The writers had to do some pretty fast, jarring retcon work to explain how the Matrix could be a computer program, but also energy that could be transferred into Buster, but also a big chunk of machinery that lives in a Transformer’s chest. I think the letter column eventually gave some half-hearted answer to the effect that the physical Matrix left residual energy in Optimus’s head which Optimus imparted to Buster. So in theory, he didn’t need Buster to give it “back” at all, since there’s more where that came from, once he gets his body back.
I had one of the Robotech Jetfire type toys. It didn't have the red double booster things that go on the back, but it had the 'Gerwalk' middle transformation. And some heavy solid metal parts.
One thing that’s puzzled me, since I first found out that Jetfire/Skyfire was a character the writers were told to avoid using, is how much he ended up being used anyway.
You’re right that his comics appearances are limited but he does appear after this storyline, getting the Autobrand, saving Bumblebee during “Plight,” threatening to bounce Donny Finkleberg, watching Ratchet try to revive Prime, attending Prime’s funeral, and being among the commanders gathered to choose a new leader. That’s about it until the battle on the moon and getting killed by Underbase-powered Starscream. That’s still pretty good for a guy who was supposed to be quietly written out of the story!
The cartoon similarly keeps bringing him back more than you’d think, not only going to the trouble of giving him a death scene that they then undo later in season one, but continuing to use him in season two. I liked it when he flew from Earth to Cybertron in “The Ultimate Doom.”
Only his first cartoon appearance made any mention of him being a scientist first and a warrior second, but later comic writers would make too much of it.
That’s a great point about Buster using the Matrix for a selfish reason and how it ties in with the Matrix’s weakness for corruption and hunger for experience, much later in the series. I never even thought of that!
Excellent point too about that line of Jazz’s about being able to shut off pain. It’s another thing, like Gears being brought back from the dead and Transformer minds being able to be copied onto disks or crystals, that seems totally reasonable at the time of writing but has inconvenient implications.
All these years I just assumed that *was* Hound on the cover! Obviously I wasn’t paying close enough attention!
Forgot to mention there’s an actor here in Canada named Geraint Wyn Davies, best known for the great vampire cop show “Forever Knight.”
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe