Comic Book: Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers aka: Last Stand Of The Wreckers
“It's a story of sacrifice and betrayal, and of good people dying in stupid, pointless ways.”
"Welcome to the team. Just be prepared: sometimes in the Wreckers, your first day is your last."
A 2010 Transformers mini-series from IDW Publishing, following the adventures of a Ragtag Bunch Of Misfit Autobots who join the Autobots' elite suicide squad, the Wreckers. The veteran Wreckers and the recruits try to liberate an Autobot prison facility from the rogue Decepticon Overlord.The series quickly became a fan-favorite among die-hard Transformers fans due to its colorful cast of previously unused characters, straying from the main series' strict use of "classic" Generation 1 characters. It helps that the series was written by a pair of well-liked Promoted Fanboys.
Anti-Villain: Prowl is creeping closer and closer to this with each fresh appearance. Here he's happy to send Autobots to die horribly just so he can suppress information that he doesn't want to get out about the atrocities the Autobot army has committed. Chances are, he probably even calculated the odds of Springer surviving — since he's one of the Autobots that has openly challenge him at times. This is later expanded in Transformers Robots In Disguise.
Ambition Is Evil: Averted. Overlord had no ambitions, he didn't want control of the Decepticons, or leadership, he just wanted to kill things (But Megatron thought he did). Prowl is also doing dubious things, but All Hail Megatron established that he wanted to bring an end to the war, and not seek glory.
Anyone Can Die: One of the first things fans learned about the series was that the Decepticon Skyquake would be in it. He dies on page 3. Additionally, previous Wreckers stories are known for their high body count among the protagonists, and the large number of unknown characters makes a repeat look likely. An interview with the writers confirms that they are aiming to let the bodies pile high.
Art Shift: The Battle of Pova flashbacks. The ones detailing the truth are more dark and gritty compared to the more clean and colorful of the "official" report.
In both cases, the panel borders are yellowed and have lines across them as though wrinkled, mimicking the appearance of a comic that's a decade or so old. Other flashbacks to significantly long ago follow suit.
Ascended Fanboy: Ironfist, a Wreckers fanboy who has been chronicling their adventures in his spare time, now gets to join the group himself. And has a mental breakdown when he finds out the reality of it isn't the adventurous fun he was expecting.
Also writer/artist Nick Roche himself, an Irish Transformers fan now writing the characters he read in the UK Transformers comics.
Co-writer James Roberts counts as well, having been a Transformers fanfiction writer. He even uses a character, Autobot psychologist Rung, from one of his fan novels.
Ascended Fanon: The Transformer mosaic. Originally a Fanon piece created by the same authors of the miniseries, as a thank you to their readership, it has now become part of the canon after being published in the trade.
Autobot psychologist Rung also counts. Originally created as part of a fan novel, he became part of the canon with the psychological profiles of the Wreckers, fully cemented when "Bullets" was published as part of the trade, and is now a main character in the Transformers More Than Meets The Eye ongoing series.
Author Catch Phrase: Simon Furman's infamous "Furmanisms" are parodied; Ironfist's datalogs feature many often-repeated phrases colloquially known as "Fisitronisms." When Skyfall told him about this he was a little upset, since he hadn't been doing it deliberately.
Stalker is so very much this. He might even be sicker than Overlord.
Backpack Cannon: Ironfist and Guzzle are both weird versions. Ironfist's lightformer cannon is worn like a backpack but he has to take it off to use it, and Guzzle never uses his tank mode turret in robot mode (though its barrel is smoking on the cover to the trade, which is also this article's page image) - probably because it would be almost impossible to aim.
Badass Bookworm: Before joining the Wreckers, Topspin was a cartographer. And Perceptor finally achieves this as well, regaining the "Bookworm" part he lost during All Hail Megatron.
Beware the Nice Ones: Ironfist is probably the only Wrecker in history to be a pretty nice guy. He's a weapons designer and the use of most of his work is considered a war crime. A military tribunal is held over his cerebro-circuitry seeking bullets, and a disgusted Trailbreaker puts it this way - "Most weapons can be used to wound. To disarm. [...] Your weapon kills, every time." He invented Gideon's Glue, the horrific napalm-like substance that took and shattered many Autobot lives at Babu Yar, as well. Ultimately he may be responsible for more deaths than all of the other Wreckers combined.
He suffered depression and pangs of guilt because of all the damage his creations caused however. And Gideon's Glue wasn't his fault; he was ashamed of its creation and thought he destroyed every sample, but Skyfall had already sold some to the Decepticons.
Blood Knight: Overlord. Everything he's done is because he desperately wants a one-on-one showdown with Megatron.
Guzzle and Impactor in Escape.
Boom, Headshot: Ironfist invents cerebro-circuitry-seeking bullets. In other words: automatic headshots. Guzzle is delighted. Ironfist neglected to mention to Guzzle that the use of them constitutes a war crime (see above). Of course, that might've made Guzzle happier.
Brick Joke: Meta-example. The Shimmer is a bad omen that foretells your imminent and inescapable death. In reality, it (or at least, the thing all the characters we see encounter) is Springer's holo-projection that appears to potential Wrecker recruits.Which is exactly what you get.
Guzzle, the only one of the new recruits to originally turn down Springer's initial offer, is the only one to survive Garrus-9.
It was also seen by Kup in Spotlight:Kup when Springer was trying to reach out to the old man. Of course, with Kup's broken state of mind, it just made things worse.
Gideon's Glue is also green and is said to shimmer in the light, too. Hm.
Broken Pedestal: When Ironfist learns why Impactor was imprisoned, he gives Perceptor the OK to kill him.
Brown Note: The Shimmer is an in-universe example. It's actually a holo-projection of Springer... in some of these cases. Legend sure didn't start with Flattop.
By-the-Book Cop: Prowl, to the point that when he apprehended the vicious criminal Violator, he had the guy bolted down as he read the list of his offenses - not just the crimes, but the exact verses and chapters of the Code that he had transgressed against. At one point on day 3, Violator activated his own kill switch rather than keep listening.
Callback: "Not More of Your Poetry." When Bullets had been released with the Hardcover, the ongoing had shown Impactor telling this to his friend Megatron. When the two meet again on opposite sides of the war, saying this line causes him to hesitate long enough for Springer to save Impactor.
Verity sports a small tattoo of a green alien head on the back of her right shoulder. This is in tribute to her dead friend Hunter O'Nion, who throughout Infiltration wore a shirt with a similar green alien head on it.
Chekhov's Gun: Ironfist's head / helmet looks like it had a gunshot wound to his right temple. Turns out it is and has been killing him for the last 18 months.
Cluster F-Bomb: According to the trade, Dipstick's dialogue appears abridged due to heavy swearing. To be fair, the guy has a right to be upset - the new Wrecker recruits fouled up his whole construction operation by fooling around.
Combining Mecha: Subverted. See Crowning Moment of Funny and Gallows Humor. Note that, technically, Overlord himself is a combiner, having two vehicle modes that combine to form his robot mode, not unlike the Duocons. This may even be why he thought it was funny!
Rung also mentions in passing a patient of his who suffers a variation of Phantom Limb syndrome; he's convinced he forms the leg of a larger robot.
Continuity Porn: Ironfist's. Bio. Ironfist is credited with inventing Cliffjumper's "glass gas" gun and building Optimus Prime's ion rifle (but Optimus mistook him for the similarly obscure Autobot Skyfall), along with a few other Continuity Nods and Mythology Gags.
#5 continues the porn with bios for Pyro, Guzzle, and Impactor. In fact, Impactor's bio hints at Marvel UK's Death's Head!
And the Transformer mosaic adds even more to it. notice Ironfist, with a schematic of his own head showing the cerebro-seeking bullet.
Guzzle tells Kup about some friends of his who were killed trying to rescue someone. When Kup asks if he was worth it, Guzzle simply says it depends on who you ask. The guy they were trying to rescue was Kup. He killed them.
"Hold this, stay there, an' get ready to take notes."
Overlord vs Fortress Maximus.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Rotorstorm's status as an emotional cripple is the result of the torment he suffered at the hands of Jetstream, his IAA instructor whose relentless browbeating gradually evolved into daily brutal and unprovoked beatings. Fans would later know Jetstream as Whirl, and when Rotorstorm won a medal, he was in the front row cheering him on.
Dirty Business: Prowl's intentions behind retrieving Aequitas preventing Aequitas' data falling into Decepticon hands. Turns out some Autobots and Decepticons are Not So Different. Had the data gone public, it would have caused great damage to the Autobot cause.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Snare says that Overlord told his Decepticons that "play makes you free". This is a reference on the German political slogan "Work makes you free", which the Nazis by ironically displayed at the entrances of many concentration camps.
One of the sites of Flame's atrocities, Babu Yar, is named very similarly to a famous historical massacre site on Ukraine.
Downer Ending: Arguably, and it only stops short from being a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending because they managed to imprison Overlord and safekeep Aequitas' data. Only to be hinted that Prowl would have preferred for the data to be lost forever, and is seen applying pressure to the dataslug — whether it was destroyed or not, its left to the reader.
Bittersweet Ending: That said, Guzzle and Impactor are afforded a fairly happy ending, all things considered. And Ironfist sees justice done to Skyfall and his datalogs completed by Verity if nothing else.
Evil Only Has to Win Once: Two-villain version - when Shockwave tells Overlord that he isn't the first Phase Sixer to try and bait Megatron, Overlord responds that he only needs to be the last (i.e, the first one to win).
Expy: Pyro is Optimus Prime without the wisdom and experience, inspired by the fact that he looks like an Optimus wannabe. Emphasis on the "wannabe." In fact, he made himself look like Optimus Prime on purpose due to his obsession with Optimus.
He even tries to have a motto that sounds similar to Prime's.
Extreme Melee Revenge: Used by Perceptor's team against Overlord after he kills Rotorstorm, to little effect. Look closely at the panel where they're lunging at him - Topspin drops his gun.
Eye Scream: Stalker holding a scalpel up to Impactor's optic is made no less freaky by Impactor being a robot. Ironically, Impactor's the guy who shoots Overlord in the eye with a harpoon in the very next issue. And then there's Overlord who rips off Springer's face along with one of his optics.
Fate Worse Than Death: Fortress Maximus. Pure Nightmare FuelBody Horror. His optics ripped out, limbless and comatose, plugged into Aequitas' chamber and turned into, as Perceptor described it, a living lock-pick. And Twin Twist, tortured to the point that it drove Topspin to suicide.
Overlord is treated to one as well. Let's see, first he's riddled with thousands of tiny deterrence chips that all explode simultaneously. This strips him of his external plating, leaving him a skeletal chassis that's on fire for several pages with no end in sight. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Impactor goes so far as to refuse to kill him, because actually paying for what he's done is exactly what Overlord deserves.
Flanderization: Since Overlord was a complete blank slate, the authors took his only previous appearance in the continuity - an Easter Egg cameo of Overlord cheering on Megatron at a gladiatorial match - and built his personality and motives around a love for gladiatorial combat.
That would fall more so within Western fiction - portrayal of Overlord in Japanese fiction was a wee bit different.
Foreshadowing: In Bullets, Rotorstorm notes that a headshot at close range would be a nasty way to go. You have three guesses as to how he dies. The first two don't count.
For Science!: Apparently the folks at the Kimia Facility have a bit of a habit of regularly inventing utterly horrible weapons just because they can, especially Brainstorm.
Foregone Conclusion: Given the title of the miniseries, you knew the body count was gonna be high.
Gadgeteer Genius: Ironfist, who has just invented a new cannon and gives Impactor a new harpoon hand. His previous inventions include Optimus Prime's ion rifle and Cliffjumper's glass gas, the Cerebro-Seeking Bullets and Gideon's Glue.
Genre Savvy: Ironfist and Pyro realize they have higher chances of dying because they are not famous (in or out of universe) like Springer, Perceptor or Kup. They are right.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Utterly failed, as, according to the writers, Hasbro wasn't fooled this time around by the typical Transformers standby of Unusual Euphemisms and Double Entendres. Among the vetoed comments were "clutch-munching piston-licker" and Rotorstorm asking if Overlord was having a "penal dysfunction problem". "Spawn of a glitch" was almost vetoed until it was pointed out that it had already been used previously in the IDW comics.
Gladiator Games: What Overlord turns G-9 into. Interestingly, Kick-Off's success in the pit is due to experience; he'd been a part of a brutal forced combat circuit as a prisoner in a Decepticon pen on Polyhex.
Hero Worshipper: Ironfist adores the Wreckers. Pyro has an...unhealthy obsession with Optimus Prime. He even had his chest cavity modified to accommodate the Matrix, "just in case." In fact, his assault on the Tremorcons was slavishly meant to parallel Prime's actions up to his final battle with Megatron.
More than that, Pyro has a fully diagnosed MENTAL ILLNESS he's so obsessed with Prime. Apparently it's something that affects plenty of Autobots and even a few Decepticons. When Rotorstorm first sees Pyro, he claims it's the worst case he's ever seen.
In a sadder example, Ironfist is revealed to have shot himself in the head with a prototype brain-seeking bullet several months ago. It was working its way towards his brain through the series, causing the fainting spells. Long thought an accident, the text story in the back of the trade reveals that it was sabotage - and Ironfist's "friend" Skyfall was behind it.
Horrible Judge of Character: Of all the Autobots Ironfist could have befriended, Skyfall really should've been at the bottom of the list.
Hypocritical Humor: After Rotorstorm's death by headshot, the comic cuts over to Kup's squad, where Guzzle comments about how fun it is to blow up Decepticon heads with Ironfist's special brain-seeking bullets.
Even more jarring when we find out Ironfist was a victim of one of those bullets as well.
In "Bullets", the text story at the end of the trade, "It's over — finished!" is given by Skyfall as an example of a "Fisitronism." Months later, the now-deceased Ironfist uses a prerecorded message to expose Skyfall as his murderer and ends the message with the phrase.
Rotorstorm, in the Bullets shortstory.
Rotorstorm:A head shot at close range...not a pleasant way to go.
Irony: After Springer's team lands, extracts from Fisitron's unofficial Wrecker's training guide are superimposed over the team disobeying each and every one of them.
Kick the Dog: Pyro. He claims that Verity and humans in general are worthless because they're so fragile, and insists that Ironfist be the one to take a Heroic Sacrifice because the death just isn't cool enough for him.
Late Arrival Spoiler: In record time. The cover for the second printing of issue #1 spoils the last page.
Living on Borrowed Time: Ironfist. Both Ironfist and Prowl are well aware of this; it's actually the entire reason Ironfist is on the team in the first place.
Ludicrous Precision: Shockwave, as usual: "You've had control of the Last Resort for 11 months, three weeks, four days, 15 hours, 55 minutes and 11 seconds, and only now do you choose to reunite me with my body?"
MacGuffin: The Wreckers are assigned to rescue someone, or something, called "Aequitas." It's a computer used to "calculate guilt," the judge and jury of Garrus-9. The Wreckers are not impressed.
Mad Scientist: Brainstorm is briefly explored in "Bullets". He's been working as a weapons developer and thus far all of his creations or ideas have been considered insane, unethical, and/or insanely unethical. When Ironfist and Skyfall run into him he's got his latest creation cuffed to his wrist - a briefcase that, when opened, reveals the thing you least expect and kills you.
No Mouth: Ironfist (in the present day), Guzzle, Pyro, and Stalker. Subverted with Snare, as he's shown to have a mouth under the faceplate when he's shot in the head by Stalker, and Skyfall who is described as unclipping his faceplate before drinking poison to commit suicide.
OC Stand In: Pyro, Ironfist, Rotorstorm, Snare, Overlord.
Oh Crap: This is the standard response amongst the Wreckers (even Twin Twist, Topspin and Kup) when they find out that they're going up against Overlord. Which was a mirror of the reactions the Decepticons themselves initially had to Overlord arriving to take control of Garrus-9.
Only Sane Man: Technically; Guzzle, according to Rung, is the only one of the new Wreckers to not have any outstanding psychological issues. He has personality flaws, but in general functions at a higher level than Pyro, Ironfist, and Rotorstorm.
Powered Armor: Verity Carlo picked up a suit of armor sometime between her last appearance and here.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: If the passwords to the Aequitas computer are ever lost, it can only be rebooted again via a completely willing Transformer lethally donating their spark to it. Topspin ends up doing that willingly, but Prowl's plan was to have Ironfist be the donor.
Power Walk: When Springer and the rest of the Wreckers welcome the new recruits.
Red Shirt Army: Springer is obligated to tell all recruits that the Wreckers' survival rate is 42%. Ironfist points out that it's actually 38% if you count Rack 'n' Ruin as two robots instead of one. While this math is a little faulty considering the number of known Wreckers, it still helps to illustrate their situation.
Replacement Scrappy: In-universe, the new Wreckers are poor substitutes for the variously occupied Broadside, Whirl, Roadbuster, and Sandstorm. This is compounded by the fact that Autobot forces are spread pretty thin as it is, meaning the new guys aren't exactly ready for primetime.
Also because Prowl intentionally chose them as he believed that it was a suicide mission, met the psychological requirements needed to activate Aequitas, and because he didn't want anyone to know what was in Aequitas.
Ironfist:"It was always going to be one of us — the second stringers"
The Resenter: Skyfall to Ironfist, even though if anything it should be the other way around.
Restraining Bolt: Megatron had Shockwave upload a virus into Overlord's cerebral circuitry that prevented Overlord from even considering how to defeat Megatron. Shockwave removes the virus in exchange for his freedom from Garrus-9.
The Reveal: Ironfist was living on borrowed time. Verity Carlo was the one who wrote the Wrecker's Last Stand datalog as Fisitron. And Prowl's Batman Gambit was not for Aequitas' data to be recovered, but for it to be destroyed and lost forever.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Shimmer, described as a fast-moving greenish optical illusion, is believed to be a harbinger of imminent and inescapable death. The greenish shimmer seen by Flattop, Ironfist, Pyro, Guzzle, and Rotorstorm is Springer's holographic projection used to recruit new Wreckers.
Flattop and everyone else who was at Babu Yar. Flattop was actually going to be invited to join the Wreckers but fainted when he saw Springer's hologram boot up, thinking it was "the Shimmer", an Autobot legend said to foretell death.
Smoking Is Cool: Kup constantly chews on a cigar. It was explained in an earlier series that it's actually full of stuff that stops him from going mad due to withdrawal from toxic radiation from a planet he was marooned on for some time.
Stupid Good: Ultra Magnus. A duly appointed enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, it should have been in his best interest to verify the content of the dataslug that contains Aequitas' records, or at least make a backup of it. Instead, he decided to trustProwl to do the right thing, by giving him the only existing copy.
Switching P.O.V.: While the POV changes several times through the history, part 5 is made to look like Ironfist is narrating the events, only to find out it is Verity, after he died on the way back from Garrus-9.
Take That: In the first issue, two somewhat chunky Autobots with car hoods for chest get decapitated during the Decepticon assault. Colorist Josh Burcham decided to color them like Skids and Mudflap from Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen for the enjoyment of fans that hated those two characters.
Talking the Monster to Death: Played for Laughs in a story Kup tells about how Prowl lectured a Decepticon with all of the wrongs he committed against the Tyrest Accord, which caused the Decepticon to commit suicide... due to unbearable boredom.
Tear Off Your Face: Overlord does this to Springer. He survives, but is in critical condition on life support.
Tempting Fate: Springer is pretty Genre Savvy about this. After outlining his rough plan, he asks, "What could possibly go right?"
Thanatos Gambit: Ironfist and the datalog that proved Skyfall's guilt regarding his own accident and the Gideon's Glue leak to the Decepticons.
This Is Reality: Ironfist gets a nasty dose of this upon actually fighting with the Wreckers. For one, it seems that in all his research he never realized that the Wreckers are usually a Red Shirt Army...
Thrown Out The Airlock: Kup jokingly threatens to do this to Verity after she makes a disparaging remark about his hygiene habits.
Title Drop: Sorta. In Fisitron's last entry: "This is the story of the Wrecker's Last Stand".
Token Evil Teammate: The Predators are the bad guys, but Skyquake displays loyalty to Megatron despite being fairly independent, and Fearswoop and Snare are very uncomfortable under Overlord's rule, but Stalker, he's enjoying the whole ride, Torture, Death, Overlord, and all.
Uriah Gambit: Springer is one of the few Autobots who openly defies Prowl at just about every turn, and knowing Prowl, he sent Springer on a Suicide Mission. Springer does survive, although he has his face and one of his optics ripped off by Overlord, and has been down and out for the count ever since as he remains comatose and on life support.
Villainous Breakdown: Odd case. Overlord loses all will to keep fighting when Verity tells him that Megatron is dead and no longer around for a fight.
To make it even sweeter, not only is Megatron dead (as far as the good guys know), but he never cared about Overlord enough to bother looking for him at all. Hell, the most likely scenario is that he was told about what happened on G-9 at one point and soon forgot about it entirely.
War Is Glorious: Ironfist's idolized view of the Wreckers, and seemingly Pyro's ultimate desire.
War Is Hell: An odd choice for a franchise that takes refuge in cool, but the series' reception indicates that it works pretty well.
What Could Have Been: A lot of things got changed or edited out in the writing process. In the earlier versions Rotorstorm's death is completely different, Scorponok was the main villain, Grimlock had a big role, the hinted at Guzzle/Kup confrontation actually happened, and Overlord was defeated by the Wreckers knocking him into a pit with a psychotic, out of control Grimlock.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Fortress Maximus disappears for the entirety of issue #4. He shows up again, being carted around by Ironfist in issue #5.
On the villains side: Fearswoop. Skyquake, Stalker, Snare, Wingblazer, Borehole, Treadshot and Overlord are all accounted for the first six dead, and Overlord in custody. It's presumed that he and the rest of the cons ran away when the ordeal ended.
What the Hell, Hero?: The Batman Gambit mentioned above - the morality of the goal is iffy enough to begin with, the methods (sending a team that included several severely mentally scarred 'bots on a literal, but known only to him, suicide mission) were beyond the pale.
What a Senseless Waste of Life: Lampshaded by the authors themselves in a podcast, where they mention that part of the theme is "good people dying in pointless ways". Also lampshaded in-universe by Fisitron Verity.
Writing Around Trademarks: Not necessary in the book, but it is possible that Roche & Roberts created Ironfist's "Fisitron" pseudonym so that Hasbro could make a new toy for him without bumping up against trademark issues with the Marvel Comics character of the same name. This is exactly what happened when a toy of a Transformers Animated version of Ironfist came out.
You Killed My Father: The reason Guzzle changed his mind about joining the team? All of his friends died on a mission to save Kup, and he's just itching to confront the old oilstain about it. As far as can be told, he never found the time to do so.
Wreck 'n' Rule!
You see, this is one of those stories with a moral.