Let's make this precious...note Characters, starting left going clockwise: Cyclonus, Tailgate (blue), Swerve (red), Ratchet, Red Alert, Ultra Magnus, Rodimus, Drift, Chromedome, Skids, Brainstorm, and a Legislator.
And we sail out on orders from him but we find the maps he sent to us don't mention lost coastlines Where nothing we've actually seen has been mapped or outlined And we don't recognize the names upon these signs And every night finds us rocking and rolling On waves wild and wide Well, we have lost our way, nobody's gonna say it outright
— Okkervil River, "Lost Coastlines"
After the Transformers Ongoing portion of The Transformers IDW ended with "Chaos", IDW launched two new series, set after the end of the Autobot/Decepticon war. One series, Transformers: Robots In Disguise, is set on Cybertron, and follows the political intrigue as that society is rebuilt. The second ongoing is this one, which follows the adventures of Rodimus and his crew in outer space.After the Matrix was depowered, it revealed itself to be a star map which would lead the Transformers to their ancestors. Rodimus thus decides to lead a bunch of Autobots and a few others on a quest on the Lost Light to find those ancestors, the Knights of Cybertron. Along the way, the bots encounter mysteries, horrors, and strange occurrences.The series is written by James Roberts, who was brought on after the success of Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers. (The other LSOTW fellow Nick Roche helped with the first issue and the series' prequel). Artist Alex Milne draws the series, with an occasional fill-in by Roche and other artists.From November 2013 to March 2014, More than Meets the Eye was part of a 12-issue Crisis Crossover event with Robots in Disguise called Transformers Dark Cybertron.In a rather unique touch, this comic has a soundtrack which can be listened to here.It now has a character sheet. Feel free to add to it.This comic relies heavily on twists and surprises for its impact so beware, some spoilers might be unmarked.
This series provides examples of:
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To Absent Friends: When Shock finds Ore's corpse, he mourns him and talks about all the stuff they did in the war, deleting his calls and leaving a vial of his innermost Energon there. Swerve does likewise with a drink in the Annual and spills it when Ore begins talking.
Accidental Misnaming: Rung is never correctly addressed by name when he is conscious or present. The other characters will either forget his name, mispronounce his name, or simply identify him based on his profession. However, characters do not seem to have this problem at all in prose stories or when he is not present.
If you're wondering how far back this goes: we see one of his old ID cards from literally millions of years ago. His name is spelled "Rong" on it.
Rung, a naive, somewhat straitlaced dork with Opaque Nerd Glasses and gangly limbs. He spends his time doing things like building model spaceships, trying to tiptoe around interacting with a ship full of loons, and needing to be rescued.
Rewind, a walking database who runs around after Chromedome like a devoted puppydog, and collects sociotemporal hotspot charts as a hobby.
Tailgate and Swerve sometimes veer into this territory.
In the flashbacks, Ironfist proves he was a fanboy even before the Wreckers came into existence.
Afraid of Needles: Amusingly issue 30 implies that Megatron is uncomfortable around needles. Of course, this happens when Chromedome displays his mnemosurgery needles, which Megatron had a violent reaction just to seeing before.
The Alcoholic: Trailbreaker. Justified as he needs huge amounts of fuel to power his forcefields, not to mention being fuel-inefficient anyway, and his fuel intake moderation chip burnt out centuries back. This is eventually remedied by Megatron, who permanently reactivates his fuel intake moderator with a little bit of Percussive Maintenance.
All Crimes Are Equal: The Decepticon Justice Division brutally executes any Decepticon that hinders the cause, be it intentional or not.
Tyrest's many amendments to Cybertronian law basically end with a similar result.
All for Nothing: History renders some of the Shadowplay arc this. Proteus's scheme is foiled, sure, but eventually Zeta Prime goes and makes the Decepticon Registration Act compulsory anyway, with the added bonus of making the already-started conflict escalate into full-blown war.
Really, really tragic example in Issue #15, where Overlord's rampage ultimately ends with Rewind and several others dead. Overlord only opted to escape after learning Megatron was still alive from Chromedome, who was roped into Prowl's scheme after Rewind was critically injured in battle in Issue #12.
The Alliance: The Galactic Council, the governing body of the inhabited galaxy. Almost every spacefaring species is considered a part of it. Cybertronians are one of the few exceptions, having been blacklisted from having a representative in the Council due to the sheer length of the Great War and the fact that many other planets have been caught in the crossfire of the war.
All There in the Manual: The mysterious giant robots that attack Skids in issue 2, and are found to have destroyed Crystal City and abducted its populace in the Annual, are called The Legislators. We only knew this at first because that's what Alex Milne wrote on the concept art.
There's also the supplemental "Meet The Crew" pages at the end of each issue, which contain some minor info about the characters that either isn't mentioned in the series or isn't shown explicitly such as the fact that Misfire has the Cybertronian version of ADHD, or that Ratchet used to be much less of a grump.
Checking out interviews and bits of Word of God from James Roberts can greatly help the reader's understanding of the characters, setting, and story. Notably he more or less confirmed that Chromedome and Rewind are the Official Couple months before the comic acknowledged this itself. Also, reading any extra prose stories in issues is mandatory. Quite a few readers skipped the prose story in issue 13 and ended up extremely confused by later plot developments.
Always Chaotic Evil: Tyrest thinks this is true of every Cybertronian with a Matrixed spark who was constructed cold. The situation is ultimately left ambiguous, as many of the 'bots in question have done things that ranges from morally dubious (Chromedome, Prowl, Brainstorm) to utterly reprehensible (such as the Aequitas defendants). However, the likes of forged transformers like Overlord make very clear that this is not a good indicator of morality, and Tyrest's attempted remedy can only be described as insane.
Always Someone Better: Chromedome feels that Dominus Ambus is this to him in Rewind's eyes, though Tailgate disagrees with him on this.
Played for Laughs with the Stentarians that Skids, Whirl, and Rewind meet in issue 22. Not only is their war infinitely more impressive than the Cybertronian Great War, it's so massive and old that it's the sole reason the Galactic Council was formed. They also have up to ten alt modes and are omnicombinational (they can all combine with each other). The kicker is that they're actually pretty small. Their gestalt mode they're really proud of is the size of Skids.
The Scavengers. Labeled by Banzai-Tron as the worst Decepticons ever (unless Tarn was just lying to demoralize Grimlock).
The Galactic Council, whose hatred of Cybertronians is rash, but justified. Rodimus calls them a bunch of fascists, but their true nature has yet to be revealed, and how much of an antagonistic role they could have in the future remains to be seen.
Ambiguous Disorder: Spinister is basically a walking psychosis. He displays violent tendencies, delusional paranoia, short-term memory loss that is sometimes similar to Alzheimer's, and acts like a mentally retarded person in general. Yet at the same time he seems to be able to socialize well and can perform advanced surgery and bomb diffusions. He's like Ice King from Adventure Time and Marv from Sin City mixed together.
A Million Is a Statistic: Getaway talks about this when Skids admits he almost wanted to apologize to Megatron when Megatron allows both himself and Ravage to be locked up on the wrecked Lost Light when it looks like he-or rather his future self-might have had something to do with what happened, something that Megatron fully agreed with them doing and worries he might stop hating Megatron at this rate.
Getaway: A Decepticon kills an Autobot and you hate him. But a million Autobots? A billion? It's meaningless. That's the problem: the greater the crime, the harder it is to process a response.
Amnesiac Hero: Skids. He knows from records his name and that he's a theoretician, but remembers nothing of his previous life before ending up on a shuttle crashing through a portal onto the same planet the Lost Light had also crashed on. He ends up becoming a sort of impulsive Action Hero, a far cry from his typical mild-mannered Actual Pacifist portrayal in stories.
Amusing Injuries: Played with in issue 12. When a number of Autobots are grievously wounded, Chromedome turns to Swerve, only finding his face blown off, and his eye hanging out. The injury looks awful, and then it's revealed that he got it by accidentally discharging a gun in his face.
Constantly subverted with Pipes. Despite the regularity of his being injured, he has exactly one Amusing Injury to his name (Brainstorm's ennui gun).
An Arm and a Leg: Dismemberment is common in this series, as robots most of them can be repaired.
Cyclonus accidentally cuts off one of Rung's arms with his wing when fleeing from Whirl.
Rodimus fuses both arms with the Quantum Generator killing the Sparkeater, and has to have them amputated and replaced.
When Pipes is infected, one of his legs rots and falls off.
Ratchet loses an arm during the climax in issue 5, while Pharma loses his hands.
A flashback shows Black Shadow ripping off one of Hyperion's arms.
Tesarus shreds both of Black Shadow's legs.
Empurata: A disfiguring punishment in which both the hands and head are removed and replaced by primitive claws and a featureless cycloptic face.. Glitch, Whirl, and Shockwave all had it done on them.
Slugfest looses at least a foreleg when Ultra Magnus steps on him.
Drift has his legs cut off by Overlord with his own sword.
Chromedome has the door to the slow-cell closed on him, lopping off his arm as he tries to reach for Rewind.
Season 2 starts off with more dismemberment when Whirl punches Megatron through the stomach. His space-bridge infused body teleports the limb off.
During the fight at Megatron's trial, Broadside rips off Tentakill's left arm and a few of his tentacles. While Snap Trap is seen lying in a pool of his own blood missing most if not all of his limbs.
Anachronic Order: Used throughout the comic to good effect, presenting the backstories and memories of characters over time through flashbacks. Taken Up to Eleven in issue 12, which switches pretty much scene by scene from events an hour or before the crew of the Lost Light engages a group of Decepticons commanded by Snap-Trap, events that take place during the battle, and events during the immediate aftermath of said battle in erratic order.
Nautica and Nightbeat's conversation in the lift in issue #32 happens out of order, but neither of them notices this because they're too busy examining Brainstorm's briefcase.
Anticlimax: In-Universe. Skids states that finding out the contents of Brainstorm's briefcase will lead to this. And when Nightbeat and Nautica finally discover the briefcase discarded in the turbolift of the wrecked Lost Light they open it and discover it's empty, its contents apparently stolen (or already used). Of course, neither of them notices that the conversation they're having about what might have happened to its contents happens out of order...
Rather cynically, Ratchet confides in Pharma that after all the fighting, and the end of the war, peace itself has turned out to be "one gigantic anticlimax".
Ore: Peace is the freedom to do whatever you want. Unless you're talking about inner peace, in which case I doubt any of us will ever feel that again. You can't live through what we've lived through and expect to feel that. All you can do is be thankful you survived.
Anyone Can Die: Not entirely in effect, one or two main characters have been killed, but so far there hasn't been much death in the ranks, cast-wise. In-universe, the Lost Light was good about this at first, until Overlord got free, killing several members of the crew, and the Legislators certainly caused casualties.
A flash-forward listing Ultra Magnus, Drift, Hound, and Chromedome as deceased shows that this will get more focus sooner or later.
Roberts has said in an interview that Tesarus's blades are coated in it, which allowed him to shred Black Shadow's legs.
Apocalypse How: Tyrest's Universal Killswitch nearly causes a Class 1 before the crew stops it. If successful, it would have killed every constructed-cold Cybertronian in the inhabited galaxy, effectively wiping out half of the Cybertronian race.
Arc Number: Variations of the number 113 constantly show up, which are a Shout-Out/ Mythology Gag referencing the issue of the original UK comic that got the writer, James Roberts, hooked on the franchise. Same goes for 332. The significance of the number 113 is to be revealed in issue 32, when the crew arrive in a location called Sector 113 and have all their past mistakes bite them on the ass hard.
Arch-Enemy: Several of the bots have one. Whirl's used to be Killmaster before Whirl did some... unfortunate things to him. Skids thinks Misfire is this to him but can't remember why.
Shock: After everything we've been through – escaping Hell's Point, braving the crucible, surviving Babu Yar, welding Prowl's hands together for a joke…
Ascended Extra: Multiple characters are fleshed out which were under-utilized in other series or in the IDW continuity itself. This is Swerve and Tailgate's biggest role in fiction, Whirl's developed more than helicopter-wrecker. Rung went from an unseen Mr. Exposition of character Bios to a starring position.
Ascended Meme: In issue 20 Getaway describes Prowl as "prickly", getting as close as Roberts could probably get to using Prowl's rather... impolite Fan Nickname from the TFWiki.net. It's Prick if you don't know.
Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Tyrest's goal is to enter Cyberutopia, which believes can reach using a collection of space bridges salvaged from dead Metrotitans. However, only individuals that are completely at peace and free of guilt can cross through the portal's barrier. Skids actually does cross over the threshold in issue 21 and arrives in a very strange place.
Ass Shove: Whirl is implied to have done this to a villainous Decepticon called Killmaster using a wand the size of his head. Yes, really.
The alternate version of Overlord who never escaped his slow cell and was executed by the DJD when they came for him. Though compared to the crew, he got off easy; all they did was cut his head off with a chainsaw.
Nautica acts like one in the season two comics, since she is both a newcomer to the Lost Light as well as being from a Lost Colony and not Cybertron itself, she is able to ask the pertinent questions that can get new readers to the comic up to speed on what's already happened.
Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Decepticons woke up the already fighting Autobots with the Simanzi Massacre, a particularly brutal battle that resulted in the deaths of thousands and scarred many more for centuries to come. This resulted in the Endless Retaliation. We don't hear much about it, but judging by the way Rewind refers to it (mentioning it alongside some of the darkest moments in galactic history that nearly pushed the Cybertronian race to extinction) it was pretty nasty.
Awesome by Analysis: Skids is identified as a "super-learner" and pick up new skills quickly and easily.
Awesome McCoolname: A few. Thunderclash, Killmaster, Spinister, Overlord, Cyclonus, and Star Saber come to mind.
Back-to-Back Badasses: Cyclonus and Whirl in issue 12. Whirl lampshades it, and says even their color schemes complement each other. Cyclonus responds by reiterating his hatred for Whirl, and his intent to murder him.
Badass Boast: Rodimus makes one to Tyrest at the end of issue 20.
Rodimus: This isn't over. I'll find you, Tyrest. I will find you and I will kill you. And if I have to tear Cyberutopia apart to do it, fine!
Badbutt: Tailgate claims to be a highly skilled and well trained soldier but not only does he not display any combat skills, he just just plain doesn't have the personality of a soldier. Justified considering that he never actually did any of the awesome things he claims to have done.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: Justified. Transformers are robots and don't require oxygen or any sort of inhalation so they can move about in atmosphere empty areas without problem. Their starships are still pressurized, however, presumably for the sake of any non-mechanical crew-members or visitors.
Batman Gambit: Chromedome's use of Trepan's Trigger to momentarily stun Overlord relied entirely on Rodimus busting out his Catch Phrase "Till All Are One" after manipulating Overlord's memories of his many defeats at Megatron and Ironfist's hands to associate defeat with that phrase. It works because Rodimus is Rodimus and loves the phrase.
Prowl manipulating Rodimus into stowing Overlord on the Lost Light counts as well. He told Rodimus that if he was scared to put him on the shuttle, he could just say no.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Trailcutter wishes away his forcefield abilities right before a pulse weapon freezes everyone on the Lost Light and Decepticons invade the ship.
Becoming the Mask: Being Ultra Magnus wasn't just a job for Minimus Ambus, it was his entire life. Ratchet even confides in him that as far as he is concerned, Minimus is the "true" Ultra Magnus.
Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Subverted. When Cyclonus is accused of killing Red Alert, Rodimus is sure he's the culprit, and Drift interrogates him. Ultra Magnus points out that he hasn't had his rights read, and Cyclonus's isn't being helpful because he doesn't even know why he's being interrogated. The interrogation is quickly derailed by Drift's play at bad cop (trying to coax a confession using Saying Too Much based on his actions), ending with Cyclonus disarming him and slamming his head against a table.
Don't try to blackmail Chromedome regarding his past.
Don't suggest that Rodimus is a Glory Hound. He doesn't take it well.
In-Universe, there's a drink called "Berserker Button". Appropriately, it is mentioned Whirl goes on a rampage after having one too many and being asked for the time.
Megatron's is being unjustly imprisoned. Key word being unjustly. He draws a gun on Tailgate when the latter pulls a gun on him and demands that Megatron be locked up on account of Crosscut disappearing and Megatron just happening to be in the room when it occurred as evidence of his guilt. But the next issue when it looks like Megatron, or rather his future self, might have had something to do with the deaths on the alternate Lost Light, once he realizes the evidence against him is solid, he agrees that locking up both himself and Ravage is an excellent idea, since he is no longer fit to try and predict his own future.
BFS: Star Saber carries one, as his name suggests.
All of the Circle of Light carry Great Swords.
Big Bad Ensemble: The Decepticon Justice Division and their leader Tarn are the ultimate main villains (Roberts even refers to them as such in an interview) but since they rarely encounter the crew there are several other villains that serve as secondary but equally dangerous antagonists. This includes Overlord, Chief Justice Tyrest, and as of issue 33 Brainstorm.
Bigger Bad: Arguably Prowl. He's on Cybertron, far away from the Lost Light and rarely interacts directly with the crew, but his manipulations and schemes indirectly cause many of the dangers and villains the crew faces in their travels.
When the DJD corner the Scavengers, Crankcase gets his hands on a Cybernought, and proceeds to stomp on Tarn and blast Helex and Tesarus. Kaon then electrocutes Crankcase and Tarn blasts it, bringing the whole thing down, subverting the trope within a few panels of its appearance.
Tailgate stopping Tyrest, at least long enough for the others to recover.
And then finally the previously thought-dead Minimus Ambus picking up a BFG and shooting Tyrest in the back, thus negating the need for Rodimus to shoot through Tailgate (who is being used as a Human Shield by Tyrest).
Big "NO!": Fortress Maximus when Rung is accidentally shot in the head.
Swerve does this when Skids is skewered by Star Saber in issue #18.
Big Ol' Eyebrows: Rung's are commented on repeatedly. Before the war Quark thought they might be listening devices.
Bilingual Bonus: Issue #16, "Gloaming" means "Twilight" in old Scottish. "Lamentatorem" means "mourning".
"Conjunx Endura" is latin for "enduring/everlasting spouse", while "Empurata" is an anagram of the latin word "amputare" (to amputate). Roberts is really fond of this trope.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Atomizer has been keeping a list of the crewmembers who voted to have Rodimus stand down as captain after the Overlord incident. He than tempted Rodimus into using it to keep said crew members out of the quest.
Bizarre Alien Biology: The series delves more into the Transformers as robotic aliens. Issues 4-5 have them infected by a disease generated by sound. They can survive without their heads, and even get them and their body parts replaced. When their bodies change and parts are replaced, the energon around their spark stays the same.
Issues 17 and 19 reveal that Transformers can be born two ways: being forged (being born naturally through a Pulsewave from Vector Sigma and then harvested from a Hot Spot) or constructed cold (being born using a transfer from another spark or more precisely, being created using the Matrix). Despite In-universe arguments that there is no difference between the two types, there is. A specific code exists in every constructed cold spark that can be accessed and utilised, if you happen to know how.
As issue 14 shows, some sparks exist that happen to be bright green (and also fatal to anyone who happens to be nearby when they form). The creation of such sparks only occurred at less than .01% of the time, though strangely enough a large amount of famous Autobots and Decepticons happen to have them. These types of sparks are only ever created via Hot Spot. Anyone with these sparks tend to have abilities beyond those of normal Cybertronians.
Issue 31 sheds some more light on the nature of sparks, which usually come in three types: Vitreous, Isomeric and Ferrum. There also exists Estriol-type sparks, which so far has only been found in Nautica (Though by implication any and all other female Camians have this type) note Estriol is one of the 3 main Estrogens AKA Female hormones. These three types are then subdivided into positive or negative types, though what distinction this means is unclear.
Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Sparks are created from the Matrix, or from a pulse wave from Vector Sigma. The energies in both have a data code which is the baseline for life, sparks are then found, harvested and put into casings and finally bodies, creating a new cybertronian.
Black Speech: Old Cybertronian apparently sounds like this to modern-day 'bots or maybe that's just when Cyclonus is singing in it very loudly with a distinct Tetrahexian accent. Though given the only other person in the series fluent in Old Cybertronian is Vos...
Rodimus: Just a precautionary measure in response to something absolutely unremarkable and actually quite boring. But if anyone here does happen to carry industrial-strength energy dampeners or turn into a nullification booth, or is able to generate level 9 containment fields, then hey, feel free to tag along…
The cover of issue 35 which has a giant neon sign that reads "Everything is Fine".
Blessed with Suck: Tailgate's Cybercrosis makes him immune to Tyrest's thought weapon, giving him a chance to stop him and deactivate his staff, thus enabling the others, not affected by the killswitch, to recover and face Tyrest proper.
Body Horror: What Pharma does to Ratchet in issue 18. Removing his entire body and leaving him nothing but a still-living head and spark.
Book Ends: issue 19’s first and last page end with a panel of Tyrest, facing the audience and away from Magnus/Minimus, while saying “Fully deserved”.
Megatron was originally arrested for being present while Impactor fought and brutalized a couple of military cadets who were assaulting Rung. Flash forward to after Megatron joins the crew, and the psychologist is helping him work out his issues.
Boom Head Shot: Rung gets his head blown off by Swerve by accident. He survived, but was comatose until issue 11.
Whirl also blows Nautilator's head to pieces.
Swerve shoots himself in the face (albeit nonfatally) in the same Issue. Sensing a pattern?
Bowdlerise: In-Universe, Ultra Magnus edits and censors a bunch of bits from Rewind's documentary. He mostly just abuses this to censor clips of him acting like a buffoon.
Brainwashing for the Greater Good: What the basic function of the Institutes were. Also what Prowl attempted to have Skids and Getaway do to Tyrest, by using a "nudge gun" to fire a thought into his head that would have caused him to resign, since Prowl believed Tyrest was becoming more and more unstable. However, due to Tyrest having already damaged his brain module via drilling, he could tell the idea to resign wasn't actually his.
Breather Episode: "Cybertronian Homesick Blues", Issue 22. And funnily enough? Issue 21 as well, all things considered.
Briefcase Full of Money: Played with. When Drift is attempting to buy the ship that would latter be known as The Lost Light, the previous owner mentions someone else tried to buy it already with one of these. Drift then proceeds to buy it anyways with a gold currency card that is worth 1 'BILLION Shannix.
Brick Joke: Combined with Hypocritical Humor. In issue 4, Trailbreaker is drunkenly ranting about how massively overrated he feels Fortress Maximus is, including a jab at the fact that Max has "guns in his legs" (and when Max actually walks in, Trailbreaker hastily and badly tries to use this same fact to praise Max). Fast-forward to issue #12, and Hoist is now complementing Trailbreaker on his newly upgraded legs, courtesy of Brainstorm...which happen to have guns in them.
Issue 31 features a flashback one between Drift and Pipes
Drift:(annoyed at Pipes) Seriously Pipes, don't make me put my foot down.note Pipes dies when Overlord "puts his foot down" on him
Brought Down to Normal: Megatron is being forced to recharge with specially designed fuel that keeps him weak compared to his normal state.
Broken Pedestal: Megatron has become this to the Decepticons. Not only for turning his back on the movement he founded, but then (being forced to) publically denounce it and then defecting to the Autobots, their enemy. Ravage desperately wants to believe he's either been brainwashed or that this is part of some farther-reaching plan and is visibly crushed when Megatron admits neither of those is true.
Bullying a Dragon: Whirl decides to attack the former Dead-Universe agent who's torn through dozens of Autobots. Cyclonus decides to threaten the mentally unstable Autobot on a battlefield with plenty of opportunities for Unfriendly Fire.
Dai Atlas probably should've thought twice about laughing at Star Saber's "atheist holocaust" plan...
In issue 31 Tailgate has the balls to pull a pistol on Megatron. Megatron is more bemused than anything and is trying to change for the better so Tailgate isn't in too much danger... until he proposes locking Megatron up without evidence.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Spinister, big time. The guy's a massive idiot who'll try to interrogate his own fingers... but he also happens to be a spectacular surgeon.
Butt Monkey: Poor Pipes can't seem to catch a break; on his first time ever on an alien planet, his attempt at being spontaneous results in him being infected with a virus that almost melts him to death by rusting, though a cure is found in time to save him. Then as he's recovering from that over a few drinks in Swerve's bar, he gets unceremoniously shot in the chest by Fortress Maximus in the grips of a psychotic break because Pipes happens to have a similar colour scheme to Overlord. He pulls through that too, but in issue 12, after the assault on the rogue Decepticons, we see him flat out in the shuttle having sustained even MORE grievous injuries. It's like the universe goes out of its way to try and hurt him. And then he gets killed in issue 15, when he runs straight into Overlord.
Rung similarly goes through the wringer, such as getting an arm cut off by a fleeing Cyclonus, being used as bait for the Sparkeater, being held hostage, getting shot in the head, etc...
The fact that is Played for Laughs comes and bites Ultra Magnus in the aft later on, when Tyrest complains that Ultra Magnus has been focusing so much on the most inane details that everyone considers him a laughingstock.
Callback: In Issue 3, when Animus and Whirl shared a room and Animus was locked out he accused Whirl of doing it, but it was really Rodimus who auto-locked the rooms. Whirl couldn't get the door open, and Animus was killed by the Sparkeater. In Issue 12 Tailgate tries to diffuse a bomb with Rewind, and Cyclonus goes to clear him out. Whirl locks Cyclonus in with Rewind, letting the explosion claim them, all the while saying he can't get the door open.
There's also one to the story "Zero Point." When one's in a coma after massive trauma, there's a space between connections called Zero Point, when that space is bridged, the person wakes up. It can be bridged by a memory. In "Zero Point", Roadbuster does it to Springer, here they do it to Rung.
The Cameo: Used in-universe with Rung during the "Shadowplay". He constantly appears in historical moments in a cameo-like fashion. Rewind describes how there are numerous times when Rung was present at or witnessed historical events but rarely was directly involved. He mentions that Rung is what historians call "a Historical Constant".
"Shadowplay" in general has quite a few cameos from characters who are either dead in the present, or simply underused, like Nightbeat, Ironfist, and Windcharger, amongst others.
Impactor appears for one panel, as Whirl's new cell-mate.
Macabre is in the background when the Senate thugs arrest Senator Shockwave.
The opening of issue 16 is filled with cameos:
The battle for Hell's Point: all the Warriors Elite (Sixshot, Heretech, Black Shadow, Overlord, Killmaster), Megatron (in gun mode), Impactor, the Dynobots.
Clemency: Shock and Ore, the Powerdashers, Torque.
Casual Interstellar Travel: Played with. Space travel is at least somewhat casual (most likely thanks to quantum jumping) but it also seems to be rather costly, like it would be in real life. The only reason the Scavengers are able to get anywhere is because they scavenge fuel and spare parts to keep their piece-of-crap ship going.
This gets brought up in issue 31. As it turns out, the fact that the Lost Light gets around so quickly should be blatantly impossible. Nautica is concerned by this, but no-one has a chance to think about it.
Catapult Nightmare: Chromedome occasionally suffers them as a side-effect of his mnemosurgery. It's just one of many reasons that Rewind is trying to get him to quit.
Catch Phrase: "Til All Are One!" is Rodimus' catchphrase, to the point of him using it during a particularly good card game, and being the subject of a bet during Tailgate's inauguration ceremony. Drift complains that his overuse is cheapening the dramatic effect it is supposed to have. Chromedome was counting on this in the event Overlord ever got out of his cell.
Cataclysm Backstory: The galaxy is the way it is today thanks to The Shattering, a massive and disastrous war/event which led to the formation of the Galactic Council and cemented a stronger over-arching government for the galactic community. There's also the Five Dark Epochs but those only affected the Cybertronians.
Chainsaw Good: Overlord has a pretty big chainsaw which he used to cut Fortress Maximus up during his incarceration.
Pharma's new hands can turn into just about anything, but he prefers chainsaws.
The Caper: Orion Pax organizes one in order to steal a bomb disguised as a fake Matrix during the events of Shadowplay.
Character Development: Swerve. He goes from a total Blurr fanboy, whom he would call his best friend (and we find out that isn't the case at all) to develop a proper friendship with Skids, whom he now calls his best friend.
Most of the characters undergo this to a bigger or lesser extent, or are shown to have Hidden Depths.
Character Shilling: Parodied with Spoke and Lockstock, who are constantly talked about as if they're the most badass members of the crew but always happen to be just off-screen.
Chekhov's Armoury: The comic is packed to the brim with detail. Characters, items, and events that are only briefly seen or mentioned in passing become massively important later on.
Chekhov's Gag: Blip was mentioned by Ultra Magnus as a Decepticon who thought he was a Sparkeater in issue #3. He appears in issue 12 as part of the Decepticon team the Lost Light crew fights.
A big one with the semicolon.
Chekhov's Gun: Lots. There's Brainstorm's mass-displacement gun, ultra-violet light, the golden disc Rewind buys from Swindle, Ore's drill arm, etc.
According to Word of God, Rung's microphone was only mentioned in issue 2 so that it could play a role in 6.
Vos is both this and a Chekhov's Gun as he appears in his sniper rifle alt-mode, being welded by Megatron, in Issue 3, during a flashback.
Mnemosurgery marks showing up under ultraviolet light is a seemingly one-off symptom that Chromedome relates to Skids. We see similar marks under ultraviolet light on the back of Red Alert's neck in the "Shadowplay" flashback, hinting that the Senate is using him to feed the police misinformation unknowingly.
The Decepticons that attack the 'bots on Luna-1 first appeared in the Trailcutter spotlight issue, which chronologically happens between issue #5 and #6.
Chief Justice Tyrest was first alluded to during Last Stand Of The Wreckers, and shown in a flash-back, partly in shadow. And of course, the Accord that bears his name has been around since Spotlight: Ultra Magnus.
Getaway was obliquely foreshadowed back in issue #8 when Chromedome uses memnosurgery to scan Skids' mind to try and recover his lost memories and misinterprets Getaway's name as "an imperative to escape". He realizes his mistake when Getaway is chucked into their cell on Luna-1.
Atomizer was a little more than a striking background character until Issue 29.
Chekhov's Skill: In issue 3 Rung mentioned that he had a recorder built into his thumb. It becomes somewhat useful in Issue 6 before a psychotic Fort Max tears it off.
Subverted with Flywheels. When he is introduced, Misfire specifically mentions that he has big feet. When Tesarus tries to lower him into his shredder chest, his feet block the way. Tesarus notes that, and and just puts him in head first, shredding and killing him.
Crankcase being a pilot becomes useful when the Scavengers need a big mecha to fight the DJD and again when they need to fly their ship.
Child Soldiers: Some Cybertronians, such as Fortress Maximus and Fulcrum, came online during the war. Chillingly, no-one on either side makes a big deal out of it.
Even worse, in issue 31 it's mentioned that there was a whole slew of them, named the Made To Order, and that they frequently suffer neurological disorders because of their rapid construction.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Whirl asks Cyclonus why his sword is better than his. Dai Atlas intervenes and mentions that Cyclonus' sword draws energy from the spark to energize it, but the reason its stronger than normal is because Cyclonus is religious.
Clip Show: Issue 22, although its only used as a Framing Device, as the content itself is a new story.
Combat Medic: Ratchet and Pharma play this straight. First Aid and Ambulon are more regular medics, although First Aid proved that he can work under pressure, during the events at Delphi, when the life support system is blown up.
Confirmation Bias: Megatron accuses the Autobots and Neutrals of this at his trial. He's got a point, given that the trial was presided over by his archenemy. It ends up earning him his place on the Lost Light, as he makes the argument that only the Knights Of Cybertron can properly judge him from a neutral standpoint; pretty much everyone in known space either loves or hates Megatron. invoked
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Inverted with the Legislators. While they're threatening and tough, they're basically Giant Mooks, and the first two took a bit to defeat, but Skids took them down with no real problem. When there's an army of them, the better armed Crew can shoot them down faster, but the Legislators over-run them, and take down numerous crew members, meaning that they're worse en-masse.
First Aid says in issue 4 that “sometimes, life persists”, alluding to the last words from that book.
Fortress Maximus tearing one of the Genericons in half and slamming the pieces together in issue 5 is an homage to LSOTW #5, in which Overlord did the same thing to Guzzle. Here, though, it's fatal.
The cover of issue 6 is a call back to Fort Max being thrown to the prisoners of Garrus 9. Also, Fort Max' wanting to ask Prowl why it took him 3 years, 2 months and 10 days to finally send the Wreckers to Garrus 9.
The opening flashback scene in issue 14 is the immediate continuation to when Overlord yanks Impactor's harpoon from his eye in Issue 5 of LSOTW.
Overlord is still despairing about Megatron's death. Until Chromedome tells him otherwise.
Issue 10 has "Wreck 'n' Rule" scrawled on the wall of the prison cell where Orion Pax meets Whirl. Who was Whirl's cellmate? Impactor.
In addition, Impactor was brought into prison sans his right hand, like in LSTOW where he's been incarcerated without one. In both cases it was likely to remove a potential weapon.
To the story "Bullets." The Lost Light also has the Ethics Committee onboard (Xaaron, Trailbreaker, and Animus), with Animus admitting to lying to get on the committee, and Brainstorm alluding to the crazy stuff he's made (creating the most inventions deemed unethical).
Issue 9 begins with Quark´s “So, what am I looking at again? Not more violence” referencing Impactor's words in issue 22 of the previous ongoing. If you look closely, you can see the window of Maccadam still cracked from Rung's crash into it, which happened in that same issue.
Swerve mentions that he and Blurr were gonna open a bar once the war is over. He opens a bar aboard the Lost Light, and Blurr opens one in Cybertron
Trips to the brig show Tentakil, Snapdragon, and Snaptrap locked up after their battle with the Autobots in issue 12.
In issue 14 a flashback depicts Megatron taking off his helmet, showing the crest that makes up his actual head. This was only shown one other time, way back in Megatron Origins.
The opening pages of issue 16 all show events previously mentioned in the series: the battle for Hell's Point, the Simanzi Massacre, and the battle in Clemency (seen in the opening of issue 8).
It's not the first time that Prowl has dabbled in trying to manipulate other people's thought processes. He had Perceptor implant sub-routines into Kup to have him become Prowl's puppet whenever needed, because Prowl figured out that they might not listen to him, but they would listen to Kup.
In issue 22 Whirl mentions Sixshot, though he doesn't say his name. He also lists of his modes as Beast, tank, jet, gun, and something he can't remember, which lampshades that Sixshot has never turned into his car-alt mode for any of his IDW appearances outside a cover.
Issue 30 features the return of Whirl's holo-avatar.
The Corruption: Tyrest, in his insanity, has become convinced that cold construction is something like this and has dedicated himself to stopping the nonexistent threat.
Corrupt Politician: Senator Proteus. He's worse than Ratbat and Decimus, having commissioned Empurata, Shadowplay, and a False Flag Operation that would kill tons of people, to crush a then-justified political movement.
Couldn't Find a Pen: When Fotress Maximus is being tortured in flashback, the wall of the torture room has "SAVE ME" written in energon/blood, with the E in ME smeared. Bloody Handprints can be seen all around it, the size of them likely means that another victim wrote it.
Crazy Jealous Guy: Benign example with Rewind, who gets jealous about Chromedome's past ties with Prowl.
Crapsaccharine World: Like many modern depictions of Cybertron's pre-war days. The Senate controlled and secretly ordered brainwashings and deaths, severe classism gripped the populace, and the value of lower class's lives were incredibly low. All under the facade of being a peaceful time without the war.
In issue 13 Rewind mentions several seemingly nice planets that have seedy underbellies. Amongst those listed are Lovetopia, Cuddlex, and the living hell that is Giggleopolis. He even lampshades it, noting that he believes that the outwardly well-adjusted and peaceable a society is, the more likely it is to have some sort of dark secret.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fulcrum is a coward and is weak physically, but he's a Guile Hero who can come up with remarkably clever plans and is willing to stand up for his friends when it counts. He comes up with a scheme that allows him to single-handedly save Misfire from a massive security complex and escape the huge police force that pursues them.
In Delphi, all the patients are infected with a virus that activates when one transforms and causes the organs and insides to succumb to rust and decay. They end up coming out of the optics, having the victim cry to death.
The Decepticon Justice Division will melt you, shred you, electrocute you, and optionally mutilate your face before letting you die.
Poor Ambulon is sawn in half lengthwise. On-panel.
Basically everyone who was killed during the DJD's rampage through the alternate Lost Light. Helex forced each of the crewmembers to eat their own brain modules before they were forced into their altmodes and then executed and had their transformation cogs harvested by Tarn. We also see a shot of what the rampage must have looked like, which included Tesaurus shredding Perceptor and at least one other 'bot, Mainframe getting his head ripped off by Helex, Tarn simply casually crushing Swerve's head while he blasts Ultra Magnus and Kaon using Vos in his sniper rifle mode to execute Whirl at basically point-blank range with a headshot. Oh, and they also severed Overlord's head with a chainsaw.
Cryptic Background Reference: A lot of events and places are mentioned and then elaborated on as the series progresses. The Institute, Empurata, and Relinquishment Clinics are good examples.
The Simanzi Massacre is made out of these. It's mentioned as being one of the worst of the worst battles from the entire war, and the closest Megatron felt he ever came to winning. Something called "the Crucible" was involved, and numerous individuals who fought there still has psychological issues because of it. The Autobots created entire armies to fight in it, most of whom probably died, since it was mentioned that the Cybertronian race was halved afterward. One Ultra Magnus died during the event. Apparently after it was all over, part of Cybertron's hemisphere was superheated so badly it could be seen from a distance. And yet we've never seen the actual events on-page, so far.
Cult Colony: New Crystal City, founded by the Circle of Light.
Cunning Linguist: Rewind, thanks to his large data archive. Cyclonus and Tailgate as well but only because they know Old Cybertronian (they were around when it was used).
The Decepticon Justice Division to everyone they meet.
Curse Cut Short: "The duly appointed enforcer of the Tyrest Accord can duly appoint my shiny metal-".
"With all due respect, Drift, I don't think I've ever heard such a load of—"
"Why are you such a-"
Cyber Cyclops: Whirl, the way he tilts his head and when he's taken damage allow him to convey emotion. Flashbacks reveal that Whirl, Glitch and even Shockwave got their heads and hands removed and replaced with the cycloptoid heads as a fantastical form of mutilation and humiliation in the society.
Three-of-Twelve is also one, but whether or not he underwent Empurata is undetermined.
Crankcase implies Krok has one, alluding to the device he's holding in his hand which he tries to call his former team with, Crankcase says they'll never come.
Disturbingly, it's strongly implied that the Lost Light itself has a horrific history. For one thing, there was a Sparkeater onboard it in the engine rooms when the Lost Lighters got it. As if that wasn't enough, Drift notes that Sparkeaters are drawn to emotional torment, so something awful had to have happened on the Lost Light for it to stick around after it got free. Nightbeat lampshades that there's something mysterious and weird about the ship when he first sees it. A flashback in "Shadowplay" shows Rung with an exact model of the Lost Light... a full four million years before the ship would did anything significant as far as we know.
Issue 31 reveals that the previous owners don't even know where the Lost Light came from; they just found it floating around completely abandoned, took it as their own, than sold it off to Drift the second he offered to buy it. Oh and it's previous owners were basically devil worshippers.
Darkest Hour: The end of "Remain In Light" part 4. Tyrest trumps the away team with thought control, Ultra Magnus and Dai Atlas are seemingly dead, Fulcrum and Misfire are trapped on Constancy, Cyclonus and Whirl are forced to face Star Saber alone, and Tyrest activates the Killswitch, crippling most of the crew of the Lost Light and Scavengers. He than steps through the portal that will seemingly lead to the Knights Of Cybertron, leaving the remaining crew members behind in mayhem.
As a species, the Cybertronians have had five of these, named the Five Dark Epochs, the events that pushed their species to the brink of extinction:
The Uprising, the beginning of the war.
The Exodus, when most of Cybertron's population fled the planet.
The Remote Age, where the war spread across the galaxy.
The Cataclysm, when Thunderwing went insane and rampaged across Cybertron, rendering the planet uninhabitable for centuries.
The Surge: Which only took place a few years ago, when Sunstreaker betrayed the Autobots, and the Decepticons went on an all-out assault.
Dark Is Not Evil: Cyclonus's when drawn by Milne, focuses a lot more on his demonic features (contrast to Chaos and Issue 13), his horns are longer and sharper, his eyes are sunken in and his cheeks are hallow, even his claws become more evident, contrasting his heroic actions in the comic.
Deadly Deferred Conversation: In issue #15 between Chromedome and Rewind, after Rewind finds out that Chromedome not only used his dangerous mnemosurgery skill after he asked Chromedome not to, but also hid the fact that he did so from Rewind, who is the Cybertronian equivalent of his husband.
Chromedome: You're angry. Rewind: No, I'm past that. It's - what I feel is worse than anger. In fact I don't know— Chromedome: What? Rewind: I really don't know if I can forgive you for this. Chromedome: We'll finish this conversation later. We will. I promise.
Deal with the Devil: A heavily intoxicated Ultra Magnus leaves an implication to Swerve that he made one with Chief Justice Tyrest.
Magnus: "He promised me things - things I'd always wanted. And - worse than that - he gave them to me! And I took them Swerve! I took them!"
Death by Irony: the unnamed killer that crashes against a billboard promoting flying, while hijacking a flight capable body in issue 10. Chromedome even calls it "the ironic billboard".
Death Montage: Issue 16 begins with a showcase of all the horrible injuries that Ultra Magnus has suffered in the line of duty. We later learn that while the identity survived, the bots using the identity did not.
Death Seeker: Issue six reveals Whirl to be one. It creates some of the series's blackest comedy.
Debut Queue: For season 2, new additions to the roster include Megatron, Nautica, Nightbeat, Bluestreak, the Monsterbots and the Protectobots, among others.
Deconstruction: See Meaningful Name below, but also transforming itself. The series shows how it integrates into culture, how some bots die in their preferred forms, how it can be addicting, how some altmodes can considered embarrassing or to say negative things about a person's history or personality, and how it's vital to how the Transformers live, instead of being just a gimmick to sell toys or used only for disguise. There is also some emphasis on the prejudice against alt-modes (shapism), how one's alt-mode influenced one's career and life (functionism), and even on a religion that doesn't approve of changing forms (the Militant Monoform Movement). The biggest example was the crisis on Delphi, where bots' organ's liquefy and come out of their optics, thus crying themselves to death, via a sonic-based disease that activates only when they transform.
As confirmed by Word of God Chief Justice Tyrest, Pharma, and Star Saber are essentially the three pillars of society (law, medicine, and religion) all taken to their most horrific conclusions:
Tyrest is a lawmaker who becomes consumed with guilt due to past decisions, starts blaming himself for the criminals he convicts, and ultimately becomes a fanatic who plans to commit murder on a galactic scale in what he believes to be a twisted form of justice and atonement.
Pharma is a doctor who gets pressured into killing people to save himself and degrades into a Mad Scientist who considers people's lives to be a sick "game". He starts using the same medical skills he used to save people to murder and torture. And all of this is implied to be linked to a massive inferiority complex he developed towards another doctor who saved more people than him.
Star Saber is a religious zealot who is so fanatically religious that he believes that he is absolved of any and all sins he commits. He attempts to commit genocide against anyone who doesn't believe in his religion, which is implied to simply be a disturbing form of self-validation for him.
Demoted to Extra: Perceptor, Sunstreaker. While the other four Headmasters all have story lines, with Hardhead's in RID, Highbrow has been pushed to the back.
Depending on the Artist: Some of the designs change a lot depending who's the artist for the issue, but perhaps the most glaring one is Swerve and Tailgate, who are as tall as everyone else under Padilla.
Derelict Graveyard: In issue 18, past the mountains, in Luna-1, is an area full of corpses of Titans.
Desk Jockey: Prowl used to be this, as noted in "Shadowplay".
Determinator: Pipes. Broken, crushed, leaking, his spark falling out... he still crawls to the nearest alarm to activate it to warn the others.
Ultra Magnus has been shot at point blank range by Megatron, a Cybernought, and a bomb has exploded in his face. And that's before the events of this series. As it turns out, Tyrest was deliberately invoking this trope while designing the Magnus Suit.
Disney Villain Death: Pharma, when he confronts Ratchet on the roof, and he ends up falling off and trying to shoot him in the back. Drift slices off his hands and lets him fall. The author says that he likes the idea of Ratchet having a rival, so Pharma may return, and he does!.
Discontinuity Nod: In both the previous ongoing and the Transformers tie-in to IDW's Infestation event, Galvatron and his crew (Cyclonus, Scourge, and Jhiaxus) were constantly mislabeled as Decepticons, despite predating the emergence of factions. In the first issue of this series, Cyclonus states, quite clearly, that he's not a Decepticon and never has been.
Back in issue #24 of the ongoing, the name of the planet Varas Centralus was accidentally misspelled "Veras Centralus". In this issue, that mistake is referenced when Rewind refers to the two as separate but similarly-named planets that he mixes up with one another.
Disposable Vagrant: The Institute was kidnapping homeless people from the Dead End for their cerebral experiments. They would have taken Drift, if not for Orion Pax's intervention.
Disproportionate Retribution: In issue 4, Tailgate gets mad at Cyclonus for being an Unreliable Narrator concerning the Great War and in the heat of the moment lightly jabs Cyclonus in the arm. Cyclonus responds by violently beating Tailgate down and then brutally kicking him in the gut while he was writhing in pain on the ground.
The DJD specializes in this. According to Ratchet they torture and kill people for being captured against their will.
There's also Chromedome in issue 12 being referred to as Rewind's "Significant Other" and being forced to make very difficult medical choices on Rewind's behalf after Rewind is badly injured in battle, frantically repeating his medical information to First Aid (who already knows it all), refusing to leave his side, and being incredibly upset, stressed and frustrated for most of the issue. The whole thing is played very much like someone whose spouse has just been in a grave accident having to deal with it all.
James Roberts stated in an Q&A interview his desire to depict more complex relationships between Cybertronians; something that doesn't have a precise equivalent to ours. The term First Aid uses, Conjunx Endura is latin and roughly translates to "eternal spouse". So that's pretty much what it was.
Though much more subtle, there's Spinister's relationship with the other Scavengers. He's an idiot savant who has difficulty solving complicated ideas, may have short and long term memory loss.
Overlord undergoing the ununtrium process which makes him into a Super Warrior is played very much like a birth, with Rossum playing the part of the midwife, and Megatron as the proud parent.
Megatron: "He takes after me."
Drift's views on the "Death Clock" mirrors the view of some religions on certain topics.
The Dreaded: Invoked in issue 6 with Ultra Magnus in the bar. The Decepticon Justice Division is a more straight example.
Played With for Star Saber he's garnered an impressive reputation as a massive fascistic religious zealot with wars and genocides to back him up. However, characters don't necessarily fear him, and when his reputation is first brought up, it's in the form of a jab at his sanity.
Dreaming of Things to Come: Issue 21 reveals that when Drift had a near-death experience a few months ago, he had a vision of the future. The only thing he was able to take away from it is that Rodimus is going to be vital to whatever happens in the future.
Driven to Suicide: Red Alert removes his head to take himself out. Thankfully, First Aid was able to save him, though he's now in a coma.
Issue 12 also reveals that after the war had commenced in earnest, the few Relinquishment Clinics that were still up and running changed purposes from body tourism to assisting Transformers on both sides who were sick of the war, but unwilling to leave Cybertron to commit suicide. Chromedome was one of these Transformers, but meeting Rewind changed that.
In issue 1 it's lightly implied that Whirl was about to commit suicide by self immolation when Cyclonus walked in on him.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Pipes, he really made sure to make his last moments alive count, if only to alert everyone else.
Dysfunction Junction: The Lost Light is this. Almost half of the crew has some kind of serious psychological or personality disorder. It certainly doesn't help that they only have one therapist.
Lampshaded by Hoist in the spotlight.
Hoist:... so don't dismiss me just because -unlike all your pals on the Lost Light- my personality isn't the product of a crippling psychological disorder.
The Scavengers are even worse. Every one of them except Fulcrum and maybe Krok have some sort of personality disorder. And the closest thing to a doctor they have is Spinister, who could best be described as a mix between an autistic child and violent psychopath. And unlike the Lost Light, they don't have any therapists period.
Lampshaded again in issue 22. The Circle Of Light refuses to join the crew on their journey for this exact reason.
"Everyone on the Lost Light is cracked in the head!"
Ear Ache: Whirl breaks one of Cyclonus' horns off in the first issue. Tailgate makes him a new one as a present and he's fixed in issue 21.
Easily Forgiven: Rung to Fortress Maximus. This proves pivotal as it later gives Max the chance to fight Overlord. It also seems to be in Rung's nature to forgive easily, as he himself says he's lived long enough to know when to forgive.
Later on, everyone else to Fortress Maximus, as he seems to take over security duties with Ultra Magnus gone and Red Alert comatose.
Eccentric Mentor: Orion's Senator friend: Quirky, and quite forward thinking for his time. He likes to remodel his body, and does so 3 times willingly, joking about how he'll be remembered for his vanity. He's fascinated with other cultures and has sank billions into off-world travel, and communication to alien beings. He's also apparently quite emotional, and gathers strange empowered colleagues around him, even having Orion rebuilt in The Transformers IDW with a chest compartment "just in case".
Eldritch Abomination: The Sparkeater in issue 3 has shades of this. Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be a natural occurrence.
Eldritch Location: The ship the ragtag Decepticon group discovers which contains such beauties as a room with brains hanging from the ceiling, a robot made of wood, a room filled with dead protoforms (aka, a bunch of aborted Transformer fetuses), a hallway made of bleeding skin, and Grimlock in stasis. In response Misfire delivers this pure gem of dialogue:
Misfire: "You know, there are some Decepticons who, upon finding themselves in a skin-covered room surrounded by aborted protoforms and mechanoids made of bark, would rub their hands together, marvel at the universe's infinite capacity for surprise and dive right in. I am not one of those Decepticons. I say we run away screaming."
Tyrest's portal leads to one with a giant city standing in the distance, four moons, and a huge, multi-coloured spark that communicates with Skids using sensations.
There's an disturbing and increasingly heavy implication that the Lost Light is an Eldritch Location in and of itself.
Electric Torture: Star Saber subjects Getaway to this via a variable voltage harness.
This is also Kaon of the Decepticon Justice Division's specialty; he transforms into an electric chair. The DJD's first appearance shows him using his altmode to electrocute Black Shadow.
Ensemble Cast: The cast is large, and they all take turns at the front. Ratchet becomes the center of attention in the issue 4-5 arc with Pipes, Drift, First Aid, and Fort-Max supporting. Issue 6 has Fort-Max, Whirl and Rung take center stage. Issues 7-8 focus on a few Decepticons, issue 9-11 are about a group of Autobots exchanging stories about the times leading up to the war, 12 focus on Chromedome and Rewind, 13 on a group of Autobots in shore leave, 14 is Chromedome and Overlord's, and 15 and 16 showcase everyone in some degree while focusing a little more on Chromedome and Rewind.
Epic Fail: In the fight against the DJD in issue 8, Krok gets grabbed by Vos and Kaon and is getting the crap kicked out of him. Misfire runs over to help and somehow shoots Krok three times by mistake. This is truly epic considering that the members of the DJD are way bigger than the Scavengers and should be way easier targetsnote okay, Vos and Kaon are the smallest members, but they're still bigger than Krok, and Vos was right in Misfires line of fire. Then again, Misfire's poor aim is an integral aspect of his character.
Fulcrum was a suicide bomber who didn't explode... out of fear.
Equippable Ally: Vos turns into a sniper rifle, which his teammates on the DJD can wield (and if a flashback is any indication, Megatron has done so at some point in the past as well).
Even Evil Has Standards: The regular frontline Decepticon grunts (like the Scavengers) are just as repulsed (and terrified) by the brutality and zealotry of the Decepticon Justice Division as the Autobots. Fulcrum even calls them out on this when they arrive on Clemency, saying it's the thugs and psychopaths like the D.J.D. that ruined the Decepticon cause.
Everybody Lives: While the Remain in Light arc wasn't entirely free of casualties, the much-feared Issue 21 had none. Not even the villain's permanent deaths were confirmed.
Everybody's Dead, Dave: Played straight in Issue 32 where a group of the crew members arrive at the future version of the lost light with Ravage. Everybody on board has been killed in different brutal ways by the DJD, even Overlord, still trapped in the Basement. The only survivor is Rewind.
Nautica: But we haven't finished looking for survivors.
Megatron: There are no survivors.
Nautica: How do you know that?
Megatron: There are no survivors.
Nautica: But how do you know?
Megatron: Because I trained the DJD to be thorough.
Hoist:You know why you can't get a handle on me? Because I'm an ordinary person. I'm normal. I'm just a mid-ranking maintenance engineer who takes each day as it comes. I'm not particularly chatty, handsom or clever, but you know what? I get by. I manage.
Everyone Has Standards: The Decepticons aren't all a bunch of psychopaths or criminals, as demonstrated with the Scavengers who show several moral standards. Even the most callous Con is utterly disgusted or horrified by the DJD. It says something that the only way Megatron was able to keep his army together was to terrify them into submission with a squad of murderous lunatics.
Evil All Along: Pharma had been killing patients, and sold out Delphi, creating the virus as part of the selling out. Subverted with Ambulon, who was a Decepticon, but defected, and didn't start the virus despite suspicions.
Brainstorm as revealed in issue 33.
Evil Former Friend: The Shadowplay series reveals that Orion Pax's conspicuously-unnamed senator friend was Senator Shockwave.
Pharma and Ratchet seemed to be good friends in the past, as well.
Exact Words: When asked about Dominus, Minimus Ambus merely states that he's "long gone". Given that Minimus turns out to be Ultra Magnus, who has previously noted issues with inexact language, this probably means Dominus is out there, somewhere.
The Exile: Drift after issue 16. Issue 21 reveals that it was voluntary.
Expy: The Sparkeater is one to the eponymous monster from the Alien series.
Apparently several patrons of Swerve's have tried to invoke this trope before, claiming they don't have eyes in the "traditional" sense.
Eye Scream: Subverted with Vos. His face has all sorts of drills and needles underneath it, but the eyes are unaffected, because he still needs to see, but the victim will also still be able to see the rest of his tortures.
In issue 21 Cyclonus stabs Star Saber in the eyes.
Fallen Hero: Pharma, once a brilliant and promising surgeon, having saved many lives including Tumbler/Chromedome. DJD demands and the increased fervent need to meet them made him fall, though his psychotic nature may have run deeper than that.
False Flag Operation: Proteus's plan during the "Shadowplay" story arc. He attempted to orchestrate a terrorist attack during Nominus Prime's funeral which he could blame on the Decepticons and use as a justification for arresting them all.
Issue 32 manages to take this to its extremes: A copied version of the Lost Light crew, and Overlord, brutally murdered by the DJD.
Fantastic Caste System: Pre-war one's alt-mode determined their job and their role in society, sleek flashy alt-modes on top, big bulky workers on the bottom. In Rewind's day, data-storage sticks were some of the lowest of society. Zeta Prime, for all his faults actually passed a few laws granting more rights to the disposable class.
Fantastic Racism: The Decepticons regard Organics as low, even the rational ones like Fulcrum. Tailgate regards their death as nothing important, and Rodimus derogatorily calls K'gard a fleshling. K'gard and the galactic counsel really don't like Cybertronians, probably because their war has destroyed numerous planets and solar systems (it came up in Transformers: All Hail Megatron), and before the war, Nova Prime showed Fascistic tendencies towards organic planets.
In addition, there were those of lower castes, and Alt-modes. Bulky heavy altmodes were looked down upon by the sleek upperclass, while disposable classes are even lower. Monoformers are also somewhat reviled, Whirl mentions Killmaster may have been one and expresses revulsion at the idea.
It's also mentioned that there was a certain amount of racism directed towards Cybertronians who had been constructed cold via spark-splicing or in reality having sparks created from draining the Matrix as opposed to having "natural" sparks after the disappearance of Nova Prime and the Ark-1. There even appears to have been a derogatory term for those constructed cold; "Knock-Offs".
Fashionable Asymmetry: Cyclonus has one horn broken since issue 1 and won't let it be repaired contrasting the rest of his injuries up until issue 21. Crankcase is missing a piece of his head, and one of his back cannons is larger than the other.
Fantastic Slur: Genericons for Decepticon foot-soldiers. The Autobots and the DJD use it.
Knock-off for the Constructed Cold.
"Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The Annual issue begins with a shrunken team of Autobots battling nanocons inside Ultra Magnus.
Faster-Than-Light Travel: Here it's called quantum jumping, which is performed using quantum engines. It's capable of launching starships over great distances, but if the location isn't specified than it can cause a ship to randomly hop halfway across the galaxy. It seems to be of the warp drive variety, with an amusing Lampshade Hanging in issue 2 that it basically flouts the laws of physics. Also, apparently it's possible to "hijack" someone else's quantum jump, essentially riding off of the slipstream created by their quantum jump and thus arriving in the same area shortly after they do.
Fate Worse than Death: The DJD invokes this trope on their victims. According to Ratchet, there have been Decepticon POW's who have commited suicide or requested to be killed by their captors simply because they're scared that the DJD will punish them for being captured.
Faux Affably Evil: Tarn speaks in soothing tones and plays music while having his victims tortured to death right before making their sparks explode just by talking to them.
Fire-Forged Friends: Whirl and Cyclonus become this, though Cyclonus still briefly fantasies about shoving Whirl into a smelting pool.
Fingore: A crazed Fort Max rips off Rung's thumb (which has a built-in microphone) when he realizes Rung is recording his ranting.
Five-Bad Band: In a straighter example than the Scavengers below, Chief Justice Tyrest's forces feature this with Tyrest himself as the Big Bad, Lockdown and Star Saber functioning as Co-Dragons, "Mad Doctor" Pharma as the Evil Genius, Star Saber pulling double duty as The Brute (being the new Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord in place of Ultra Magnus, and the one who personally dealt with Skids), and filling in the role of Dark Chick...Minimus Ambus (also the Token Good Teammate), the former Ultra Magnus, who was still nebulously working for Tyrest even after being stripped of the Magnus Armour, tried to save Rodimus and his crew from being executed, and in turn having his head crushed when he realized just how far gone his boss was.
Flashback: Surprisingly inverted in issue 8 which ends with a flashforward to 18 months in the future to show the Necrobot recording the death of Flywheels after recording the (assumed) deaths of Hound, Chromedome, Dipstick, Drift, and Ultra Magnus. Ironically, the issue opens with a normal flashback showing Fulcrum's past.
The Shadowplay arc.
Issue 12 features several flashbacks on how Chromedome and Rewind met.
Issue 14 is basically a big flashback to events concerning Overlord, and Chromedome later on.
Flat Earth Atheist: Ratchet. He's more justified than most since so far there hasn't been any direct sign of Primus or Unicron, just myths and legends.
Flipping the Table: Prowl has a tendency to do this, according to Rewind and Chromedome, to the point of it being a meme both in the fandom and in-universe.
Foil: A team of deadly, highly trained warriors and their vicious wolf monster vs a team of incompetent losers and their mentally disabled Dinobot.
The Wreckers and the Diplomatic Corps. Where the Wreckers are bonafide elite suicide squad fueled with bravado, the Diplomatic Corps. are all about guile, subtlety and precision. There's also the fact that while the Wreckers work exclusively with the Autobots, the Diplomatic Corps. has ties with the Galactic Council.
Forever War: Deconstructed. Now that the war is over, nobody really knows what the hell to do with their lives. Swerve is implied to simply be bouncing from one random quest to another because he just plain doesn't know what else to do. The Scavengers get into a discussion about the war and Fulcrum expresses his disbelief that the war could actually be over since it was already in full swing when he was born. The war is older than at least half the people fighting it, meaning that for most Autobots and Decepticons war is quite literally all they know.
In issue 22 we learn that there's a Forever War going on even longer and more ridiculous than the Great War; the Stentarian war between the Ammonites and Terradores. It's been going on for sixteen-million years. It also caused the Shattering, which is the whole reason the Galactic Council was formed.
"Don't open the coffin. Don't let them take Skids. Don't go to Delphi. And do not—I repeat, do not—look in the basement. And for the sake of the Cybertronian race itself, please don'tkzzzzzzzk"
When Fortress Maximus brutally takes down the Genericons Sonic and Boom, he rips one of them in half in a pose deliberately evocative of Overlord doing the same to Guzzle in Last Stand of the Wreckers. This alludes to the fact that Overlord has left Fort Max with some severe psychological scars.
In a rather literal example, if you look closely at Prowl in the final panel of issue 1 you might notice that his shadow looks a lot like Overlord's...
The end of issue eight shows that eighteen months from the end of that issue, The Necrobot will have recorded the (assumed) deaths of Hound, Chromedome, Dipstick, Drift, and Ultra Magnus by the time he gets to Clemency to record Flywheels'. This was revealed in issue 33 to actually be foreshadowing the alternate Lost Light and it's slaughtered crew.
There's a fair bit of foreshadowing regarding a shadowy institute called, uh, "The Institute". It was first mentioned in Chaos Theory by a nameless senator, then again in issue #5 by Rung as an apparent paranoid delusion that Red Alert had suffered from. However, issue #7 reveals that Brainstorm and Chromedome are familiar with it as well, and that it has something to do with Skids and his amnesia. In the flashback sequences of the "Shadowplay" arc, Chromedome and Prowl actually discover it, revealing that it's a Senate-run brainwashing facility. Furthermore, not only has Red Alert been a victim of it, but there's more than one, and the existence of a certain high-profile character (at least as we, the readers, know him) is entirely due to the Institute. It's also revealed that Zeta Prime continued its existence, with characters such as Chromedome, Brainstorm and Highbrow having worked for it.
Tailgate's odd behaviour when attempting to disarm the Decepticon bomb, clearly being terrified of having to do so while all the while asking Rewind what he'd do in that situation turns out to be foreshadowing the fact that Tailgate isn't actually a bomb disposal expert, has no idea what he's doing, and is getting Rewind to explain to him what to do without Rewind realizing it.
The "Scavenger Hunt" promotional art for the series right before launch foreshadowed many events for the characters listed, some have been revealed. others have not played out yet.
"Brainstorm has a suitcase". Still pending on this one.
"Chromedome is being used". He was, as seen in issue 14 and 15.
"Cyclonus is key". Twice. He is the key to saving Tailgate's life, and also belongs to a religious sect called "Clavis Aurea", the "Golden Key".
"Ratchet knows his time is up". Alluding to his character arc between Issue 1 and Issue 5.
"Red Alert is hearing things". Alluding to his discovery of Overlord in the basement in issue 6.
"Rewind does things he shouldn't". Alluding to the reveals in issue 12.
"Rung wants to be remembered". Alluding to the Running Gag that while he's a historical constant, no one ever remembers his name, or says it wrong.
"Rodimus believes his hype". He does.
"Swerve doesn't know". Alluding to his relationship to Blurr, in issue 13.
"Ultra Magnus won't make it". Forewarning us for both Issue 15 and Issue 19.
"Whirl hates everyone". He does. Although we get a reveal why in Issue 6 and Issue 19.
Season 2's "Scavenger Hunt" gives us these:
"Megatron - The Apostate". Alluding to him abandoning the Decepticon ideals.
"Nautica - The Savant". Alluding to her mechanical genius, and her potential Outlier status.
"Trailcutter - The Catalyst". Alluding to him being the one that opened the Coffin.
"Tailgate - The Ingenue". Possibly alluding to his easy-going nature. Note than ingenues are traditionally female, and Word of God is that Tailgate is "voiced" by Susan Blu...
"Riptide - The Knave". We have no idea yet.
Swerve's suggested name for the Lost Light crew ("The Crusadercons") is initially shot down because of the Decepticon affiliation implied by the suffix "-con." Surely it'll fit better now with Megatron as the ship's new captain?
For Want of a Nail: It's strongly implied at the end of issue 1 that the Lost Light was such an event; seemingly minor for anyone outside of the crew, but actually have massive consequences. The message from the future was sent to prevent this but failed due to no one hearing it.
Issue 13 consists of Swerve recording a message recounting previous events.
Freudian Excuse: Ultra Magnus has several explaining why he's such a grump all the time.
Some are revealed in #16. Last time he smiled, Heretech almost killed him. Last time his insignia was crooked and allowed for his name to be shortened, a K-class almost killed him. Last time he was covered in dirt, a Cybernaught almost killed him.
Turns out all this was a Red Herring, and in fact Ultra Magnus died every single time, it is just that we later find out that Ultra Magnus is a Legacy Character.
The Fundamentalist: Drift and Flywheels (though Flywheels is implied to be suffering a crisis of faith, and lacks the fanaticism).
The reason why Drift finds the "Death Clock" abhorrent.
Star Saber takes this Up to Eleven. There's a reason he's called "The Dark Evangelist".
Funny Background Event: In issue 10, when Swerve comments on how he wants to hear more about Orion Pax, he absentmindedly tosses his drink up. If you look closely then you can see that he accidentally splashes it in Whirl's face.
When Ratchet shuts Drift up from being an Unreliable Narrator, the conversation switches elsewhere, and in the background Drift has red paint from Ratchet's newly painted hands on his face.
Overlapping with Meaningful Background Event in issue 4, while Ratchet and Swerve are talking in the foreground, we see Skids grabbing a drone with his claw and drunkenly arguing with Chromedome. Fast forward 3 issues and we find out Chromedome stole Skids' gun while he was distracted.
Gadgeteer Genius: Brainstorm is known for this, making all sorts of weapons including Whirl's gun, and upgrading Trailbreaker's legs to have guns. He alludes to more deadly weaponry which Last Stand of the Wreckers revealed that he set the record for the most unethical inventions by the ethics committee.
Gaslighting: Swerve admits to doing this to his roommate, Red Alert.
The whole crew starts suffering this in "World, Shut Your Mouth" with things randomly disappearing or changing when no one is looking. At first Nightbeat is the only one paying enough attention to notice, until entire walls start disappearing.
Genius Loci: The planet Hoist, Perceptor, Sunstreaker, Bob the Insecticon and Swerve crashland into. It turns out it has a Phobia Shield, which makes their fears real.
Genre Savvy: Brainstorm codenamed the plan to keep Overlord on the Lost Light and read his memories Project Total Insanity, and he mentions that it was almost named Project Asking for Trouble. In addition, the slow cell Overlord was kept in is Project End in Tears. It was, and it did.
In Issue #12: Whirl locks Cyclonus into a room, unknowingly with Rewind, which contains a bomb about to go off, and instead of bragging about what he's done he tells them that he's trying to get them out because on the chance Cyclonus survived (which he did), Whirl wouldn't have any liability, thus remaining anonymous in the matter.
With all the violent and graphical ways several Cybertronians have met their end, you realize the only reason they get away with it is because they are robots and not humans. Case in point Ambulon's insanely graphic demise would have been vetoed otherwise.
One instance that sadly failed was in issue 6. Instead of limpfistedly saying "drop dead", Cyclonus was supposed to tell Tailgate to fuck off. Hasbro vetoed it even though the swear was censored.
Issue 13 managed to sneak an implied masturbation joke past the censors.
In issue 28, Rodimus comments that the Lost Light's engine is "purring like a turbofox in heat". Wow.
Go Out with a Smile: A very disturbing example is seen in issue 10, in which the "devil's grin" indicates the precise moment a Spark leaves a body.
Pharma smirks and makes a joke right before his head is shredded by gunfire.
Goomba Stomp: Crankcase uses a Cybernought on Tarn to do this, it stuns him bot doesn't take. Ultra Magnus does it to Slugfest, smashing him and even knocking off at least one foreleg (ironic as his scales were supposed to make him The Spiny), but the jury's out on whether or not it was fatal. Overlord does this to Pipes, which is pretty fatal.
Cyclonus:I gave you the briefest overview of the war through the eyes of an outsider. You're the one who wanted to pick a side. Bad guys and good guys... do you really think life is a straightforward as that?
Guilt By Association Gag: Downplayed Cyclonus was locked up with the Decepticons after the planet reboots, in-spite of his insistence that he wasn't one. Ultimately it didn't matter as he was considered a threat alliance or no.
Hand Wave: Brainstorm's cure for those that were infected by the "Dead Universe" in Dark Cybertron.
Happily Failed Suicide: When Chromedome and Rewind first met, Chromedome was preparing to commit assisted suicide but was interrupted by an encounter with Rewind. Meeting Rewind led to the two developing a relationship, which gave Chromedome something to live for.
Harmless Villain: The Scavengers, to the point that they act as Villain Protagonists. Issue 13 implies that Misfire may not be as friendly and harmless as he makes himself seem, though.
Healing Shiv: Cyclonus uses a Great Sword to give Tailgate enough strength for the cybercrosis cure to work.
Heel-Face Turn: Cyclonus went through one before this series but isn't trusted yet by anyone except Tailgate and Rodimus. Drift also pulled one, but he's been around longer and has proven himself trustworthy to the Autobots.
MEGATRON of all people pulls one in season 2 and joins the Lost Light's quest.
Heel Realization: Its suggested that Ravage is experiencing this after issue 33, due to seeing just how monstrously cruel the DJD is.
Hero Killer: Overlord, and the Decepticon Justice Division.
Hero of Another Story: Spoke and Lockstock. Their deeds are always mentioned as having happened off-panel, Heck, we have yet to see them. Ironically, might also count as Those Two Guys.
Issue 33 reveals there's a second Lost Light, due to a Quantum Engine accident, and as real as the one we've been following in the comic. We only found out about them after they got slaughtered by the DJD.
Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted when Fulcrum reveals that he was rebuilt into a bomb as punishment for abandoning his post, but he was too afraid to detonate. He calls the DJD out on all their mistreatment of the cause, and how they've perverted everything Fulcrum ever believed in. He calls them sadists with no belief in the cause, and he jumps off a ledge transforming into a bomb and diving towards them. He crashes and the DJD just think he died. They leave and then Misfire informs Fulcrum that Spinister removed his explosive parts because they didn't want him exploding on them.
Rewind pulls one at the end of issue #15 so that the basement door can be closed and successfully jettisoned from the ship with both himself and Overlord in it.
Heroic BSOD: Ratchet is going through a serious one in Issue 20, after Pharma slices Ambulon in half, lengthwise, and then tells Ratchet to save him.
Ratchet:I don't know, First Aid. I mean, He's — look at him. LOOK AT HIM!
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Whirl, from being a Jerk, to messing with a comatose Rung's eyebrows to make him look mad, to casually trying to fire his weapons when shrunk down into Ultra Magnus's head, later admitting to leaving graffiti in there. Later on, he uses a passed out Ultra Magnus' head as a coaster for his drinks, and even builds a jenga tower of drinks; but why was Ultra Magnus passed out in the first place? Whirl switched his drink.
Heroic Self-Deprecation: Rodimus starts suffering this after the events of issue 15 though the exact reason why is left up to the reader to decide.
Hidden Depths: Ore was just some guy who died early on and accidentally got the crew lost in the first place. His reappearance in the annual as a reanimated corpse has him talk about his lack of faith, and his ambitions for the end of the war. He also reveals himself as The Anti-Nihilist, and his talk with Swerve (thinking he's Pipes) helps to bring Swerve out of his angst over accidentally shooting Rung.
The whole cast could be considered this, since we learn as the series progresses that no one is what they seem at first glance. Hence the title.
Hidden Elf Village: The New Crystal City at least it was until the Legislator's showed up.
High Concept: How James Roberts pitched the series to IDW: "Rodimus and Drift set off to find the Knights of Cybertron".
Hide Your Lesbians: Thankfully averted, though James Roberts has said that he was concerned about this trope while he was planning out Chromedome and Rewind's character arcs. To his pleasant surprise both Hasbro and IDW were very supportive of the idea.
Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: A variant; the future message from issue 1 was intended to keep the Lost Light from taking off when it did to prevent all the bad things that apparently happen because of the launch. It proceeds to arrive in Prowl's office when absolutely no one is around to hear it, negating the whole thing.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Chromedome. He never realized that Overlord was familiar enough with Mnemosurgery to turn the tables on him if they were to share a familiar memory.
Holier Than Thou: Cyclonus believes that the Autobots are becoming like this now that the war is over and is pretty unhappy about it.
Red Alert is clearly suffering from severe Paranoid Personality Disorder, which Rung actually lampshades.
Tailgate shows most of the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder (has a black and white worldview, hates abandonment, breaks down under pressure, is prone to outbursts when frustrated, lack of self image, etc.). The only symptom he's missing is the tendency for Self Harm, though he shows signs of extreme self-loathing.
Whirl of course shows a lot of symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder, though he somewhat differs in that he's rather open about his personality flaws.
Krok shows some Obsessive Compulsive tendencies with the device in his hand that he keeps clicking to signal his squad. He's so bound to the thing that he keeps a death grip on it even while in the middle of a fight. Ultra Magnus is a more standard example, being a hyper neat freak who obsesses with making things as orderly as possible.
Brainstorm has a lot of narcissistic traits, such as a desire for attention/recognition and massive self-esteem.
Both Rodimus and Misfire show aspects of Histrionic Personality Disorder, like a desire for attention, charming behavior, and an impulsive and erratic personality.
Chromedome shows some bipolar tendencies, having multiple downswings in his mood. Most notable in issue 28 where after six months of being fine and apparently moving on from Rewind's death, he suddenly has a violent downswing and starts secluding himself in his room.
Issue 31 reveals that Swerve has been diagnosed with Logorrhea and Dipstick has Coprolalia, which is symptomatic of Tourettes Syndrome.
Nautica has been noted to have several traits associated with Asperger's. She's socially awkward, has several intense interests, is prone to infodump, and is very picky about her engex. She also seems to have No Sense of Personal Space.
Homage: Word of God says that issue 1 was meant to be done in the style of a grand opening credits sequence ala Magnolia, with the disparate characters and events being connected by dialogue, scene cuts, and long shots.
The "Shadowplay" story arc runs through homages of three different genres. The first part is a police procedural (complete with CSI-style cold open involving unimportant characters finding a body), the second is a political thriller with conspiracies up the wahoo, and the last part is a heist story with numerous thieves with different skills.
Human Shield: Tyrest tries to use Tailgate as one in issue 21. Unfortunately for him, Tailgate is already dying and just yells at Rodimus to shoot anyways since it won't matter in the long run.
Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Mostly averted. Quantum jumping is pretty safe, and the crew even ends up using it to take out the Sparkeater and later to escape from the K'Gard and his mooks. Well, it's safe as long as you don't stand too close to the engines...
"He's sort of been... Whats the scientific term? Totally mashed into the engine.
I Just Want to Be Special: This is the reason Tailgate became a Phony Veteran; he always wanted to be a hero. Viciously deconstructed when he finally becomes a hero, only to find that he would give anything to just go back to being a nobody who has movie nights with his friends.
If You Die I Call Your Stuff: The Scavengers follow this rule for when a group member dies. They rob Flywheel's remains after he's killed by Tesarus. Fulcrum is the only one who doesn't partake, because he's too disturbed by Robbing the Dead.
If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: The reason Ratchet tells First Aid that they can't kill Pharma, because then they'd be no better than him, and he'd still win. However, First Aid disagrees rather vehemently with Ratchet about this, so it remains to be seen if they'll actually do it or not. First Aid ultimately decides to go through with it in issue 21 by shooting Pharma in the head as he laughs about all the harm he's caused.
I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Or rather, Swerve Just Shot Himself In The Face because he was awkwardly handling an experimental gun Brainstorm had just devised the day before that was a little too big for him, causing it to go off pointblank in the face. The result of this shown in the aftermath of the battle is really disturbing.
Tailgate spends the first thirteen issues claiming he was a member of the Primal Vanguard, and accomplished numerous scientific feats and rubbed shoulders with some of Cybertron's greats. It's all lies. He spent the first two weeks of his life as a sluicer, followed by six million years stuck in a hole. He made up all those claims because no-one ever came looking for him. He eventually recants this attitude after nearly dying of cybercrosis.
Minimus Ambus, brother of the much more famous Dominus Ambus, has some of this. He put his heart and soul into his job, and pleads with his employer when he's stripped of his job because of a mental breakdown, claiming it's everything to him. Said job is being Ultra Magnus, by the way.
I Just Want to Have Friends: Swerve secretly suffers from this. It's also deconstructed, as this causes him to latch onto kind actions (real or perceived) as a sign of complete friendship. For example, he fools himself into thinking that Blurr is his best friend after Blurr gives him a communicator number (one that isn't even really his) and automatically assumes that Ultra Magnus lending him a spare Autobot badge is a sign that Magnus wants to be his roommate.
Immune to Bullets: Helex shrugs off Spinister's gunfire. In an interview Roberts mentions that not only could Helex survive an assault with Gideon's glue (established as being able to melt through most metal), but he would find a way to store some and use it for his next torture session.
I'm Not Angry: Trailbreaker in the opening pages of the spotlight, after getting no respect. Whirl sees through it right away.
Fortress Maximus goes off the deep end and takes Rung and Whirl hostage, impaling Whirl through the abdomen with a piece of metal in the process. At the end of the issue, Whirl pulls himself off it, and impales Fortress Maximus in turn through the back and out the front (also non-fatal).
Snap-Trap get's one of Drift's swords sent through his head, it's non-fatal as well.
Overlord impales Ultra Magnus with Drift's great sword. It would have been fatal if not for Pharma.
Star Saber stabbing Skids in the gut.
Implacable Man: Cyclonus: In the first issue, he gets thrown off a cliff with enough force to break his horn off and get knocked out, and still gets up and attaches himself to the hull of the Lost Light which proceeds to have some complications with lift-offnote namely the chunk he was on blew up, and he fell through the atmosphere and into a lake, and he seemed pretty fine after waking up. Later, when he gets into a fight, and is locked in a room with (a severely reduced) bomb, it blows up, and takes him out, but later he just gets up and walks it off with a rough patch job.
The Phase-Sixers are supposed to invoke this, taking on would be fatal damage and still going on. Their skeletons are designed to be nearly indestructible, and their armor's strength lacks equal. Prowl really wants to know how they work.
Star Saber proves to be this, being capable of taking on established badasses like Dai Atlas and Cyclonus on singlehanded. Cyclonus only wins his duel with him because of a lucky shot to Star Saber's eye.
In Name Only: Star Saber barely resembles his original character at all. Tropes Are Not Bad though, since the original Star Saber was essentially a stereotypical good guy who was basically "Optimus Prime with a different design".
Innocent Bigot: Tailgate was born in the era of Nova Prime's rule. Nove Prime was a Cybertronian-supremist who viewed other species (especially organics) as being inferior to Cybertronians, and Primes tend to reflect their eras (according to Spotlight: Optimus Prime). Thus Tailgate doesn't quite get why Swerve and Rewind are a little unsettled about him causally talking about killing organics. Cyclonus is also from that era, but has spent more time in the modern world and doesn't suffer this problem.
Instant Marksman Just Squeeze Trigger: Averted with Swerve, when he says he's not a good shot, he really isn't. When a crazed Fortress Maximus takes some hostages, Swerve is told to shoot him through a window with a riveter gun, but Rung is in the way, trying to talk Fort Max down. Rodimus tells him to take the shot, and he does, accidentally blowing open Rung's head.
I Owe You My Life: Drift is rather protective of Ratchet because Ratchet saved him from death by drug overdose many years ago.
Ironic Echo: "It's not a good name, but all the best were taken" was funny when said about Dent, but takes on a darker meaning when said about Ambulon's name.
Pipes describes his first off world impression as “wet and kinda brilliant”. Later, he describes his symptoms as “wet and kinda horrible”.
"Everyone's shape serves a purpose" — Originally mentioned by Rewind as a comeback when Chromedome was poking at him for slowing them down as his alt-form is non-mobile. Then said by Rewind again when he utters it right before sneaking into Overlord's Cell in order to dislodge the sword that was preventing it from being ejected into space..
Pharma in Issue 17, to Ratchet
Pharma: Need a hand?
Issue 19 ends on a particularly disturbing use of this.
It Amused Me: One of the reasons why Whirl would do anything.
It's All About Me: Part of Rodimus' character. He wants to be a father to the crew, but doesn't take the time to get to know any of them or even remember their names. He assumes being a leader is just something that comes naturally to him, liking it to Trailbreaker using his force field. The greatest honor he grants the crew are badges with his face on it. And worst of all in the aftermath of the fight with Overlord, Rodimus is distraught and destroying his office. He tries to play it off to Rung as if he's just worried about Ultra Magnus and the rest of the crew, and mad that he failed them. Rung instead argues that Rodiums is really mad at is that he didn't defeat Overlord himself, and it was someone else that managed to save the day.
It Only Works Once: Chromedome notes that his use of Trepan's Trigger on Overlord will only be effective once since Overlord, possessing some memnosurgery abilities himself, will work out what they did and prevent them from doing it again.
Whirl, voted "Autobot most likely to defect". Twice. He is disliked by many; even the normally bleeding-heart Ratchet hesitates to repair him. He mutilates corpses in his spare time, and is probably unhinged. After the war he and Sideswipe liked to beat on Neutrals. Before the war, he exercised his authority as an officer to beat a defenseless and innocent prisoner while the prisoner was restrained. That prisoner grew up to be Megatron, partly due to his treatment. He even weaponizes his attitude problem in issue 6.
Issue 6 also reveals why Whirl is such a dick to everyone. Turns out he used to be a really nice guy who decided to become a watchmaker rather than a soldier because he hated fighting and wanted to control his own fate. He was very successful until at one point a group of gangsters who worked for the Senate tried to extort money out of him. This lead to a series of events that utterly ruined his life and left him a cold, bitter, and violent person.
Swerve also is a bit of a jerk. He has no qualms about making insulting or biting comments about people, and loves playing mean-spirited pranks and messing with people's heads even when it's a really bad/horrible idea (see the Gaslighting entry above, for instance). Unlike Whirl, though, it's Played for Laughs in a Comedic Sociopathy sort of way.
Just So Story: Cyclonus' telling of the Guiding Hand creation myth. (For instance: Cybertronians are ageless immortals because Mortilus, the god of death, was killed.)
The Quest: The Myth Arc of the story is the crew going on a quest to find the Knights of Cybertron whilst getting derailed by various detours and adventures. Amusingly due to losing the Matrix map, the crew ends up having to go on a second quest to find Thunderclash in season 2.
Kaleidoscope Eyes: Drift can change the color of his optics, though we never see him do it.
Also subverted with Senator Proteus; at the end of the flashbacks in "Shadowplay" he gets away with his crimes, but if you look closely at a flashback montage in issue 3 you can see that he got murdered by Starscream.
Karmic Jackpot: Cyclonus sparing Whirl results in him being able to save Tailgate, since Whirl is the one who figures out how to save him.
Kent Brockman News: During "Shadowplay" Ratchet accuses the Iaconian Newsfeed Service of being state-backed propaganda, or just useless.
Kill 'em All: In issue 32, the crew discovers an alternate version of the Lost Light where the DJD managed to track the ship down. The result is the Lost Light blown in half with all of the crew except Rewind murdered in unspeakably horrible ways before the DJD finally heads into the slow cell and mutilate Overlord with a chainsaw.
Issue 33 reveals Brainstorm was a mole, who lead the DJD right to the Lost Light's door, before being killed himself.
Killed Off for Real: Flywheels, Pipes, Rewind, Deftwing, Ambulon, and Dai Atlas have all bitten the dust so far.
Kill the Cutie: Rewind, Pipes, and very nearly Tailgate. This series isn't kind to its cuties.
Knight Templar: Tarn is such a huge believer of the Decepticon cause that he uses the Decepticon's insignia as his faceplate. When Black Shadow protests that the war is over meaning there is no reason for the DJD to be punishing him, Tarn claims that the war will never be over until Megatron is victorious.
Tyrest and Star Saber.
Lack of Empathy: Brainstorm doesn't seem to feel too guilty about making an assload of deadly and brutal weapons that have probably caused a lot of deaths. When he sees Ore's corpse in the generator, he cracks a snarky joke. Rodimus even lampshades it.
Issue 16 however shows that this may not be entirely true, as he is shown to care a lot about his friend Chromedome.
Late to the Tragedy: In the Annual, the Lost Light arrives at Crystal City to find it in ruins and all of it's inhabitants missing. The rest of the issue is spent trying to find out what happened.
Chromedome arrives just in the middle of Overlord's rampage.
Issue #32 has Megatron and the other Lost Light new arrivals who haven't disappeared like everyone else exploring the ruined hulk of a possible future/alternate timeline version of the Lost Light after the Decepticon Justice Division has rampaged through it and killed practically its entire crew just to get at their actual target, Overlord.
Legacy Immortality: Magnus was known for miracle recoveries and surviving seemingly impossible injuries.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Rung does this when he complains about his holo-avatar's name not being suitable. After all, Mary Sue does NOT sound like the name of a human male.note Rung is James Roberts' main original character.
Leeroy Jenkins: Drift finds an infected bot sneaking up on Pipes, and acts quickly, cutting it down. Then Ratchet yells at him for killing an innocent Autobot who was stumbling about (all things considered though the guy was pretty much dead anyway).
Pipes also counts, though it's more out of naivety than anything.
"I'm trying to be impulsive!"
Like a God to Me: K'gard reveals that the Galactic Counsel thinks very highly of Ultra Magnus, and K'gard (who hates Cybertronians) himself tells Ultra Magnus that he's legendary, having lived throughout the entire war with a firm and unwavering belief in the law. He offers Magnus a spot on the council and is disappointed when Ultra Magnus turns him down.
Lighter and Softer: As an adventurous romp full of snarky humor and witty dialogue, it could be considered this compared to its sister series Transformers: Robots In Disguise being a more serious and political storyline. (Though that definitely doesn't mean this series is "light and soft", as there's plenty of creepy horror and intrigue going on.)
Living Forever Is Awesome: Played with. Due to their incredibly long life spans, Cybertronian religion believes that Cybertronians never die of natural causes, only trauma due to the fact the Transformer god of death, Mortilus, was destroyed in ancient times. Many devout Cybertronians believe this and feel this way about this trope. They're dead wrong.
Lost Colony: Cybertron apparently has a least one due to Metrotitans that were carrying hot spots within them landing or crashing on other worlds. Transformers from these colonies ended up evolving different than Cybertron-born Transformers over the course of millions of years. Nautica hails from one such colony, specifically from a titan named Caminus, hence why she's biologically female in a race with no real gender.
Lost In Transmission: The ominous message in issue 1, seemingly from the future, before its full warning can be given.
Lost World: Luna-1, the "Seething Moon" is quite literally a lost world, being one of Cybertron's two moons that somehow disappeared in the very distant past and has been built up since then to contain numerous lost treasures which have sent many Cybertronians, including Swerve, Rewind and his old friend Dominus Ambus to search for it with no success.
Lower Deck Episode: "The Waiting Game", which focuses on Hoist, Sunstreaker, Perceptor, Swerve, and Bob.
Lucky Bastard: The Decepticon scavengers, relatively speaking. Yeah, one of them is killed and some of the others are horribly injured. But they still did way better than any of the other bots who ran afoul of the Decepticon Justice Division. And these are the six least competent Decepticons who ever existed.
MacGuffin: The Matrix Map, which the crew is following to find the Knights Of Cybertron. It's role as this becomes a problem when the crew is forced to destroy it to stop Tyrest's Universal Killswitch, robbing them of their only lead to the Knights Of Cybertron.
MacGyvering: Getaway does this in order to allow a prison break for the rest of the Autobots in the Remain in Light arc. Ratchet does this with Ambulon's corpse and rigs a one-shot gun out of it to kill a Legislator in the same issue as Getaway's prison break.
Mauve Shirt: Pipes, not as important as the main cast, but fairly recurring and appears more than the likes of Atomizer or Aquafend.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The whole point of the Annual. Did the ground in Theophany give way by chance, or was it in response to Drift's plea? Was everyone teleported to safety because the Metrotitan's faith in the Cybertronian race was restored after Rodimus' selfless act, or was it because he got the energy to do so after some of his mass was displaced? Did Ore disappear because Primus sent him to the Afterspark, or, as an extension of the Metrotitan (having been temporarily resuscitated by him), did he teleport along it? Was it something else? We'll never know.
Meaningful Background Event: The bar scene in issue four has the events of Chromedome stealing Skids' gun play out in the background of Ratchet and Swerve's discussion. In issue 7, Chromedome and Brainstorm discuss it, and the analysis of the gun.
Issue 20, First Aid going "Tell me you can save him. Ratchet? You can save him, can't you?" to Ratchet, as he refers directly to Ambulon, but the comic first shows us Minimus Ambus dying from a crushed head, and then to Tailgate. Two bots Ratchet couldn't save before.
Deconstructed: One of the doctors at the Delphi medical facility was named Ambulon, like "Ambulance". It's actually short for ambulate: to move about. Ambulon was an ex-Decepticon who went rogue after being forced into a combiner procedure, and now can only turn into a leg. Another bot was named Dent: his name used to be Prowl, but he had to change it because of the confusion.
Pharma, like Ambulon, has a double meaning. It can be like "pharmacy", befitting his role as a medic, or like "farmer", as in what he's doing with the transformation cogs of Delphi's patients.
Also played straight in the form of the name of the Autobots' ship, the Lost Light, which does indeed become lost after an accident causes an explosion in their navigational drive.
Misfire: named for an accident involving a gun and about a dozen dead Decepticons. Helex comments on his poor aim, and when he tried to save Krok, he ended up shooting him accidentally.
The Benign Intervention (the Galactic Council's ship) is a reference to both UN-like politics and the phrase "divine intervention".
Luna-1's nickname of "The Seething Moon" refers to the fact that it is seething with life; the surface is littered with a billion sparks, each one of them an unborn Cybertronian, which Rodimus reignites when he sets foot on the surface.
The Medic: Ratchet, First-Aid, Ambulon, and Pharma, before he went evil.
Men of Sherwood: The Circle of Light, from Dai Atlas to all the unnamed characters. It cost Tyrest 10,000 Legislatures to finally take them all down, now the survivors prove they can still kick ass with Whirl and Cyclonus.
Mental Fusion: How mnemosurgery works. Played a lot more disturbingly than most examples.
Merchandise-Driven: While in this trope, normally the toy line dictates the story canon. This series inverts it by being so popular that three characters got new toys based on their designs here instead of the other way around. However, there's still enough Executive Meddling to make this trope be in full effect.
Mercy Kill: Chromedome blows Rewind up to save him from a much worse death at Overlord's hands.
Meta Guy: Brainstorm and Chromedome have commented on story pacing, background art, and confusing story reveals.
Meta Mecha: In issue 21 Minimus Ambus, who has been wearing a suit of armour that disguises him as Ultra Magnus, is revealed to have been wearing another suit of armour the whole time. His true self is half the size of a normal transformer.
The Millstone: Misfire is easily the most useless of the Scavengers and severely hinders the effectiveness of the rest of the group (see the Epic Fail example above for an instance of that).
Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Starscream makes an interesting case in issue 29 that Megatron could be viewed as this; someone who didn't fully grasp the consequences of his actions until it was far too late.
The Mole: Shock and Ore were this for Prowl on the Lost Light. They die before they can report anything back to him.
Issue 14 reveals that Drift is also this for Prowl. Not only that, but he's manipulated Brainstorm into the scheme as well. And so is Chromedome, although involuntarily.
Ravage presumably snuck onboard to act as this. Subverted in that Megatron knew he was there the whole time.
As revealed in issue 33; Brainstorm is a Decepticon agent. His alternate self lured the DJD to the Lost Light by deactivating the slow cell.
Mole in Charge: Rodimus was this in the whole Overlord scheme. He deeply regrets it and sacrifices the Matrix Map to try and repent.
Mood Whiplash: The series is full of witty dialogue, slapstick, snark, and humorous character interactions and situations... but it's also full of creepy horror, squick, shady characters, betrayals, and Ominous Foreshadowing. Sometimes all in the same issue.
Moral Myopia: Tyrest. Getting shot with a foreign thought urging you to resign from your position? THOUGHT CRIME! Arrest those Diplomatic Corps agents! But using the exact same technology to implant the idea to your enemies that they can't move, completely immobilizing them? Well that's okay, because now you can go forward with your "divinely approved" plan to exterminate a large portion of your own people and go to the Transformer equivalent of Heaven as a result.
Morph Weapon: Pharma gets a pair of hands from Tyrest that can transform into anything he imagines. His favorite form for them seems to be chainsaws. Also allows him to escape from conventional bindings.
Motor Mouth: Swerve loves to chatter whenever possible, to the point of annoying the bejeezus out of everyone else. He claims his nickname at the Academy was "Shut the Hell Up".
Tarn also applies in a way scarier fashion. Basically he can change the tone and inflections of his voice in a way that it matches with the pulses of a Transformer's spark and make it explode. He can therefore literally talk you to death.
Misfire as well. His bio says that he has the Cybertronian equivalent of ADHD.
Tyrest's fears that the sparks created from draining the Matrix are "predisposed to sin" calls to mind the Cybertronian Empire of the Marvel G2 comics, who were created using the rediscovered process of "budding" that had been collectively wiped from Transformer memory. They actually were amoral and ruthless because of the dilution of Primus' essence within them, and ended up being enemies of both the Autobots and the Decepticons who had created them.
The Legislators being a legion of identical, mindless, Sparkless drones who are capable only of blindly following orders and are constructed from the recycled bodies of the people Tyrest has had killed make them essentially reskinned Vehicons.
In the first issue, Rewind buys some golden disks from Swindle. A few pages later, Tailgate swears by the Underbase.
While trawling through Overlord's memories, Chromedome notes the memory decay, which comes in the form of the crowd watching Overlord and Megatron fight being in block colours, in imitation of the colouring styles of the original comics.
It's mentioned a few times that Whirl often introduces himself by saying that he has no known weaknesses. "No known weaknesses" was a phrase infamously used in the Dreamwave guide books to fill out character profiles for the ones that had to be written from scratch.
The fact that Whirl was kicked out of the Wreckers might be a reference to the Marvel UK comics, where Whirl mysteriously disappeared from the group after a certain point, leading to theories that he had left or been kicked out.
When the Scavengers first meet Fulcrum, Flywheels starts calling him a zombie. Flywheels' only prominent use in fiction up to that point been in a Marvel UK story about zombies.
Brainstorm being revealed to have a mouth under his faceplate is a nod to Transformers Headmasters, where he had a mouth instead of the faceplate of his Western incarnation.
Naïve Newcomer: How Pipes is portrayed. According to him, he hasn't even set foot on a planet other then Cybertron. Same with Tailgate, who spent about 6 million years in stasis lock.
A professional rival of his is named Froid, after Sigmund Freud.
Nay Theism: Cyclonus believes in Primus but doesn't believe that he's infallible due to scumbags like Star Saber being around and Tailgate developing cybercrosis.
Near Villain Victory: Megatron regards Simanzi as the nearest he ever came to winning the war, at least at a military level. On an ideological level, it was when he had the people on his side on what was a justified revolt of the populace against the oppression of the Autobot Senate.
Nerves of Steel: Ratchet has them. The fact that First Aid has them too is what convinces him to take First Aid as his protégé.
Never Found the Body: Pharma's apparent death at Delphi. He survived and was found by Tyrest, who brought him to Luna-1 to make sure his universal killswitch worked properly.
Never Live It Down: In-Universe, no one will let Cyclonus live down the time he was working for Galvatron, despite the fact that, as Cyclonus himself notes, he was basically brainwashed into doing it against his will (and immediately turned on Galvatron once he snapped himself out of said brainwashing).
Never Suicide: Rodimus feels this way after being told that Red Alert attempted suicide. Subverted. Red Alert did indeed attempt suicide, just not for the reasons everyone else thinks.
It turns out he's actually managed to break things in two comics at once, as his rush job on deleting some of Prowls memories (In response to Prowl attempting to blackmail him) left mental damage that let Bombshell take complete control of Prowl with a Cerebro-shell over in Transformers: Robots In Disguise.
And his haughtiness enables Overlord to turn the tables on him, during mnemosurgery, allowing Overlord to figure out a way to escape his containment cell.
Prowl as well, seeing as he ordered Overlord repaired and transported into the ship.
Subverted with Tailgate, among many of the great things he's managed to accomplish in life one was convincing Nova to look to the stars, Nova would proceed to try and conquer and exterminate backwards worlds because of this of course Tailgate made the whole thing up, meaning Nova's ambitions were of his own accord.
Getaway and Skids shot Tyrest with a thought suggestion bullet. Combined with Tyrest's damaged brain module, not only did it fail, it convinced him that his crazy ideas about the knights were true. It also gave him the means to create the device to stop the heroes cold when they confront him.
In issue 22, Whirl helps out some Ammonites by driving off a group of Terradores and shooting their leader. Too bad the Ammonites are actually the bad guys of their war.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Senate's Clampdown was secretly intended as a way to cement their powerbase and root out anyone who opposed their rule. Unfortunately for them, the Clampdown did nothing more than create further discontent and hatred for them. There's a light implication that the Clampdown was the final breaking point that allowed the Decepticon movement to become what it is today.
Starscream starts to realize what he did once Megatron changes his plea mid-trial.
No Name Given: The Metrotitan that appears in both annuals is never given a proper name.
Noodle Incident: How Misfire got captured by the Galactic Council and what Fulcrum's plan to bust him out alone (which we only know that Misfire ruined by stopping for snacks) were are this, as we only come in at the very end.
Based on what they say while fighting him, some members of the DJD have met Grimlock before, and whatever it was that happened, Grimlock left his usual impression.
Tarn: I'd forgotten how much I hated you.
Not Good with People: Cyclonus. More poignant when it is shown he doesn't know how to handle the news about Tailgate's imminent death.
Not Quite Dead: Overlord. Floating among space debris, if his clenched fist is indicative of anything.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Misfire may be this, as when all is said and done in the Scavengers arc, he comes up with a pretty clever plan with what to do with Grimlock, that even Crankcase thinks is a pretty good idea that Krok would normally think of (had he not been indisposed), and it seems very uncharacteristic of him. He is also apparently (by Skids' reckoning) Skids' archenemy. Skids is reticent to talk about why, though it's suggested he's forgotten. But it also implies there may be more to Misfire than just comic-relief.
Dai Atlas apparently laughed in Star Saber's face when Saber came to him with his "atheist holocaust" idea and everyone seems to consider Star Saber nothing more than a religious lunatic. Ashedemonstrates a few issues later, this idea is very far from the truth.
Not So Stoic: Ultra Magnus after consuming the Mood Whiplash (or the weapons grade nucleon) has a breakdown starts laughing and crying, then admitting that no one likes him, how he's unable to find any friends, and how he likes music.
Cyclonus has a few moments of anger and of pity. More noticeable in issue 17, really doesn't know how to deal with Tailgate's imminent death, and is really upset not only about it, but at himself for not knowing how to handle it, specially because he came across as uncaring about it to Tailgate himself.
Soundwave is normally emotionless, and his response to almost being lobotomized is a "what took you so long," to his rescuers after the saw was removed from his head. When the killswitch starts killing Ravage he's panicking and shouting for someone to help him.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Swerve may seem like a bit of an idiot, but he's a very skilled metallurgist. This comes in handy when his skills allow him to decode Pharma's notes and supplies to make a cure for Tailgate's cybercrosis.
Odd-Shaped Panel: Rewind’s previous storytelling sessions are framed with film tapes.
Odd Couple: Prowl and Chromedome seem to have been this in pre-war Cybertron.
Oddly Common Rarity: Point One Percenters are supposed to be super-rare, as in "one every ten generations" rare. Despite this, there are a lot of them around, most of whom are big names on both sides.
Off Model: Chromedome's excursions into Overlord's memories show an In-Universe example. Chromedome notes that he does have a very good memory, and it hasn't faded with age, looking at a gladiator match, though, he notices that the crowd are mostly the same color and the faces are missing from every third bot.
One panel in issue 19 has ,as per the dialogue, have Ambus point at a Legislator while Tyrest' replies offscreen. However, Alex Milne drew Tyrest' arm, making the dialogue appear quite jarring.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The fight with Overlord and the greater portion of the Lost Light's crew takes place almost entirely offscreen, or just off-panel. Magnus and Fort Max's contributions are onscreen though.
The DJD does the same thing to the alternate Overlord.
Tesarus grapples with alternate Cosmos, and uses his crane arms to shove Cosmos's head into his own shredder chest.
Oh Crap: Skids has one that almost borders on Heroic BSOD when he realizes what happened to the crew of the wrecked Lost Light; they were all slaughtered by the Decepticon Justice Division when they came looking for Overlord.
Older than They Look: Rewind. Judging by Chromedome's comments in issue 12 he may be one of the oldest crewmembers next to Cyclonus, Tailgate and Rung who were alive in the time of Nova Prime's rule of Cybertron six million years ago.
Omniscient Morality License: In-Universe, Star Saber believes that every single thing he does, no matter how cruel or monstrous, is divinely sanctioned. Thus, in his mind, he has never done anything even remotely evil. Both Dai Atlas and Cyclonus call him out on the arrogance of this view.
Only a Flesh Wound: Lampshaded by Perceptor in issue 19 about how often stab wounds miss the spark.
Only Friend: In Issue #7 Chromedome is apparently this to Brainstorm, having known him since their days at the Institute.
Only Sane Man: Rung for the crew of the Lost Light. Fulcrum for the Scavengers.
Only the Worthy May Pass: Rung theorizes that Tyrest's Space Bridge functions like this; because it uses Aequitas technology, only those who contain no "guilt" can pass through it, but not necessarily only criminal guilt. Only a 'bot who carries no self-doubt or personal anguish, one who is completely at peace, can actually pass through the portal. Rung, Pharma, and Skids all try to use the portal, but only Skids can do so because since discovering the truth of his identity, only he is completely at peace.
Ontological Mystery: It's not the main drive of the story but Skids' character arc essentially involves this. He wakes up on a shuttle made of three robotic monsters, carrying a pistol he can't remember, wearing an inhibitor claw, and having no memory of how he got there or of a good portion of his life. A large part of season 1 focuses on finding out the answers to the mystery behind him. We finally get those answers in "Remain In Light".
Out of Focus: The first few issues of season 2 so far have slid the majority of the first season characters out of the spotlight so that some of the new arrivals (namely Megatron, Nightbeat, Nautica, Ravage, Getaway, and to a lesser extent Riptide) can get the lion's share of development. Which makes sense, since we've already had 25 issues or so with the first season cast, and they need to establish the new characters.
Outside-Context Villain: The Ammonites, their war has lasted far longer than the Cybertronian's, and they have developed more advanced technology. They are essentially the Decepticon's counterparts in their culture, and have infiltrated the Autobots on numerous levels to pirate their technology, all under their noses. The Autobots don't become aware of this until they come to Hedonia, and the little bots return in Transformers Dark Cybertron.
Painting the Medium: When Nightbeat and Nautica open Brainstorm's briefcase in issue 32 it seemingly causes space and time to get all screwy; this is presented by having the panels on the page be placed in the wrong order, with the only background and dialogue hints showing the correct sequence.
Pardon My Klingon: Surprisingly averted despite Transformers often employing such things. The characters use normal swear words like "damn" or "hell". Word of God says that he feels that this trope interrupts the flow of dialogue, hence the aversion.
Parody Sue: Thunderclash is deliberately made into a ridiculously over-the-top Mary Sue-esque character. He's overpowered, handsome, has practically no flaws, is smart and strong, is beloved by almost everyone, and has outrageous stories told about his amazingness (like how he saved orphans from an exploding sun or how he once carried the Matrix and it had to be surgically removed from him because it didn't want to leave his amazing body). Rodimus gets fed up with it pretty quick.
Pass Fail: When the topic of Constructed/Forged Cybertronians comes up, Brainstorm quickly says that he was forged, hastily adding that he supported rights for Constructed Cybertronians. However, when the Universal Killswitch is activated, Brainstorm is shown writhing in pain along with the other Constructed Cold Cybertronians.
People Farms: In issue 12 the crew discovers that Snap Trap and his followers have set up some on Temptoria. It involves a process called Pink Alchemy, through which organics are broken down with a bio-reactor to make energon. Thankfully the crew manages to shut it down a rescue the people in question.
Pet the Dog: Whirl gets one while explaining his life story to an enraged Fortress Maximus and his hostage Rung.
Rung: You never told me any of that!
Whirl: Well you never threatened to shoot a friend of mine!
Whirl gets another in Issue 12, where he undergoes a procedure to jumpstart Rewind's spark (after he's almost killed by a bomb), when there are no other donors possibly in penance for being the one to lock him and Cyclonus in a room with a bomb.
Cyclonus gets one in the Annual when he goes to Tailgate's Act of Affiliation (albeit secretly) despite having acted cold and uncaring towards Tailgate and everyone else for most of the series. He gets another when fighting in issue 12 and seeing Tailgate trying to disarm a bomb about to blow up. He calmly grabs Tailgate and flings him out of the blast radius, and when he and Rewind are locked in the room together, he steps in front of Rewind to take the blast. He also prevents Tailgate from being exposed as a fraud in issue 13, and proceeds to teach him a song in Primal Vernacular to cheer him up.
Brainstorm may be a Mad Scientist with a touch of Heroic Comedic Sociopath, but he does consider Chromedome his friend, and when Rewind dies, he tries to comfort Chromedome, and pleads with him not to erase the memories or Rewind, reminding him of all his previous loves whom Chromedome has forgotten. He also gives Chromedome Rewind's tape.
Soundwave and Tarn express concern over Ravage and Kaon respectively when the killswitch begins shutting them down.
Megatron gets one in issue #33 when he lies and tells Alternate!Rewind that onboard his version of the Lost Light, their Rewind and Chromedome are "inseparable" when Alt!Rewind asks about the two of them.
Plot Detour: Lampshaded. The crew keeps getting sidetracked from their quest by various events. Swerve notes that by the time of issue 13, the crew has made practically zero progress in their quest for the Knights Of Cybertron.
The Circle of Light get angry at them, and refuse to join the quest because of this.
Plucky Comic Relief: Swerve, definitely. Rung, Rewind, and Tailgate are also played as this at times.
Population Control: A Rare inverted example. Nova Prime sought to increase the birth rate as the hotspots (when the planet manifests life codes for sparks, thus "birthing" transformers) were shrinking. This was done both to prolong the species and make a large enough population to colonize other worlds so the Constructed Cold process was enacted with Tyrest using the Matrix to make new life.
Porn Stache: Ambus. Both Dominus and Minimus. Apparently, its a family trait.
Post-Climax Confrontation: The finale of season 1 has the crew stop Tyrest, Star Saber, and Pharma and deactivate the Killswitch. It seems as though all the bad guys are dealt with... until the recalled Legislator army bursts in and swarms the away team, forcing the crew to find a way to take them down.
Posthumous Character: Killmaster, Sentinel Prime, Nominus Prime, Senator Proteus, and the Heavies. Dominus Ambus might be this too, but it's not quite clear yet.
Powered Armor: Ultra Magnus's whole body is actually a suit of armor surrounding his actual body. It's worn by anyone holding the "Ultra Magnus" identity in order to give the illusion that it's one nigh-immortal guy.
Power Levels: While no actual statistics are given, the idea is invoked by Prowl, describing how certain Cybertronians-like Optimus, Megatron, Grimlock, Fortress Maximus "on a good day"-are naturally bigger, more powerful and resilient than most others of their kind. There's even an old adage about this peculiarity; "Sometimes Adaptus breaks the mold". Above even the aforementioned Transformers however, are the Decepticon Phase-Sixers like Sixshot and Overlord, and Prowl really wants to know why all the truly most powerful Cybertronians are all Decepticons and why there aren't more of them.
Power Trio: Rodimus formed one with himself, Ultra Magnus, and Drift, even referring to the three of them as "Rossum's Trinity". Magnus would always advise caution, Drift would advise Rodimus to trust his instincts, thus canceling each other out and letting Rodimus do what he'd intended to do from the start. Which makes things difficult for him when Magnus is fatally wounded by Overlord and Drift is exiled for his role in that and Rodimus is no longer able to fall back on that.
Praetorian Guard: Before the war, the Triorian guard were a large group of elite multi-terrain triple changers answering to the Senate, Blitzwing and Overcharge were members. Their name is even a play on the trope namer.
Pragmatic Villainy: The Decepticon scavengers decide to care for Grimlock and bring him back to Cybertron. Not because they give a crap about him, but because bringing someone like him back to Cybertron would earn them brownie points regardless of who won the war. If the Autobots won, they'd be happy to have one of their own back and would be willing to grant amnesty to the bots who helped him. If the Decepticons won, Megatron would be happy to have a prize like Grimlock and would be willing to reward the bots who brought him.
Precursors: The Knights Of Cybertron more or less fill this role. The plot begins as a search to find them and/or what happened to them. The only thing we know so far is that the crew "do not deserve to know" about them, according to Metroplex.
Pride: Star Saber suffers from this to an insane degree. He's so Egocentrically Religious that he believes that everything he does, no matter how cruel, is sanctioned by Primus himself. Unlike all the other villains, he's not driven by malevolence, extremism, or cruelty, just sheer arrogance.
Properly Paranoid: Deconstructed with Red Alert. His paranoia helps him find out things that people dismiss, but it also severely hinders his effectiveness. Case in point, he believes that he's hearing voices in the basement. He checks it out, finding Overlord, but he doesn't tell anyone because he believes that they're out to get him.
He also thinks the Institute played some role against him. The Shadowplay arc shows that yeah, they've been messing with his head to get the investigation of Momus' death going, and that's only what we've seen.
Punny Name: Shock and Ore (try saying it with a British accent).
Put on a Bus: Red Alert, with him being comatose and put into cold storage.
Also, The Scanvengers and Grimlock, and the Decepticon Justice Division, after their respective introduction back in Issue 7 & 8.
Red Alert and Fortress Maximus abandon the "Lost Light" at the end of Remain in Light
Cosmos and Fizzle abandon the "Lost Light" at the end of Dark Cybertron, with Fizzle moving to Windblade, and Cosmos moving to Robots in Disguise.
Rags to Riches: Implied with Senator Momus. He used to be a mining boss whose workers found something of particular value to the higher ups. The government agent sent to collect it told Momus that he was exempt of the connotations of his alt-mode and free to choose his own destiny in society. Momus would go onto becoming a Senator, and one of the few to hang out with the lower classes. He supported the Decepticon movement.
Rasputinian Death: Invoked by the DJD who deliberately draw out their victims deaths to make them more torturous and to make an example of them.
Reality Ensues: The Scavenger arc features the scrappy underdogs vs the professional killers. It ends very badly. Chekhov's Skill, Big Damn Heroes, and Heroic Sacrifice are all subverted, and the underdogs get their skidplates handed to them. Flywheels gets killed, Misfire gets mauled, Krok gets maimed, Crankcase gets electrocuted, and Fulcrum injures himself after his failed Heroic Sacrifice.
Issue 28 features two really dark examples:
Even though he's done a Heel-Face Turn, Megatron still goes on trial for his actions and nobody hides the fact that they want him dead. As it turns out amongst the general public, taking a level in kindness doesn't make everyone not want to see you lynched.
Chromedome slips back into his depression and starts to spend all day sitting in his room listening to Rewind's farewell message, refusing to talk to his friends. Rewind's message, while important, wasn't able to cure his emotional problems as initially thought. This sort of thing is sadly common amongst sufferers of depression who don't receive genuine treatment or aid.
Real Men Wear Pink: Atomizer. Before the war, he was an interior designer before turning into a deadly assassin.
Reason You Suck Speech: Starscream's testimony during Megatron's trial. The former seeker harshly denounces Megatron and his tenure as leader of the Decepticons arguing that Megatron's crimes were driven not by malice or cunning, but sheer incomptence. Megatron ultimately decides to nullify his trial because he refuses to let Starscream write his legacy.
Reconstruction: A lot of things that were deconstructed in Last Stand Of The Wreckers are either put back together here or reworked into new but recognizable forms. For example, where LSTOW raised the question of whether the Autobots were any better than the Decepticons, MTMTE has the Lost Light crew heroically and selflessly jumping down to Temptoria to save the innocent citizens of that world from a group of line-crossing Decepticons.
Red Herring: Shadowplay makes us believe, at one point, that the Senator that was constantly helping out Orion Pax was a young Ultra Magnus, turns out it was Shockwave.
Issue 16 seems to imply that not only Ultra Magnus has survived things that would have killed most other 'bots, but in the process made him the 'bot we know him as know, as it seemed every incident would make him shed part of his old personality, be it smiling, making quips, be more lax about autobot badges and such. Turns out that Ultra Magnus is a Legacy Character and every one of those scenes actually portrayed a death of a particular Ultra Magnus.
Reformed, but Rejected: Cyclonus. Just about everyone but Tailgate thinks the worse of him at any given time, to the point he's Easily Condemned for anything that goes wrong inside the Lost Light, even when he has nothing to do with it. This is lampshaded by the comments of the likes of Rodimus, Swerve and Chromedome on Cyclonus.
Rodimus on accepting Cyclonus into the crew.
Rodimus:But before your grand gesture, you led the attack on Kimia. You were responsible for the death of dozens of autobots. That's kinda hard to overlook.
Chromedome on sharing a table with him at Swerve's bar.
Chromedome:I dont want him sharing a table with me, that murdering piece of --.
Swerve, on discussing Cyclonus' surliness with Tailgate.
Swerve:It's a very convincing act. I was convinced. My friends on Kimia? The ones he killed? They were totally convinced.
Megatron, unsurprisingly, gets it worse than Cyclonus.
Religious Bruiser: Subverted with Flywheels; he's a Neoprimalist, can be seen praying before the fight and he's the only fatality that the Scavengers take in their hopelessly outclassed battle.
Played Straight with Drift who's spiritual side is played up for this series. When he fights Overlord he states that his faith and swords will protect him. Cyclonus is also shown to have a very strong spiritual side as well.
The Resenter: Chromedome to Cyclonus. This is due to Chromedome being stationed at Kimia when Cyclonus led an attack on that base and killed several autobots, during the events of The Transformers IDW.
Trailbreaker towards Fortress Maximus.
Prowl has a bit of this with Rewind.
The Reveal: The identity of the mysterious senator? SENATOR SHOCKWAVE. In a noticeable bit of Irony, In-Universe Tailgate also learned that Orion Pax was really... Optimus Prime.
In issue 14 we get this little shocker: The Conspirator was actually Drift the whole time. He and the Duobots were working for Prowl to learn how Phase Sixers were made and they needed Chromedome to perform mnemosurgery on him in order to find out. When Chromedome refused, they smuggled Overlord onto the Lost Light. Also, Drift has successfully manipulated Chromedome and Brainstorm into the scheme.
Issue 17 has Rodimus telling the story of the investigation of Luna-1 to an unseen listener. The end of the issue reveals that it LOOKS like Dominus Ambus, Rewind's missing old friend.
It's not - but it IS Minimus Ambus - who, according to him, we know as Ultra Magnus.
Played for Laughs with the leader of the Diplomatic Corps. Getaway talks about their stealthy abi, their use of covert ops and questionable ethics for the greater good, dancing around the leader's identity. Rodimus flatly tells everyone that it's obviously Prowl.
In Delphi, one of the Autobots is a double agent, and has released the Decepticons from captivity. Signs point to Ambulon, as a previous story had said that he had a paint job masking his history, and the chips indicate it was purple and also a Decepticon. While he was, it was really Pharma who released the prisoners and had killed several people.
On pre-war Cybertron, there is one seemingly uncorrupt senator whose name is never mentioned. He sports Vertical Mecha Fins, changes his colors quite often, with his final ones being red, blue and white. Many thought him to be Ultra Magnus. In reality it was Shockwave who had quite a few cosmetic changes.
Brainstorm's mass displacement seems like it might be important to the whole Overlord is on the Lost Light subplot, but it's really not.
Not only that but First Aid is seen at one point tinkering with a diagnostic drone like the one that was spying on Red Alert, making it seem as though he's the mysterious "Conspirator". And right after he's the one who declares that Red Alert attempted suicide. He's not the Conspirator and Red Alert did indeed attempt suicide..
Rodimus wants to be this, but his massive amount of personality problems tend to drag him down.
Remember the New Guy: Some of the major characters have never really been featured in any significant capacity before this comic. For example, Chromedome's only appearance beforehand was a single scene in the shuttle escaping from Kimia... scripted by Roberts.
Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: On the alternate Lost Light, it was Brainstorm-in reality a double agent for the Decepticons-who let the Decepticon Justice Division onboard and who also alerted them to Overlord's presence in the first place. None of which saved him from suffering the same gruesome fate as the rest of the crew when the DJD started slaughtering them all.
Riddle for the Ages: In-Universe, Rung's alt mode is this. Part of issue 22 involves the crew trying to figure out what it is. Even Rung himself doesn't know. It's basically a big club.
In one issue, Nightbeat's seen studying what Word of God confirms is Rung's alt-mode. Even Cybertron's greatest detective is stumped.
Ridiculously Human Robot: Zigzagged but largely averted. Transformers are explicitly said to be living robots and they have some traits similar to humans but they're also aliens and have a completely different biology. For example, they can cry but Word of God says it's actually their optical gauze (the microfilaments over their eyes), which overheats and causes ribbons of light when they get really emotional.
The Rival: Surprisingly, Rung has one, another psychiatrist called Froid. Or "had" at any rate. From the sound of it, Froid is long-gone, but Rung still blames him in part for why Rung gets so little recognition.
Robbing the Dead: the Scavengers do this, excluding Fulcrum who is too disturbed by the practice to do so.
Robot Religion: The Annual provides a new Transformers creation myth, instead of Primus, Unicron and The Thirteen. In this one, Primus split into 5 other beings (including himself) and together they formed The Guiding Hand. One of their members, Mortilus, attacked them, and thus each one of them became an essential part of the Cybertronians' life (transformation cog, brain module, the Matrix of Leadership and Vector Sigma). Since Mortilus (Anthropomorphic Personification of death) was defeated, they also became practically immortal.
Faith is explored by many characters. Drift is The Fundamentalist, and makes repeated allusions to his faith. Flywheels is a neoprimalist, though its implied he doesn't think Primus cares for him. Cyclonus mentions having prayed in the shadows of the Metrotitans back on Cybertron, and Swerve believes in Primus. Ratchet and Ore are both Atheists.
In the Shadowplay arc we see Pious Maximus, a large religious figure who opposes the government and preaches often. He later recanted his beliefs one day, and later could be seen as an institute victim.
Running Gag: Everyone getting Rung's name wrong or forgetting about it.
Ultra Magnus stating he's not easily impressed, with someone else commenting they're not surprised.
Rodimus' constant use of "Till all are one". It actually becomes a plot point later on.
Chromedome not knowing how to make the "Pfft" sound. He eventually manages it.
Say Your Prayers: Flywheels, upon learning that the DJD is coming. It's his last words, too.
Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The Lost Light is described to be 15 miles long. That makes it larger than a Star Wars Executor class starship. Yet it is dwarfed by The Benign Intervention, which would make the latter roughly the length of Connecticut. Here is a quick diagram demonstrating this: 
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In issue 7, Misfire suggests they run away screaming from the crashed vessel they are exploring after discovering a menagerie of horrors inside it.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Sparkeater on the Lost Light was this before the quantum engine malfunction freed it.
Season Finale: The last half of Issue 21, its prose story, and Issue 22 for the first "season" of MTMTE.
Series Continuity Error: Issue #1 has Chromedome pointing out that Rewind's alt-mode is non-mobile, seeing as it is a giant memory stick. Cue the Annual, where his alt-mode, is not only hovering, but also quite mobile, keeping pace with the likes of Whirl, Cyclonus, Drift and Rodimus. It has been clarified that this was an error on part of the Annual's artist, however.
Shoot the Hostage: Tyrest takes Tailgate hostage after Tailgate stops him from getting into the portal and deactivating the thought weapon on his staff, so Tailgate just tells Rodimus to shoot them both because he's already dying anyways.
The concept of 1984 refers to thought warfare, similar to the Thoughtcrime from the book 1984 (in addition to being a Mythology Gag).
There's a model of the guitar shaped spaceship from Interstella 5555 lying around Rung's office in issue 6.
Whirl manages to give a Shout-Out to both The Simpsons ("Shortest. Quest. Ever.) and Futurama ("The duly appointed enforcer of the Tyrest Accord can duly appoint my shiny metal-") in the same issue.
Drift and Rodimus have a very Red Dwarf sounding conversation, also in the Annual.
One of the covers for issue 12 is in homage to the cover of The Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The cover of the first issue is a reference to 1987's Justice League #1.
The title of the three first issues pays homage to the Dexys Midnight Runners song, "Liars, A to E" (with A and D standing for "Autobot" and "Decepticon")
Rossum's Trinity is a reference to the 1920 Czech science fiction play Rossum's Universal Robots, which introduced the word "robot" into the English language.
According to the TPB Rewind's comment that he has footage of a Sparkeater from the Gimlin Facility is a reference to Robert Gimlin, who with Roger Patterson claimed to have caught Bigfoot on film.
Issue 6 is named "Interiors" in reference to the Woody Allen film of the same name. There was supposed to be quotation marks around the title on the title page to complete the reference (most of his film titles have quotation marks) but apparently editorial didn't get the memo.
Skids' holo-matter avatar in issue 13 is basically the Eleventh Doctor, complete with bowtie. The fact that his ID is also a blank piece of paper (whil also referencing Skid's amnesia) is probably a reference to the Doctor's psychic paper, a blank piece of paper which shows people whatever ID the Doctor needs them to see.
The title of issue 13, "Cybertronian Homesick Blues", is a Shout-Out to the Bob Dylan song ("Subterranean Homesick Blues").
One of the covers for issue 13 has a Vorlon drawn into the background.
Issue 18, Chromedome's vehicle form is very similar to Batman's Tumbler. What's Chromedome's real name? Tumbler.
Single Issue Psychology: Averted. Fortress Maximus's mutilation by Overlord was the cause of his emotional issues, but it was simply the catalyst that brought those issues about. He's got plenty of other problems and though fighting Overlord helps him immensely, it's doubtful it cleared up all of his issues. It's essentially a transition from being insane and dangerous to emotionally damaged but functional.
Situational Sword: The Great Swords wielded by Drift and other members of the Circle of Light. They draw power from the wielder's spark, only the devout (or the new-born) can bring out the weapons' full potential.
Skewed Priorities: The daring rescue of Misfire from the Galactic Counsel's Death Row (with the agents right on their tail) ran into a snag when Misfire got hungry and took a detour for a snack.
Skids calls out Nightbeat for being interested in the various disappearing objects on the ship when Chromedome has suffered a massive mood downswing and is staying in his room all day. Subverted in that those disappearing objects are actually pretty important...
Slave Race: "The Disposable Classes", Cybertronians with alt-modes so common that the Functionist Council deemed them lesser lifeforms, and therefore disposable. They were given lower-quality energon and have barely any rights whatsoever. By the modern day, there's barely any of them left.
Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Pretty much smack dab in the middle. Expect to see snarky dialogue and whacky moments like Whirl stacking drinks on Ultra Magnus right next to heart-rending drama and graphic depictions of things like torture.
Small Name, Big Ego: Brainstorm constantly behaves like he's a celebrity and Primus's gift to scientists, but nobody else treats him as anything other than the average Autobot egghead. Issue 14 implies that he acts like this out of jealousy towards Perceptor.
Snark-to-Snark Combat: Constant between Ratchet and Drift. Later Rodimus and Megatron start engaging in this; unfortunately for Rodimus, Megatron is a lot more quick-witted.
Sociopathic Hero: Despite all his comedic actions, Whirl is seriously disturbed, from mutilating Sweep corpses, to trying to start a fight with Cyclonus. This is very clear in Issue 12, where he combines this trope and Heroic Comedic Sociopath in battle, telling Rewind to accompany him "and film [him] killing people for the greater good." When he faces off against Nautilator, Whirl easily has him pinned, and then makes fun of his Megatron sounding voice when the Decepticon begs for his life. Whirl then tries to do an impression of Optimus Prime, before giving up and murdering him.
So What Do We Do Now?: Swerve says to Ore that with the war over, he can't do the peace any justice, he feels like he's wasting his life, and not doing something grand now that the war's over. He states that he expected something big at the end of the war, for the peace to be all about the good times. Ore's response is that when the war ended he wanted to get a new alt-mode and befriend a Decepticon. He tells Swerve that peace is what you make of it, and to enjoy what you have.
The Scavengers have a similar talk when the war is over and the status quo is gone. They conclude that they should get to Cybertron and go from there.
Played for Laughs with Nightbeat and Swerve's 'crewditions'. The fact that Swerve is doing it to mess with peoples' heads is pretty obvious.
The Spymaster: Issue 20 reveals that Prowl is/was this for the Diplomatic Corps.
Starfish Language: The strange spark being that Skids encounters on the other side of Tyrest's portal seems to communicate through vague sensations and noises instead of any actual language.
In issue 31 we learn that some Cybertronians don't speak verbally but are "Chirolingual", meaning they speak by stimulating nerves in each other's hands. Riptide and Nautica know a little bit of the language, while Drift is fairly fluent. Megatron and Ravage also seem to be at least somewhat fluent in it as well.
The Starscream: Aparrently phase-sixers as a whole. According to Tarn they have a rather nasty tendency to rebel against or betray their allies, something that's made quite clear to the reader (Black Shadow was willing to throw away his career and betray the Decepticons over a couple thousand bucks). We've already seen two of them go rogue before, in the form of Overlord and Sixshot.
Start of Darkness: The Shadowplay arc is one for Shockwave. From his time as a senator, to the lobotomy and mutilation he received, becoming the Decepticon he is at present. The arc is even named after the mental procedure.
Issue 14 is one for Overlord, though it's shown that he was already a sociopath long before he became a Decepticon phase-sixer.
Stat-O-Vision: Ultra Magnus has a variation on all the time. Listing names, skills, and likelihood to be a threat, Drift's mentions that Magnus has to resist dragging him off to prison.
Status Quo Is God: Discussed by the Scavengers in issue 7. Krok and most of the group explain to Fulcrum that the war is over. Fulcrum can't believe it because of this trope.
Fulcrum: But there's always been a war! That's like saying there's no more blue or—or the weather's stopped!
Stealth Pun: The Data Slug looks like a flash drive, and Red Alert placed it in the cavity where Rung's thumb used to be. Another name for a flash drive? A Thumb drive.
Swerve mentions that Whirl overdosed on Berserker Buttons and flipped out when someone asked him the time. Whirl was a watchmaker, a job he excelled at and enjoyed before being subjected to Empurata, and now his claw hands can't make the watches anymore. It would seem that the subject is his Berserk Button.
Stepford Smiler: Swerve, and to a lesser extent Drift. Both of their masks crack during the 2012 annual, and again in issue #22.
The Stoner: Misfire, though he's more hyper than most examples.
Stoner Flick: This comic is what happens when you combine this trope with a Space Opera. Several characters are the Cybertronian equivalent of drug users and/or alcoholics, there's more focus on humor and dialogue than the real plot, and said dialogue often has tangents about various subjects. Issue 13 is probably the place where this is most obvious, as most of the issue is just the crew talking about stuff while getting drunk.
Story Arc: The series is broken up into "seasons", which are themselves broken up into story arcs:
Season 1: Issue 1 through 22. Has the crew begin their journey while trying to find and rescue the Circle Of Light.
Superpower Lottery: Point One Percenters, incredibly rare Cybertronians born with green sparks that have unique properties that have not been fully explained. They can survive body modification processes that normal sparks cannot.
Tele-Frag: Why it's a bad idea to stand near an operational quantum generator. Ore and the Sparkeater find this out the hard way.
Teleporter Accident: Remember that explosion on issue 1 when they Lost Light took off? The Quantum engines accidentally created two equally as real Lost Lights. We've followed one of them from Issue 1 onward, while the other was massacred off-screen later on by the DJD.
Tempting Fate: In issue 18, Skids easily dispatches a couple of Legislators and taunts them while doing so. Cue more legislators appearing from the Oil Reservoir. Then, when he's defeated all of those and proclaimed his victory, Star Saber teleports in behind him...
Tailgate:I'm upset! Doesn't anyone do upset anymore? What's wrong with you people? Is this a war thing?
That Man Is Dead: Megatron the Autobot thinks that this is true of Megatron the Decepticon. Ravage thinks this is not the case and that Megatron the Decepticon is still in there, but he's just resting.
Cyclonus gives one to Rodimus, about the autobots post-war.
Cyclonus:I met Red Alert twice. I found him paranoid, jittery, delusional and appalling at his job. I liked him. I liked him for his flaws. The rest of you, you're so damn pleased with yourselves. You've won a war and you think that elevates you.
There Are No Therapists: Averted. Not only is a therapist a main character, but it's explicitly said that he's not the only therapist around.
The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Played with in a Meta-Example. Issue 33 recap page has Swerve, while breaking the fourth wall, remark on the reader not buying Rewind's death in the first place.
Serve:They found Rewind! And he was alive! (beat) Again with the shrug. I'm sorry, you what? You never believed he was dead in the first place? Ok then, know-it-all...
This Is a Drill: Ore's main weapon is a drill in place of his left hand. After his death, Red Alert uses it to open up the slow cell. In the days before the war, miners used drill hands. Frak's dialogue implies that you earn it after working for so long. Impactor's appearance in prison notably has his right hand missing likely to remove any concealable weapon for his incarceration. Vos utilizes this trope in smaller amounts, having many small drills on the inside of his face, and Overlord has drills on his fingers for mnemosurgery. He wanted needles, but he can mess people up better with these.
This Is Gonna Suck: Rung's reaction to discovering the wormhole that leads to Luna-1 seems like this, considering of all the reactions shown, his was not one of excitement, like Rodimus and Swerve, but trepidation.
To Be Lawful or Good: Despite his position as Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, Ultra Magnus opposes Tyrest the second he learns of the Chief Justice's plan to exterminate everyone Constructed Cold.
Token Evil Teammate: Whirl best exemplifies this trope in this series. Then Megatron comes calling.
Too Dumb to Live: Spinister is a serious idiot. Some of his highlights include interrogating his own fingers, shooting a fire because he thought it was giving him "a look", and having to have Krok constantly explain the situation to him. Misfire even calls him "the stupidest person in the universe".
To be fair, the fire was giving him a look, given that they were using the still-living body of an Autobot as fuel.
Took a Level in Badass: Swerve, previously known for accidentally shooting himself and Rung in the face, knocks out Paddox with a transformed Rung. Later, he dispatches a Legislator.
Downplayed with Cyclonus. His undead self has always been a powerful force, but having come back to life he suffered from Badass Decay, especially in Heart of Darkness, and his importance diminished. He's back to form here, given more chance to show his battle prowess.
Megatron is trying to invoke this on the crew. They weren't really weak before, but the crew as a whole is rather immature and uncontrolled. Deconstructed in that the crew is rather annoyed by how he's trying to make them act a certain way.
Took a Level in Jerkass: As with The Transformers IDW, Sentinel Prime. Initially portrayed as a Hero Antagonist whose brutal tactics were justified by Megatron's far greater ferocity, in Megatron: Origin, he thought of the senate as a bunch of whining idiots unfit to lead. Now he's a "seemingly" loyal tool of the Senate who embraces their dark practices, including Empurata and Shadowplay, having both done to Shockwave out of spite. He never appears in the Shadowplay arc, but his actions are communicated through the other characters. Interestingly enough, Megatron: Origin chronologically took place after this series and The Transformers (IDW), but came out before it.
Torture Technician: The Decepticon Justice Division. Three of its members (Helex, Tesarus, and Kaon) turn into torture devices, and the two that don't (Vos and Tarn) posses robot-mode skills that enhance their torture capabilities (Vos's Nightmare Face and Tarn's ability to talk his foes to death).
The Dark Cybertron solicitations spoil that Starscream survives the killswitch activated during the Remain in Light arc.
The cover for Volume 5 spoils Pharma surviving the events of Delphi, after his apparent Disney Death.
Readers found out about the aftermath of Dark Cybertron—most notably Megatron becoming and Autobot and joining the MTMTE cast—before those events happened in the crossover.
Training from Hell: Made To Order Cybertronians go through this as part of the MTO process. It's left some rather deep mental scars on Riptide.
Tranquil Fury: Rewind falls into this when he realizes that Chromedome knew all along Overlord was onboard the ship and that his rampage is basically Chromedome's fault. He very calmly tells him he's not sure he can ever forgive him for this.
Translation Convention: Most of the characters are speaking "Neocybex" not English, it's simply translated for our benefit. Vos and Cyclonus can speak a basically dead language known as "Old Cybertronian" which appropriately sounds like random gibberish to everyone else.
True Companions: The crew seems to be on their way to becoming this, as do the Scavengers to a lesser degree.
Truth in Television: The concept of Death Clock is real. Recent studies in Estonia and Finland have shown that 4 biomarkers can tell the likelihood of a person to die within 5 years.
Try to Fit That on a Business Card: Ultra Magnus, Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord and Director of Security. He's also the Second in Command. Even lampshaded by Hound.
Hound:One, two, three, four, five... ten, eleven. You realize that gives him the longest job title ever.
As of Issue 21, he resigns as the enforcer and passes the title to Fortress Maximus. He keeps the Director of Security title, though.
Two Lines, No Waiting: The events of Spotlight:Trailcutter and Spotlight:Hoist happen almost concurrently.
Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Often used for dramatic purpose. special mention to Rewind's message to Chromedome, that also mirrors the scene between Ratchet and Drift. Also, a dialogue between First Aid to Ratchet, asking Ratchet whether Ambulon can be saved, but showing us the headless body of Minimus, and a slowly dying Tailgate.
Unexplained Accent: From time to time the bots use notably British English speech ("I've not", "You've been ages") instead of the standard American English which they normally use. This comes from the fact that the writer, James Roberts, is British.
Unlimited Wardrobe: The mysterious senator in the Shadowplay story arc changes his color scheme constantly, this highlights his unconventional personality and helps obscure his identity.
Unknown Rival: Thunderclash is clearly oblivious to Rodimus's seething hatred of him.
Unreliable Narrator: Justified and Lampshaded with Cyclonus. He was absent from the war, and not privy to many of the details. His brief retelling of the war to Tailgate paints the Decepticons in a positive light, because the old Autobot regime (which he was familiar with) was corrupt. When Tailgate is set straight with the details, he confronts Cyclonus, who says that he gave the briefest version of a war he was absent for, and never told Tailgate to pick a side.
Drift narrates that pre-war, he had overdosed on a drug and was taken to the clinic, when he says that the medic (Ratchet) was praying before the operation. Ratchet (in the present) calls him out on it.
Arguably, the whole Shadowplay arc is this. It is even lampshaded in the title of issue 9 (“A Totally Epic Story Based On Real Events That Definitely Happened”).
In the first annual, Cyclonus tells the Creation Myth of the Cybertronian race which seems to be true. The fact that Tailgate is dying of old age, something that the story says can't happen to Cybertronians, it seems that Cyclonus has got at least some of the details wrong.
Swerve every time he's talking about Blurr.
The Unsmile: Ultra Magnus has to make one in the annual to save the day.
Values Dissonance: In-Universe example. The Autobots and Decepticons have very different views of what is right or wrong. The Autobots believe in Socrates-style democracy and self-determination while the Decepticons believe in Marxist communist-style government and complete, unquestioning loyalty to your leader. Krok kills a downed opponent and neither him nor the other Scavengers make any sort of big deal about it, while First Aid practically collapses in regret when he executes the defenseless Pharma.
Also there's the value of Organic life. Fulcrum is easily one of the least evil of the Scavengers and pretty grounded, but even in his speech before jumping, he casually mentions that he approves of clearing out "backwater organics." Tailgate also mentions that the Primal Vanguard would kill organics even though he wasn't on it, Tailgate, and others of his time period headed by Nova Prime, thought very little of them. This is contrasted with the modern Autobots who think of organic life as just as precious as mechanical life and constantly fight to protect it.
In issue 13, the crew has to make sure a bar permits mechanical lifeforms before they can go in, suggesting that racial segregation is not only allowed in the galactic community, but enforced. None of the crew members complain about this or talk about it as if it's unusual or unreasonable. Granted, the two known mechanical lifeforms of the galaxy (Cybertronians and Stetnarians) are both embroiled in unimaginably destructive wars...
Vertical Mecha Fins: Ultra Magnus has large Girder-shoulders as usual, though in this series, the tips appear to be laser weapons. Nick Roche's original concept art shows they would have combined into a BFG in vehicle mode.
Chromedome and Rodimus sport these as well.
Shockwave sported a pair of grey fins as a Senator.
Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The comic is a fun adventurous romp starring a variety of goofy and likable characters. Its main villains are the Decepticon Justice Division, a group of Knight Templar sadists who torture and murder anyone who dares to so much as question Megatron's philosophy. Then there's Overlord, a sadistic lunatic who kills and manipulates people for fun.
"Remain In Light" introduces Star Saber and Tyrest. Tyrest is a self-mutilating lunatic who has become obsessed with laws and wants to perform a Total Party Kill on all cold constructed Cybertronians. Star Saber is a horrible, fascistic, and overly-religious Knight Templar who once tried to commit genocide on anyone who didn't believe in Primus and brutalizes people who have crossed Tyrest.
Villain Issue: Issues 7 and 8 are arguably this. The Autobots feature, but it also has the escapades of the DJD, a marooned Decepticon crew and Grimlock.
Villain Protagonist: The Scavengers, to the point that Fulcrum acts more heroic than some of the Autobots.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Ratchet and Drift. Even if Drift's beliefs and attitude constantly gets under Ratchet's nerves, he still considers Drift a friend when it counts like when Overlord attacks them, or Drift is exiled from the ship.
The events of "Remain in Light" seem to be pushing Whirl and Cyclonus into becoming this.
Wagon Train to the Stars: The general plot. The Lost Light crew is following the Matrix Map for their quest, which will lead them to unknown worlds and star systems. However it seems that they've yet to make it out of inhabited space as of the end of season 1. The mysterious future message from issue 1 warns that there are horrible things outside of known space so this trope may end up taking a darker turn.
War Is Glorious and War Is Hell: Issue 12 displays both, with a narrative that shows the before and after of the battle, as well as a few scenes from it. The fight starts out with a bunch of Autobots going to liberate some prisoners from the Decepticons, all happily preparing for war, and shouting a Badass Boast. While the Decepticons have a funny conversation where they say Nautilator sounds like Megatron. Then the fight breaks out, with the battle being pretty epic, Drift slicing through two cons, and impaling a third through the head, and Ultra Magnus dominating three others, and it even gets kind of funny, with Chromedome riding Overkill like a pony, and Steeljaw biting his tail. Then it cuts to after the war, where Cyclonus and Rewind are seriously injured, with the latter on the brink of death. The cons' defeat is a lot more graphic than one would imagine, with Nautilator on the ground begging not to be murdered, before he is, and Whirl being responsible for putting Cyclonus and Rewind in their conditions.
Warrior Poet: Drift spends a lot of time spouting various flowery philosophical statements, and apparently writes all of Rodimus's grandiose speeches.
Megatron used to be this before the war. He's trying to recapture this now that he's captain.
We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Averted. The currency that Transformers use is called shanix and it's far from the only galactic currency. There's been other currencies mentioned such as quadrocheques, sputle-progs, and even mention of a barter system.
Issue 6. To sum it up, Fortress Maximus goes insane, Rung accidentally gets his head blown off by Swerve, Whirl admits that he tried to euthanize Springer while Springer was in a coma, Red Alert may be going off the deep end, and Overlord is discovered to be aboard the Lost Light.
In issue 14 we find out Drift is working for Prowl and is not only responsible for bringing Overlord on board, but also has dragged Brainstorm and Chromedome into it. Overlord escapes his containment.
Issue 15: Overlord's rampage kills 5 people, including Pipes, and fatally wounds Ultra Magnus, and then Rewind sacrifices himself to jettison Overlord.
Issue 16: Drift is exiled from the ship, and Tailgate has 3 days to live.
Remain In Light: They find Luna-1. Full to the brim with sparks and all the enemies the Lost Light has encountered so far including Lockdown and Pharma. The crew discovers that Ultra Magnus is actually Minimus Ambus, Ambulon, Deftwing, and Dai Atlas die, Tyrest has become insane, and the Lost Light gets attacked by Legislators.
Issue 32 and 33. The crew arrives in Sector 113 and find an alternate Lost Light where the DJD slaughtered everyone. And than they find the alternate Rewind alive and discover that Brainstorm is a Decepticon agent. The now discovered Brainstorm proceeds to use his briefcase to knock out everyone in Swerve's Bar and make his getaway.
Issue 33: Brainstorm's final line of the issue: as he opens his briefcase: "I'll let you in on a little secret. I can do whatever the hell I want".
Wham Shot: In Issue 11, the final page: The unnamed senator who befriended Orion Pax in previous issues, Senator Shockwave, has his personality inverted and is rebuilt into a more familiar form.
Earlier than that, issue 6 ends with the revealing shot of Overlord imprisoned in the cellar of the Lost Light.
Issue 8 ends with the Necrobot appearing over Flywheel's corpse eighteen months after he died, a datapad in hand. We get a look at what's on it: A list of the deceased, which contain among its most recent entries Dipstick, Hound, Ultra Magnus, Drift, and Chromedome.
Issue 16: Ultra Magnus has gone missing from the med-bay, and the Death Clock has reset. Then Tailgate sticks his arm in front of it. It tells him he has three and a half days left to live.
Issue 29: Megatron and Trailcutter open the coffin and find Rodimus's corpse.
In issue 33 the Decepticon badge hidden in Brainstorm's faceplate.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: There's actually a test done to determine this in the galactic community, called The Ambus Test. It's used to determine if a mechanical being is truly sentient (like Cybertronians or Stentarians) or if they're just mindless, albeit very advanced, drones.
Brought up in issue 33 when Skids calls out Megatron for not caring about a bunch of innocent people on Ofsted XVII because they're not Cybertronian, causing Megatron to realize that he needs to make more of an effort to change.
What the Hell, Hero?: Megatron calls the Autobots out for their side of the war, in the middle of his trial, publicly, VERY PUBLICLY. Prowl is none too pleased.
Skids is very angry when Megatron suggests not saving Ofsted XVII from the alternate Lost Light.
Who Dares?: Star Saber asks this. Cyclonus answers the call.
Star Saber: If God were on your side, you'd have stopped me by now. Will anybody pit their faith against mine?
Cyclonus: I will.
Wolverine Claws: Cyclonus has the sharp finger variety. While initially it looked like it was for show (ala Femme Fatalons) he has shown to use them in battle, like giving Blip a neck-jab.
The Worf Effect: Black Shadow gets killed by the DJD to show how powerful they are. In his commentary, Roberts said this was intentional.
#14 reveals that Tarn is also a Phase-Sixer, just like Black Shadow.
World Building: Loads and loads of it. James Roberts has even said going into the series that he wanted to craft a more definitive setting and strong continuity/mythos.
Worth Living For: Rewind is this for Chromedome. He needs a little reminder at the end of issue 16.
Villainous example: Overlord finding out that Megatron is alive is all that is needed to give him back his fighting spirit.
Overlord: Breaking free of these paper chains was never the problem — I just lacked the motivation. But if Megatron's alive, then there's everything to play for.
Megatron, thanks to Starscream's speech. He appears now determined to come ahead in his trial and live, just to spite Starscream.