Monday, 4 March 2013

#63: Red Alert (1985)

Red Alert was a toy and character I was only peripherally aware of when I was a youngster, mainly because he wasn't really promoted that well over in the UK. He was only ever a bit part character in the Transformers comics that Marvel put out, having appeared in only UK stories, and even then only being a bit part player at best.

It was the cartoons where Red came into his own, being the paranoid, borderline psychotic (that sometimes crossed the border) security guard that we all know and love. And boy, did things get weird; Red rebelled against everybody at one point, thinking that they were all out to get him, Autobots and Decepticons. Funny then, that the only person he trusted at this point was Starscream. That's more than messed up right there, if you ask my opinon.

Of course Red was snapped out of it by his best buddy in all the world - Inferno! Because Red's alternate mode is a Lamborghini Countach Fire Chief's car (and I want to live in the town that considers a high performance supercar to be a good vehicle for the job) then he was a natural fit for Inferno, who obviously transformed into a fire truck (albeit a Japanese one). But more than that, Inferno's carefree attitude counters Red's paranoid intensity, and they always worked well together in the show.

In the IDWverse, Red hasn't had that balance, and is currently on ice, waiting the end of Rodmius' quest. Will we see him again? Probably. Might be a little while, though.

As previously stated, Red's alternate mode is a bit flashy for the purpose he's meant for; it's one of those occasions where it might have been a good idea for them to have repainted another vehicle. Still, it does make Red stand out, so really, it might be a stroke of genius. Regardless, it's a great example of a G1 Autobot car, with all the right notes being struck in exactly the right order. Red's a winner on that front.

Red Alert's one of my favourite characters in G1, because he's completely different to anything that came before or since. He has a serious problem, and although it took 30 years to get round to it, it's being addressed in a very sensitive and dramatic way, even in the G1 cartoon his problem wasn't ridiculed or made light of, it was dealt with in a caring way by Prime and the other Autobots. For that at least, it makes Red a very sympathetic and worthy character.

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