"WRECK AND RULE!"

Before I get into this, I want to make a declaration here: my Transformers fandom only stretches to certain points of the franchise. I owned some of the toys when I was a kid, but I never really got into the cartoon series (largely because I never actually saw enough episodes - but I still say Transformers: The Movie is quite possibly the greatest animated film of all time). Growing up in the UK, I was lucky enough to be able to read the Transformers UK comic week after week, which is where my true love of the franchise lies.


For those of you not in the know, that series reprinted material from Transformers US, but also filled the pages with brand new, original Transformers material created especially for the series. Even as a kid, I could see that the US material was utter crap compared to the UK stuff. Whereas the US strips read like exactly what they were - poorly written and drawn material to tie into an established franchise - the UK strips had crisper, cleaner art and far better stories (the truly haunting Man Of Iron comes to mind from that period). When Simon Furman took over as the main writer for the series, he began to weave brand new stories in and around the continuity of the US series, with stories such as In The National Interest and, my personal favourite, Dinobot Hunt. However, when Transformers: The Movie began to slowly appear on the horizon, Furman wrote what would become the foundation of the entire Transformers UK continuity: Target 2006.

Not only did this introduce some characters from the upcoming movie (who were also being released as toys in the UK at the time, and therefore had to appear in the comic), but it also introduced probably one of the greatest concepts my young mind had ever seen: The Wreckers.


The Wreckers were a rag tag bunch of misfit robots, some of whom were created especially for the series (which gave Furman the opportunity to utilise Topspin and Twin Twist, two new toys - Jumpstarters - that had been introduced into the line, but didn't seem to fit well into the franchise, I always thought), but they were also the elite commando unit of the Autobot resistance forces. These were the guys that you called in when you wanted shit done. Led by Impactor (an original character created for Transformers UK), and later joined by Springer, Sandstorm and Broadside (the Autobot Triple Changer toys that were being introduced into the UK around that time), they became the Transformers version of The Dirty Dozen. And, frankly, they were fucking awesome.

They quickly became my favourite Transformers team; I absolutely fell in love with the entire concept, and just could not get enough of them. I remember being genuinely shocked when Impactor died at the end of Target: 2006:


And even more shocked when they brought him back in Legion Of The Lost:


I remember having my Optimus Prime toy sending in The Wreckers, led by my Springer toy (I pretended he was fighting side by side with the characters who didn't have toys), because even back then, I knew they were the guys that Prime would defer too in his time of need.
Even when Furman broke them up after the apocalyptic Time Wars story arc and re-moulded them into Survivors, my love of the characters never diminished.

After Transformers UK ended, I thought that The Wreckers would be laid to rest, given the warriors deaths they deserved and destined to nothing more than a memory of better times. But then, when IDW took over the Transformers franchise, I was pleased that Simon Furman was spearheading their reboot. Then, however, I saw this in an issue of Transformers: Stormbringer and had a genuine geek out moment:


In the very same issue, the guys were back and in full effect:


This time, however, there was something different about them: they'd gone from mean-ass motherfuckers to even meaner-ass motherfuckers. They were the way I kind of always wanted them to be back in the good old days of Transformers UK: far more callous and ruthless, the guys that even Optimus Prime called in when even he couldn't handle the shit that was going down. This was my childhood dream come true.

IDW have made me love them even more with the release of a Wreckers solo series. I'll admit, my heart kind of sank when I read the title:


Yeah, I did get my geek on and start complaining about how they dare not kill The Wreckers and destroy a piece of my childhood (not online, though, obviously), but then I actually made the effort to read the thing and realised how bloody good it actually is.

I think I can safely say that I've pretty much destroyed any remaining cool points I may have had with this post, so I may as well push on and admit that if - by some miracle - I ever got to write Transformers, I always said that I wanted to do something with The Wreckers that re-introduced Impactor.

And then I saw this in Fall Of The Wreckers:


And the issue ended with this:


So, that's one more ambition I can scratch off the list because I was beaten to it. Thank you very much Nick Roche...

I guess all I can ask for now, IDW, is that if The Wreckers are going out, please give them a worthy death. They deserve to go out like the heroes they are.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, Simon Furman - many a young child expecting an illustrated toy advert was unprepared for the catalogue of unending horror and death that awaited...

    A pity the UK comics scene is in the shitter so they can't make more licenced strips, as Transformers was really bleak and memorable - future generations should fear the cold black touch of imminent death just as we did, dammit! I remember Man of Iron being so depressing for a child's story - the poor bastard never even got a name. Guardian killing Swoop was a shock when I read it, too.

    Still preferred Zoids, mind whichwas awesome on three fronts: (1) robots, (2) dinosaurs, (3) Grant Morrison. It was actually worse than Transformers in my mind, what with having all the really horrible stuff happen to human beings.

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