A few years after the original Transformers
comic had ended its run, Marvel published a new 12 issue series entitled Transformers: Generation 2
. Loosely based off of the toyline of the same name, the series was written by Simon Furman
with art by Derek Yaniger and Manny Galan. In keeping with the tone of many comics in the 1990s
, Generation 2
had a dark and violent tone, with numerous major and minor characters killed off as Optimus Prime and Megatron fought the vastly superior forces of the second generation Cybertronian Empire. The series lasted from November, 1993 to October, 1994.
Reruns of the G1 television series were also marketed under the banner. The Cybernet Space Cube, a piece of Conspicuous CG
, was used for scene transitions and the opening.
The first issue has now been reviewed by Linkara
This series provides examples of:
- Alternate Continuity: Transformers: Classics by Fun Publications takes the Classics toyline and writes its own sequel to the original Marvel comic series, essentially ignoring the Generation 2 comic.
- And This Is for...: Used as the Autobots mop up after Mirage's death.
- Anyone Can Die: Never more true than during this series. Rarely does an issue go by without some Transformers character who was fairly prominent in G1 dying violently. Some notable examples include Red Alert, Ironhide, Nightbeat, Fortress Maximus, Slag, Frenzy and Razorclaw. And that's just the start.
- Art Shift: Depending on the issue, the artwork varies wildly in style. Sometimes it makes multiple switches in one issue.
- Author Catchphrase: It's written by Simon Furman. Plenty of his catchphrases make their way into dialogue.
- Big Bad:
- Jhiaxus is this for most of the series.
- The Liege Maximo, who not only controls the Cybertronian Empire, but is implied to be the Decepticon from whom all the others originated. He describes Megatron as a descendant.
- Big "NO!": Grimlock lets one go as Red Alert is killed by Jhiaxus' troops.
- Little "No": Grimlock's reaction to Red Alert's skeletonized body.
- The Cameo: Many prominent G1 characters are reduced to cameo appearances, such as Bumblebee or Tracks. Many show up in one panel only to die in the next.
- Canis Latinicus / Punny Name / Take That: Jhiaxus. Well aware that the series would probably be cancelled before it ran very many issues due to unrealistic sales expectations, Simon Furman named his main Cybertronian Empire character after the pun "Gee, axe us!"
- Chekhov's Gun: The Rheanium, obtained in what appears to be no more than a standard Decepticon supply raid, but which turns out to be vital to the survival of the Transformers in the final issue.
- Conspicuous CG: The aforementioned Cybernet Space Cube. Also the CG in the 1994 toy ads.
- Crossover: With G.I. Joe, who helped launch the G2 series. Cobra is responsible for building Megatron's new body, and they play a major role in the second issue. G.I. Joe turns up halfway through the series after the Decepticons start trashing the Earth. They request Autobot reinforcement and aren't too happy when the only bot Optimus Prime can produce is Skydive.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Jhiaxus is forced to confront his in issue #3. He was once a violent sadist, and has since cultivated a calm and reasonable personality in an effort to convince himself that he is a moral person. It turns out that's just a facade, and that he's still as bad as he always was. Naturally instead of admitting this, he's determined to kill Prime and the Autobots so they can't remind him of the truth of who he is.
- Darker and Edgier: The tone of the comic is a lot darker and more violent than just about any other Transformers series, with the possible exception of Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Optimus Prime has apocalyptic visions of the Swarm consuming everything, meaning that he's aware of that threat and is more concerned about it than he is about Jhiaxus.
- The Empire: The Cybertronian Empire, ruled by the Liege Maximo. A galaxy-spanning Decepticon empire that eradicates "lesser" life forms from any planet they decide to annex. They then transform that planet into a copy of Cybertron.
- Enemy Mine: Optimus Prime and Megatron form an alliance to combat the forces of the second generation Cybertronians, who vastly outnumber the Autobots and Decepticons combined.
- Evil Gloating: At the start of issue #2, Megatron is exulting over the Autobots he killed or damaged.
- From Bad to Worse: Often. Every time you think you've seen rock bottom, something tops it. Bludgeon's Decepticons attack the Earth and kill thousands just to draw out Optimus Prime. Then Megatron's forces take over and continue the attack, doing as much damage as they can. All that pales to the damage Jhiaxus inflicts, as he turns San Francisco into a smoking crater from orbit. Bad enough? No? Meet The Swarm.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Optimus Prime allows the Swarm to devour him so that it will be exposed to the Matrix and enlightened as to just what it is.
- Hostile Terraforming: The Cybertronian Empire's modus operandi was to kill all the inhabitants of each planet and then mechaform the planet itself to make replicas of Cybertron.
- Lampshade Hanging:
: Why? That's what they all
asked me. Why him... why Starscream?
Why, of all Decepticons, did I decide to revitalize the one whose record of deceit and betrayal is legend?
Because I'm an idiot
, that's why!
- Losing Your Head:
- Megatron rips Bludgeon's head off, but it's just the head of his Pretender shell, so he's able to break out of it and give one last attack before Megatron finally kills him.
- Mirage is implied to be decapitated by a stray laser blast.
- Lost Superweapon: The cache of weapons that Prime's crew and Bludgeon's crew are fighting over in the second issue qualifies.
- Merchandise-Driven: Just about averted. Very few of the new Generation 2 toys apart from Megatron actually make an appearance until halfway through the series, and even then they're minor characters.
- And some characters, like Ramjet, show up still sporting their Generation 1 decos.
- The Nineties: Huge guns, spikes everywhere, extremely graphic deaths, and a generally Grim Dark atmosphere.
- Off Model: Manny Galan's art contrasts badly with Derek Yaniger's highly stylized art. Particularly since Galan tries to copy Yaniger's style, with less than successful results.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Nightbeat and Dirge blow themselves up in a desperate attempt to stop the Swarm during the big finale. Not only does it not work, but Megatron shows up with Rheanium that is used to save everyone barely even 2 minutes later.
- Spinoff: In order to build interest, Marvel began the story with a plot thread in their G.I. Joe comic about Cobra rebuilding Megatron.
- Taking You with Me: Fortress Maximus tries this against Megatron. It doesn't work.