This giant sized 50th issue of Transformers has twice as many pages as normal and within contains the conclusion of the Underbase Saga. Will the extra pages be a endurance or a blessing for the book? Will one Starscreams’ plans succeed? Will the Autobots have time to stop him? Will find out. But first, lets check out this cover.


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Starscream is front and center with a black space background on this cover, floating in space above the earth, aglow with energy that has several Transformers all around him writhing in pain. The cover artist here, José Delbo is excellent. Unfortunately his interpretation, of Starscream with his odd face and head in general, is off the mark. With that said, this image reminds me of the Matrix movie what with the cubical details all over Starscream’s body. Just above our villain is written, “Starscream Triumphant!” And in the top right corner of the comic in a sideways banner reads, “GIANT SIZED 50th ISSUE!”


Buster Witwicky lays freezing on a land of size and snow when the Aerialbots arrive. They where alerted by the beacon young Buster activated. The bots radio back to the Ark for backup and it’s not long that the Autobots arrive in full force. At this time Spike is brought back together with his brother, though he is close to death from exposure. Spike has Buster placed with in a heated unit inside cavity in Fortress Maximus’s chest. The Autobots are then caught off guard by a full scale Decepticon attack.


The battle that breaks out between the to factions is painful to watch and only comes to an end when engages Fortress Maximus over Buster. It is then that Buster conveys what Starscream told him just before leaving earth. This makes Ratbat put his anger on hold with the Autobots until the much larger problem can be address. The two sides start an uneasy truths and head for space to hunt down Starscream.


Starscream, who is now in the middle of deep space, leaves his ship to bathe in the knowledge of the Underbase’s light. Starscream is only exposed to the light for moments, maybe just seconds, before he is blasted away from the Underbase by Optimus Prime. However, Starscream’s limited exposure to the Underbase is enough to render himself super powerful and is able to wield the star ship he stole and toss it straight through the attacking island ship. The crew of Autobots and Decepticons are left afloat in space.


Starscream leaves the Transformers drifting around as he heads back to earth to attack it. Before leaving he announces to the Transformers the cities he plans to assault.

Optimus Prime had a plan B waiting up his sleeve. He summons the Ark to rescue all the Transformers and high tale it back to Earth. They beat Starscream to the plant as groups of Transformers begin splitting into teams to occupy the locations Starscream said he would be attacking. The kink in this plan is that Optimus Prime makes the announcement that he will be staying aboard the Ark rather than take on Starscream with the rest. The Decepticons see this as a sign of a coward as they head to earth.


The Autobot and Decepticon teams on earth attack Starscream. From city to city Starscream is fought off, but at the cost of many Transformer lives. As the battles wage on, Ratbat and Scorponok suspect that Optimus Prime might be trying to capture the Underbase for himself. The two leave their battle posts and return to the Ark.


On the Ark, Hi-Q and Optimus Prime are building a rocket with reflective panels. The idea is to catch the Underbase with it and change its course. Buster radios his Brother during the battle on earth for an update. Starscream, who listens in on the communication, sees a potential threat that Optimus Prime could pose and takes off back to outer space and the Ark. Scorponok and Ratbat get there first and confront Optimus. Not giving Optimus a chance to really speak, Scorponok blasts Optimus Prime, killing Ratbat and then takes off for the Underbase. Optimus Prime replaces his Powermaster engine and goes after Scorponok. Prime manages to pull Scorponok out of the bath of the Underbase allowing it to strike Starscream. The awesome power of the Underbase overwhelms Starscream until it destroys him.


Afterword, Optimus Prime explains to Scorponok that he had learned his lesson about the Underbase millions of years ago. Prime arranged for the reflector rocket and for Buster’s badly timed radio call for help, in order to lure Starscream back out into space where he would try to take all of the Underabse’s power and destroy himself. The Autobots and the Decepticons then depart with Scorponok making it clear that the war will start back up again, tomorrow.


My Thoughts On This Issue

The things I liked about this issue is that Starscream is truly acting how I would assume he should be acting. Blind drunk with power to a fault. He feels right in this issue. Which is great because he is on the cover.

Lets talk a little bit about the cover too. I don’t care for it and I would like to think it’s mostly because of how Starscream’s face is rendered. I know I bitched about this regarding the last issue, but it’s true. It’s very distracting.

I think with the extra pages of this issue that Budiansky had enough room to get the story across the way he wanted it to. I don’t feel like it was forced or rushed. I still feel that even with the extra pages it was a wordy book though.

And, there are some hole that where not filled. The thing I am stuck on are the Autobot tapes that where discovered issue 47. Maybe it’s because I think the tape Transformers are cool or that we just haven’t see the use of Autobot tapes yet. But I would like to know what happened to those guys.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below so we can continue the discussion.

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

This Post Has 6 Comments
    1. Even though I know I am stating the obvious with making note of Starscream’s face. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who saw that or feels the same about it.

  1. I remember I could not wait for this comic book to come out. I had been collecting these comics on a monthly basis starting with Power Master Prime issue #42. So, this was great a 4 part story concluding with a 4 part story within issue #50. As far as the cover goes i had flipped out the first time I saw the comic in the store. I never really noticed the facial designs into your review last issue. I do agree the cover are way weird, however as a kid I could not wait to read the issue. Epic! Is all I remember, and I know I have reread this issue more than any other. I loved all the plots going on, I loved the suspense, the total all out death toll – you really just did not know who was going to survive. Starscream was in top form, and good old Optimus new just what to do. Awesome. As an adult as I have reread these issue I could not wait to read this one again. The comic still held up for me. I think it is funny to point out I agree with you about the tapes however, I was a kid when I thought that. As a adult I didn’t even think about that. Good catch. After all this time this comic is a real favorite of mine just under “The Car Wash of Doom!” which of course was the first issue I ever got. #50 as well as the whole Underbase saga just had that cartoon vibe which I really loved. If I remember right there were no more new cartoons on at that point, the cartoons were still on just reruns. A funny memory is I had a tape recorder and I used to tape the episodes on audio tape! So, sometimes you could hear a battle go on during the show and I would hold my breath for a commercial break hoping my sister or Mom would not make a peep. Then you would hear “Take out the trash Tim!’ doh! What a nerd I was as we did not have a vcr that could record, until years later when I figured this out. Mom’s just hated technology in the 80s! So this Underbase saga was a real treat! Till this day when I read all the characters still have there voices in my head as I remember them. Of course it helps that I had re watched the whole series on DVD, plus the Japan Headmasters series a few years ago. I wish they could release a good american voiced Headmasters series! Sorry way off topic. Issue #50 amazing.

    1. YES! YES! YES! I love hearing from you guys. I love hearing these old memories and what it was like for everyone back in the day and even now when you are all rereading a long with me. When I am reading these issues I try to take notes of the things I want to talk about in my review. I think with as much reading has I have to do for these reviews, between finding a happy medium of wanting to talk about this and that with out totally killing the book for people who might not have read it. Between the podcast I co-host and some pretty big blog posts I am working on i for get things. I love when I get comments from readers like you pointing things I might have forgotten or just didn’t think about talking about.

      Tim, you got me so excited reading your comment that I can’t wait to post my next review for issue 51. ‘Car Wash of Doom’ is a great book and one my favorites. I remember audio taping the show as well when I was younger. That was a lot of fun. And man do I remember walking into a gas station or some super market and seeing an issue of Transformers and for a buck fifty, I was the happiest boy in the world.

  2. I enjoyed this issue because it was right around the time I started regularly collecting Transformers comics and comics in general. I had jumped on at #47 so I had the whole story of the Underbase up to this point.

    The thing that always bugged me about this comic though, was that I felt the whole story was somewhat pointless. If Starscream absorbing the whole Underbase was going to destroy him, why the rush to stop him from doing it at the beginning of the coimic? Why not let him absorb the Underbase and be blown away in deep space? Problem solved.

    Instead, he gets just enough to be powerful and kill off all your favorite characters, which is just a distraction so Prime can later let him absorb the Underbase and destroy himself. Congratulations, you wasted half your army (and cleared all those toy shelves of old stock). 🙂

    1. That’s a good point, Charles. Pointing it out like this, it seems like an easy solution to fix from a writing perspective. But who knows how much planning ahead went into these comic scripts. Even with the holes, even when they are pointed out or I am just upset with them. It’s still a run ride for me. If it wasn’t, I would not be doing these reviews.

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