Worlds Apart Part 2 was written by Simon Furman, drawn by Will Simpson, inked by Tim Perkins, lettered by Anne Halfacree and newcomer Nick Abadzis took over colouring.
The cover is by Lee Sullivan and depicts a very dramatic and relatively toy and show accurate Scorponok with Highbrow as his helpless prisoner. Perhaps the background could have used some detail but I really enjoy the energy in this image and the terror of Scorponok's enormous beast mode. The painted colouring is really beautiful as well, and is appreciated given that unlike on the earlier issues, this was no longer a guarantee.
The scale of the threat posed by Scorponok is illustrated in an excellent opening splash panel where his claw is almost the size of four Autobots put together! He proceeds to toss the Autobot Headmasters about while explaining the trap they have walked into.
The other Decepticons are blocking the exit so Hardhead uses his sidearm to destroy the cables keeping the Targetmasters imprisoned. This gives them the momentum they need to free the Nebulons that form their weapons, Peacemaker, Pinpointer and Spoilsport and even the odds!
Meanwhile, Scorponok has beat a tactical retreat with Highbrow clasped helplessly in his claw. He mocks the Autobot's inability to fight back while we get a glimpse of Highbrow's internal struggle. He is desperate to fight the Decepticon but Gort is terrified and won't respond.
Back at the fortress the Autobots are getting the upper hand but Chromedome realises that Highbrow is missing and sets off in pursuit.
Scorponok transforms to his towering robot mode and talks at Highbrow about how this situation has helped him understand the bonding process better, and how he now realises the importance of compatibility in the minds involved. He is about to slay Gort but Chromedome appears at the last minute and fires on the Decepticon, who responds by lobbing a huge boulder.
Chromedome proceeds to give the lie to Scorponok's assertion, using his enhanced Headmaster skills to evade the giant Decepticon at every turn and hit back, while giving a lecture about how the differences in the two minds actually create a strong middle-ground.
Hearing this pep-talk, Highbrow rebonds with Gort and fires on Scorponok, sending him fleeing. Highbrow thanks Chromedome and reitterates what being a Headmaster is all about: celebrating the positive aspects of disparate personalities and using them as force for truth and justice. (or evil, in the case of the Decepticon Headmasters, but he doesn't say that).
A fun conclusion to the story that goes some way to explaining just why the Headmaster process was necessary. We get a lot of explanations in other versions of the story that essentially boil down to "working as one mind makes you more powerful" but it's never really shown.
The Targetmasters are generally depicted as simply having more powerful guns, which works thematically, if not very plausibly. However, to really show why you would want to willingly share your mind with another being the writer needs to go a bit further, and Chromedome's acrobatic takedown of Scorponok goes some way to demonstrate this. Of course, Scorponok is a Headmaster too, but perhaps him and Zarak are too similar? (for the two of you reading this who don't already know who Zarak is, he's Scorponok's Nebulan companion). I have always read this as two minds working in tandem to spot all the possible combat angles and options, more than one individual warrior would be able to process. This is certainly more plausible than the cartoon, which had the Nebulans explicitly pushing buttons and moving levers to get the Autobots to do things.
Eagle-eyed continuity hounds would have spotted Cyclonus and Scourge among the Decepticons on Nebulos. This doesn't actually matter for this story, as there is no indication of when it is supposed to take place. However, the US Headmasters miniseries (currently running as backup to this story, don't forget) explicitly took place in the '80s, yet these characters could not be left out as Hasbro had reissued them as Targetmasters. Furman went on to explain this in Legacy Of Unicron (review coming soon) but it would have seemed pretty bizarre at the time of release.
Another issue of decent art from Will Simpson. Nothing stands out overmuch but the action flows and the characters are on model. The colouring is on a par with the previous issue, and Abadzis repeats the same bizarre error of colouring Crosshairs like Sureshot and vice versa that White did, which leads me to believe there must have been some kind of behind the scenes snafu misinforming the two of them.
An enjoyable two-issue battle but nothing Nebulos-shattering. I would have liked much more examination of the Headmaster process but still enjoyed rereading this one. It was collected in the Titan collection called Transformers: Time Wars (Transformers (Titan Books Paperback)) (available for order) which is worth having, but not really for this story.
OSWESTRY LIT FEST – MARCH 19TH
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