Issue 34 continues the ‘Man of Iron’ story from issue 33. I am beside myself with how much I loved this story. It has lived up to the internal hype I have been remembering it by. It’s just so well done, but I will talk about this some more in the ‘My Thoughts On This Issue’ section of my review. For now, lets check out this cover.


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Front and center on this cover depicts an old friend of ours, Optimus Prime! The noble Autobot is being shot at by a Deception jet, I can’t identify. Prime is trying to protect the boy, Sammy on the lower section of the cover. Does this issue mark the return of our fearless Autobot leader? Will just have to read on and find out. The Stansham Castle sits in the background . The black and red Transformers logo really pops with the mostly yellow background. This cover, unlike the last issue, Marvel seems to be trying to now hide the fact that the story comes from the UK. “MORE AMAZING MARVEL MAJESTY!!!” is written on the bottom of the comic as if trying to convince the reader that this is a US story.


Chapter Three: You’ve Got Friends?

With Sammy being whisked away within Jazz’s alt car mode, the Autobot talks the human child down and assures him that no harm will come to him. Jazz is taking the boy to his leader, Optimus Prime! (Wait? What?).


Along their way they are accompanied by Bluestreak, Trailbreaker, and Mirage. Which is a good thing too because the party is soon located by Thundercracker. The Decepticon damages Trailbreaker, but is then shot out of the sky by Bluestreak.


Jazz and his group then reach a space craft where the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime (Aren’t you dead?) is waiting. Prime explains to Sammy that the Autobots have been tracking a signal coming from, what they believe is, an Autobot rescue craft from their home planet of Cybertron. It is speculated that the ship its self crashed on Earth near Castle Stansham and that every so often the an Autobot within awakens to try and complete it’s mission. Prime continues saying that the Decepticons are trying to destroy the ship and whatever is inside while the Autobots try and stop them.


Chapter Four: Battlefield Castle Stansham

After the first Decepticon attack on Castle Stansham, the army starts investigating the area where the alien probe landed. After reveling part of the buried Autobot space craft, the ground starts to shake and the Man of Iron rises from below ground. Seeing this, the Decepticons attack and destroy the Man of Iron.


The Autobots show up and fight off the Decepticons. Sammy is returned to his family at the site of the battle. The decision is made by Optimus Prime, that due to the Decepticon threat on Earth, there is no way they can in good conscience return to Cybertron. The risk to Earth and it’s inhabitants is to great. Prime, unwilling to leave the rescue ship intact, order Jazz to destroy it.


The end of the comic comes with a narration. Deep within the ship, Navigator lays unconscious waiting for the time when his attendant, the Man of Iron, will awaken him to complete his mission. That time will never arrive as above Jazz—not knowing Navigator is in there—fires a missile that completely vaporizes the ship and its occupant.


My Thoughts On This Issue

What the hell just happened here? Where did this amazing story come from? Are all UK Transformers stories this incredible? The writing. The Art. The shear complete amazing awesomeness that is the ‘Man of Iron’, story line.

Transformers-issue-34-panel-exampleI have a new favorite Transformers story and it’s issues 33 and 34. I feel like these stories are everything that the US stories have been missing. With the writing to the art, they just feel more real to me. I got lost so easily in these books. Even the way the panels are laid out feels more alive and advanced than any previous Transformers comic I have read.

I really took my time reading these issues and as I got to the end, I read each page slower and slower. I almost dreaded going from one panel to the next because I knew that each panel I read was getting me one panel closer to the end of this great story arc. Anyone coming to me asking where to get started with Transformers, I am now recommending the ‘Man of Iron’ story. I am now super excited to read the UK comics. If they are half as good as this story was they are going to be a real treat.

On a side note, I hate that stuff like this is segregated or censored in the world. Why where UK stories kept from US readers? You see this kind of practice even today. We Americans can’t watch original shows in the UK, or Australia or anywhere else in the world. Unless you can spoof that regions IP address within Hulu you are denied entertainment from the rest of the world. That does not seem right to me.

that which is denied becomes that which is most desired” – John Denver.

Optimus Prime’s appearance in this story threw me off a bit. It took me a minute to just get over the fact he was in this story. I had to remind myself that this story was a random story put in issue 33 and 34. Now that it has sunk in with me. I am perfectly happy and accepting of it.

I do have something negative to stay about this issue. It comes in at the very end as the narrator is explaining to the reader what Jazz is about to destroy. The ‘Man of Iron’ that we see emerging from the Autobot craft at the end of the story, looked so much like the unconscious Navigator that lay dormant within the ship, I didn’t release they where two different Transformers. I kept wondering how the ‘Man of Iron’ could have been blown up earlier in the story, yet still appear at the end.

I have purposely left out some story nuggets of information in my review. I try to do this on all my reviews because even though the comic has been out since the eighties, there are some people who have not read them and may go back to read them. I want those people to find something new, I did not cover in my reviews.

I am really in love with this story right now. I am excited to get to the other UK Transformers comic books. Until that happens, I really would like to hear what you all think of these issues. Leave me a comment so we can talk about.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transmissions-issue-34Dear Marvel,
I would like finally to voice my opinion of the Transformers. I think it’s a great comic. I love most of the characters (except Grimlock) and feel that they’re well drawn and colored. However, I’d like to comment on your portrayal of the death of Optimus Prime. I felt that, at first, Optimus was a great leader. But as the Autobots and the Decepticons got more advanced, Prime, became obsolete. The same goes for Megatron. The portrayal of their deaths was well thought out and stunning, and I feel that they both needed to die for the sake of the comic. Keep up the good work!
Eric M. Schabo
Dearborn Hights, MI

Gosh, Eric, we lose our two leaders, and you tell us to “Keep up the good work!” Maybe a Transformers Massacre would be real popular!?! YEESH!

Dear Guys,
I just read TRANSFORMERS #30 and it was excellent. One thing, thought: get ride of that idiot, Ratbat. He’s too energy-conservative. The Throttlebots are real cool (I am not shino) and so are the Triplechangers.
I really hope Megatron’s alive somewhere. I want him to get rid of that fool Shockwave. Maybe he’s on Cybertron recovering from his insanity. I expect to see him soon!
Will the old Autobots live? In TRANSFORMERS #26 Prowl was repaired but you haven’t seen him since. Bring back Jazz, too.
Will there be a TRANSFORMERS ANNUAL? Please say yes. You could include all your covers and a brief history of the Transformers. Please consider this.
Trevor Lawson

It takes a big man to admit that he isn’t Shingo. As for your questions, just wait and see, Trevor. You may get answers sooner than you think.

Dear Transmissions,
HEADMASTERS #1 was a spectacular first issue! I loved reading it! Everything from the action right down to the lettering was MARVELous!
I also read TRANSFORMERS #29 and #30! I especially liked reading #29 and it had the TRIPLECHANGERS in it. their first appearance was great, and I’ve been waiting for them to appear in the TRANSFORMERS comic. I also enjoyed reading TRANSFORMERS #30 because it had the THROTTLEBOTS and a CURE for the Scraplets! But most of all, I enoyed both issues because they had more of CYBERTRON in them! (They, too, were also MARVELous!)
I’m 16 years old and I enjoy the TRANSFORMERS comic and its “Relatives”: the TV series, the movie, and the Transformers Action Cards.
After the four issue are over, will HEADMASTERS become a regular comic?
Is the MECHANIC still around?
Jeff Steele
Jackson, MS

If there’s a big enough demand for it, a HEADMASTERS unlimited series wouldn’t be out of the question, Jeff! As for the MECHANIC – can anybody ever really get rid of a guy like that?

A few words about the HEADMASTERS Limited Series: Wonderful! Great! Stupendous! Meagnificent! Since this HEADMASTERS stuff is pretty big, why not have a full time comic? Several of my friends have agreed with me on this and we hope you continue publishing it.
Carl Sanderson
Greenville, MS

There seems to be a growing demand for a separate HEADMASTERS comic! Keep writing, readers, keep writing!

Dear Transmissions,
TRANSFORMERS #30 was great. The Throttlebot and Scraplet appearances were excellent! I can’t wait to find out what the cargo is, and to see Buster Witwicky again. I also think I might have won a No-Prize with this question: Right now, in 1987, Bumblebee has become Goldbug. How could he be Bumblebee again in 2005 (as seen in the movie)? also, where are Metroplex and the Autobot Triple Changers? Will there be a new TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE for the new Transformers? When will Megatron return? I know he will!
Well, those are my questions. by the way, HEADMASTERS #1 and #2 were terrific. I finally got to see the new Transformers in action!
Yosi Sherman

Sorry, Yosi, but you can’t get a NO-PRIZE for simply pointing out something you perceive to be a mistake! you’ve got to provide us with an explanation that saves our dignity! Anyway, a lot can happen between 1987 and 2005!

Dear Marvel,
I just read TRANSFORMERS #30, EXCELLENT! STUPENDOUS! WONDERFUL! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an issue that wasn’t. The art is excellent and the story is superb.
One thing I noticed is that every time the Transformers battle the U.S. Army, the Army vehicles look amazingly like the G.I. Joe vehicles. Please have more battles between the humans and the Transformers. I think it adds more to the story.
I have a few suggestions:
(1) HEADMASTERS #1 was great. I hope Fortress Maximus comes to Earth and leads the Autobots. I think he’s the most interesting and qualified living Autobot.
(2) Please introduce Roadbuster, Whirl, and the detuxe Insecticons. They haven’t show up in the cartoons.
(3) I hope Shockwave fights Grimlock! I think Shockwave would win because he took on and almost beat all of the Dinobots 4 million years ago.
(4) Why doesn’t Ratbat come to Earth himself and oversee the fuel operations? Is he afraid of Shockwave?
Keep up the good work and until Cybertron and Earth collide, Make Mind Marvel!
Jordan Stevens
Beatty NV

Thanks for the suggestions, Jordan! We’ll fit all of your favorite things in issues to come.
And, as for Ratbat, you can see from TRANSFORMERS #31 that he did in fact come to Earth and lead the Decepticons in a new Scheme to gain power. But alas, we’ll have to wait until next issue to discuss that story in the Letter col.

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The host of the YOSHICAST and TRANSMISSIONS Podcast. Transformers enthusiast and comic book collector.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I was like you when I first read this. First off, the cover was amazing – Prime – in all his heroic self-sacrificing splendor – back again. The art looked at both times inferior to the US version – and superior (it may not have been as detailed as the US comics, but it looked more in depth). While Budiansky had given us plenty of McDonald’s-type stories that I routinely devoured, this one felt like a steak dinner. You had to go back, pour over the pages, and in the end – the Autobots won, but why did it feel like such a hollow victory?

    The reappearance of Optimus Prime was a highlight. He was still dead. Still a long time from coming back (he’s been dead nearly a year, it’ll be another six months before he’s even partially resurrected). And instead of Grimlock’s oafish douchiness, we have Prime’s kind, thoughtful leadership. It made me miss him all the more – but it was good to see him back, albeit briefly.

    This was a great introduction to the UK series (and it made me feel sorry that for every ‘Man of Iron’ we got, we exported a turkey like ‘Afterdeath!’).

    On a side note, I’ll say I’m not the hugest Simon Furman fan. If I was an executive producer of a TF comic, I’d still have him at the helm since I know he’s beloved by the TF community, but toward the end of the TF comics and in some of the later incarnations (see War Within) – he seemed to get too absorbed in the mythology of the Transformers at the expense of character development. That’s why I cherished stories like ‘Man Of Iron’ – when the focus was narrowed to just a few characters and a simple objective.

  2. If you loved Man Of Iron then I expect some pretty good reviews for future UK stories, let’s put it that way! I’m just about to start a re-read of all the US and UK stories myself, which is how I found this blog; I’ll be sure to check in and compare notes.

      1. I was a UK reader and most of the time the UK stories were plotted to fit in between the US ones, usually adding context to the sudden disappearance of a character or tying up leads that were abandoned. The Quintesson Cannister you mention in a later review, for example, leads into the excellent Space Pirates and the awesome Time Wars. Other times we had things like the GI Joe mniseries and the Headmaster limited series as backups for the main comic, letting the US one get a bit more ahead without the need for repeated stories.

        Reading them as standalones is possible, but it would be best to get on the wiki and put the stories in the right place between the US stories. A few of the early ones (Man of Iron included) don’t really fit anywhere, but most have a great way of building the universe up even more.

        And still nothing explains why Grimlock suddenly became stupid…

  3. I really liked this story, but yes, to me the UK stories were ALWAYS much better. (The US story was reprinted in the UK magazine, and I could always tell which was a US story-and that’s not a good thing for the US writers…)

    I always felt sorry that the 2 Autobots who were dormant for so long died so ignominiously. In the UK stories there were some non-toy characters, and most of them did die, but most were ones that had more of a fleshed out character (Like Impactor, or Scrouge (the only US story that I think matches in quality to the UK))

    The Enemy Within was Furman’s first TF story, and I always LOVED it! Brawn has a shock and loses his sense of reality, and Starscream plots–Long story! This one, the Target 2006, In The National Interest…these were all early Furman classics that work SO well!

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