Aid in the Shade

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“They call me Dr. Worm”

Medic! Medic!!

That’s what I found myself crying out as I entered the toy shop, and Kylie Minogue was nowhere to be found.

I was on the hunt for Combiner Wars First Aid, you see.  And what a hunt it turned out to be – for three weeks, I went back and forth between every shop that stocked Transformers. Yet I never found them there. How, in the 21st century, we end up with identical chain stores like Tesco, Asda and Toys R Us each having different products on the shelves, I don’t know. It’s absurd – some stores have them, some don’t. It’s pot luck.

No shit! I can't buy it if you don't have it...!

No shit! I can’t buy it if you don’t have it…!

Anyway, I found him in the end in a small independent toy shop and I was pleased as punch to do so. Or should I say “pleased as fruit beverage”? First Aid would object to the term “punch”, no doubt, because he’s a pacifist. He also has a really silly name, but we’re going to ignore that. It’s an effective and succinct nom de guerre, if nothing else.

“Anyone else want to try the nipple clips?”

While I’m not a pacifist myself, I’m proud to have made it this far into my life without getting into a real fight or hurting anyone, and First Aid’s gentle demeanor in the cartoon and comics quickly cemented him as one of my favourite characters as a kid. It’s rare that “alternative” moral views are put forward so strongly. And that probably says a lot about us as a race, when not killing things is seen as a strange or radical standpoint.

But wait! You cry, Batman doesn’t kill people! And look how popular he is! 

‘Fraid that doesn’t count, my peeps. Batman, while not actually killing anyone, does by way of routine beat the living shit out of them, and on occasion allows others to do his killing for him. It’s like pushing someone off a cliff and saying it was gravity that’s the real killer. I wonder how many superheros out there are resolutely non-violent…?

There was an episode of the Transformers cartoon that dealt with First Aid’s objections to violence. It was pretty rad; I had it on video and watched it again and again. Well, back then, there was no such thing as season box sets so I didn’t really have a choice. You watched the episodes the video companies told you to watch.

You better learn to love Powerglide.

You’d better learn to love Powerglide.

In the episode, upon encountering an intruder in Autobot City, our hero finds himself under attack. Nimbly dodging his assailants laser fire, First Aid is taunted for his beliefs. His attacker shouts “I don’t believe there’s a Transformer who won’t fight for his life!”.

“I also don’t believe it’s not butter!”

But he’s mistaken. First Aid doesn’t fight back, and is promptly trounced. He leaves the Autobots in shame, and this leads to a pretty cool scene where the Protectobots, now down to four members, have to save a passenger train as Defensor.

Of course, with First Aid absent, Defensor is missing an arm. It’s really cool.

In recent times, more Autobot medics have come into the limelight, especially in IDW’s current Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye comic book. Major players include mechanical physicians such as Ratchet, Pharma and Ambulon. Pharma is notable for being a deranged maniac and coming to a sticky end, and Ambulon is notable for transforming into a leg. And also coming to a sticky end.

That's what I call a SPLITTING headache!

That’s what I call a SPLITTING headache!

With the Protectobots on toy shelves once more, you can rest assured that IDW will shoehorn in feature First Aid and his combiner ilk. But for now I’m happy to have a really decent toy of First Aid, the first since the original some twenty-nine years ago. He stands on my toy shelf, watching the world go by, clutching a gun he’ll never use.

“Entered the toy”

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