a bold green.The drawings of Megaton and Skids both look disproportionate. In contrast, the humans below look much better. As if the artist was just more comfortable drawing humans. The background setting looks like the old west. Just looking at this cover, not knowing anything about the story one could easily be thinking, ‘Did the Transformers go back in time? Is this a movie set? Whats going on around here?’
The issue starts off with Donny Finkleberg running away from the Decepticons having recently escaped from their base. Ravage is trailing him. Donny stumbles onto a campsite and steals some cloths and disposes of his Robot-Master costume. He knows he needs to find the Autobots and in his pursuit completely passes by Skids who is injured.
Somewhere in a small town we are introduced to Charlene. A Cash register girl for a local store. A co-worker of hers, Wendell, is giving her a ride as Charlene’s car recently broke down. While they are driving she talks with him about how she wants adventure in her life. She eventually persuades him to pull off the road so they can explore an old trail. This is when they find Skids with his radio playing. The two arrange to have Skids, taken to Bob’s Service shop. Bob manages to get the van up and running and Charlene now has a vehicle she can drive. She leaves Wendell with the bill.
As Charlene pulls out, Jake Dalrymple, sees the the van and recognizes it from the previous issue. He proceeds to run the vehicle off the road. At this point Skids takes over driving and is able to out drive Jake.
Skids reveals himself as a Transformer to Charlene, and explains to her that he thinks he would be happier as her car. He continues to say that he was a Scientist back on Cybertron, and has no desire to fight or die. All he would like to do is continue his scientific studies.
The following day, Skids inquires about Charlene’s old west collection. Skids learns how the old west was a great time of adventure. By contrast, Skids’ dreams are about wars. The two set out to make new dreams. As Charlene and Skids grow closer, she continues to brush off Wendell’s invitations to hang out. Opting to rather spend the day washing skids. Before Charlene is finished washing Skids, they are interrupted by Donny, who has been listening in on her talking to the van.
At this point Skids, tries to remain hidden, but when Ravage attacks, he is forced to reveal himself. Charlene and Donny take safety with in Skids, who drives off as fast as he can. Donny and Charlene argue as they get away. As they speed away they passed Jake on their way to an abandoned mining town.
Once in town, Skids tells the humans to hide. JAke arrives and smashes Skids’ windscreen with an tire iron. This manages to render Skids unconscious. While he is out he has a dream that he has to face off with Megatron in a showdown. The fight ends with Megatron, seemingly killing skids.
However, back in the real world, Charlene and Donny are arguing with Jake. The get interrupted by Ravage who attacks sending the humans in all directions. Ravage sets his sites on Skids, but is sideswiped by Jake in his Lamborghini. This gives Donny and Charlene a chance to wake up Skids. When he becomes continuous again, he chooses to fight Rave to protect Charlene. With help from the Humans, Skids is able to trick Ravage into falling down an old mine shaft.
With Ravage taken care of, Charlene tries to talk Skids into coming back with her. Skids chooses to take Donny back with him to the Autobots. That he can no longer avoid his responsibilities.
My Thoughts On This Issue
The 80s kid in me really enjoyed this issue. Isn’t that the only opinion that matters? It was a solid story from that point of view and I really enjoyed it. This is one issue that I had enough copies of that I read it from the actual comic book. The smell of those pages really threw me back in time and fully immersed me in the comic book reading experience.
Eventually the cold harsh reality of the current times broke through and pointed out several issues that adult in me had with this book. For starters, the whole skids dream sequence came off silly and weak. You really have to accept the fact that Skids is a wussy, weak, scientist to think he could be knocked unconscious and for so long, so easily.
The end of the comic was also rather sexist with Skids telling Charlene that she should accept her role in life as a cashier while he (Skids) needed to accept that he was fighting a war with the Autobots against the Decepticons.
This issue had the first real gratuitous…. skin scene?!? I almost want to call it a sex scene, honestly. Charlene spends several panels washing skids in her short shorts. While she is getting all wet she talks about giving him a wax job. This all came about because Charlene wanted to help Skids make new dreams, rather then just have him reliving old war dreams. Who knew she met wet dreams.
But, like I said, reading this issue through the eyes of a kid, its good. You just want to see the Transformers, transformer and fight, so I don’t know that you could say any kids where negatively affected by this story. I will say, I do wonder what Rebecca Nelson thought of this issue. She was the girl who’s letter was published in the last issue of Transformers under the ‘Trans-Missions’ section.
Transmission Letters This Issue
Dear Mike, and Bobbie,
I’ve only recently started reading TRANSFORMERS, and let me solemnly say that I am very glad that I did. TRANSFORMERS #16 was one in a long line of great comics, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this comic, from the cover to the coloring.
I think that the covers by Herb Trimpe are one of the main things that got me into TRANSFORMERS in the first place. The action is always intense and the characters always look good.
Internally, the story and art for TRANSFORMERS #16 were both really good. Len Kaminski’s story was just as good as the usual Bob Budiansky stories. It consistently held my interest and I truly felt for the character of Bumblebee. The art by Graham Nolan and Tom Morgan was very good too. those guys draw the different figures very well. I would also like to compliment Eliot Brown for the great splash page. Where have you been hiding this guy? I would like to see some more stuff by him.
Everything else in this and every one of your comics is excellent too. I hope that you guys keep up the good work for a long time to come. If so, you will keep this reader very happy!
Keith T. Apfel
El Paso, TX
We’re glad you liked it, Keith, and we’ll try to keep up the good work. we’re also happy to see you like the work of Eliot Brown, and you can catch a lot more of his work in THE OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE DELUXE EDITION. He does all of the technical drawings in it. Happy reading! (By the way, Eliot’s been hiding for years under the sink in Marvel’s photostate room – and only one particular kind of Entenmann’s cake can coax him out long enough to do those drawings!)
I’ve just finished reading TRANSFORMERS 16. It was outstanding. The story was well plotted and the cover was great. what I liked most of all, thought, was that you wrapped the story around one Autobot. I really like Bumblebee, so I’m glad that you chose him to be the center of the story. Hey, maybe you guys can have Jetfire in a solo adventure! How about a one-on-one between Optimus Prime and Shockwave? THink about it, OK? Thank you for your time.
New Albany, IN
TRANSFORMERS #16 was great! It was a good idea to put Bumblebee in a solo adventure. I felt bad for him during the story, thought. I’m glad it all worked out. Wow, I especially enjoyed the fight between the United States Air Force and the Decepticons (although it wasn’t much of a fight). I would like to see more skirmishes between the Decepticons and the armed forces. It looks really good.
I have searched really hard to acquire the coveted Marvel No-Prize, and I think that I might finally got one! In TRANSFORMERS #1, Buster enters Bumblebee in the Volkswagen form to find no ignition or gas pedal. In TRANSFORMERS #16, though, thing sare quite different. When the thieves steal him while he’s in the car lot, they find the ignition and the gas pedal. Don’t worry thought, I have a solution: When Ratchet freed the Autobots from Shockwave, he also made some improvements. Among these improvements was the installation of some items to make the Autobots less distinguishable to humans. Well, I hope that explanation is good. I put a lot of thought into it.
Well Eric, all of your thought didn’t go for naught. You can now consider yourself the proud owner of a genuine Marvel No-Prize. Boy, you should really feel honored. It’s been a long time since someone won a No-Prize in this comic. But, Um… there is only one problem … you seem to have forgotten to write you address on your letter. Tell you what, thought, if you write us back we will hold on to your No-Prize for you. Write fast, OK? Sheesh! Now we’re waiting for two letters from specific readers! (We don’t have to remind the other reader we’re waiting for, he knows who he is! Don’t you, Shingo?)
I just finished reading TRANFORMERS #16 and it was great. I just loved the begining showing Bumblebee’s computer plan. The artwork is great! Give my compliments to Graham Nolan and Tom Morgan.
I have a questions for you guys too. When will the humans learn the trough about the Autobots and the Decepticons? They deserve to know the truth!
Like it or not, the humans are becoming aware of the distinction between the Autobots and Decepticons, Brian. G.B. Blackrock has been dealing with the Autobots for a while now, and he knows of their mission. Other humans, such as the far-famed Robot Master, have encountered the Decepticons at times. These encounters were not as fruitful as Blackrock’s dealings, but they sure did let people know the difference between good Transformers and bad.
TRANSFORMERS #16 was terrific. The adventures just keep getting better and better all of the time. I think that Bumblebee has learned the most important part of being an Autobot: It is that you should be proud to be yourself. Even though it took a while, Bumblebee found this out. We could all learn from him, don’t you agree?
You know something, Steven, you’re right. Some things just take a while to come together. LIKE SHINGO’s LETTER Whew, sorry about that outburst, gang. It won’t happen again. Promise.
Dear Mike and Bobbie,
I am writing just to let you guys know that you are doing a wonderful job for this series. TRANSFORMERS is definitely the best comic around. I also wrote because I have a question. Why hasn’t Shockwave or Megatron made any more Decepticons? I love seeing the Decepticons fight the Autobots, but I hate the fact that the Decepticons are always outnumbered. Why don’t they ever use Devestator ay more? Listen, I want to see the Decepticons win some battles, OK?
Sorry Danny, But neither Shockwave nor Megatron can build Decepticons without the lone Creation Matrix. as you probably know, only Optimus Prime has this live-giving power. Anyway, why are you so intrested in the Decepticons gaining in power? It seems that every month now, there is one of you guys out there who actually wants to see the Decepticons win. Listen, if you don’t come back to the good side, we’re going to be forced to have one of the AUTOBOTS pay you a little visit to “talk” some sense into you!
I really love your TRANSFORMERS series. the artwork and writing are both above par. One thing I wish, thought, is that you would put the mighty Omega Supreme in the book. Hey, maybe you could show perceptor also. That would really impress me. See what you cand do, OK?
By now, Matt, you have gotten both of your wishes, Now, we would like to have one of ours come true = ‘kay, Shing? (See, cool, Calm, and collected – no more yelling and screaming!)
In the past few months, we have discussed a series of events taking place featuring the TRANSFORMERS. You are now aware of the TRANSFORMERS feature film, and the upcoming TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE. One more item we’d like to bring to your attention is an upcoming team-up between your favorite robots and a certain very popular military outfit. You got it – both the TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE in one comic book! keep an eye on this letter column for more details about this very special comic series (and, if we’re lucky, a letter from Shingo).