With the Autobots off world, they left in issue #35 and that story continued into issue #6, the Decepticons are running around completely unchecked. The humans cannot handle their raw power and savagery. The Predacons are raiding a chemical storage facility in Alabama and making off with canisters of liquid oxygen. At the same time the Constructicons and Blitzwing are stealing materials from a work site in Atlanta Georgia. More and more attacks continue to happen.
The members of I.I.I. The Intelligence and Information Institute are reviewing the latest developments and they are not happy about it. They look completely ineffective with all the attacks that are going on from the Decepticons. Forsythe demands that Walter Barnett get some answers about the recent attacks from the captives that I.I.I. has. Walter goes down to the lab and there he has six Autobots being kept in vehicle mode but they can be transformed with a remote control. Barnett transforms Goldbug and questions him about the activities. Goldbug says that it is strange since the Autobots can usually contain these sorts of things from the Decepticons. Goldbug also reiterates to Walter that there are two warring factions and he is part of the good guys’ side. Walter says that this assertion is unacceptable. Goldbug tells him that he can think that or not, but it is the truth.
Walter is interrupted to hear that his family is waiting for him. They have been waiting for the past hour. Young Stevie is playing with his battery powered race cars. The Barnett family leaves for the day, but not before a last call from Forsythe. Has Barnett made any progress. No. Barnett guarantees success but Forsythe says that tomorrow may be too late. This sticks in Walter’s mind all the way home.
That night Forsythe calls a press conference saying that the Decepticons need to call off their terrorist attacks or the six robots that are captured will be executed. Barnett realizes that Forsythe has just signed the death warrants of the Autobots. He drives back to I.I.I. to ask Forsythe to retract the ultimatum. It is too late, though, another robot attack has happened. Barnett tries to get Forsythe to reconsider. If the Autobots are destroyed then the humans are the ones who will be hurting.
You can tell that Barnett is realizing that there is a difference between the Autobots and the Decepticons and he hatches a plan to rescue the Autobots. He comes home and packs up his sons’ toy cars and heads to the office. He goes right to the lab and revives Goldbug and explains to him the pan that he has for saving them.
Later on a press conference at I.I.I. is under way and there is a large machine that has a magnet on it. It systematically picks up each of the six Autobots and puts them into a car crusher and destroys them. Walter requests to leave early for the day to beat the traffic. He takes with him the suitcase of toy cars which passed inspection the day before. He has no problem leaving today either.
As he is driving home Walter talks with Goldbug, who is not inside one of the toy cars. Walter removed the brain units of each of the Autobots and wired them up to the toy cars. They are running on the power of the car’s batteries and he also connected the optical fibers to the headlights so that the Autobots could see. Goldbug says to Walter that they will need to go and get back to The Ark with the help of a friend.
The friend that Goldbug is talking about is Buster Witwicky. He is the only huuman that can safely approach the Ark and so they will ask him to take them there. Buster is home with his father, Sparkplug and Sparkplug tells him that h just got a letter from Buster’s brother, Spike. Spike will be coming home in a day or two. Buster is down in the dumps. He learned about the Autobots being destroyed by I.I.I. and he was sure that one of them looked just like Bumblebee. He reminds his father how he personally saved Bumblebee’s life back in issue#2. Sparkplug remembers doing that and tells Buster that there isn’t much that he can do. Buster tells him that he can care because Bumblebee cared about them.
Back at the I.I.I. headquarters the folks there are patting themselves on the back for destroying 6 incapacitated Transformers. Their smugness does not last for too long as a stampeding horde of Predacons runs up on the installation and lays waste to it demanding to see the corpses of the Autobots. One of the soldiers goes to warn Forsythe and he demands that all forces surround the Laboratory and he’s gonna show those robots who their betters are!
That particular boast falls apart rather quickly as the Predacons repel and destroy everything that is put in their way. Tanks, minitanks, soldiers and more. Nothing can stop them. The Predacons get down to the laboratory and then Ratbat speaks with the humans. He tells them that they only came to examine the cubes that are the remains of the Autobots. Razorclaw tears the cubes apart and confirms that they are, indeed the bodies of Autobots. There are no signs of life and no signs of human trickery.
Forsythe is curious. Why would the humans want to trick them. Razor claw says that it would be less than prudent for them not to confirm the executions of the Autobots because they are their sworn Enemies. Forsythe then realizes that Walter Barnett was right all along, there are two opposing sides of robots. Ratbat however, digs deeper into the cubes and discovers that their are no signs of the Autobots brain modules. Razorclaw leaps onto Forsythe and is about to kill him but Ratbat tells him not to waste his fuel, he has picked up the scent of the Autobots’ brain modules.
The next morning it is bright an early over at Sparkplugs garage. Buster is wazing his truck and Sparkplug tells him that it is almost time for school. Sparkplug notices that Buster must be upset about the Autobots because he only finds excuses for being late for school when he is upset. Walter Barnett arrives and asks Sparkplug if he is Buster. Skeptical Sparkplug asks why he wants to know and then Goldbug pipes up from the suitcase that it is he who wants to know. Buster recognizes the voice of Bumblebee and learns that he is now calling himself Goldbug.
The Autobots need Buster’s help because he is the only human who can approach The Ark. The Autobots need Buster to take them. Walter pipes up that National Security is at stake here. Sparkplug tells Buster to take the pickup so that he can handle those rough back roads. Buster and Walter head off in the truck. Buster and the Autobots catch up on what has happened. The Autobots begin to feel weak because they need new batteries. They will stop for some new ones at the mall.
Back at the garage Sparkplug is thinking about Buster. He seems okay with the decision to let him help. Sparkplug hears a noise and is face to face with Razorclaw. The Decepticons have tracked Walter to the garage and they question Sparkplug and also smash up the place. Interesting that Ratbat does not recognize Sparkplug from the Whole Car Wash of Doom issue.
Buster and Walter stop at a mall and look for a Radio Shed store to get some new batteries. Buster is carrying a radio with him because he doesn’t want to leave it in the truck to get stolen. They find the store but Divebomb and Ratbat come crashing in through the windows on the roof. Headstrong smashes through the pet store and the rest of the Predacons arrive tearing up the mall. They have tracked down Walter and Buster and are targeting them. A stray blast from Razorclaw causes Walter to stumble and drop the suitcase carrying the Autobots/ They spill out onto the floor and race off with the Decepticons in pursuit.
The mall continues to get utterly trashed by the Predacons chasing down the Autobots in the race cars. Then Buster notices Goldbug is slowing down and he tries to go for the batteries. Ratbat spots him and recognizes him from the Car Wash of Doom, probably because they fought each other in that issue and Ratbat has a score to settle with Buster. Ratbat prevents Buster from getting the batteries and while he is threatening Buster Walter Barnett makes the security gate on the store crash down on Ratbat and traps him for a moment. Buster sees that Goldbug has stopped completely.
At this point Buster realizes that the radio he’s been carrying around has batteries in it. He goes to open the battery door but opens the tape deck instead. He leaves the radio on the ground and rushes over to Goldbug to chance out the batteries. Then he runs back and grabs the radio. The tape deck window is now closed and we hear a click. Buster then runs off to the truck with Goldbug and the radio, leaving Walter Barnett behind. Walter is staying behind to help the other Autobots. Seems like he’s going to be in way over his head. Buster wants to put many miles between he and Ratbat.
Buster and Goldbug arrive at Mount St. Hilary and enter the cave where The Ark was housed. I seem to recall that it used to stick out like a sore thumb and now there is simply a gaping hole. Goldbug does not know where the rest of the Autobots have gone and why they left behind so much stuff. Buster calls it junk but Goldbug tells him that not everything is junk. There is an Intergalactic Transceiver and he can use it to radio for help from Cybertron. They could try and call The Ark which would be closer but why do that?
Buster gets the Intergalactic Transceiver ready for Goldbug. Goldbug sends out a distress call to Cybertron calling for help from fellow Autobots.
Out in the Pickup Ratbat ejects himself from the tapedeck of Buster’s radio. Ratbat snuck into the tapedeck back at the mall when Buster was changing the batteries on Goldbug. Ratbat flies into the cave and just as Goldbug finishes sending his message to the Autobots Ratbat grabs the toy car housing Goldbug and crushes it.
Who heard Goldbug’s message? Is he truly dead? What will happen to Buster? Well, you’re gonna have to wait a bit because we are going to change gears and galaxies because next I will be doing the four issue mini-series Transformers Headmasters.
This issue is titled – Toy Soldiers
Goldbug, Searchlight, Wide Load, Chase, Freeway, Rollbar
Divebomb, Rampage, Tantrum, Razorclaw, Headstrong, Ratbat, Scrapper, Scavenger, Hook, Long Haul, Bonecrusher, Blitzwing
Comic Book Team for The Transformers Vol. 1, No. 37 February, 1988.
Writer – Bob Budiansky
Penciler – Jose Delbo
Finishes – Ian Akin & Brian Garvey
Letters – Bill Oakley
Colors – Nel Yomtov
Editor – Don Daley
Editor-In-Chief – Tom Defalco
T-Shirt I am Wearing – Dungeons and Dragons from the Loot Crate Fantasy Crate.
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