Comic Book: Transformers: Robots in Disguise
The war is over. Now the hard part begins.
"Prime never had to deal with this. And he never wanted to. But this is my world and I have to defend itóeven if it doesn't want us here. No... Especially if Cybertron doesn't want us here
When the Transformers Ongoing
ended with the Chaos
storyline, the long civil war between Autobots and Decepticons finally ended as well. IDW launched two new series to chronicle events in the aftermath of that war.
One was Transformers: More than Meets the Eye
chronicling a group of Autobots in space, while the other was this comic.
Optimus Prime has left Cybertron, Galvatron is presumed dead, and Megatron is MIA. Thousands of neutral transformers who left the world before and during the war have returned, lead by Metalhawk. The Autobots have triumphed over the Decepticons, who are now leaderless and directionless. The ongoing split many of the transformers into two groups. One group went into space to discover their history, the other stayed on Cybertron. Robots in Disguise
covers the troops left behind, and delves into the political side, as the Autobots, Decepticons, and Non-Aligned Indigenous Life-forms (NAILs
) reach a tentative peace. Tempers are still high as everyone blames everyone else for the war, and some try to take advantage of the chaos to carve out a new position in the Post-War Cybertron.
It now has a character sheet
. Feel free to add to it.
From November, 2013 to March 2014, Robots in Disguise
was part of a 12-issue Crisis Crossover
event with More than Meets the Eye
called Transformers Dark Cybertron
. Being a bit of a game changer for the series
, you might be well-advised to visit that page.
As-of issue 35, it drops the 'Robots in Disguise' subtitle and becomes just 'The Transformers,' which is likely to make things... confusing.
This comic series provides examples of the following tropes:
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- Above Good and Evil: Shockwave doesn't believe in good or evil, just logic.
- Adaptational Heroism: The Decepticons that pull a Heel-Face Turn have seldom done that in any of their appearances, bar Tankor as Octane, who defected in the cartoon for less noble reasons. Similarly, Soundwave is made into a much more noble and sympathetic character than pretty much every previous interpretation.
- Used to be the case with Shockwave, but Proteus found his old self a little too troublesome.
- Megatron himself is convinced to pull a Heel-Face Turn at the climax of Dark Cybertron.
- Adaptational Villainy: Prowl goes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope like you would not believe. Turns out much of this, including his apparent alliance with the Decepticons, is a result of being mind-controlled by Bombshell, but he's still done a lot of nasty stuff in the name of peace.
- Downplayed with Rattrap. He's not really that bad, but he's clearly not good, instead being more evocative of his Transformers Animated counterpart, Rattletrap, though played without laughs.
- Adorkable: Thundercracker has become this during his stay on Earth.
- After the End: Before the events of this series, Gorlam Prime was rendered dead by D-Void and its minions. By the time Orion and his team arrive, it looks like the planet itself is decaying.
- Agent Peacock: Starscream is vain and at times quite flamboyant, but he's definitely not someone you want to underestimate.
- Ambiguous Situation: In issue 11 it's deliberately left ambiguous if Shockwave was responsible for blowing the crap out of Omega Supreme like everyone thinks. Eventually, Prowl states that he did it while under Bombshell's control.
- Ambition Is Evil: Double Subverted with Starscream, who is really as ambitious as ever.
- Anachronic Order: Syndromica (2). Holy crap.
- An Arm and a Leg: Astrotrain runs Swindle over, knocking off his right arm and left leg.
- An Axe to Grind: Apeface and Dreadwing manifest energon axes.
- And I Must Scream: Prowl was aware of everything he was being made to do while under Bombshell's control, but unable to do anything about it.
- Anticlimax: Arcee's reaction after finding out other fembots post Dark Cybertron.
Arcee:I always hoped there'd be someone like me... somewhere. And now that there is... I don't feel anything.
- Anti-Villain: Prowl becomes an increasingly extreme example of this throughout the first season. While it's revealed he was being mind controlled for about half the story so far, he's done many questionable things since the days of The Transformers IDW and other series where he has made appearances.
- Arc Welding: It is a John Barber book, after all. Probably the best example is from issue 9 which deals with a longstanding IDW continuity error: the Reflector trio kept appearing alive despite having died in "Spotlight: Wheelie." The issue's end reveals that the Reflectors we saw die in "Spotlight Wheelie" were time travelers.
- Arc Words: "When I feel doubt creeping in, I think of..."
- "Wheeljack Wheeljack Wheeljack."
- Arms Dealer: One of the many arms of Garrison Blackrock's business empire, though it seems likely he deals exclusively with the EDC.
- Art Evolution: Andy Griffith has polished his style a lot for season 2 compared to season 1 of RID.
- Assimilation Plot / Loss of Identity: Prowl has his mind overpowered by the Constructicons when they form Devastator. He does manage to briefly incapacitate them by ripping himself out of the gestalt, though.
- The Atoner: Needlenose as of issue 21.
- Ax-Crazy: Arcee, Bludgeon, and Monstructor. Actually Defied by Arcee herself; she only pretended to be Ax-Crazy to get in with Megatron and his loyalists so that she could get into position to kill Bombshell and sever his control over Prowl/Devastator. Seems killing Jhiaxus over and over for six years helped her straighten her head out.
- Back for the Dead: The last Mini-Constructicon, last seen in Spotlight: Ramjet, shows up again being tracked down and killed by Spike Witwicky and Jimmy Pink.
- Back from the Dead: The power of Ore-14.
- Bad Boss: Turmoil made a group of aliens build him a time machine, then promptly murders them all. He's also a pretty big dick to his mooks.
- Bait the Dog: For a while, it seemed as though Starscream had begun to reflect, and was going to do good. Here, he shows why there's a trope named after him.
- Berserk Button: Just thinking of Spike is enough to really drive Prowl mad.
- The Constructicons carry a grudge against the human as well (He killed Scrapper in the previous ongoing), and when Prowl is used by Megatron as a new control unit for Devestator, the thought of Spike manages to unite all six transformers into a single personality, who then proceeds to go on a rampage.
- Beyond the Impossible: It's been stated that only a Prime can kill a Prime, and would be impossible for anyone else. It doesn't stop Galvatron of the Darklands from killing Nexus Prime in the distant past, because he doesn't believe in Primes.
- Big Bad: The first "season" of the comic played around with this, with Prowl, Starscream, Metalhawk, Jhiaxus, and finally Megatron forming a Big Bad Ensemble of sorts. As the story gears up into Dark Cybertron, Shockwave takes the spot as the definitive Big Bad for the season.
- Season 2's Big Bad appears to be Galvatron, now leader of the Decepticons.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Ratbat tries to use his old position as senator to take control. It gets him killed.
- Spike Witwicky views himself as a super-badass revolutionary who's a major threat to cybertronions and the government. In reality he's a brat who relied on his daddy's connections to get anywhere in life and those who even acknowledge his existence hate him or view him as a slightly annoying punk who needs to slapped around a bit so he shuts up. Prowl wants him dead or captured, but out of a personal grudge rather than any belief that Spike is dangerous.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Dinobots, Superion, and Ironhide try to do this in #15.
- Bigger Bad: Shockwave is responsible for a good chunk of the problems in the IDW comics. His regeneration Experiment was the reason for the Ultra-Energon/Ore-13 which kicked off the conflict on Earth, as well as the resurrection of Thunderwing. This series establishes him as the one who seeded a particularly nasty Regenesis Ore on the planet Kup was trapped on in his spotlight, which lead to the death of many Autobots, and Guzzle's subplot in Wreckers, and his pods have driven the Syndromica arcs. He's also responsible for the events in Spotlight Wheelie, his pod having altered the time stream. He downgrades himself to Big Bad in the Dark Cybertron Arc where he takes a direct role.
- Bigger Stick: Starscream wants Superion to be this for Cybertron, to combat the other combiners that currently exist (Monstructor, Devastator, and Menasor) and asks Wheeljack to repair and rebuild him.
- Big "NO!": Ravage when Shockwave is about to shoot Soundwave, and Soundwave right after a Little "No" after Ravage leaps in front of him and is shot.
- Bittersweet Ending: The ending of Dark Cybertron, which serves as the conclusion to season one. Cybertron and the universe are saved, Nova Prime and Shockwave are dead, and Megatron finally decides to stop fighting and pulls a Heel-Face Turn, but New Iacon is in ruins, Bumblebee is dead, and Starscream is still ruler.
- Blatant Lies: How Garrison Blackrock explains Spike's interruption of his Onyx platform to tell the world that there are still Cybertronians on Earth, and some of them are allied with the EDC, and that they need to examine what happened in Poverty Flat (scene of an earlier battle between the Autobots and Decepticons). Blackrock's explanation is that it's an early leaking of a video game trailer, but it remains to be seen if the lie is believed.
- Blood Knight: Arcee.
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The Decepticons prove that old habits die hard, using use torches and Molotov cocktails (Energon and oil are pretty flammable).
- Bond One-Liner: Played with. Starscream was expecting Dirge to say a witty pun before the latter would punch the former.
- Boom, Headshot: Prowl "kills" Bombshell this way, and later does the same to Wheeljack under Bombshell's control. Wheeljack barely survives.
- When the battle for the City wages on, Bluestreak is shot in the head (having part of his crest blown off) and left in a puddle of his blood, and Hipotank is fatally shot in the face with Turmoil's cannon.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Prowl's been this ever since he encountered Bombshell.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Bumblebee just keeps getting pushed farther and farther by all the things happening around him...
- Break the Haughty: Prowl, during Issue 14 and 15.
- Bullying a Dragon: The NAILs hate and fear the Autobots and Decepticons after the Great War. Despite this, they seem to think that antagonizing them is very much a good idea. The Autobots have a strict moral code that keeps them from either beating the crap out of the NAILs to keep them in line or just leaving them to be slaughtered, but the Decepticons make clear that they're very much willing to break the NAILs' skulls open with their bare hands if they're provoked. In issue 1, Bumblebee actually has to kill Horri-Bull because Zetca felt the need to antagonize and provoke the massive Decepticon mobster who's at least two times his size.
- Dreadwing decides to attack Soundwave, assuming that Ssoundwave would have deployed his cassettes already if they were with him and that he can take Soundwave alone. Unfortunately for him, Soundwave is not having any of that shit and promptly shreds Dreadwing to bits with his shoulder cannon. He's wrong about the cassettes, too.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Arcee, having curbed her violent impulses and most of her insanity, has become more focused as an assassin (with violent and insane tendencies) rather than a berserker, contrasting Whirl, whose insanity and violence is intrinsic to his efficiency.
- The Bus Came Back: Dirge comes back here ever since he disappeared in Transformers: All Hail Megatron. Apparently he and Deluge were beaten up and left to themselves on the planet.
- Bus Crash: Dirge implies that Deluge was eaten by the Swarm.
- Callback: Numerous. For example, Swindle occasionally mentions his time on Earth where he was the Big Bad of the Police Action saga of the Ongoing. The "Syndromica" arc takes this up to the level of Continuity Porn.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Starscream does this to Megatron in issue 20.
Starscream:My people control Iacon, and more Cybertronians will come home and join us. We'll enter a new golden age. A real golden age. Not the corrupt lines of Primes, not... not you. Because you were just as bad as them. At least they knew they were oppressing us. Might doesn't make right, Megatron. Not anymore.
- Call to Adventure: How season 2 starts. Optimus and company get a signal, seemingly from Alpha Trion, telling them to come to Earth.
- Canon Immigrant: Sky-Byte from the Transformers: Robots in Disguise cartoon. Metalhawk, a Japanese-only G1 character as well as far as the fact that this is the first time he's appeared in US Canon outside of Botcon and the Transformers Fan Club fiction.
- The Chains of Commanding: Bumblebee feels them, big time. Nominally in charge, he's constantly ignored by Prowl and anyone else who wants to take action. And he's well aware that he simply doesn't have Optimus Prime's natural leadership abilities, or the respect that Prime had from everyone.
- Optimus considers his decision to leave Cybertron to be an act of supreme selfishness, as opposed to the sacrifice everyone else believes he is making, because he was weary of The Chains of Commanding. He can finally stop being Optimus Prime and go back to being Orion Pax again.
- Starscream, for the wrong reasons. Dirge warns him with him being the leader, everyone will be scrutinizing all his moves, making it much harder to operate in the shadows as he is normally used to.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Thrust and Ramjet both died on Earth in previous series; Ramjet was dismembered by Megatron in his self-titled Spotlight issue seven years ago and Thrust was killed by humans burning him alive in the Ongoing. Issue #32 shows that their remains were collected by the EDC and used to build an army of transforming drones based on the two Coneheads.
- The Chew Toy: Zetca, Dirge, and Waspinator have lots of bad things happen to them, most of which aren't their fault. Sky-Byte too.
- The Chosen One: In the annual, the crashed Metrotitan reveals that Starscream may become one in the future. Possibly subverted when Galvatron contemptuously says that Alchemist Prime, who apparently first uttered the prophecy of the "Chosen One" was tripping on rancid Engex when he said it, which might mean it's a load of hogwash.
- Nova Prime is a subversion/deconstruction. Alpha Trion intended him to be the chosen one who would bring peace to Cybertron but Nova wasn't able to handle the task, devolving into an egomaniac with a god complex.
- City of Adventure: New Iacon.
- Cold Sniper: Arcee seems to rather enjoy having a group of unwitting Decepticons in her sights before whispering to them that she let them live.
- Combining Mecha: The concept is touched on more heavily here than any other point in the IDW storyline. Monstructor returns as Jhiaxus' lackey, the Aerialbots are found fused and insane in the woods, and the Constructicons return, although as Scrapper is dead they can't really do much combination-wise. Turns out that Megatron's trying to rectify that. After seeing D-Void use the energies of Cybertron to form a massive combiner in the previous ongoing, he sets his sights on harnessing them, enlisting Bombshell and forcibly subjecting Prowl and the Aerialbots to the process before becoming a component of Devastator himself.
- Continuity Nod: Swerve mentions that he and Blurr were gonna open a bar once the war is over. Swerve opens a bar aboard the Lost Light, and Blurr opens one in Cybertron.
- Continuity Porn: John Barber is famous for tackling messy continuities, so there's some of this to be expected. Probably the best example is the explanation of why the Reflector trio showed up again after they canonically died: they're time travelers.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Prowl tries to pass off Ratbat's death as a suicide. It dosen't work.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Garrison Blackrock has shades of this. When Marrissa Faireborn and one of her soldiers shows up at his Tokyo offices after the Onyx launch is interrupted by Spike Witwicky, Blackrock isn't angry that Spike has potentially leaked the existence of the EDC/Decepticon alliance to the public, he's mad that only two EDC agents showed up to investigate since if there'd been more, it would have resulted in an even larger social media boom regarding the Onyx interface. He then warns Marrissa that the EDC wouldn't exist without his support, expecting them to fall in line to catch Spike.
- Creepy Souvenir: Megatron emerges from the Cybertonian wilderness carrying a bunch of Sweeps' heads.
- Cross Over: Dark Cybertron, a 12-issue Cross Over miniseries with its sister series Transformers: More than Meets the Eye.
- Darker and Edgier: Has a more consistently somber tone than sister series Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. At least until Transformers Dark Cybertron, where this series got Lighter And Solfter at about the same time More Than Meets the Eye became somewhat Darker and Edgier.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Most of the normal, frontline Decepticon soldiers aren't evil in any way, their simply fighting for a cause they believe in like the Autobots. Now that the war is over most of them just want to live in peace and stop fighting. The Autobots having trouble understanding this trope after so many years of war is what generates a lot of the conflict in the comic.
- Darkest Hour: Issue 14, fittingly named "Before the Dawn". Megatron is stronger than ever, leading the Decepticon forces and the new Devestator, with Prowl at its head, to destroy the last remaining Autobots, taking Cybertron for Decepticons, once and for all. And the only thing standing in his way are Ironhide, the damaged Dinobots, and an insane Superion.
- Issue 16. The Autobots manage to stop Devastator and Megatron, but Starscream kills Metalhawk, gets the upper hand and casts the Autobots and even the other Decepticons into exile.
- Deadpan Snarker: Soundwave has some pretty good moments.
: Keep an optic on him
Soundwave: Yes my lord. Only one?
- Defector from Decadence: Thundercracker went AWOL from the Decepticons in the previous ongoing and has been living on Earth ever since. Humanity believes that he's this for all Transformers, since the true First Contact between humans and Transformers went... pretty badly
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Metalhawk, who has noticeably loosened up a bit as the series has progressed.
- Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life: Galvatron confides in Soundwave that ten million years ago he was "lost", until Alpha Trion provided him with a cause worth fighting for. In the aftermath of Dark Cybertron he now seeks another cause worth fighting for and this leads him to taking up the Decepticon cause as his own as their new leader.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Galvatron threatens Sanjay Bharwaney with this if he ever activates the Mind Bomb again; not only will Galvatron kill Sanjay, he'll also kill everyone else in Sanjay's home state of New Mexico, as well as the entire population of Old Mexico as well.
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Scavenger feigns being The Mole for the Decepticons on Prowl's orders as part of his gambit.
- The Dragon: Arcee to Prowl, Bludgeon to Jhiaxus.
- Dragon Ascendant: At the end of everything, Soundwave is the leader of the Decepticons. Starscream is different in that he's in control of everything except his original faction, and he hasn't been The Dragon for some time.
- With the death of Scrapper, normally the head, or at least spokes person of the Constructicons, Hook (normally the second in command), has taken his place at the forefront.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Shockwave, ever since his days as Jhiaxus' student!.
- Driving Question: In the season 2 comics, Ironhide's driving question is "how was Shockwave able to change the future during Dark Cybertron", since its events render the subject of Ironhide (and Jhiaxus') vision of Gorlam Prime and the Pax Cybertronia moot. Issue 34# reveals a few more: Does Galvatron know the Enigma of Combination is on Earth, and if he does, what does he intend to do with it if he finds it? And finally, is it mere coincidence that Cybertronian history appears to be constantly repeating itself, or is there some kind of great pattern to it all?.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Issue 4 drops a bridge on the remaining Constructicons and Bombshell. In issue 11 Triggerhappy is killed by Arcee without fanfare, which comes off as bizarre considering she spares and captures the other Decepticons, and Arcee admitted that she did it for fun. In issue 12 Staxx is unceremoniously blown to bits by Prowl to show that Prowl has gone completely off the deep end. The end of issue #13 reveals that the Constructicons, and Bombshell at least, are still alive.
- During Devastator's Rampage, Broadside is reporting from a communication tower before it's unceremoniously crushed with him still inside. Subverted in that he turns up alive later.
- Dynamic Entry: Lampshaded when Dreadwing tries and succeeds in pulling a sneak-attack on Soundwave.
Soundwave: "Reveal yourself. I can hear you. In ways you cannot imagine, I can hear you."
Dreadwing: "I know. I just wanted to make a Cool-Ass Entrance."
- Easily Forgiven: Invoked and Zig-Zagged. There are numerous Decepticons who've caused all sorts of trouble during the war, and the Autobots hesitate to try them for fear of looking too oppressive to the neutral majority, something which Metalhawk uses to his advantage. Metalhawk is extremely slow to trust Turmoil, having first hand accounts to what he's done. Blanket amnesty is offered to many, and tensions flare because of it. Tankor, who tried to nuke all the Autobots in New York, and Swindle who orchestrated much of the conflict in the Ongoing have their deeds looked past because everyone needs to come together in the new world order.
- Eldritch Location: LV-117 became this as a result of Shockwave's Regensis project. Though the natives eventually managed to stabilize the planets position in the time stream.
- Elite Mooks: The Constructicons, even in their individual modes. They take on Arcee, who took on the Combaticons and dropped two with ease, twice and are able to match her, and they can take on the Dinobots, sans Grimlock, who're established as one of the most powerful Autobot groups and hold their own.
- End of an Age: Issue #34 shows us the end of the era of the Thirteen Original Primes after most of them die or disappear from Cybertron, save one, Alpha Trion, who becomes The Mentor to Nova Major, making him the first in a new line of Primes to usher in a "Golden Age" for Cybertron.
- Enemy Civil War: When they've been kicked out of Iacon, the Decepticons fracture. Shockwave and Dreadwing go off to initiate Shockwave's plan, and the Decepticons under Soundwave chafe, with Astrotrain and Blitzwing wanting to go after Starscream and fight Soundwave for leadership. Needlenose has to calm them down, but he points out that as a warrior force, they're all done.
- Enemy Mine: Seems to be a common theme in this post-war Cybertron, with unlikely alliances propping often in order to advance all the agendas.
- Explosive Leash: Inhibitor/deterrence chips are in the heads of every Decepticon. They stop transformation, stop powers, and will blow up the Con's head if they get out of line. Bumblebee eventually deactivates them on Ironhide's advice.
- Expy: Garrison Blackrock has been reimagined as a Steve Jobs pastiche (in keeping with the trend from Transformers: Age of Extinction).
- The Evils of Free Will: The Annual reveals that Nova Prime planned to free the galaxy from the tyranny of free will before he was lost to the Dead Universe.
- Eldritch Location: The wilderness surronding New Iacon. It's filled with mutated animals and gives off a signal that drives people crazy if they spend to long in it, before making them combine together. Subverted in issue 14 where its strange properties are revealed to be caused by Megatron and his Decepticon loyalists.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Shockwave plays both sides, with the emotional Shockwave being the one before Shadowplay, and the stoic side being the one after.
- The conflict between Shockwave and Soundwave is a variation on this. Both are The Stoic, but Shockwave is emotionless and considers emotion a weakness, while Soundwave both embraces and learned to control his emotions, finding strength in them.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Shockwave does this to Dai Atlas. Interestingly enough, it actually saved Dai Atlas' life.
- Executive Meddling: Will drop the Robots in Disguise subtitle starting in issue #35 in order not to be mistaken with the show of the same name.
- Eye Patch Of Power: Turmoil now has one after an encounter below. Garnak had one to help with the healing process of his eye.
- Eye Scream: Blitzwing bashes half of Tappet's face with a rifle he found, smashing one of Tappet's eyes. Turmoil which he got when his optic got punched out by Orion Pax who had gone back in time.
- Extreme Doormat: Bumblebee has diffuculty standing up for himself and many people (especially Prowl) are perfectly willing to exploit that.
- Face-Heel Turn: Subverted with Prowl and Arcee. It's revealed the former was being mind-controlled by Bombshell, and the latter was merely playing the Fake Defector card in order to kill Bombshell and break said mind control.
- In the post-Dark Cybertron comics, Scoop has apparently defected to the Decepticons. Later on, on Earth, we discover former Autobot human ally Jimmy Pink has developed a grudge against all Cybertronians for the death of Hunter O'Nion and then just up and abandoning him and has joined forces with Spike Witwicky to fight them.
- Fake Defector: Arcee only went along with Megatron and his Decepticon loyalists in order to get close enough to kill Bombshell.
- Faking the Dead: At the very least, Bombshell and the Constructions.
- Fallen Hero: Nova Prime. The earliest points in the timeline show that he used to be a genuine Nice Guy who truly believed in helping others. Over time he devolved into egotism and a belief that he knew better than everyone else. When he arrived at the Benzuli Expanse, the Darkness exploited his egomania to corrupt him completely.
- Fall Guy: Rattrap sabotaged the Iacon Power Grid, and managed to get Scoop arrested for it. Subverted, in that Starscream could tell Scoop was innocent, and recognized Rattrap right from the start as a liar and the true culprit, but played along because Scoop's altruism made him unpredictable, whereas Rattrap gets offered a government job.
- Fingore: Prowl crushes Needlenose's hand in the first issue. In issue 21 Ravage bites down on Astrotrain's fingers, but Astrotrain punches him off before any real damage can occur.
- Five-Man Band: Nova Prime as The Leader, The great military commander Galvatron as The Lancer, renowned scientist Jhiaxus as The Smart Guy, Cyclonus the warrior was The Big Guy, and Dai Atlas was the Sixth Ranger Traitor as he doesn't pull a Face-Heel Turn like the others. Scourge may have functioned as The Chick.
- Flanderization: Galvatron, to a degree. When the original IDW run started, he was a pretty intelligent tactician under Furman, as series progressed (Infestation, Heart of Darkness, et al), he's been losing that characteristic and replaced with bloodthirsty savage barbarian, to the point it got retconned to be that during the Prime Wars.
- Flat Character: The Monstructor Six don't have any character aside from be threatening and combine into big scary combiner. This can happen to many combining teams in fiction where their sole purpose is to turn into the Combining Mecha, but here it's explained as Jhiaxus had their minds destroyed for the combination process.
- Forced to Watch: Prowl, being controlled by the constructicons and Bombshell.
- Foreshadowing: Something destroyed LV-117, Jhiaxus makes mention of "true chaos" coming, and the Annual has Cyclonus making mention of Primus's opposite. Whatever this thing is (probably Unicron), it's coming and it can destroy entire planets with ease.
- One of the teaser pages for the release of the comic features Bombshell, with the subtitle Takes Control, alluding to his ability to control the minds of others. Not to mention his role controlling Prowl, and, by extension, the new Devastator.
- The Constructions' survival is foreshadowed when their heads are enveloped in flame as opposed to simply exploding, like Horri-Bull's.
- During the same issue, Prowl's internal monologue stops after his confrontation with Bombshell.
- During Shockwave's flashbacks in Issue #17, one of the corpses hanging from the ceiling has a black-and-yellow striped torso resembling a bumblebee. Guess who Shockwave kills at the climax of Dark Cybertron?
- Freudian Excuse: Many characters have accused Prowl's outright fanatical hatred for the NAILS to be based upon the fact that he was all ready to bail on Cybertron and become a NAIL himself upon the rise of Zeta Prime, but was forced against his will to aid Optimus Prime in staging a coup against the evil Zeta Prime and was guilted by Optimus to become his second-in-command. Since Prowl was unable to cut and run like he wanted to, he wants to punish all of the Cybertronians who did for not having to endure millions of years of unending war like he did.
- Gallows Humor: Bluestreak jokes around when Megatron's smirk begins freaking Starscream out. Jetfire tells him it's not funny and Bluestreak name-drops the trope.
- Gender Bender: Arcee.
- Genre Savvy: Shockwave is smart enough to know by now that Megatron isn't going to be able to beat the good guys, so he just uses the chance to get out of dodge while the Autobots are distracted and deal with the really important things.
- Good Is Dumb: Poor Scoop.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: All who are under the effect of Ore-14. Dreadwing has the unfortunate distinction of demonstrating it the most.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Rattrap describes Scoop as such to Starscream, being jealous of 'bots with bigger, more important jobs, and how he always wanted more. He's actually describing himself, which leads him to frame Scoop for sabotaging the power grid.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Not all Autobots are clean cut and good, and some Decepticons just want to get on with their lives. The NAILs blame the warriors for dooming the planet, and the Cons and Bots blame the NAILs for leaving when the planet was being fought over, and now they want to take it back when they haven't fought in the war. Metalhawk, leader of the NAILs, is a massive prick, but he does have a point.
- Prowl lampshades this during an Inner Monologue as he attacks Autobots as the head module of Devastator.
- Gut Punch: Bombshell making Prowl murder Wheeljack in cold blood. Subverted in that the scientist survives.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Superion undergoes this at the hands of Devastator, but ultimately survives.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Galvatron. Turns out he's a giant racist, specially hating on the lower classes, like cassettes and headmasters.
- Hate Sink: Spike Witwicky. In a setting with the deranged murderous Galvatron, the morally questionable humans, the still quite evil Decepticons, and Prowl, Spike is framed as just a loathsome Prick. His attempts at seeming badass and anti-heroic are undercut by his selfish smug "bad boy" nature, and him bragging about his work for his country before executing the harmless Mini-Constructicon. The Decepticons, Constructicons, the humans and Prowl all despise him, and Blackrock's self-serving dismissal of him as a punk who's functioning as a thorn in everyone's side, is an accurate summation of his worth.
- Healing Factor: Ore-14 allows Cybertronians to recover from seemingly lethal injuries.
- Heel-Face Turn: Dirge, Swindle, Tankor, and Squawkbox. Horrifically subverted with Starscream.
- The Constructicons switch sides in issue 18, though they make it clear that they're only doing it because they like Prowl, not because they want to be Autobots.
- Heel Realization: Needlenose comes to terms with the fact that, in-spite of living under the Autobots, they probably could have had peace and they blew their chances. He agrees with the NAIL thinking that all they do is destroy.
- Hero of Another Story: Alpha Trion describes the ancient Cybertronian soldier Eucryphia as one of these, while being important in other tales, not being one in the story he's telling Optimus because this is the story where Eucryphia dies early on.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Prowl isn't actually becoming a villain, he's being mind controlled by Bombshell. Although he was quite the ass, and had a very questionable agenda, before being mind controlled.
- Homeless Pigeon Person: Soundwave's backstory. He was found, alone, suffering from Sensory Overload, and not knowing where he came from or even what his name was. Ravage, Buzzsaw and Laserbeak happen upon him, and Ravage's advice helps him to control his Super Senses through focus. After that he lives with them on the streets, and they remain loyal to each other, even coming with him when he was employed by the state and later when he joined the Decepticons.
- Hope Springs Eternal/Villainous Valor: Soundwave in issue 21 notes that Megatron has filled all of the lower classes with hope, and to him the Decepticon cause is the pinnacle of that hope. For that reason they'll stand against Shockwave.
- Hostile Terraforming: Although unintentional, Shockwave's Regensis project completely altered the environments of some of the planets that were seeded. Ore-2 and Ore-6 deserve special mention for outright destroying the planets they were placed upon.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: In the past Waspinator was dragged along side a dying Metrotitan as it teleported to another location. He describes the experience as mind-bending and disturbing as if it is simply incomprehensible to mortal beings. He describes the place the Metrotitan landed after it's teleportation is described as "death itself".
- Hypocrite: Megatron's revolution started as him standing against the bigotry of the corrupt Senate, who discriminated against cybertronions with certain alt modes and bots who were constructed cold. He apparently didn't see the parallels between this and the extreme bigotry towards organics that he gleefully endorses in the present...
- Prowl lashes out at Chromedome for the botched and forced memory extraction that eventually led to Bombshell hijacking him, because to him it was personal. Never mind that the only reason Chromedome did that was because Prowl was trying to blackmail Chromedome with personal information. Or that he generally does things like that all the time (he actually caused problems over in MTMTE by ordering the Diplomatic Corps to try and brainwash Chief Justice Tyrest into retiring).
- I Did What I Had to Do: Prowl and Arcee have this feeling regarding them killing Ratbat. Not many agree.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Ironhide to Prowl
- Orion Pax to Shockwave, in the past, after the events of Shadowplay.
Pax: "I know the real you - you can overcome what they did! I believe in you!
Shockwave (narrating): "One day Orion Pax would stop believing..."
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ratbat, courtesy of Arcee. Bludgeon does it to Wheelie, but non-fatally. Ironhide gets impaled by Slag's horns through the back and Swoop's sword through the front. Arcee again pins Sideswipe to a wall during her time aiding the Decepticon takeover... only to reveal it was carefully done to avoid vitals so he could provide surprise fire support for her.
- Insistent Terminology: Orion Pax makes a point of stressing his new name, even when in the heat of battle.
- Insult Backfire: Prowl insults the constructicons in Issue 18, they take it as a compliment.
Prowl:You're the worst of the worst. The cruelest, vilest decepticons I've ever encountered.
Hook:It's like poetry when you say it, Prowl!
- Introdump: Gloriously done in flashback with Cyclonus, Galvatron, Dai Atlas, Jhiaxus, and Nova Prime. It's clunky, it's cheesy, and it, and much of the art in the flashbacks, is a homage to the old Marvel comics (which had huge introdumps pretty much whenever a new group of characters was introduced).
- It's All About Me: Both Bumblebee and Prowl get this both here and in the Backstory for this series and Transformers: More than Meets the Eye.
- I Will Fight No More Forever: Optimus after he willingly exiles himself from Cybertron. He even casts aside the name "Optimus Prime" which he earned during the war and reclaims his civilian identity as "Orion Pax."
- Irony: Flatline states that the Aerielbots are considered heroes for decrying factionalism and stopping Devastator. While the latter is true, the Aerielbots left because of their factionalism, with Silverbolt accusing and trying to murder Dirge because of the explosions on the grounds that he was a Decepticon.
- Issue 21 reveals that Megatron never trusted Soundwave and was always suspicious of him, constantly suspecting that Soundwave was spying for the highest bidder. At the same time, we learn that Soundwave is easily the most loyal Decepticon in existence, and part of the issue involves Soundwave standing by Megatron's beliefs even when no one else does.
- Jerkass: "Peace Enforcers" Needlenose and Horri-bull.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Played with Metalhawk. In many ways, Metalhawk is similar to Dai Atlas, both are stuck up pricks who oppose the Autobot in authority. Both have reasons to distrust both factions, and both sew seeds of distrust. The difference is their goals, Dai Atlas wanted to abandon the planet, which would scatter their people, but would keep them safe from the war, and his distrust and criticism of Optimus were part of his desire to abandon the war, and separate. Metalhawk wants everyone to come together, but his distrust and insults at the Autobots is counterproductive to that goal.
- Similarly, Prowl has several valid points regarding the Decepticons and Nails, but he ends up taking it way too far.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Metalhawk, Swindle, Needlenose, and to a much lesser degree Soundwave.
- Kick the Dog: Arcee murdering Sunstorm, a hapless con who had been mind controlled. She had even subdued him by slicing off his legs. When he grabbed her leg, she casually stabbed him through the head.
- Starscream and Rattrap framing and falsely arresting Scoop.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Starscream killing Turmoil.
- Kill It with Fire: Needlenose tries with Streetwise, but it doesn't work.
- Killed Off for Real: Horri-bull, Ratbat, Barrel Roll, Sunstorm, Bombshell, and Turmoil. Dark Cybertron adds Hardhead, Nova Prime, Bumblebee, Jhiaxus, Metalhawk, and Shockwave to the list. The second season also reveals that the Slingshot component of Superion was killed when Devastator ripped Superion apart (and so new character Alpha Bravo can take Slingshot's place.)
- Bombshell and the Constructicons, it seems were Faking the Dead...seemingly with Prowl's help.
- Knight in Sour Armor / Knight Templar: Prowl views himself as a Knight in Sour Armor, whereas in reality he's more of a Knight Templar. Even before getting mind-controlled by Bombshell.
- Lack of Empathy: [[Invoked]] with the once-righteous Shockwave, who had his emotion centers forcibly removed at Proteus' behest.
- Leader Forms The Head: Megatron's new body can serve as the head of the new reformatted Devastator, but he does not get the chance.
- Lesser of Two Evils: Blurr pretty much quotes this word for word to Starscream, telling him that's the only reason why they tolerate him as their self-appointed leader.
- Loss of Identity: Explained as being the fate of everyone "recruited" into Galvatron's army, save Cyclonus. They all turned into Sweeps.
- MacGuffin: In season 2, it looks like the Enigma of Nexus Prime, an ancient Cybertronian artifact that can apparently bestow stabilized combination on Cybertronians that was hidden on Earth at the dawn of man by Galvatron will be this for both sides.
- Mad Scientist: Shockwave, Jhiaxus, possibly Soundwave and Bombshell. Wheeljack counts to but in a far more benovelent way.
Wheeljack: I was just messing around with science.
- Mark of Shame: Pretty much what both the Decepticon and Autobot badges are.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Played With for the 13. They're present here as in many other continuities, but their status as gods or servants of god have been changed (the creation stories featured in MTMTE being the myths). Now the thirteen are great warlords who united Cybertron and each leads a different faction that has different physiologies (beast modes, combiners, etc). They're closer to normal Transformers than another continuity, but there's a lot of ambiguity as to how they were able to diversify Cybertron and their abilities to do so. Galvatron says it's magic, Jhiaxus believes its science.
- The Medic: Fixit, Flatline.
Scattershot: "...48 injured Autobots. About 60 NAIL's. A few Decepticons too. Should I prioritize-"
Fixit: "Prioritize by seriousness of injury."
- Merchandise-Driven: Transformers has always been this way. In this series the characters here are reworked to look like their aligned bodies partially to promote Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. In Universe the explanation given for the change could harken back to Transformers: All Hail Megatron, where the earth forms lacked the traction to cope on Cybertron's smooth surface, making the upgrades necessary.
- Mexican Standoff: Arcee has one with Blurr when she breaks into his bar, with Squawkbox, Tankor and Jazz also pointing guns at her, the situation is soon diffused.
- Midseason Upgrade: Bumblebee out of necessity, after a thorough beating at the hands of Megatron. He ends up looking like his Goldbug form. Starscream, as per Issue 23 cover, will receive one where he'll end up looking like his Transformers Armada self.
- Mind Screw: "Syndromica (2)"
- The Mole: Scoop is Starscream's mole in the Decepticons, though the two still have a rather adversarial relationship.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Shockwave. And this was even before becoming a Decepticon, but it was a lot more toned down.
- Moral Dissonance: The Autobots don't have a problem with basically enslaving the Decepticons with ID chips and suppressing the Nails, despite having just fought a six-million year war to keep the Decepticons from doing things like that. Starscream actually calls Wheeljack out on this in issue 3, pointing out that the Autobots seem to have some pretty skewed priorities (for example, taking the time to put ID chips in any and all Decepticons but not bothering with actual public safety issues such as housing to keep people safe).
- Mythology Gag: Sky-byte recites a haiku to the head of a sweep (holding it in an Alas, Poor Yorick kind of way), and comments that it reminds him of someone. All the Sweeps resemble Scourge, and Sky-byte is reminded of him. In the Transformers: Robots in Disguise there was a character named Scourge as well, who was Sky-byte's rival (They look nothing alike, but the similar name and knowledge of Sky-byte function as the gag).
- In Syndromica (2), when Orion travels to LV-117 during the time of its destruction by an as of yet unknown force, the entire planet appears to be bathed in an ominous red light, and chunks of it appear to be flying upwards into the sky. This is very similar to what happened to planets devoured by Unicron in the 1986 movie, which is probably another indicator that it's him.
- Ironhide's prediction of the future invokes the phrase "The Transformers are all dead".
- Bumblebee looks like his Goldbug form after the repairs from the beating he took.
- When the Decepticons turn on each other and fight for leadership, Blitzwing and Soundwave are the ones fighting, just like in the movie.
- The dog that Thundercracker adopted on Earth is named Buster, in reference to Buster Witwicky one of the Autobots' human allies from the Marvel comics.
- The last panel of issue #29 features Kelly, Radd White and Carlos Lopez running away from Devastator. Also, weirdly, Homer Simpson.
- The Decepticon's new flagship bears a strong resemblance to the Revenge, Galvatron's Unicron-gifted starship from the 1986 film.
- Furthermore, Galvatron's ancient "Barbarian" body greatly resembles his G1 toy, though his arm cannon is based on the blaster rifle accessory the toy came with and not the more familiar sleek orange barreled weapon.
- Ancient Cybertronian lore says that only a Prime can kill a Prime, which was first established in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen though it appears not to be true here.
- Named by Democracy: Bumblebee asks Wheeljack to stop calling him "King Bee" expressly to avoid this.
- Narm: In-Universe example. Nobody takes Bumblebee seriously as a leader and pretty much either go around him to do what they want or just browbeat him into submission. Even Bumblebee himself notes that it's kind of hard to take him seriously considering that just a few months ago he was just the Tag Along Kid to the Autobots and his self esteem has been practically destroyed.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Chromedome, who managed to break things on two comics at once. In this case, his hasty mnemosurgery on Prowl allowed Bombshell to mind control him.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Shockwave thinks of this of Proteus, concerning the Shadowplay performed on him. In this case, a villain fixes someone else to become a bigger villain.
- While it served as a useful object lesson to the rest of the Earthbound Decepticons (especially after Starscream's attempted coup with Ore-13) seven years ago, it turns out Megatron probably shouldn't have left the torn apart remains of Ramjet scattered around various human installations since the Earth Defense Command was able to get ahold of enough of those discarded remains to put together a whole drone army of Ramjet knockoffs along with their Thrust-based drones.
- Noble Bigot: Nova Prime was an extreme racist who believed that Cybertronions were superior to all other life. He wasn't completely evil at first, he simply genuinely believed that the galaxy would be a better place under Cybertronion rule. Unfortunately, unlike most examples though he did not redeem himself. Instead he was taken by the Dead Universe which caused him to jump off the slippery slope due to it's influence.
- Noble Demon: Soundwave.
- The Nose Knows: Ravage can smell people and figure out how they feel from their scent. Soundwave can do it too, but with all of his other senses as well as smell. Neither can locate Shockwave with their powers, as he has no scent.
- Not Good with People: Arcee. The experiments performed on her by Jhiaxus, which included getting her sex changed against her will while she was conscious, have left her mentally unstable and having difficulty understanding how other people emote (she doesn't understand why Bumblebee is freaked out by her scrawling an Autobot symbol onto her shoulder with a sword for one thing).
- Off Model: In issue 19, the artist apparently doesn't know what Hardhead looks like. And it continues through into Dark Cybertron.
- Oh, Crap: In Issue 11, Starscream's reaction when, just as things were looking really good for his political future, Megatron comes back.
- He has an even bigger one at the end of issue #13 when he finds out what's really in the Black Room. Notably, the first bullet in the "Notes" section of that issue on the TFWiki is simply "WHAT THE FFUUUUUUUUUUUU--"
- Even more in issue 14.
- Astrotrain has a more downplayed moment when he points out the sorry state the cons are in, and what they'll do when the DJD come and find them like this.
- Thundercracker has this reaction at the end of issue #32 when he discovers the EDC's army of Ramjet and Thrust drones so hard that he actually ends up running away.
- One Steve Limit: There are two different Cybertronians named Skydive, an Autobot and a Decepticon respectively. The Decpeticon is murdered and when Prowl is called in to investigate he repeatedly confuses the two.
- Only Friend: Starscream did consider Metalhawk his only friend, but he justifies killing him by claiming he's doing it the greater good, using his death as a catalyst to unite all NAILs and exile both Autobots and Decepticons.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Played for Drama with Soundwave. "Soundwave" isn't his real name, it's the name he took after he got his powers under control. Because of his severe synesthesia he can't even remember his real name.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Bumblebee remarks to Prowl that he's been anything but logical since they were exiled from New Iacon. Ironically enough, Prowl was actually hurt/offended that Bumblebee couldn't Spot The Thread when he was being controlled by Bombshell.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Bumblebee. Lampshaded by himself when he says he has to do things 10 times better than Optimus Prime just because of whom he is.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Prowl seems to have settled on this mindset regarding the Decepticons, which is kind of unfair as judging by the way things are going both here and in MTMTE, a large number of the Decepticons aren't really all that evil.
- Pet the Dog: Shockwave injured Dai Atlas in his home to make sure that he wouldn't attend the Senate meeting and be slaughtered with the other members of the corrupt regime. It's our first hint that there might be some of his original personality intact.
- Plot Armor: Ironhide thinks he has this because of a vision he had of the future, in which he describes "Pax Cybertronia". He invokes it at one point to try and scare off an attacker.
- Police Brutality: Needlenose and Horri-Bull indulge in this while serving as enforcers of the peace. Then Prowl completely flips out and tries to murder Bombshell and the Constructicons in cold blood (though they all turn out to have been Faking the Dead later on).
- Pinball Protagonist: Bumblebee is viewed as this by everyone in-universe. It's noted that his biggest flaw is that he doesn't know to take action until it's too late.
- Put on a Bus: In issue #35, Optimus departs from Earth to attend to some matters on Cybertron that have cropped up (like the Acrolight bombing from the Windblade mini-series), which was covered in the Transformers Punishment motion comic released previously.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Autobots stop Megatron, but end up losing the support of the population, with Starscream coming up as the overall winner.
- Our Time Travel Is Different: For one thing, according to Wheeljack, it can't move you back and forth through time, it moves you sideways through time. It can also cause you to bounce randomly through various points in history (Orion ends up bouncing between various events over the course of fifty plus years before he can come to a stop). Oh and it can affect entire planets.
- Reality Ensues: Issue 3 has mention of a mundane and not often explored problem in science fiction. People from different planets and star systems using different currencies, in a rather nice aversion of We Will Spend Credits in the Future.
- The Resenter: Prowl due to the fact that he wanted nothing to do with the war, but was pretty much forced into it by Optimus Prime, since he's good at whatever he does. It's pretty much the reason why he hates NAILs, because he didn't get to be one of them and escape the war like them.
- Starscream suggest that Rattrap is this as well, because he spent centuries, if not millions of years, stuck on an unimportant, dead-end backwater world fighting Decepticons, and as a result wasn't able to move up the command structure to become someone important, like one of Optimus Prime's inner circle. So Starscream offers him a job in his government.
- The Reveal: Issue 9 ends with the reveal of Superion. Oh and the Reflector components appear to have time traveled away.
- Issue 11 featured Starscream witnessing a heavily-damaged Megatron striding out of the wilderness towards New Iacon.
- Issue 13 ends with the revelation that Megatron is apparently working with Prowl, and that they've gathered together a group of Decepticon heavy-hitters...including the previously thought-dead Bombshell and Constructicons.
- Issue 14 has Prowl had been under Bombshell's mind control since Issue 4.
- Issue 20 has Starscream working to revive Wheeljack.
- Saying Too Much: Arcee, in issue 18, accidentally spills the beans on Prowl sending her to kill Ratbat before he got mind-controlled by Bombshell, which aggravates Prowls standing with the other Autobots. Oops!
- Galvatron did this during Nova Prime's reign when he argued against Nova allowing Jhiaxus to try and perfect combining by attempting to re-create Nexus Prime's Engima of Combining. When Galvatron argues-in front of Alpha Trion, another member of the Thirteen like Nexus-that he searched Nexus' empty fortress and found no sign of the Enigma and that Nexus fled with it, Trion enquires why Galvatron would assume it was an object and not an idea as everyone else is. When Galvatron can only sputter that he meant the idea was lost with Nexus, Trion suddenly realizes that Galvatron has been hiding the Engima all this time, which is in fact an object, because he took it from Nexus after secretly killing him. (Un?)fortunately, Galvatron also realizes he's made Trion suspicious and soon rectifies that by firing the Engima into space, perhaps intentionally at Earth, or perhaps it merely landed there by accident.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Thundercracker appears to do this when he flees Bikini Atoll with his pet dog after discovering that the EDC has secretly built an army of transforming drones based on his dead wingmen Ramjet and Thrust.
- Self-Deprecation: Season 2 opens up with a deliberately terrible in-universe script that pokes fun at John Barber's own writing style (specifically his tendency for monologues and inner narration) and some of the Base Breaker aspects of season 1 (characters acting pointlessly angsty).
- Series Continuity Error: In the Annual. When Omega reveals the existence of the Last Metrotitan on Cybertron to Dai Atlas. Yet Metroplex appeared at a later time during the events of Autocracy.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Bumblebee. He even walks with a cane, and favors a leg, even though Ratchet says he is completely fine, not to mention he even got a panic attack when Ratchet told him he was leaving.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Starscream gives a speech about the old ways of violence are wrong, nobody seems to care, Acid Storm voices his distaste.
Starscream: "Everyone, wait a minute. Think about what you're doing. This has been a terrible night... we have lost some of our best and brightest, but we can carry on... if we don't lose sight of what we fought for. Our cause was just. Our war was for equality. We fought for so long, and we stared defeat in the eye... and we didn't look away. Now we stand on the precipice of victory. We've lost allies, we've lost leaders... but change has always been our way. We must leave behind our destructive past. Violence is the old wayóMegatron is the old way. I am the newówhen I'm elected leader, this will be a victory for us, and for all Cybertroniansóbecause we'll prove we were right. Not through the superiority of our firepower... but through the superiority of our ideas. A validation not for the methods that long tarnished the Decepticon dream, but for the dream itself. Victory is at handóand it is ours to lose. Will you stand with me?"
Acid Storm: "Blow it out your sprocket, 'Chosen One.'"
- Shown Their Work: Issue 21 reveals that Soundwave has a form of Synesthesia, a neurological condition that essentially causes one to display a "hidden sense" and perceive letters, numbers, smells, and other such things as colored. All in all, it's portrayed fairly realistically even with a moment where Soundwave has to step away from a group of Decepticons because their emotional behavior is causing him to suffer a sensory overlord.
- Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Definitivelly Plot driven, specially compared to its sister series, More Than Meets the Eye.
- The Smurfette Principle: Arcee is the only "female" cybertronian in the whole series, and for a good reason. Jhiaxus' experiments with Arcee's CNA ended up introducing an alternate gender into what was previously a One-Gender Race.
- The Snark Knight: Shockwave, moreso than most portrayals.
- Something Completely Different: Issue 33 takes us back to Cybertron and Wheeljack waking from his traumatic head injury after several issues of Optimus Prime and his team on Earth.
- Spanner in the Works: Wheeljack to Megatron.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Superion.
- Spotting the Thread: Averted. Prowl is actually hurt that Bumblebee never failed to notice he was under Bombshell's control. However, Arcee did notice the change and set about working to free him.
- The Starscream: Imagine!
- Start of Darkness: Shockwave's concludes here. Shadowplay showed how he came to think as he does now, and the issue "Shockwaves" showed how he fell in with the Decepticons.
- Stealth Pun: Garrison Blackrock's new Onyx social media interface. "Onyx" being a black rock.
- Stupid Evil: Starscream cites this as the reason he's willing to screw over Ratbat.
"Here's the thing about Ratbat's plan
... it's terrible
- Stylistic Suck: Thundercracker's horrendous screenplay.
- The annual, where the flashback pages were deliberately written and drawn to resemble the old Marvel comic. Nova Prime even gives an Introdump where everyone stands around and says what they do. It actually works very well.
- Surpassed the Teacher: Shockwave to Jhiaxus.
Shockwave: I did not ask, Jhiaxus... I commanded.
- Synchronous Issues: Issues 18, 20, and 21 all seem to take place at about the same time focusing on the Autobots, Decepticons, and NAILs in the aftermath of Starscream's seizure of Iacon.
- Taking the Bullet: Ravage jumps in front of Shockwave's blast to protect Soundwave. of course, since they're fighting in in Crystal City which is surrounded by Ore-14, he returns to life almost immediately.
- Talking to the Dead: In the "Three Monologues," Starscream talks to the corpse of Metalhawk to thank him for all his support and justify his betrayal.
- Tastes Like Purple: Soundwave has the Cyber he can hear the color of failure, and smell the emotions around him.
"I shut out the acrid, grunting blue that comes with losing an Eons-Long War."
- Tears of Blood: Issue 17's cover shows Shockwave's old cranium, with it's forehead gone and eyes missing, dripping a Single Tear of Energon, while his current head looks on unmoved. The inside features something similar.
- That Man Is Dead: "Optimus Prime is dead...and Orion Pax is reborn."
- Shockwave's benevolent former persona.
"You should give up on me, Orion Pax. I am not he who 'befriended you."
- The Needs of the Many: Starscream claims that this is the reason he killed Metalhawk, but it's left ambiguous if he really believes it or is just trying to relieve his personal guilt.
- They Killed Kenny: Averted. This is the series where Dirge, a character who repeatedly dies in numerous continuities so often, it's become a joke, gets character development and survives numerous deadly encounters.
- Played Straight with Dreadwing. Ore-14 keeps bringing him back.
- Time Skip: The story resumes six months after the events of Dark Cybertron.
- Those Two Guys: Swindle and Dirge seem to be developing into this.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Issue 10 gets like this. Reflector has taken a ship with time travel capabilities, Orion Pax's ship, Jhiaxus's ship converge on a planet. Time shifts all over the place, including a split second where Viewfinder has died (which he and the other Reflector bots say was weird), they arrive at the ship, then it cuts to them having left the ship, then Jhiaxus leaving the planet, then Monstructor attacking some giant creatures, then it was all a vision which soon comes true. Throughout it, Optimus get's flown to the past, then back with Turmoil, a slaver decepticon he meets, right up until Jhiaxus grabs a synthetic Energon Warhead and leaves.
- Trap Is the Only Option: Orion Pax and his crew on Gorlam Prime, although as Orion Pax said...
Orion Pax:It's not a trap if you know it's a trap.
- Took a Level in Badass: Monstructor had his pesky one-hit-defeat weakness fixed and is much harder to deal with. Devastator was rebuilt and able to shrug off enemy gunfire this time he actually wins his one on one fight.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: The Thirteen Primes, from what we've seen of them, don't seem like they were the paragons of Cybertronian virtues in other continuities. Alpha Trion is an arrogant manipulator, Nexus Prime seemed openly contemptuous of those he believed were below his station, and Alchemist Prime apparently liked to trip out on rancid Engex. Not to mention all of them save Trion and Nexus (who was killed by Galvatron) up and abandoned Cybertron millions of years ago, as well as all of their followers for reasons that have not yet been made clear.
- Torture Cellar: Though not explicitly stated, the mysterious "Black Room" that Prowl mentions in issue 11 certainly seems to be this, which dosen't bode well for Shockwave and the other Decepticons. Subverted when it turns out the Black Room isn't a torture chamber at all, but it still serves a very sinister purpose.
- Two-Faced: Soundwave was shot in the head in the previous ongoing. He was rebuilt, but his visor and faceplate are still damaged, giving him this look. No longer true as of the end of issue 13, since it seems he's been repaired in the Black Room. His depiction in the flashback in Issue 21 only features a cracked faceplate though.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Throughout the series we switch back and forth between following Bumblebee's attempts to keep Cybertron at peace and Optimus Prime's hunt for Jhiaxus, Bludgeon, and Monstructor.
- Third Line, Some Waiting: After Dark Cybertron, it has now split between the Decepticons and the Earth Defense Force's storyline, Optimus and his team's storyline and Starscream and the others on Cybertron.
- ‹bermensch: Shockwave, more so than any other continuity. Pre-war he was The Fettered, rejecting the belief that some were born better than others, and fully believed that everyone was equal. Post Empurata he's The Unfettered. Morality has no place in his mind after its removal, and he rejects the ideals of the Decepticons in both conquest and equality. Through cold Science he's placed himself above all others, and with his experiments, he can alter the fabric of the universe. To him, life and death are just concepts that he can manipulate.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Starscream to Metalhawk.
- Unreliable Narrator: Everything where Prowl is the narrator/point of view after Issue #4.
- Played with Starscream in issue 20. He expresses himself aloud, without being suspected, rebuked or second-guessed, but only by talking to the dead, the paralyzed, and the comatose. And since this is Starscream, you never know.
- Unwitting Pawn: Orion Pax and his crew fall for Jhiaxus, except it was Orion Pax's plan to fall for Jhiaxus' plan in the first place.
- Villain Decay: Subverted with Spike Witwicky who, despite his delusions otherwise, was never a genuine threat on his own, simply a spoiled and childish brat who was given too much power. Without Skywatch or his influential father covering his ass or providing resources, he's nothing more than pathetic protestor who thinks he's being a total badass when he kills a robot that couldn't even hurt him if it tried.
- Villain Issue: Issue 17, 20, and 21 focus on Shockwave, Starscream and Soundwave respectively.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Starscream, and how!
- Villainous Friendship: Soundwave's issue has a type 1 with his cassettes, they respect him and he treats them as equals, bar Ratbat. He also has a type 4 with Shockwave, respecting him, and both working together well, but never trusting each other and coming to blows in the present. He has a type 1/3 hybrid with Megatron, as he's completely devoted to Megatron and his ideals, and Megatron trusts him more than most bots, but, as Soundwave notes, not completely. This changes when Megatron leaves the Decepticons.
- Needlenose and Horri-bull seemed to have a type 1.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Swindle and Dirge seem to have become this though the it comes mostly from Dirge.
- The Voiceless: Soundwave's voice chip was damaged, so he doesn't speak until its repaired later on.
- War Is Hell: A major theme of the series.
- War Refugees: NAILs.
- Warp That Aesop: An In-Universe example, impressively enough. Nova Prime basically warps the Cybertronian belief of "Til all are one" into being a message against The Evils of Free Will.
- Bombshell and Jhiaxus share this warped view to justify combiner experimentation.
- Was It Really Worth It?: Needlenose]comes to this realization following the Decepticons takeover, their party is shattered, their superior officers are either dead or MIA, and they just lost the one chance for peace, even if it was under the Autobots. He tells Soundwave the Decepticon movement is all out of soldiers.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Barrel Roll.
- We Have Been Researching Phlebotinum For Years: The Earth Defense Force, to the point they have mass-produced clones of Ramjet and Thrust and have kept it secret from all cybertronians.
- Wham Issue: In Issue 4, Prowl goes off the deep end, murdering Bombshell and the Constructicons, and Dirge becomes the only witness and thus a fugitive.
- In Issue 11, Megatron returns...
- Issue 13 ...And is working with Prowl to take over Cybertron.
- Issue 14 ...And Bombshell was mind controlling Prowl... who now serves as the head module for Devastator!
- Issue 16 Starscream kills Metalhawk, and then "wins", exiling both Autobots and Decepticons out of New Iacon.
- Issue 28 Galvatron is leading the Decepticons, and has struck an alliance with the Earth defense forces.
- Wham Line: From Issue 17:
Shockwave: Ore 14: resurrection.
Marissa Fairborn:In the name of the Earth/Decepticon Alliance, you are under arrest.
- Issue 32: The Revelation that the Earth Defense Force has an army of Ramjet and Thrust clones, oh, and that Trion was not the source of their technology, someone else predates him.
- Alpha Trion gets a good in-universe one too in issue #34.
Alpha Trion: They call me Alpha Trion. And I believe I am the last Prime on this world.
- Wham Shot: The final issue of issue #32 when Thundercracker discovers the EDC's army of Thrust and Ramjet drones.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Metalhawk. He ends up needing a reminder in the annual.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Waspinator pulls this on Orion Pax.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Orion Pax at Gorlam Prime.
- X Meets Y: Transformers meets Babylon 5 with a little Farscape mixed in.
- You Are What You Hate: Played with. Prowl wanted to be a NAIL and couldn't.
- You Dirty Rat: Rattrap.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The Constructicons leave the Decepticons because they liked what they felt when they fused with Prowl. Prowl isn't happy about this.
- Your Head Asplode: The Deceptions all have inhibitor/deterrence chips in their heads to prevent them from using their powers and transforming. If they get out of line, their heads will explode. When Horri-bull almost beats a neutral to death, Bumblebee detonates his chip. Ultimately subverted with the Constructicons in Issue #4: They show up alive and well later, despite Prowl detonating their chips, but it turns out they were Faking the Dead With a little help from Prowl himself.
- Wheeljack barely survives this in Issue 14.
When I feel doubt creeping in...
I think of...