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This is the character page for the characters that appear in the comic book The Transformers: Robots in Disguise.

For characters in its sister series (who may appear here), see The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. For characters from its other sister series, see The Transformers: Till All Are One.

For the characters from the anime with a very similar title, see Transformers: Robots in Disguise.

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For the characters from the cartoon with the same title as the anime, see Transformers: Robots in Disguise.

Beware: all Spoilers for Robots in Disguise, Dark Cybertron and The Transformers (vol.2) are unmarked.

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Neutrals

    Starscream 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/starscream_rid_1346.jpg
  • 0% Approval Rating: During his time as leader of Cybertron. While he was put in charge by the Neutrals and is supposedly quite popular with them, they cease having any viewpoint characters (like Metalhawk) or relevance to the plot by the end of Dark Cybertron. Consequently, everyone we see interacting with Starscream either distrusts him (the Autobots and former Decepticons) or learns to distrust him (Windblade) soon enough. Ironically, it's this that he exploits to unite Cybertron as the Chosen One - against him by revealing his crimes and putting Windblade into power.
  • Adaptational Badass: Achieves something no other version of the character ever has, even the Transformers: Prime version - becomes the leader of a united Cybertron.
  • Adaptational Heroism: He moves back and forth quite a bit, but ultimately winds up being one of the more heroic versions of the character.
  • Agent Peacock: Starscream is vain and at times quite flamboyant, but he's definitely not someone you want to underestimate. As he notes to Turmoil as he kills him, he was head of the elite Seekers for a reason.
    • He's replaced his body twice so far. Unlike when most Transformers do it, it's not because his old one was damaged, he's just vain. It's really because he keeps getting new toys made.
    • It's later revealed that since Starscream was constructed cold, his Spark wasn't allowed to shape his protoform body along the natural lines that it was supposed to. He was just inserted into a body that was built with a predisposed purpose. This is provided as the justification as to why Starscream is constantly changing his bodies, since he doesn't feel right in any of them.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Naturally, his ambition is part of the reason why he's evil.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He's as power-hungry and determined to be leader as ever, but the on occasions when he actually attains power... His first try reduces the Decepticons from a galactic power to desperate cannibals marooned on an asteroid. Later, he becomes leader of the new Cybertronian world - and when he's not constantly maneuvering to stay ahead of Windblade and Optimus as they try to curb his ambitions, he's variously hit with the Combiner Wars escalating out of control, Optimus annexing Earth into the Council of Worlds, Sentinel Prime coming back from the dead, an invasion of undead Titans and Trypticon going on the rampage under Bludgeon's command. After all that implodes on him, he becomes Decepticon leader again - just in time for Unicron to show up.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: At one point during the war, Starscream's role was being Megatron's bodyguard. Megatron outright pointed out the job was meaningless to Starscream's face.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Although the Autobots' side of things isn't brought up In-Universe, Starscream's infamous complaint from Issue #3 where he somewhat incredulously points out to Wheeljack that the Autobots, the supposed Good guys, are more interested in ensuring all the Decepticons on Cybertron have been outfitted with ID chips than in taking care of basic public safety issues like, for example, building decent housing for the thousands of refugees slowly migrating back to Cybertron, is a case of this:
    • Although it's presented as just Starscream being a jerkass, he is not wrong that the ID Chips are a cruel and unusual method of containment and that the refugees do need help, to say nothing that this behavior is rather hypocritical of the Autobots.
    • On the other hand, the Decepticons are extremely quick to resort to violence and happily beat the scrap out of helpless civilians for entertainment, immediately start plotting to murder Bumblebee and restart the war the moment they are let out of prison, and form a violent mob out for blood as soon as Megatron comes back. Trying to prevent this with the ID Chips isn't exactly unjustified.
  • Butt-Monkey: While he's far more dangerous and cunning than many of his other incarnations, his plans have a habit of backfiring badly. His "The Reason You Suck" Speech at Megatron's trial, intended to be the coup de grace for his former leader? Inspires him to keep on living, just to spite 'Screamer. His beautifully orchestrated manipulation of Swindle, the Stunticons and Caminus at the start of Combiner Wars to position himself as the hero of the hour? Forgotten about the moment Optimus reveals himself as a Prime. Sees himself as the head of a new Cybertronian Empire? Optimus outmaneuvers him again by announcing on live TV that Starscream plans to form a democratic council of worlds, the polar opposite outcome to what he wanted. Attempts to ignore Galvatron's new Decepticon movement using his Space Bridge? Results in Galvy's 'cons invading Earth and Optimus pre-emptively annexing it to protect it, to Starscream's horror. And see the Hoist by His Own Petard entry for details of how his plan to discredit Optimus blew up in his face.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: A non-familial version; in issue #20, Starscream tells Megatron that part of the reason he's being chosen is because Megatron was no better than the corrupt Primes he initially began his crusade fighting against.
    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.
  • The Chains of Commanding: He always thought that being the leader would mean that others would follow, not that he would have to lead.
  • The Chosen One: According to an ancient Titan, apparently, Starscream is prophesied to become a great conquering leader for Cybertron. This was a huge key in Starscream's ascension to leadership of Cybertron.
    • The Chosen Zero: Nobody who actually knows him took the reveal of Starscream's destiny seriously. Even he can't really believe it's true. In fact, Galvatron strongly implies in issue #35 that the whole thing was made up by Alchemist Prime when he was blasted-out-of-his-skull drunk on bad Cybertronian liquor. It's confirmed by Alpha Trion's flashbacks in Optimus Prime #10 to have been originally made up by Onyx Prime. And when Onyx (actually Starscream's old pal Shockwave) comes back he confirms he manipulated Metrotitan's memories and timeline to ensure the Chosen One prophecy happened because he needed a weak leader like Starscream to keep Cybertron divided.
    Galvatron: "Chosen One." The inane ramblings of my era become the ancient superstitions of yours. Alchemist Prime had consumed twelve drams of rancid Engex when he dreamed up your "Chosen One".
    Shockwave: I needed a fool in charge of Cybertron. A powerful leader - an Optimus, a Megatron, an Arcee, perhaps even this Windblade - they would have seen what was coming. But I knew you would never look past your own reflection.
  • Cool Plane: Almost as enduring a character trait as his.. well, you know. Started off the IDW run as an F-22 Raptor, and has (aside from the occasional spell as an alien jet) been an F-15 Eagle (or modified variant thereof) ever since.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Definitely. Just ask Turmoil.
  • Commander Contrarian: As he explains to Bumblebee's ghost, he listens to what the little guy says, then does the exact opposite (of course, this isn't entirely true. Sometimes, Starscream does actually listen).
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: He's not pleased when Devastator busts him out of jail, claiming that he wanted to be imprisoned so he'd be free of The Chains of Commanding.
  • Corrupt Politician: Dear God, yes. "Starscream: The Movie" even reveals the specific reason the three main Seekers look alike is Starscream talked them into being rebuilt in his image so he could use them as doubles to hide from pissed-off taxpayers he'd ripped off.
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    • Starscream gloats that this will be his legacy after revealing all of his crimes to Cybertron and getting imprisoned for life. Despite the corruption and briefness of his reign, he was the first ruler in all of recorded Cybertronian history to not be a tyrant or lead his people into an eons long conflict. He boasts that when historians look back on him, the worst they'll be able to say is that he was a "step in the right direction."
    • After he's broken out of prison by Devastator against his will, the remaining Decepticons on Cybertron suggest that he could be their leader again since he technically did do a good job running Cybertron and at least everyone knows they're picking a lying cheat to be in charge. The scene disgusts Soundwave so much that he almost shoots Starscream to keep him from turning the faction into tools for his ambition.
  • Dark Messiah: Unwillingly, apparently. Not that it stops him using it to his full advantage.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In a supreme bit of Irony, the finale has him partaking in this with Bumblebee as Bee used to for him.
  • Defector from Decadence: He only left the Decepticons because it advanced his agenda. He's back with them come Unicron after the surviving members realised he was still a better option as leader than anybody else they had.
  • Depending on the Writer: In this comic (done by John Barber) Starscream is portrayed as barely being in control of anything, (even his own sanity). While he's not without his sympathetic moments, his successes usually only set up a bigger failure. The Mairghread Scott-penned Windblade series showed him as far more calculating and competent - and much, much more of a prick. This actually got inverted as time went on. Starscream's appearances in Optimus Prime had John Barber continue to portray him in the manner noted above, while Till All Are One (the successor series to Windblade) progressed Starscream through a gradual Heel–Face Turn which culminated in him voluntarily confessing to his crimes and being arrested so Windblade could take over.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the second Windblade series he kills a Titan, a two-mile tall Transformer that transforms into a city, by flying into its head and shooting it in the brain module.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: He kills Metalhawk, one of the only 'bots to ever call him a friend, to further his own position in the wake of the Decepticon uprising in Iacon. The 2017 Annual suggests he does still retain a good amount of guilt over it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Starscream is still the scheming backstabber he always was, and when Optimus annexes Earth, Screamer knows he can frame this as yet another example of Cybertronian tyranny and take Optimus down in a "legitimate way." However, in his private moments Starscream reveals that he really does feel Optimus has finally crossed the line into becoming a possible dictator, observing that while everyone may think Optimus may have noble reasons for his actions, Megatron did as well at the start of the Decepticon movement - before becoming a monster.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Is genuinely baffled as to why Windblade would bother saving him from getting shot for lying through his teeth to Strika in the second Windblade series.
  • Evil Is Petty: Lampshaded by 'Scream himself in Till All Are One:
    Elita One: Starscream, we're reading a large number of ships off our bow. Do you really want to waste time and resources you don't have fighting your friends?
    Starscream: I think you underestimate the depth of my pettiness.
  • Evil vs. Evil: As part of his latest scheme to win over Cybertron's populace, assembles a huge fleet of Decepticon Worldsweepers and other heavily armed ships to overwhelm Unicron with sheer firepower.
  • Exact Words: Starscream has labored under the notion that he is the fabled "Uniter of Cybertron," who will ultimately bring peace to the planet. He ultimately fulfills this destiny by uniting all of Cyberton against him by confessing to all his crimes, in order to allow Windblade the chance to win the election for a new ruler. And then Shockwave reveals the whole thing was something he made up.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: He's terrified of Megatron - which, given Megatron's track record of warmongering, genocide and nearly killing him several times over, is completely justified. Even after Megatron's Heel–Face Turn, and subsequent departure from Cybertron, his fear of his former leader continues to dog him, manifesting most strongly over in TAAO; when he links to Windblade's mind to help her excise Vigilem's consciousness, he instantly loses control when Vigilem morphs his mental image into Megatron.
  • Friendless Background: Claims to have never had a friend before meeting Metalhawk.
  • Happy Ending Override: From Til All Are One to Optimus Prime: at the conclusion of the former he does the first altruistic thing he's ever done and confesses to all his crimes in genuine repentance, leading to his arrest and Windblade taking over. Come Optimus Prime and he's quickly back to scheming his way back into power once Devastator breaks him out of jail, seemingly leading to his taking command of the Decepticons and positioning himself as an alternate approach against Unicron over in that series.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Throughout Unicron, where he's usually shown to be doing the right thing for entirely the wrong reasons. Even his Heroic Sacrifice is tinged with regret Windblade won't just conquer Earth like he would.
  • Heel–Face Mole: He spends most of the series as a neutral and he banished anyone who wouldn't renounce their faction from Iacon. In Unicron, we discover that he had tasked Bludgeon with finding all the missing Decepticons and he's been hiding a huge Decepticon war fleet.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Amazingly. Sacrifices himself to make sure the Talisman starts killing Unicron.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He sends reporters Circuit and Longtooth to Earth, hoping that they'll be able to live-broadcast Earth's violent resistance to Optimus' annexation and discredit him. Instead, they show Optimus raising Metrotitan from Earth itself, boosting Optimus' popularity amongst the population immeasureably, causing the Council of Worlds to ratify Earth's joining them and overshadowing his status as Chosen One in favour of the "true Prime". The illusory Bumblebee even uses this trope word-for-word when describing how spectacularly Starscream's actions have backfired.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He made Rattrap his second-in-command, despite being fully aware of his nature as a backstabbing rat, figuring he could at least understand Rattrap's ambitious scheming. Rattrap repaid him by working with first Prowl then Windblade to get rid of him. And then there's his putting Bludgeon in charge of the Decepticon effort to kill Unicron. Particularly blatant as Starscream doesn't seem to have realised that Bludgeon's had allegiance to both Shockwave and Unicron over the course of this story alone.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: He doesn't realize his Armada-based body can deploy swords until Jhiaxus' adaptive form does so.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Starscream has a tendency to find out things he shouldn't. Even Shockwave has no actual explanation for how he does these things.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Despite his unprecendented success and public confidence, his sniping with the not-so spectral Bumblebee in the 2017 Annual suggests that he genuinely believes he'll screw it all up sooner or later.
  • Insistent Terminology: After becoming the 'bot in charge, he borrows his Prime counterpart's habit of demanding everyone refer to him as Lord Starscream. He's got a slightly better success rate, at least.
  • It's All About Me: Always. Since managing to weasel his way into power on Cybertron, he's become near incapable of saying anything without mentioning he's in charge. Rodimus, of all people, takes him to task on it.
    Rodimus: Will you stop saying 'my people'? They're not your people. They're not your anything. They're ordinary Cybertronian citizens who went insane and put you in charge.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He never stops being portrayed as being a huge power-grubbing treacherous jerkass, but, at the same time, he does make valid comments on the situation from time to time.
    • Although he was trying to give Megatron a Breaking Speech in issue #20, he was very much accurate when he commented that the old Primes were corrupt but Megatron had finished Jumping Off the Slippery Slope from Well-Intentioned Extremist to psychotic, power-mad dictator no better than the old order at the least many millions of years ago.
    • His main stated reason for wanting Superion repaired in issue 33 is that he doubts Optimus has control of Prowl and the Constructicons, who can merge to form the insanely powerful Devastator. While Combiner Wars shows he has less altruistic reasons for wanting a combiner on his side, it also shows he was completely right about Prowl/Devastator, who goes rogue and nearly destroys Cybertron's space bridge link with its colonies as a result.
    • He's correct to say during an argument with Optimus in Combiner Wars that the belief the Prime title enables one to hold himself above others is what landed Cybertron in its current state. Even Optimus concedes that point.
    • He's also not entirely unjustified when he furiously notes in issue #50 that, after constantly being suspected of wanting to form a new Cybertronian empire with himself at the head by Windblade, Optimus and almost every other speaking character since taking over Cybertron, Optimus actually forcibly annexes Earth on his own authority and everyone immediately gives him "the benefit of the doubt" about it. Okay, yes, Starscream may well want more power, but he's not wrong to be offended that Optimus can basically conquer Earth and everyone immediately thinks it was justified because he's Optimus Prime.
    • Even after it all falls apart for him, Starscream points out that despite everything he did during his tenure as leader, he's still the best leader in Cybertronian history - he never subjugated the populace of Cybertron, never led them into pointless wars or fascist crusades, and, in fact, managed to save Cybertron a couple of times while he was at it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: As you'd expect, Starscream is a jerk, and every time it seems like he's actually changing towards the better, something happens to recast it in a selfish, cowardly, power-hungry or otherwise negative light. Even his Heel–Face Turn over in Till All Are One gets overturned when Devastator springs him from jail in the middle of Onyx Prime's attack, he figures he can use it to finally become the Chosen One proper and get back in charge.
  • Kick the Dog: First thing he does once he's back in the Council of Worlds Chamber? Crack jokes about the planets Unicron's eaten.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Killed Senator Proteus, Turmoil and Jhiaxus throughout the series.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Yes, he's done some pretty bad things as ruler of Cybertron, but as he muses while imprisoned his reign can't even begin to compare to the damage done by Megatron or Nova Prime while they were in charge.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Considerably slicker than other versions of the character, hence why he's now the ruler.
    • Combiner Wars has him act behind the scenes to give Swindle the Enigma of Combination, create a new Menasor from the Stunticons and have them all go to Caminus. He also secretly arranged his man Blackjack to join the Stunticons so his anger issues will send Menasor out of control — so he can send in his own combiner Superion to stop him, be seen as a hero and turn Caminus into a protectorate of Cybertron in all but name.
  • Mark of the Beast: The "Deathmark" on his chest, which appeared after getting hit by the death wave, is said to be this by Scoop.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: He gets a new body just in time for Dark Cybertron, and another for Combiner Wars. Gets another one in Till All Are One #5. That one, being his Hasbro-mandated "evergreen" design, sticks.
  • Mythology Gag: In the finale, he's shown to be visible only to Bumblebee as some sort of ghost. This is not, of course, the first time he's somehow managed to survive as a spectre.
  • The Neidermeyer: Back in The Transformers (IDW) he managed to run the Decepticons into the ground in only a few years. He himself points this out in Robots in Disguise and that he has learned from it.
  • Neutral No Longer: After being taken out of prison against his will, the remaining Decepticons on Cybertron wanted him to lead them again. He was originally against the idea but eventually accepted the position. When Unicron attacked and consumed all the colony worlds, Starscream officially re-branded himself with Decepticon insignias and attempted to take charge of the efforts to destroy Unicron with a Decepticon war fleet he had secretly been building while he was in charge of Cybertron.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Regardless of his motives, he actually does manage to make his leadership seem sincerely a better choice than either Optimus' or Megatron's, bringing a true peace to Cybertron after millions of years of civil war. Being Starscream, he's also had several unintentional screwups...
    • Over in More Than Meets the Eye , he gives a speech which he believes is the last nail in Megatron's coffin at the latter's trial. Instead, it makes Megatron want to live instead, out of pure spite.
    • He really shouldn't have sent Circuit and Longtooth to Earth.
    • He has Bludgeon resurrect Slug so he can find Trypticon and the Dinobots' new protoforms - except after Bludgeon has Slug try to kill him, Optimus makes Trypticon the human embassy on Cybertron, instantly granting the protoforms political immunity from Starscream.
  • Not Me This Time: Spends most of the Decepticon Uprising arc under suspicion by Metalhawk and Bumblebee of engineering Megatron's return and the subsequent Decepticon rebellion. When they confront him, he says this in response almost word for word. And he's right - it's actually the Bombshell-controlled Prowl.
  • Not So Different: From Prowl. Both were second-in-command to leaders that they felt are out of touch during the war. Both are widely despised by members of their own faction. They differ in both their goals and need for attention. Starscream cares only about putting himself in power, Prowl is all about For The Greater Good. Starscream loves the spotlight, while Prowl actively tries to avoid it.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Megatron declared himself "not guilty" at his trial.
    • His face screams this at the end of Till All Are One #5, when Strika basically abandons him and Cybertron to die at the hands of an army of zombie Titans.
  • Only Sane Man: To the other Decepticons; while they insisted on following Megatron or Ratbat in their attempts to restart the war, Starscream was the only one who realized that fighting for millions of years had achieved nothing but the destruction of their own planet and bringing their own species to the brink of extinction, and that they would have a much better shot at victory if they used diplomacy to gain power through legal means.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Shuts down Thundercracker's attempts to lighten the mood during the Seekers' run through Bludgeon's fleet, pointing out the levity of everybody's fighting and potentially dying so they can get Prime and the Talisman to Unicron. Even Optimus lampshades it.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: While he occasionally shows signs of being The Chessmaster (see the Manipulative Bastard entry), Starscream fits this trope to a tee. He's not a long-term planner like Optimus or Megatron, but he's exceptional at seizing an opportunity when it's placed in front of him - such as switching gears from killing Turmoil to murdering Metalhwak in moments, solely so he could present his "friend" as a victim of war and rally the people towards a better way, running with Devastator misidentifying him as the reincarnation of The Fallen so he can have another stab at being the Chosen One and sliding into the position of Decepticon leader in the wake of Soundwave's killing Horri-Bull being revealed, after the surviving 'Cons point out with him at least they know they'll get a self-serving jackass in charge.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After the Decepticon uprising, he secretly places Wheeljack into a stasis tube saving him from fatal injuries.
    • When the Necrotitan unleashes his Death Wave, he outraces the blast back to Iacon in an attempt to warn his subjects to flee, then places himself squarely in front of the wave to protect them. It doesn't really work, but points for genuine effort.
    • In Unicron, despite having spent the entire third issue trying to convince the other main characters to leg it in Metroplex, he makes the call for all of them to follow Windblade's plan when he learns she has one. Even he's surprised by doing it. He's back to blaming her for Cybertron's destruction the following issue though, which earns him a well-deserved decking from Arcee.
  • The Peter Principle: While it's tradition that he lusts after power, IDW would explore the consequences of him actually getting it several times when there's either no better alternative. He's not got the brilliant stategic mind or fear factor of Megatron, nor the inspirational capabilities of Optimus Prime - consequently, he either loses interest totally in leading (his first time in charge of the Decepticons) or relies overly on manipulation and intimidation despite not really having the power to pull either off well on democratic Cybertron - with the result he's on the cusp of a nervous breakdown constantly as one or other of his schemes fails. Part of it seems to be that he assumes people will follow him blindly once he has power like they did Prime or Megatron and doesn't know how to react when they don't. Frustratingly, TAAO suggests he could actually be a great leader if he stopped focusing on gaining power and started leading.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He saves Optimus from a Bludgeon-controlled Slug in Optimus Prime #14, not because he's in any way a fan of Optimus, but because he's trying to gain jurisdiction over the new protoforms created from Trypticon and killing Optimus will bring far too many problems down on him.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Starscream ultimately comes to truly want the best for Cybertron, and to improve not just the planet, but all planets in the Council of Worlds. In order to do so, Starscream had to confess to all of his illicit crimes, abandoning his chance to become a leader, in order to allow Windblade to win the election, as he knew she was the better option between him and Elita One. This turned the entire planet against him, sentencing him to life imprisonment.
  • Refusal of the Call: When Devastator breaks him out of prison in response to Onyx Prime's arrival and Alpha Trion's death, he's furious, protesting he's free of the pressures of leadership. Devastator just ignores him.
    • Resigned to the Call: Then, when Metrotitan arrives he's delighted to see Starscream free. In response, Starscream dejectedly notes that "free" is a big overstatement considering he's stuck fast in Devastator's grip.
  • Sanity Slippage: Subverted, eventually. A recurring theme after his takeover of Iacon is that he's being dogged by a spectral version of Bumblebee that only he can see and interact with, causing Windblade and others to think he's losing it with the stress of his position. Except it turns out this is the real Bumblebee, somehow reacing out spectrally from the ruins of Crystal City to needle him into actually trying as a leader.
  • Secret Police: Has his own in the shape of the Badgeless.
  • Seen It All: By the time of Titans Return, ruling Cybertron has definitely worn him down.
    Starscream: An evil dictator shows up after millions of years of being dead...I feel like I should be more surprised than I actually am.
  • Smug Snake: He doesn't bother hiding that he totally enjoys being in charge when Optimus isn't. During First Strike, he takes a moment to bask in the situation when Optimus comes to him.
  • The Starscream: Uh, duh.
  • Take a Third Option: This is actually part of how he ends up leading Cybertron; he presents himself as a third ruling figure, an alternative to both Optimus (heir to the infamously corrupt lineage of Primes) and Megatron (a brutal, war-mongering tyrant who started a civil war). It helps that unlike Ratbat or Galvatron, he's genuinely totally opposed to restarting the war (albeit largely because he's exploiting the hell out of the peace).
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • With Windblade. He's fully aware she's working against him to stop his grander ambitions, but due to her position as the only one that can communicate with Metroplex, he can't openly move against her, instead preferring blackmail.
    • Also with Optimus. His position as a war hero and (as Prime) religious icon to the Camiens renders Optimus practically untouchable to Starscream's usual methods and make him a serious threat to 'Scream's position. Fortunately for him, Optimus also respects the will of the people, and mostly leaves him for Windblade and Ironhide to check - at least until Optimus' ambitions get a bit out of hand in All Hail Optimus...
  • Tempting Fate: Delightedly notes the universe was always on his side when Metrotitan seems to confirm he's the reincarnation of Megatronus. Cue Shockwave arriving and utterly demolishing all his grand pretensions to Primehood or Chosen One status and outlining exactly how he manipulated him to keep Cybertron divided. It's tough not to feel sorry for Starscream by the end.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When Sentinel Prime's army of zombie Titans attack Cybertron in Till All Are One, he actually does a good job of taking charge (after a pep-talk of sorts from Ironhide), whipping the Council into shape as they panic and delivering a Rousing Speech that gets even a lot of 'formers that hate his guts to stand in defence of Cybertron.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Changes bodies more than any other character in the series.
  • Unwitting Pawn: As the Chosen One, was this to Shockwave all along.
  • Verbal Backspace: During Optimus Prime issue 13, Starscream mentions that the Solstar Order have some knowledge of how to make energon, which he learnt first-hand from his encounter with Stardrive. He quickly backspaces that he's just heard this.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Waaaaayyy back in Infiltration, when his barrage of Ore-13 powered blasts do absolutely nothing to Megatron. He's reduced to stuttering how it wasn't supposed to be like this before a very ticked-off Megatron almost blows him in half via fusion cannon to the gut.
    • Has a far more brutal one in "The Falling", when Shockwave coldly demolishes his pretences to being anything great, confirming he orchestrated Starscream's rise to power because he needed a self-serving fool in charge rather than someone like Optimus or Megatron who'd figure out what he was doing.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The NAILs put him in charge. Rodimus believes it'll all come crashing down on him, sooner or later. Come TAAO, it does, albeit of his own volition. Yet come "The Falling" he discovers that in the wake of Soundwave's involvement in Horri-Bull's death being revealed many Decepticons are still willing to follow him because many of them still view him as the best leader Cybertron ever had.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Justified. With IDW's more realistic take on Transformers, various writers attempted to rationalize why in Primus's name Megatron didn't simply have Starscream killed for... well, being The Starscream. Shane McCarthy's All Hail Megatron posited that Megatron saw Starscream as the embodiment of the Decepticon ideal and most worthy candidate to lead the Decepticons after him - but needed him to TAKE leadership of the Decepticons from him, not just wait around for Megatron to die in battle. In Spotlight: Megatron Nick Roche went with the simpler idea that Megatron needs someone like Starscream around to remind him to always watch his back.
  • Written By The Victors: Commissions Thundercracker to make a film about his life - a film which very conveniently paints Starscream as a selfless hero and shifts the blame for his atrocities to just about everyone else. He also has an autobiography that somehow paints Optimus as a power-hungry dictator and him as the good guy.

    Rattrap 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rattraprid_7179.png
  • Adaptational Villainy: Though downplayed, this Rattrap certainly isn't a Jerk with a Heart of Gold like the original.
  • American Accents: He has a distinct New York/Bronx accent.
  • Anti-Hero: Far from noble, or even a nice person, but he's not nearly as bad as his boss. It's led to him tacitly helping Windblade counter Starscream's plots on several occasions.
  • Backstab Backfire: Played with, as while his power play with Prowl in Combiner Wars blew up in his face, Starscream isn't actually aware of it. Rattrap's fear of being discovered leads him to investigate Swindle's claim that he had evidence proving Starscream was behind the Combiner Wars by spiriting away Swindle's body. This goes even more badly wrong in Till All Are One, as it eventually results in the birth of IDW's version of Bruticus.
  • Canon Immigrant: One of RID's most famous, as he's the first of the main BW cast to appear in IDW's G1 comics, later presaging the appearances of various other Beast Wars and Beast Machines characters in major roles.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Blink and you'll miss it, but he appears during MTMTE's Shadowplay arc in his Beast Machines body.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's untrustworthy,and unscrupulous to a fault - but even he's uncomfortable with the scale of Starscream's ambition in turning the colony worlds into his own personal empire. This leads him to him making a deal with Prowl to stop him. It backfires. Horribly.
  • Dirty Coward: Unlike the original Rattrap, it's doubtful he'll get over this anytime soon.
  • In Name Only: Other than looks, name, and accent he's pretty much unlike the original Rattrap, leaning more toward his Expy, Animated's Rattletrap.
  • Irony: He aids Windblade on several occasions in order to check Starscream's shadier actions - but she has him arrested in TAAO when Starscream confesses to all his crimes.
  • Jerkass
  • Karma Houdini: Has yet to suffer any consequences for both working with Prowl against Starscream, and later accidentally playing a role in the birth of Bruticus. Finally averted in the final issue of TAAO, where Windblade has him arrested after Starscream's confessing to his crimes.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's not quite as savvy as his boss, but his methods of worming into Starscream's inner circle by betraying Scoop, then staying ahead of the various power games Starscream and Windblade play fully mark him as this.
  • Mythology Gag: Meets Dinobot in issue #6 of the second Windblade series - who instantly tries to kill him, and refers to him as "vermin", reflecting their initial distrustful relationship in Beast Wars proper.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Has a less humanoid robot mode than other Cybertronians.
  • The Starscream: To Starscream himself! Starscream is, naturally, well aware of this.
  • Uncertain Doom: He's arrested at the end of TAAO. Whether he got saved when Unicron eats Cybertron is up in the air.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Well, duh. Notably, he retains his rat alt-mode from BW instead of adopting a vehicle form like virtually every other Cybertron character. Justified in-universe: he was stuck on a backwater planet and took the alt-mode to better blend in.

    Metalhawk 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/metalhawk_rid_277.jpg
  • Asshole Victim: He's rude and self-righteous on his best day - but he didn't deserve to get killed by Starscream at the end of issue #16.
  • The Atoner: After breaking free of Shockwave's control.
  • Back from the Dead/Came Back Wrong: During Dark Cybertron.
  • Blatant Lies: Insists he wasn't spreading rumours Bumblebee had the Lost Light blown up, despite the fact he had done just that at the very beginning of issue #1.
  • Canon Immigrant: He's originally from the Japanese G1 anime, which got further and further away from the American G1 cartoon as it went on.
  • The Dark Chick: Serves as this in Shockwave's group, along with Waspinator.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Killed by Starscream, whom he considered his friend.
    Metalhawk: I... thought... you were my friend.
    (SHABLAMMO)
    Starscream: I was. I just want [domination over Cybertron] more.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Before the Decepticon attack, the Autobots couldn't be clearer in their passive-aggressive hatred of him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Willingly gives up the Ore-14 in his body to destabilize the other Regenesis Ores.
  • Holier Than Thou: Probably his defining character trait - he considers himself to have the moral high ground over everyone due to his self-imposed exile from the war. The Annual suggests he's even vaguely aware of this attitude.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He mistrusts and slanders the Autobots at every opportunity, while thinking Starscream is a stand-up person who's just made a few mistakes but could actually be better if someone gave him a chance. And during Dark Cybertron, he actually thinks Bludgeon could be talked into turning against Shockwave.
  • Hypocrite: The beginning of issue #7 best exemplifies this. When Prowl tells Bumblebee that his security team is ready to open fire on a Decepticon landing party, Metalhawk angrily protests that everyone deserves a chance to make it on Cybertron. When the arriving 'Cons turn out to be led by Turmoil, who led a campaign that killed dozens of soldiers in Metalhawk's unit, he says to "kill him where he stands".
  • It's Personal: Against Turmoil.
  • Jerkass: One of the biggest in season 1, best exemplified when he gives Optimus a What the Hell, Hero? speech on the damage the war has done to Cybertron - after Optimus has just saved the planet from the D-Void . Condescending, self-righteous, treats Bumblebee like dirt and takes the moral high ground over everyone when given the opportunity. He does mellow as the series goes on though.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He regards both Autobots and Decepticons as no better than the corrupt Senate they overthrew - and given the damage they've done to Cybertron by the present day, it's hard to disagree.
  • Killed Off for Real: When he sacrifices himself to thwart Shockwave's plan.
  • Lean and Mean: Especially when drawn by Nick Roche.
  • Living MacGuffin: The Ores in his body prove to be a critical plot point during the climax of Dark Cybertron.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In The Death of Optimus Prime he (admittedly reluctantly) maneuvers the NAILs into protesting against the Autobots, resulting in a riot that eventually leads to Optimus abandoning the Prime title and leaving the planet - and Metalhawk subsequently gaining a position in Cybertron's new government.
  • Only Friend: To Starscream, for what good it did.
  • The Resenter: Towards Starscream for killing him, and towards Bumblebee for inadvertently allowing Starscream to kill him.
  • Spanner in the Works: Even moreso than Skywarp.
  • The Starscream: He manages to successfully fight against Shockwave's control in Dark Cybertron, and plays a pivotal role in his defeat, destabilizing the Ores and destroying the Ammonites.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Admits to Zetca he has a lot of sympathy for the Autobots, but still sees them as a military occupation of Cybertron and manipulates the NAILs into protesting against them.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: All the NAILS, but he really embodies this.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Probably his sole redeeming feature is that he legitimately wants to believe people can do good and build a better tomorrow.
  • With Friends Like These...: He tells Bumblebee he considers him a friend. This would be the same Bumblebee Metalhawk has spent every waking moment undermining, insulting, denigrating and just generally being a smug ass toward.

    Scoop 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scoop-rid_8525.jpg
  • Broken Pedestal: Zigzagged with his relationship with Starscream. He wholeheartedly believes Starscream is the Chosen One who will lead the rebirth of Cybertron, but he doesn't like him in any way personally, with only his faith keeping him a follower. When Starsceam is arrested he loses faith totally in his old leader - but it's reborn when Starscream turns out to know exactly what's going on with the arrival of Onyx Prime from within his prison cell (not knowing Bumblebee is filling him in) and leads to his springing Starscream from jail as part of Devastator.
  • Combining Mecha: He becomes this with the Constructicons after Starscream uses the Enigma of Combination to turn him into Devastator's right leg.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He has faith in Starscream and is easily tricked, but he does not see Starscream as the Messiah, rather the destroyer, and has been spreading rumors around to usurp him.
  • Demoted to Extra: After "Combiner Wars", he's now either just another face in Starscream's circle or Devastator's right leg. Gained more prominence in Optimus Prime after Starscream's arrest and an ensuing crisis of faith.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Scoop rallies the Constructicons into battle and though Devastator gets a showy death scene, Scoop's death is unremarked upon and given as little weight as the far less significant Constructicons.
  • Enemy Mine: Scoop hates Starscream, but he's willing to be his inside man in the Decepticons to keep Cybertron safe.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After Dark Cybertron he seems to have defected to the Decepticons. It's an act.
  • Fall Guy: Twice - Starscream knowingly has him arrested for Rattrap's crimes, and later has him locked up with the Constructicons after Devastator's battle with Superion, Defensor and Optimus Maximus, despite neither incident being his fault.
  • The Fundamentalist: Averted. Scoop's heavy religious beliefs encourage him to help others and serve, not condemn others for their lack of faith.
  • Good Is Dumb: Seems like a case of Obfuscating Stupidity. During Dark Cybertron, it turns out that he has his own agenda when it comes to Starscream.
  • Kid with the Leash: Starscream recruits him to become this for Devastator, taking the place of Scrapper and Prowl.
  • Killed Off for Real: Not made immediately apparent, but seems to be this when Victorion shreds Devastator amidst Onyx Prime's return.
  • Nice Guy: Seems a genuinely nice guy - unfortunately, his taste in people to believe in needs work...
  • Reverse Mole: He's Starscream's plant in the Decepticons come season 2.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of The Decepticon remnant in season 2. Even though the other members are considerably less violent than in previous appearances, Scoop's one of the most moral on the team. He's also this for Starscream's private circle which includes Rattrap, the Constructicons, and the Badgeless.
  • You Have Failed Me: Played With. Initially Starscream has him imprisoned along with the Constructicons after he fails to control Devastator as part of the gestalt. Though as we see later on, Scoop's up and functioning back in his old position, implying that his arrest was more for show.
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    Zetca 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zetca_2237.png
  • Bullying a Dragon: Provoking Horri-Bull.
  • Defector from Decadence: A former Autobot that just had enough of the war.
  • Fall Guy: The Decepticons had planned to make it look like he was behind an assassination attempt on Bumblebee, but the whole plan failed.
  • Noodle Incident: The circumstances that set off his fight with Horri-Bull are never revealed, though it probably had to do with the war.
  • Police Brutality: The victim of it.



    Hipotank 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hipotank_8451.png

    Tappet 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tappet_6562.png
  • Accidental Misnaming: Bumblebee cannot even remember his name, which doesn't help in trying to convince him of the Autobot cause.
  • Butt-Monkey
  • Immortal Immaturity
  • Misplaced Retribution: His hatred of Orion Pax in a nutshell. Though Outback probably did kill Hefter, Orion wasn't wrong in saying an investigation should be carried out. Tappet however is only angry at Orion and doesn't seem to even acknowledge Outback.
  • Never My Fault: Downplayed as he'll acknowledge the action (assaulting Optimus, graffitiing a wall), just don't expect him to believe said action was wrong in any way. He'll also expect to be let go without any consequences.
  • Police Brutality: The victim of it in both The Death of Optimus Prime and Robots in Disguise #1. Optimus Prime #1 reveals this is also the source of his grudge against Orion Pax/Optimus Prime, as his friend Hefter was killed in police custody by Outback for being Decepticon-affiliated, with Pax refusing to do anything against the blatantly-guilty Outback until a by-the-book investigation had been carried out.
  • Put on a Bus: He hasn't been seen in the present day since before Dark Cybertron. The Bus Came Back in Optimus Prime though, when he's seen denouncing Optimus in response to Onyx Prime's accusations.
  • Shrinking Violet: He talks big but if ever anyone expresses anything even remotely resembling a backbone, he caves like a house of cards.
  • Unknown Rival: To Orion Pax/Optimus Prime who'd forgotten Tappet even existed.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Starscream recruits him as a protester, in order to force Prowl to reveal the events where Metrotitan declared Starscream the Chosen One.
  • Youthful Freckles: As a nod to his origins, given that he was inspired by Noddy, a British children's book character, and his car.


    Dirge 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dirge_9903.png
  • Ascended Extra: This is his largest role in the IDW 'verse. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
  • Butt-Monkey: If anything painful but non-fatal happens to a named Decepticon in IDW, chances are it'll happen to Dirge.
  • Defector from Decadence: Leaves the Decepticons and stays in Iacon after Starscream takes power.
  • Demoted to Extra: While he wasn't a main character, his supporting role is diminished to a cameo in season 2 as he's no longer needed for the plot. Even with the Windblade/Till All Are One series being set on Cybertron and the ongoing spending a lot more time there post-Combiner Wars, he's pretty much been Put on a Bus. He does make a brief return in the "Primeless" arc of Optimus Prime, talking about his horror at seeing the humans make a clone army of his old allies Thrust and Ramjet, and again in the Optimus Prime Annual, where he reminisces to Thundercracker how Starscream was largely responsible for him ending up marooned on Cybertron in All Hail Megatron.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Rather surprisingly subverted in Unicron, where his contemporaries are dropping like flies. Appeared to be this, but then in issue 5 Starscream shows regret at his death and even Skywarp admits to liking him when he was alive.
  • Heel–Face Turn: During Megatron's return he teams up with Metalhawk to save Starscream, and genuinely tries to stop his former leader combining with the Constructicons and restarting the war. Solidifies it after the battle when he punches out Starscream for being a colossal dick.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Rampage kills him by ripping him in half at the waist.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Blasts apart the Maximals assailing Sparkstalker and Lightbright, vowing not to let the war ruin their lives the way it did his, but is killed by BW Rampage moments later.
  • Killed Off for Real: He's killed by the BW version of Rampage while trying to save Lightbright and Sparkstalker from the Maximal army.
  • He Knows Too Much: He accidentally learns about Bombshell and the Constructicons being alive and Prowl being under Mind Control, and thus becomes their target.
  • Only Sane Man: In the Rom vs. Transformers series (set in the Transformers' past), he repeatedly points out to Starscream what a terrible idea working with the Dire Wraiths is.
  • Pretender Diss: After the deal with the Dire Wraiths inevitably falls apart in Rom vs. Transformers, Starscream moans that he's stuck with the Seeker B-Team as he saves him and Ramjet from the Wraiths.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Arcee breaks Bombshell's mind control over him he immediately runs for his life.

Earth

    Thundercracker 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thundercracker-rid_1693.jpg
  • A Day in the Limelight: In the series Revolution tie-in. It's even titled Thundercracker & Buster Save the World. Again in the Optimus Prime Annual "Starscream: The Movie", where he even manages to snag the main role from both title characters.
  • Adorkable: And how!
  • All-Loving Hero
  • Affectionate Nickname: Marissa calls him T.C as she warms up to him. Interestingly in Unicron Starscream refers to him as this as well.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses an arm to Galvatron in the climax of All Hail Optimus and the replacement is lost to a Dire Wraith mutation in the Revolution tie-in. He even lampshades the latter time.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening his pet dog Buster is a very bad move.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's usually a pretty amicable bot but he's also a former seeker and he can be pretty ferocious in the right circumstances, a good example is when two badgeless try to kill him, he quickly tears one in half and blows off the head of the other with the shading making him look pretty menacing.
  • Bond One-Liner: Hilariously averted in the Revolution one-shot. After impaling a giant Dire Wraith on the Washington monument, Marissa believes he's about to say that the monster "got the point" in this fashion - only for Thundercracker to cluelessly note he was only going to say it had organs in solid form after all. He does like her way better though.
  • Character Development / Characterization Marches On: He was a typical Decepticon soldier in his earlier appearances. Then All Hail Megatron happened. Now he writes fanfiction and fights to prevent the outbreak of war at all costs.
  • Combining Mecha: Galvatron forcefully merges him with Sky Lynx, Sunstreaker, Cosmos, and Slugslinger to form Sky Reign.
  • Comically Missing the Point: All the time when dealing with humans, much to Marissa's chagrin. Take this example, when the two discuss her alcoholic mother.
    Thundercracker: Where is she?
    Marissa: The bottom of a bottle, I imagine.
    Thundercracker: Is she very tiny, or is the bottle—
  • Cool Plane: His alt-mode for most of his IDW appearances has been an F-22 Raptor.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: For all his dorkiness and general niceness, he was still one of the Elite Seekers for a reason - aptly demonstrated when he effortlessly wipes the floor with two of Starscream's Badgeless in the Optimus Prime Annual. And again when Skywarp saves him from the Maximals, with him subsequently taking on all of them to save his fellow Seeker - and succeeding!
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Confidence issues do flare up sometimes, with him even outright wondering if Functionists were right about him as a jet when a movie of his flops.
  • Flanderization: While his Heel–Face Turn in All Hail Megatron was well-received by fans, it was issue #4 of the Ongoing, where he ruminated at large on humanity's continual evolution while watching daytime TV, that's really come to define his character in the years since, leading to the dour and noble warrior of the Ongoing being displaced by his current Adorkable persona.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Amongst the Seekers post-All Hail Megatron - Skywarp can't stand him, while Starscream views him as an easily-manipulated buffoon. Enough that when the Seekers are called on to ferry Optimus, Arcee and the Talisman to Unicron in the titular series Starscream and Skywarp apparently lie to him about their rendezvous point in the hopes he won't show up - despite his having the Talisman, the one thing that can actually kill Unicron. Not that he notices, cheerfully remarking how lucky it is he found them.
  • Gentle Giant: Most obviously in Optimus Prime #3, where he's seen picking his way through a market to have a cheerful conversation with Marissa, oblivious to the panic he's causing in the population.
  • Heel–Face Turn: All the way back in All Hail Megatron. Seems to have been a good decision on his part - especially now that he's found that the Earth Defense Force has been mass producing clones of Ramjet and Thrust. He goes all the way in issue 50 and officially becomes an Autobot.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Has an adorable puppy named Buster.
  • I Know Kung-Fu: Or rather, "I Know Strategy", because he plays a lot of RTS Games.
  • Interspecies Romance: Far from a romance, but there's quite a few hints in his appearances he's got some sort of crush on the human Marissa Faireborn, including one moment in his Revolution one-shot where his screenplay accidentally refers to love interest Susan as Marissa.
  • Nice Guy: He's definitely graduated to one.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With Marissa. They genuinely care about each other (though Marissa is reluctant to admit it), and Thundercracker's sole condition for helping G.I. Joe is that Marissa be invited to join (she refuses, but at least he tried). He also tries to help her reconnect with her father Flint, albeit in his usual hamfisted way, and later Marissa defends him from the self-righteous Pyra Magna when she starts getting uppity with him.
    • Also implied with Sunstreaker - they get off to a distrustful start in All Hail Optimus, but Thundercracker saves him from getting killed by Galvatron. By the time of the Revolution one-shot Thundercracker is taking care of Sunstreaker's pet Insection Bob while the latter is away.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Entrusts Buster to Marissa's permanent care in Unicron, despite a shocked Marissa's assertion they're inseparable, making it clear she's to take care of the dog if he doesn't come back from the strike against Unicron.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Back in All Hail Megatron he was a proud Decepticon and a firm believer in Megatron's ideals - but he was utterly aghast at both the experimentation that created the Insecticons and the slaughter of the humans. In the finale he flies a nuclear bomb into orbit to save everyone (despite said bomb being part of Megatron's plan to level New York) to restore the honor he felt the Decepticons had lost.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of Costa's run, he elected to stay on Earth when the Autobots and Decepticons returned to the newly restored Cybertron. He made a few appearances in flashback spotlights before returning at the start of season 2.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: According to him, Nurse Whitney was actually pretty good if you watched the episodes in order.
  • Redemption Equals Life: Abandons the Decepticon cause at the end of All Hail Megatron, and despite the odd setback (like getting shot in the face by Skywarp) he's managed to forge a genuinely happy life for himself on Earth.
  • Retired Badass: He doesn't want to be involved in any fighting any longer, and tries to remain neutral to the conflict between Autobots and Decepticons on Earth. He did reluctantly agree to be used as bait by Marissa Fairborne, but abandoned the EDC when he discovered their army of Ramjet and Thrust drones.
  • Ship Tease: Most evident in how he has written romantic stories where the boyfriend character is described as "handsome like a F-22 jet" - and the particularly egregious slip up in where the girlfriend character is accidentally refered to as "Marissa".
  • Stylistic Suck: He's taken writing hilariously awful screenplays, filled with Purple Prose and characters with names like "Josh Boyfriend." The Revolution one-shot has him figuring out he's terrible because he has no way to relate to what he's writing about - so he elects to go on a road trip.
  • Token Good Teammate: Even before his Heel–Face Turn, he openly disapproved of Megatron's brutal plans and tried to keep the casualties down to a minimum. In his Spotlight he is ordered to attack a city, so he opens the attack with one of his sonic booms in the vain hope of alerting the resident aliens and prompting their evacuation before serious loss of life. Later, he lies that Metroplex is gone so the other Decepticons will leave the aliens alone.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the previous Ongoing he was portrayed as pretty humourless and dour even though he was nominally on the Autobots' side. Post-Dark Cybertron he's far nicer, endlessly over-eager to help out his adopted home planet and a big fan of daytime TV.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Shows traces of this, most notably when he begs Soundwave to see that they have to save Earth from another all-out war in spite of the humans' actions, not for them but for the Transformers themselves. It works, and Soundwave shuts down the EDC's drone army in a matter of seconds.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: During the Dire Wraiths' attack on the White House, he has no idea he's essentially in an action movie, missing every single cue the story and Marissa give him to actually act like an action hero. He even messes up his Bond One-Liner at the end.

    Buster 

    Marissa Faireborn 

  • Action Girl: Takes down a room full of Dire Wraiths to protect the President - armed with only a pistol AND while phoning Thundercracker no less.
  • Adventure Duo: With Thundercracker.
  • Ambadassador: As of Optimus Prime she's become this, as the President appoints her Earth's representative to the Council of Worlds.
  • Anti-Villain: She's an antagonist, but is portrayed sympathetically and just wants to keep Earth safe. In Optimus Prime, she's seemingly graduated to being an ally.
  • Badass Boast: In the aftermath of First Strike, when she gets tired of Elita One's warlike ranting.
    It took, what? Forty-seven humans to nearly destroy this planet... imagine what the other six and a half billion of us could do if we put our minds to it.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: In the Revolution one shot, she's covered head to toe in green Wraith blood within minutes.
  • Buxom Is Better: The degree of it depends on the artist, but she's noticeably bustier than her fellows. It's more noticeable on the covers than in the comic.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She thought her dad was dead and her mom was a drunk. When she met her dad, it went very poorly.
  • Fantastic Racism: Nowhere near as several as some humans, but had elements of this which were clear in some of her comments, viewing Cybertronians as inherently troublesome and violent. Upon a What the Hell, Hero? comment from friend Thundercracker, this eases off significantly as she strives to do better, from establishing a refugee colony to even correcting others on bigoted comments.
  • Fall Guy: The President makes it pretty clear in issue #55 she'll be one for the failure of the attack on the Autobots in Monument Valley, and subsequent appearance of a Titan. This despite her being completely opposed to the operation in the first place. That said, the President at least apologized for firing her and offers to rehire her (though not in charge anymore) when the Junkions arrive.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Actually likes hearing Thundercracker's "stupid stories", although you'd be hard pressed to get her to admit to that.
  • Heroic Bastard: Her mom was a woman with the surname 'Bishop' and her dad was Flint.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened when she first met her dad. It wasn't pleasant.
  • Put on a Bus: Seemingly in the Revolution books. While Ayana Jones has become Mayday in G.I. Joe and Spike is still around as of Titans Return, Marissa seems to have been sidelined in favour of Scarlett, who takes her old role in dealing with and antagonising the Autobots. Subverted in the series' Revolution one-shot, where she returns to fight Dire Wraiths alongside Thundercracker. In the White House. Then she returns in Optimus Prime in a bigger way, ending up as Earth's representative to the Council of Worlds.
  • Odd Friendship: With Thundercracker. Highlighted when she refuses to let him go battle Galvatron's Decepticons in Shanghai because she doesn't want him to die. She later calls on him to defend the White House, as he's the only one she could trust. Following that, they go on a road trip together and she's openly standing up for him against the Torchbearers.
  • Only Sane Woman: Come "All Hail Optimus", she's the only one trying to advocate peace with the Autobots, rather than straight-up killing them. For her efforts, she's replaced with Spike. In the opening arc of Optimus Prime, she brings forward the idea of a refugee camp for the Junkions.
  • The Peter Principle: She's a very competent leader - but with wild cards like the human-hating Galvatron, unethical schemer Prowl and desperate-to-help Thundercracker in play she's out of her depth against the Cybertronians.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: While killing Dire Wraiths, she compares D.0.C. to V.I.N.C.E.N.T..
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Not at first, but gradually becomes this over the course of season 2, especially after she starts to deal with the unethical Blackrock more. It continues in both Optimus Prime (where her clear head is a stark contrast to her dad's) and First Strike (where she spends a lot of time butting heads with Elita One).
  • Teen Genius: Teen might be pushing it a little, but she can't be any more than late twenties in Optimus Prime - and has already been director of the E.D.C, an organisation charged with defending the entire Earth, as well as Earth's first interstellar ambassador.
  • Unwanted Assistance: How she usually feels about Thundercracker.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Got a subtle one from TC about some of her comments on Cybertronians.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: She's realized that The Peter Principle applies to her and has decided to just take in the sights before aliens destroy the Earth.
  • Worthy Opponent: Pyra Magna is genuinely impressed when she verbally rips the Torchbearer a new one in defence of Thundercracker, despite the massive differences in size and firepower.

    General Daniel Witwicky 

  • Adaptational Villainy: Like his son, he's practically a different character from the jovial Sparkplug of the original cartoon.
  • Asshole Victim: Nobody shed any tears when Galvatron incinerated him. Even Spike's barely mentioned it since.
  • Jerkass: Like father, like son.
  • Quickly Demoted Leader: Was hand-picked by the President to lead America's retaliation against the Decepticon invasion in All Hail Megatron. By the start of Season 2 of Robots in Disguise he's subordinate to Marissa Faireborn, who can't be more than half his age - though given his son's actions during the first Ongoing, that's not too surprising.
  • Smug Snake: Not to the same level as his son (in fairness, matching or out-doing Spike would be an accomplishment), but he's still pretty smug.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Makes the colossal mistake of chewing out Galvatron for the Decepticons' breaking cover in their battle with the Autobots. Being a prideful Decepticon warlord who's been killing sentient beings since before humans evolved, Galvatron vaporizes him the first chance he gets.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In All Hail Megatron he was the closest thing the humans had to a Big Good, if overly gung-ho. The subsequent Character Development for Spike changed him as well, noting that he repeatedly used his influence to cover up for his son's acting like an action movie star.

    Ayana Jones 
See Mayday's entry on the IDW G.I. Joe character page.

    Zilong Qian 
See Talon's entry on the IDW G.I. Joe character page.

    Sanjay Bharwaney 
See Hi-Tech's entry on the IDW G.I. Joe character page.

    Spike Witwicky 

  • Adaptational Villainy: He's an arrogant, womanizing rogue agent virtually unrecognizable next to the original Spike.
  • Badass Normal: He's a skilled soldier who has fought and defeated Cybertronians.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Which Miho and Jimmy waste no time mocking.
  • Easily Forgiven: After the events of All Hail Optimus, he's put in charge of the EDC to stop the Autobots. Faireborn wastes no time in pointing out what a disaster this will be. It doesn't last - he's replaced by Joe Colton in issue #56 as part of the lead-in to Revolution.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's dead against Cybertronian interference with Earth - but even he's disgusted by Blackrock trying to melt down Jazz, Kup and Jetfire for raw materials for one of his projects, dubbing him "an inhuman monster".
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Nobody on G.I. Joe can stand him.
  • Hate Sink: After becoming an out-and-out villain, he's more or less treated this way. Smug, cruel, prejudiced, entitled, selfrighteous, and pretty much the embodiment of the worst elements of one of the worst runs.
  • Hollywood Action Hero: Played straight in All Hail Megatron. Pretty thoroughly deconstructed in the following Ongoing, which explores the consequences of what happens when you place someone like this in charge of a major military operation in real life. See Reality Ensues for a list of his various failings.
  • Jerkass
  • Karma Houdini: While he has his share of disasters after going on the run, he goes from fugitive to the commander of the EDC in the space of an issue, thanks to the President's dissatisfaction with Marissa trying to reach entente with the Autobots. He's quickly demoted, but even then makes it out of the series alive.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Executes a harmless Mini-Constructicon on live TV to warn against the Cybertronians - which catches the attention of both Galvatron's Decepticons and Prowl and the Constructicons. Cue an arc of both sides doing their level best to crush him like a flea.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: His real name is Steven. Even his mother usually calls him "Stevie".
  • Not So Different: From Prowl, especially after what happens to the latter in Combiner Wars. Both are immense pricks who frequently act outside the rules to further what they believe to be the greater good; both firmly believe they're in the right no matter what and both suffer a humiliating fall from grace to become fugitives from their own side (Spike when he flees Skywatch after his deal with Swindle is exposed, Prowl when he's arrested and escapes post-Combiner Wars). Tellingly, neither appears to have learned a thing from their misfortunes.
  • The Peter Principle: It's strongly implied that his command experience in the first ongoing was this, due to his family connections pushing him into a command role he was unready for: his arrogance, belief he was untouchable due to his father and inability to be truthful with allies or subordinates eventually lead to his going on the run as a fugitive from the US military - not to mention the Autobots breaking off their alliance and destroying all Skywatch's Cybertronian tech.
  • Reality Ensues: In the first ongoing he was nominally the humans' Big Good, allying with Optimus in spite of severe disapproval from his father to battle the Decepticons. As the series went on he became gradually more unlikeable, with even his allies commenting on how how he acted like an action movie hero (reckless and irresponsible) instead of a military commander due to his skill and family ties. He's busted by Prowl for killing Scrapper and for obtaining the human mech technology from the Decepticon Swindle, and by the time we see him in this series he's a fugitive from military justice, unable to even contact his family. He's marginally redeemed after Galvatron's invasion of Shanghai lands him in charge of the EDC, but he's demoted again as soon as the humans find someone more suitable in Joe Colton.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: In the Ongoing his colleagues suggested that his father would often act to cover up his acting like an action movie star instead of a competent military commander.
  • Smug Snake: Just look at his smirk when Faireborn finds out the President has put him in charge.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In his head he's a freedom fighter standing against the Cybertronians and humans who seek to use Cybertronian technology for evil. To the Autobots he's no longer an issue as Fairborn and her unit are their main problem, to Blackrock he's at best a very minor Spanner in the Works, but to Devastator, he's reason enough to come back to this mud ball planet just to smash.
  • Take That!: The character seems to get one from the writer in Unicron, only appearing for a single panel in the final issue; when he's shot down by the Maximals, he bemoans feeling like he should have had a larger role in things. Qian just tells him to shut up.
  • Those Two Guys: Subverted. He thinks he's got this going with Qian. They both dislike Cybertronians, they work together and they're both jerks, but Qian can't stand him (funny that), or his incessant stories about how the US gets things done. By Optimus Prime, Qian's been promoted above him, and has the authority to just tell Spike to shut the hell up. Come Unicron, he actually does just that.

    Jimmy Pink 

  • The Bus Came Back: This is his first appearance since the end of The Transformers: Maximum Dinobots
  • Face–Heel Turn: Apparently. He's working with Spike now, though the exact circumstances are unclear.
  • Plucky Comic Relief
  • Put on a Bus: Again. He hasn't appeared since the end of the Onyx Interface arc. He reappears during Optimus Prime, as a brief cameo showing he returned to working in a garage.
  • What Could Have Been: Like Verity, he was also set to star in a mini-series, along with the Autobot double agent, Punch. The story has been written and was set to be released years ago, but was delayed by the Chaos event and the launch of the two ongoings. Now its unlikely that it will be released at all.

     Garrison Blackrock/Sovereign 

  • Adaptational Villainy: Original Blackrock was an Honest Corporate Executive who allied with the Autobots. Here he's a shady technological kingpin who works with the Decepticons. He's actually more dangerous to the heroes than his Shattered Glass counterpart. Even as Sovereign, he's much more shrewd and self serving than his Generations self.
  • Alone with the Psycho: An odd variation. Blackrock pays Spike a visit in lock up and reveals that he knows more about Cybertronians than he has let on and that he may not be entirely human. Then he tasks Spike with telling him what he is...while remotely battling an Autobot incursion at one of his bases.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Blackrock's skin is a darker shade of tan, especially when compared to Marissa and even his old Marvel incarnation. In this continuity he does claim to have ancestry from Mesopotamia (an area which has become Iraq, Kuwait and Northerneastern Syria).
  • Ambiguously Evil: Exactly what he's up to is left ambiguous, though it can't be anything good. Turns out he's merely an advance agent of a much more dangerous force - Onyx Prime.
  • Ambiguously Human: Is he human? Is he some sort of creation from the Thirteen's artifacts? Is he a former Decepticon Facsimile? Not even Blackrock knows. It eventually turns out he's a servant of Onyx Prime, mindwiped, turned into a Ridiculously Human Robot and sent to Earth.
  • Composite Character: He's both Garrison Blackrock and Sovereign.
  • Depending on the Artist: As Sovereign, all three artists have reinterpreted his design.
    • Livio Ramondelli gives him a Rewind like body with a dark purple chest, pale pink limbs and white/blue optics.
    • Priscilla Tramontana keeps the body style but his shoulders and knees become white, his limbs are now purple and he has splotches of yellow on his torso while his optics are yellow as well.
    • Fico Ossio completely redesigns his body, making him look more like a purple Iron Man suit with a black head and red optics along with an Autobot badge in the middle of his chest where an Arc Reactor would be.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the first issue of Revolutionaries, he nearly kills Action Man for (futilely) delaying him in getting the Tailsman. When Rom stops the killing, Sovereign now seems to hate Rom.
  • Distressed Dude: Blackrock gets kidnapped a lot. By First Strike, he's gotten pretty fed up about it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: For all the awful things he did, even he thinks eating Sparks and raising undead Titans in the name of genocide is a bit too much.
  • Expy: Like Joshua Joyce he's a technology tycoon revolutionizing the world with brand new ideas and sinister black turtlenecks. So basically Steve Jobs. When he finds out who he really is, he's pretty much Tony Stark only without any morals or compassion for others.
  • Famous Ancestor: He claims he's a descendant of Gilgamesh. He isn't, nor is he even human.
  • Flight: In Cybertronian form.
  • Foil: As Sovereign, he becomes one to Prowl. Both are long term, immoral, schemers with various backups and countermeasures but Prowl genuinely believes he's fighting for the greater good of Cybertron and his kind while Blackrock is out only for himself.
  • Hand Blast: When he forms a fist, he can fire energy bolts from his forearm.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In Titans Return Infinitus/Sentinel restores his original Onyx Prime-given programming, make him every bit as arrogant and hateful as Sentinel. However, Soundwave later uses his powers to restore the Blackrock personality, restoring him to a state dead against Sentinel. It's unclear however which personality is the one he was born with.
  • Humiliation Conga: Summed up perfectly by the man himself after being arrested by the EDC:
    Blackrock: I genuinely thought being held prisoner in an alien space ship 26,000 feet underwater and finding out I'm not actually human was going to be the worst part of my month.
    • Gets even worse for him immediately afterwards, as he's abducted by Sentinel Prime.
  • It's All About Me: Has no concern over people turning into Dire Wraiths if it means he can get his memories back.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Slips into super-villain territory in the run-up to All Hail Optimus, kidnapping Jetfire, Kup and Jazz when they investigate one of his facilities, tries to melt them down for raw materials for one of his projects and destroying the Autobots' ship. See Humiliation Conga for a description of what happened to him next...
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Fashionable suit, some liquor to sip on while monologuing, insane wealth, and a good eye for the finer things in life like interior design.
  • Mysterious Past: Well, he claims to be descended from Gilgamesh, but Marissa notes that there's absolutely no record of Garrison Blackrock existing before three years ago, which to her and Jones means he's "either so far up the national security food chain that he's beyond what the EDC can find", or he's lying. Titans Returns explains all - he's Sovereign, the Titan Master (a Minicon-sized Transformer) responsible for controlling Onyx Prime's personal Titan. When Onyx needed an agent on Earth to look for the Enigma of Combination, he reformatted Sovereign into Blackrock and installed shell-programming to make him believe he was human.
  • No-Sell: One of Action Man's explosives doesn't even scratch his paint.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: As Blackrock, he was quite a bit smarter than he let on.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Blackrock's a connoisseur of only the best in entertainment and is fond of referencing such things as John Woo, Gilgamesh, and of course the Insane Clown Posse.
  • That Man Is Dead: No longer seems to identify as Sovereign given that he's lost all his memories of who he was in the distant past. That said, he's trying to get them back.
  • Transplant: He joins Revolutionaries alongside Kup, Action Man, Mayday of G.I. Joe and Rom.
  • Trojan Horse: Uses himself as one to try and learn more about the Tailsman and its connection to Onyx Prime.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: While he can obviously transform, in Revolutionaries, he displays the ability to switch back and forth between his Cybertronian and human forms. It's not clear if this is Terminator style or just holograms.

    The President 

  • Bad Boss: While obviously not Megatron or Galvatron in her methods, one screw up is grounds for demotion at best, firing at worst.
  • Ditto Aliens: She mentions that many humans have trouble telling individual Cybertronians apart. It's largely reciprocated.
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards any aliens, Cybertronians in particular. Although this is gradually getting better, and although not gone it's elevated enough for her to accept allowing alien refugees to stay on Earth, post-Unicron wiping out all their planets.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: If you rehire Spike Witwicky, you qualify in spades.
  • Hypocrite: Related to below, she scolds Optimus (a Cybertronian) for viewing Cybertronian life (the lives of his own kind) as worth more than human life. Between Cybertronians and humans guess which species she values more?
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In Optimus Prime #7, she tells Optimus that the Autobots are frightening humans because they've got a warship that can turn into a two-mile tall robot, Jazz killed a police officer on live television, the Autobots weren't there for a year while Megatron killed humans, Soundwave is now working with the Autobots and the Autobots usually seem to value Cybertronian life more than human.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ultimately, when it comes right down to it she just wants the best for her planet and the people on it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In Optimus Prime #8, she offers Optimus political advice regarding the fallout of Jazz's TV interview. He sees right through her words and sends a warning to Jazz to run before G.I. Joe can capture him while Optimus himself follows her advice and hops into a Space Bridge for Cybertron before the President can do anything.
  • No Name Given: Only called the President.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In Optimus Prime #1, she tells Prime that she's not the highest power on Earth...despite the US footing the largest portion of the bill for the EDC and thus having power over all the command functions, something she frequently used (even abused) in All Hail Optimus.
  • Not So Different: Enters a discussion with Optimus Prime about civil rights movements on both of their planets.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: An African-American woman.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Not at first. In All Hail Optimus and Revolution she couldn't be less helpful to the Autobots but in Optimus Prime, she seems to have become more accepting of the Cybertronian situation and agrees to hear out Optimus.
    • Continues to be so in Transformers: Unicron, where she effectively works together with Cybertronians and other aliens to avert the threat. Her accepting they, and several other alien species now, are all here to stay on Earth after their owns worlds were destroyed, simply stating she didn't take this job to relax, indicates that this trait is here to stay. Pronounced in the final issue of Unicron, where she realises Earth is home to the Cybertronians for good, and starts making plans for a future for them all.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Marissa saved her life in the Revolution one-shot. Her response? Fire Marissa for everything that's happened in the past few weeks. (Though she did apologize and later offered to rehire her.) She also has no love for the Autobots despite the fact that they've saved the Earth for conquest or destruction three times. Starting to get averted in Optimus Prime. Though she then sends G.I. Joe in to capture Jazz who just wants to get the Cybertronian side of the story out to the people of Earth.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Galvatron plays her like a piano.
  • With Us or Against Us: During All Hail Optimus she doesn't take it well at all whenever someone expresses any sympathy for the Autobots.
  • Worthy Opponent: She seems to view Optimus as one. As detailed in Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!, it's not reciprocated despite Optimus' inherent respect for her position.

    Sofía Orozco 

  • Determinator: Shows signs of this when she shows up again later when Unicron has arrived at Earth. Despite the ensuing chaos, she keeps on reporting. She also orders the cameras to keep rolling, even when a Heroic BSoD of Soundwave causes mental agony in everyone present.
  • Fantastic Racism: First appeared at a rally against cybertronians.
  • Interprid Reporter: First as an intern before graduating to become a reporter proper.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She comes off as normal, if slightly irritable, when Jazz tries to talk to her. She then lures him into a trap.
  • Not So Different: She and Jazz do at least have a commonality in music, band posters being clear in her room.
  • Mutually Unequal Relation: Jazz is trying to befriend her and becomes under the impression it's working. It isn't.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She seems slightly remorseful for luring Jazz into a G.I. Joe trap.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Jazz saved her life from Sharkticons. Her response? Why throw him to G.I. Joe of course.

    Hector Ramirez 

  • Adaptational Villainy: Granted he was a bit character back in the cartoon so his luring Jazz into a trap makes this inevitable.
  • Jerkass: He's polite to Jazz until they get to the events of Megatron's invasion of Earth. Then he starts twisting everything Jazz says.
  • Mythology Gag: Back in the 1980s, his appearance in all the Hasbro shows (bar My Little Pony) was what led to the Fandom believing all the shows took place in the same universe. Fitting that he shows up soon after Revolution.
  • Porn Stache

Junkions

    Wreck-Gar 

Leader of the Junkions, a strange race of mechanoids from the planet of Junk. Wreck-Gar talks strange and acts stranger, raising the question of just what he and his fellows are up to...

  • Adaptation Personality Change: Wreck-Gar's a lot... weirder than prior versions, who tended to be pretty sane underneath the TV talk. Here, Wreck-Gar acts odd and more than a little bit sinister. That said, he's still one of the nicer Junkions.
  • The Bus Came Back: His sole previous appearance was in Monstrosity where he and his followers tried to cannibalize Megatron. After being presumed dead, he at least survived.
  • Cloudcuckoolander
  • Large Ham: Right from the word go.
  • Off with His Head!: Wreck-Gar tears off his own head mid-conversation. It's not fatal, it doesn't stop him speaking, and he soon reattaches it with no bother. When he's informed that Optimus tore Galvatron's head off, he brushes it off as nothing. Thanks to Arcee stabbing his Spark, he's reduced to nothing more than a head. He spends all of issue 7 as just a head and casually wonders where his Spark is.
  • Red Herring: Initially he acts suspiciously, making it look like he's evil. He's not. Actually, he's pretty nice.

    Rum-Maj 

Wreck-Gar's other half (though not literally), and co-ruler of the Junkions.

  • Beware the Silly Ones: After Megatron and Galvatron, she probably came the closest to conquering Earth.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Her and the sharkticons in Unicron save the Whitehouse from Maximal attack.
  • Easily Forgiven: She doesn't face any real consequences for invading Earth. Instead she gets a refugee camp.
  • Nice Hat: Her head is designed to look like a pirate's tri-corn. Yar!
  • Obviously Evil: Unlike Wreck-Gar, Rum-Mag is blatantly shifty and suspicious. So it's not much surprise when she sets some Sharkticons on Rumble, Frenzy and Cosmos, before ordering an invasion of Earth.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The cold, sinister blue to Wreck-Gar's loud and excitable red.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Continuing the pirate theme, her shoulders look like the pads of a longcoat.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: And not in the usual Junkion way, either. Rum-Mag puts words in the wrong order, and uses odd phrasing.

    Sharkticons 

  • Glass Cannon: Sharkticons are not very tough individually. Problem is, they come in the thousands.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The Junkions treated them like crap. When Soundwave offers them a Rousing Speech, they're quick to turn on their masters.
  • Mysterious Past: Considering the traditional masters of the Sharkticons are the race that owns the ship the Junkions used, just how these Sharkticons came under Jukion command is unknown. Flashbacks in Monstrosity and Primacy even show other Sharkticons under Quintesson command.
  • Slave Race: This group fulfills this role for the Junkions. It's hinted that the race as a whole is this for the Quintessons are usual.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Cosmos says they were all trapped in a tiny pen. Soundwave appeals to them and they soon join him.
  • Zerg Rush: Their tactic. They nearly conquer Earth through it.

The Primes

    The Thirteen Primes 

An ancient group of Cybertronian tribal leaders, who ruled the planet after the Knights of Cybertron had departed but before the days of Nova Prime. Thanks to the manipulations of a time-displaced Shockwave internal strife between them resulted in the murder of Solus Prime and a catastrophic civil war that left several others dead. When Galvatron killed Nexus Prime, many of the survivors fled the planet, never to return, leaving Alpha Trion to found a new order of Primes worse than anything that had come before. Their number includes Prima, Megatronus, Nexus Prime, Onyx Prime, Solus Prime, Alchemist Prime, Micronus Prime, Vector Prime, Amalgamous Prime, Quintus Prime, Alpha Trion, the Liege Maximo, and one known as "the Arisen".

For details on the Liege Maximo, see The Transformers: Till All Are One.

For details on Alpha Trion, see The Transformers Robots In Disguise Autobots.

For details on Onyx Prime, see below.

  • The Ace: Even Onyx Prime (actually Shockwave) described Prima as the best and greatest of them.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change:
    • In the Aligned continuity the Thirteen are the first creations of Primus - the original Transformers. In the IDW continuity that distinction goes to Primus himself (later known as Rung) and the Guiding Hand, the first true Transformers. When Primus/Rung is wiped from Cybertron's memories by Adaptus, the populace believe Primus' first creations are the Knights of Cybertron so important to the backstory of More Than Meets The Eye and Lost Light. Consequently here the Thirteen are tribal leaders/warlords that rose to power after the Knights left the planet, becoming worshipped by later generations after their disappearance.
    • As they're the first creations of Primus, the Aligned continuity has them as proper demi-gods. The IDW Thirteen are anything but, with their claims of divinity self-bestowed and encouraged by Shockwave instead of gifted by Primus.
    • Also, the Aligned continuity had Primus create the Thirteen to aid in his war against Unicron. Here, "Origin Myths" gives that role to the Titans instead. Given the revelations about Primus/Rung in Lost Light and Unicron in his series, the entire situation might have never existed.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The degree of it depends on the member (most seem to just have an inflated ego) but they're not the squeaky clean paragons they normally are. Nexus and Onyx get it worst: Nexus goes from the noble keeper of the weapons of Solus Prime to an elitist Jerkass convinced of his own divine superiority, while Onyx turns out to have been a time-travelling Shockwave all along.
    • Onyx is a slight subversion though: the original was shown to be a kind and generous 'bot before Shockwave blew him to bits.
  • Adaptational Wimp: While they're certainly not weak, they seem closer to ordinary Cybertronians here than previous portrayals of them (who are usually The Juggernaut, if not a few steps below Physical God). It's eventually revealed Shockwave set this up deliberately, engineering the events of "The Falling" so Pyra Magna and others who believed in them would realise the Primes were nothing more than ordinary Cybertronians and certainly not divine.
    • Megatronus especially. The Movie and Prime versions of the Fallen are extremely dangerous Transformers that it takes either another Prime or a massive amount of effort to kill. While this Megatronus is still very powerful he's merely The Dragon to Shockwave/Onyx Prime and is coldly offed by him as soon as he's accomplished his pre-ordained tasks.
    • Also Prima, who is normally portrayed as The Ace of the Primes. Megatronus kills him very quickly in their final duel.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: It's easy to feel sorry for Megatronus, given that Shockwave had been manipulating him from the beginning of Cybertronian history to be an unwitting tool for Shockwave/Onyx Prime's machinations. When Shockwave eventually kills him, he sounds genuinely bewildered that he's been betrayed by the being he was loyal to for so long.
  • The Alcoholic: Alchemist Prime never goes without a drink in his hand, even when watching wholesale carnage. Not even the drink being hideously rancid stops him from downing it.
  • Asshole Victim: Galvatron may not have killed Nexus for the right reasons, but he sure deserved killing anyway.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Megatronus, who like his later namesake managed to build an army and conquer large swathes of Cybertron.
  • BFS: Prima held the mighty Star Saber, which going by the statues of him dotted about the place was almost as big as he was. In a brutal bit of irony, Megatronus ends up killing him with it.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Prima berating Megatronus over Cybertron's First Contact going badly wrong was not a good move on his part, given how quickly Megatronus kills him when they actually duel.
    • It really wasn't very bright of Nexus Prime to taunt Galvatron - the being that had just singlehandedly killed most of his army - with his lowborn status or the belief the Primes were his masters...
  • Connected All Along: Maybe. The finale leaves it ambiguous as to whether Optimus really was some sort of reincarnation of the Arisen, with Arcee suggesting the idea of him as such and what he did with it were more important than the reality.
  • Demoted to Extra: Two of the Thirteen with the largest roles in past fiction are the Fallen and Vector Prime. The former only appears in the flashback stories detailing how the union of the Primes and Shockwave becoming Onyx came to be, while the latter barely has a cameo role in "Origin Myths".
  • Depending on the Writer: Under Barber's pen, the Primes are portrayed as uniquely powerful Cybertronians who started getting full of themselves, albeit with a good dose of ambiguity - at least until the revelations regarding Onyx being Shockwave and his wholesale manipulation of history played out. Mairghread Scott's comics basically just gave them their Aligned counterparts' semi-divine backstory wholesale.
  • The Dragon: Megatronus was always this to Onyx Prime/Shockwave. The Liege Maximo eventually was as well, though unlike other examples of Co-Dragons it seems that neither was aware of the other's links to Onyx Prime/Shockwave at the time..
  • Evil Counterpart: The Fallen was this to Prima.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Comics set in the present have made clear Galvatron is big for a Transformer - and "The Falling: Interlude" shows Megatronus towered over him back in the day. Onyx is also seen to be Megatronus' equal in size (if far less bulky) due to the already large Shockwave crafting a suit of armour of out Onyx' remains, making him appear much larger.
  • Expy: With the (possible) exception of "The Arisen", they've got the same designs and names as their Aligned counterparts. Subverted in a big way with both Onyx Prime, when he turns out to have been a time-displaced Shockwave from almost the beginning, and later with The Reveal the group's backstories were very different (see Adaptational Back Story Change above) thanks to both Shockwave's manipulations and having to fit with previously-established elements of IDW's canon such as MTMTE's Knights of Cybertron.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Prima is remembered as the greatest of all the Thirteen. In reality, he'd have died from Megatronus' assassination attempt if it weren't for Solus Prime saving him, and when he goes off to fight the now-Fallen he lasts about five seconds before his opponent slices him in half.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Megatronus was once a poor young nomad who was a part of Onyx's flock. Then Shockwave found him...
  • The Ghost: The whole group have become increasingly important to the backstory from season 2 of RiD onwards, but only Trion and Onyx, actually Shockwave, have large roles in present-day fiction. The rest are long-since missing/dead by the time of this continuity's final stories.
  • A God Am I: Shockwave as Onyx Prime started the myth that the Primes were greater than ordinary Cybertronians, and at the very least Nexus Prime came to wholeheartedly believe it.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Nexus Prime was Infinitus's master back in the day, and the guy believed in his teachings, meaning Nexus is partially responsible for all of Sentinel Prime's deeds. And Onyx Prime/Shockwave was shown to be manipulating them from the beginning.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Megatronus ends his duel with Prima by cutting him in half from head to toe with his own Star Saber.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the final battle, Megatronus kills Prima with his own Star Saber.
  • Jerkass: A charitable way of describing Nexus Prime. If Galvatron is to be believed, even his own ally wasn't fond of him.
  • King in the Mountain: According to legends, Micronus simply returned to the Well of All Sparks after leaving Prion. He didn't, but instead created the Microverse. When Windblade got in contact with him, he turned out to be fully conscious and aware of what was going on around him.
  • Legacy Character: Inverted. The Transformers: Prime version of Megatron took his name from the Fallen's true identity. However, it's implied that the time-displaced Shockwave named IDW's Megatronus after the Megatron he knew, noting that Cybertron will remember the name of Megatronus after a fashion.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • For years this was a question in-universe, with the religion of the colonies believing the Thirteen were divine and had magical powers, where Transformers of Cybertron like Optimus and Jhiaxus (who had seen lunatics like Nova, Sentinel and Zeta Prime come and go) believe they were just very smart and created technology far ahead of their time. The prominence of Transformers like Galvatron (who actually knew them) after Dark Cybertron, the re-emergence of technology like the Enigma of Combination and the Talisman, the possibility Optimus might be The Arisen and the return of Onyx Prime seemed to suggest the side of Magic as time went on, and Alpha Trion (one of them) would deliberately obfuscate the matter, not even revealing he was a Prime until after the Autobot/Decepticon war on Earth finished.
    • The answer comes down brutally on the side of Mundane in the last issue of "The Falling", with The Reveal a time-travelling Shockwave had been Onyx Prime all along. Shockwave's final Breaking Speech to Pyra Magna has him directly state he basically built up the religion of the Primes to prove to Pyra and anyone else who believed in them in the present day that they were nothing special. The evidence suggests that while The Thirteen had charisma, scientific ability and some leadership ability depending on the member, they certainly weren't divine and would have been little more than warlords and footnotes in Cybertron's history without Shockwave engineering their rise as leaders of a united Cybertron.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Onyx Prime/Shockwave's dialogue implies this was Megatronus' reaction to killing Solus Prime. Unlike the Transformers: Prime version, who had this reaction because he'd killed his true love, here it seems to be in response to the realisation that he'd caused the perfection of the Primes' society to end in failure.
  • Never My Fault: Both Infinitus (Nexus' Titan Master) and Onyx display varying degrees of loathing (white-hot hate in the former case, visible disgust in the latter) towards the Decepticons for their part in upending the Cybertronian order that had stood since the time of the original Primes - something which conveniently ignores that much of the factionalism and Fantastic Racism that fuelled the rise of the Decepticons started in the era of the Thirteen. Subverted in the case of Onyx Prime, who was a Decepticon all along...
  • Not So Invincible After All: On ancient Cybertron, they were seen as nigh-invincible demigods - then Galvatron managed to kill Nexus in a completely one sided fight. "Origin Myths" strongly hints the idea of them as divine and killable only by another Prime was an invention of Onyx Prime some of them started buying into.
  • Obviously Evil: Megatronus. Aside from his intimidating appearance, in his first speaking appearance he claims his darkness knows no limits and that he hails from the place of shadows.
  • Out of Focus: In the Aligned continuity the pantheon of the Primes is displayed relatively evenly, with a lot of background on each. In the flashhback stories detailing the IDW Thirteen though, only Alpha Trion and Shockwave masquerading as Onyx Prime receive major characterisation, with Nexus Prime, Prima, Megatronus, Liege Maximo and Solus Prime reduced to supporting characters with varying pagetime. The rest of the Primes are lucky if they even get any dialogue, and a few of them don't even appear.
  • Precursors: Elita One mentions that the various types of Cybertronians are based on the template of the Thirteen.
    • Neglectful Precursors: Micronus founded the colony of Prion... then just left one day, leaving them to be wiped out by the Black Block Consortia. He then created the Microverse, and didn't do anything when out of control Ore-13 started tearing the place apart. The former event is hinted to be why Optimus doesn't trust him when he suddenly expresses a desire to help Microspace and the latter event reaffirms Optimus' skepticism of him.
  • Posthumous Character: While the fates of the rest are largely unknown, the real Onyx was killed by Shockwave, who assumed his identity, Solus Prime' murder by Megatronus was the event that kicked off the civil war, and Galvatron would frag Nexus Prime near that war's conclusion. And after the war was over, Prima was killed by Megatronus, who was in turn killed by his master Onyx Prime/Shockwave.
  • Pretender Diss: They're not remotely bothered Megatronus offed Septimus (who's hinted to be a pretender to the title anyway).
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: In The Wrath of Karza, Micronus Prime is sent through time by Shazraella.
  • The Resenter: Megatronus increasingly was this towards Prima after Prima blamed him for a disastrous first contact with another planet that led to war and Cybertron being shunned throughout the galaxy.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: With the exception of Alpha Trion, the surviving members all fled Cybertron after Galvatron proved it wasn't just Primes that could kill Primes.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: As one of the Thirteen he's far from a small name - but Prima shows traces of this after Solus Prime's murder. Onyx Prime/Shockwave notes he looked at himself as the last of the Knights of Cybertron, trying to restore Cybertron's honour by killing Megatronus. Naturally, Megatronus kills him easily.
  • Smurfette Principle: Solus Prime was the only female among their number.
  • Spanner in the Works: Solus Prime's ability to create weapons of light conflicted with Shockwave's belief in the darkness at the heart of everything, leading him to target her for death.
  • Takes One to Kill One: Subverted. Everyone thought this was the case, then Galvatron killed Nexus Prime. "Origin Myths" implies the whole idea was something Onyx made up to give the Primes' rule added legitimacy and "The Falling" confirms it.
  • Time Abyss: The surviving Primes are some of the oldest living Cybertronians, and are invariably depicted as both powerful and brilliant individuals, though the level varies between them.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Megatronus was always this, starting his association with the Primes by leading an army to conquer half of Cybertron. Even after they united, he was responsible for first contact with alien races going disastrously wrong. Except he's just The Dragon to the real example of this trope in The Thirteen - Onyx Prime, better known as Shockwave...
  • Tragic Villain: Megatronus. Even without the doomed relationship with Solus Prime he had in the Aligned continuity, he's found when barely sentient by Shockwave, moulded by him into a brutal conqueror solely Because Destiny Says So, manipulated his entire life by Shockwave/Onyx Prime, tricked into starting the downfall of the Primes, then was offed by his master - the being he'd served loyally for millions of years - the moment he'd outlived his usefulness. It's hard not to feel sorry for him by the end.
  • Unperson: Downplayed. The true names of both the Fallen and the Arisen were stricken from Cybertronian record, though Alpha Trion and Elita One are both aware of the former's. And Onyx flatly states Optimus is the latter when he returns to Cybertron. Whether he actually was or not is left ambiguous, even in the finale.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Megatronus on two different counts. First off, he was The Dragon for Shockwave in his role as Onyx Prime, and was manipulated into instigating the end of the Primes' reign, leading to the rise of Nova Prime, Functionism and the eventual Autobot/Decepticon war. Secondly, he led the first contact with the alien planet of Antilla, which exploded into a disastrous war. In retaliation, an Antillan scientist wound up creating Unicron as an weapon of ultimate vengeance.
  • Unwitting Pawn: All of them were this for Shockwave in his Onyx Prime identity, as he would use his own knowledge of their history to ensure their reign started then disastrously failed to ensure the history he knew continued.
  • Villainous Legacy: Not all of them are villainous, but their actions have had a lot of repercussions, even in the present-day.
    • Onyx' starting the myth of the Primes' divinity would raise a lot of issues later on. Nexus' utter belief in it - and that all other Cybertronians should serve them - would be replayed by first Nova Prime (originally shown to be a follower of Prima), then Nexus' Titan Master Infinitus in the guise of Sentinel Prime, creating an era of Fantastic Racism and Police Brutality that would set a perfect stage for revolution in the form of the Decepticons.
    • Their technology has also been a major source of contention among modern Cybertronians - Nexus' Enigma of Combination would spark a new Cybertronian arms race, while Onyx' Talisman almost destroyed the Cybertronian race in First Strike.
    • Possibly an unintentional example - Devastator rationalizes after breaking Starscream out of jail that as treachery is his very nature, he must be Megatronus reborn. Being who he is, Screamer elects to just run with it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Aside from Alpha Trion and Onyx in his true identity as Shockwave, the fates of the members of the group not killed off in flashbacks were never revealed.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Shockwave/Onyx Prime pulls this on Megatronus after he's set history on the course he knew it would take.

    Onyx Prime/Shockwave 
If Cybertron be your home, far away never roam...

One of the Thirteen Primes, who took part in the War of the Thirteen Primes and left Cybertron after Galvatron killed Nexus Prime. Long absent from Cybertron, after the Enigma of Combination is found, it's made clear Onyx is still out there. And he's coming back.

Major Spoilers as of Optimus Prime 17: He is actually Shockwave, time-displaced from the end of Dark Cybertron. The "real" Onyx Prime was killed before any other Prime save Megatronus had met him. Shockwave used the title of a Prime and built up the mythology around them to further his own agenda.

For tropes relating to both Shockwave's pre-Onyx time and his actions once throwing off the identity midway through "The Falling", please see Shockwave's entry in the "Dark Cybertron Antagonists" section.

  • Adaptational Villainy: An aggressive conqueror tinged with shades of Eldritch Abomination here, whereas the Covenant of Primus he was the most spiritual of the Thirteen and was a friendly individual, despite his intimidating appearance. This makes a devastating amount of sense when it's revealed that he's actually a time-displaced Shockwave who had simply been using the identity of the real Onyx after murdering him.
  • Ambition Is Evil: In "Origin Myths" he's already showing a desire for the Primes to supplant the Guiding Hand as legends of Cybertron, and his post-battle conversations with Trion imply he's already starting to shape the Primes into figures of myth. Subverted with The Reveal he's Shockwave - he's not ambitious at all. At this stage he's merely trying to ensure the history he knows - with a united Thirteen Primes (that are eventually deified) in charge after the Knights of Cybertron disappear - comes to pass.
  • Big Bad: Was looking to be this for Optimus Prime, in concurrence with his role in the Prime Wars' toyline. He is the Big Bad of "The Falling" - but as his true identity, Shockwave.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Praesidia Magna? Fastbreak? Sorry, Pyra, that may have been the formative event of your life, but it's just two more forgotten sacrifices to him.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • According to Galvatron, Onyx only kept Nexus around because Nexus had the Enigma. Given that Nexus was seen to be very prejudiced against Onyx' beast-formers at the start of their alliance in "Origin Myths", this makes a lot of sense.
    • When the subject of Metroplex and Trypticon comes up, Onyx tells Liege Maximo that one of them will shortly not be a problem, and they still need the other.
  • The Chessmaster: Shockwave orchestrated Megatronus' campaign of destruction solely to engineer a situation where the alliance of the Primes could come about.
  • Combat Pragmatist: While everyone else is distracted by the arrival of the Titans in "Origin Myths", he takes full advantage and makes a beeline for the other side's leader with full intent of killing him while his troops are rudderless. Only the fact it turns out to be his old ally Megatronus keeps him from going through with it. He'd actually engineered the whole conflict to engineer the Primes banding together.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Mixed a little with Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?. That whole mess with the Talisman, Merklyn and the Visionaries? All part of the plan. Which plan? Oh, the plan to poison Unicron if he gets to Cybertron, and use that to rebuild the Decepticon empire. Damn.
  • Dark Is Evil: Onyx, as his name might suggest, is largely black, with unpleasant glowing red eyes usually the only thing seen in a shadowed face. Even his speech bubbles are, unlike every other character in the series, jet black with white lettering. Except all this is to hide from readers he's a much more familiar form of evil Transformer to anyone familiar with the series - Shockwave.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Shockwave killed the real Onyx before he met anyone and assumed his identity.
  • Didn't See That Coming: For someone with a knack for being ahead of the game, he gets taken by surprise several times during the events of Unicron, by failing to anticipate folks acting according to their personalities.
  • The Dreaded: Pyra Magna (who, keep in mind, forms part of the most powerful Combiner), as well as her predecessor, Praesidia Magna and the Mistress of Flame, are terrified of him.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His first on-panel appearance, in the Transformers Annual 2017, had artist Priscilla Tramontano render him in the quadrupedal form associated with his Aligned counterpart - something later stories made clear was impossible due to his actually being the bipedal Shockwave.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Optimus Prime issue 15 reveals that he is disgusted by the Liege Maximo, and has captured him so he can "render judgement" on his former friend.And then subverted since this is all going according to his plan.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Very much so. Given that he's Shockwave, it's likely an act to throw off suspicions as to his true identity, or his original firebrand personality reasserting itself.
  • Evil Mentor: Upon assuming the role of Onyx Prime, he names and molds a young Cybertronian into the brutal tyrant Megatronus. He serves as this to the Thirteen Primes as a whole (though in this case as an evil Stealth Mentor), building them up and guiding them down a path that will lead to their destruction.
  • Fallen Hero: Much like Nova Prime, Onyx started off as largely heroic, albeit slightly suspicious. By the time of the war, this had fallen by the wayside. Subverted: being Shockwave from the very beginning, he was never a hero...
  • False Flag Operation: The "war" against Megatronus was always planned to bring the Primes together.
  • Fantastic Racism: He's very much distasteful of humans, and the fact Cybertron is currently relying on them. He's also not keen on Decepticons for their part in moving Cybertron away from loyalty to the Primes. The latter, at least, is a smokescreen to cover his true identity as ex-Decepticon Shockwave.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The real Onyx came across Shockwave, who sustained heavy damage as a result of his time traveling, and offered to share some energon with him. Shockwave's reaction was to kill Onyx, assume his identity, and seize control of his flock.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Optimus Prime #10 came out, fans made much of Onyx adopting a primarily bipedal stance throughout, as opposed to the quadrupedal stance of his Aligned counterpart. The original was quadrupedal, and this turned out to be the one thing the bipedal Shockwave could not imitate after killing and replacing him.
    • When Onyx meets Soundwave, he's mysteriously unable to use his Telepathy to read the Prime's mind - a clue to his true identity, as due to his Shadowplay Soundwave could never read Shockwave's mind either.
    • After returning, Onyx mentions he could fix Cybertron's magic-related energon problems, after no previous hint of any scientific knowledge. Something Shockwave has in abundance.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He's clearly not popular with his fellow Primes when he arrives at Crystal City ahead of Megatronus' hordes.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Optimus Prime #18 shows him 12 million years ago, when he appeared to be this. Shockwave kills him easily because of it.
  • Gambit Roulette:
    • Setting up Starscream as the Chosen One, which he gives a massive lampshade when he meets Starscream.
    Shockwave: Even with an unparalleled intellect and singularity of vision, such a thing would take millions of years to engineer. I suppose luck was on my side.
    • His plan with the Talisman, since he doesn't seem to have had any direct hand in it beyond sending it to Earth, knowing his past self would shoot down the Axalon and leave it there. Evidently, Shockwave was counting on someone finding it and bringing it to Cybertron sooner or later.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's absolutely huge (only Megatronus is seen to be his equal in stature amongst The Thirteen) and a deadly fighter - but he's also brilliant enough to create things like the Talisman. This makes sense as he's actually Shockwave.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Onyx was Sovereign's master, and sent him to Earth disguised as a human. He was also Infinitus' master after he defected, and Sentinel identified himself as a herald for Onyx's return. Before dying, Galvatron expresses the belief that, not only will Onyx return, he's already on his way to Earth.
    • His commands are also responsible for Chela trying to kill Windblade and Starscream. His actions on Caminus in Pyra Magna's past are the cause of her ambitious desires.
    • Virtually everything in Revolutionaries and Hearts of Steel can be traced back to him (though the latter can also be blamed on IDW's other outstanding example of this trope, Shockwave). And as of Optimus Prime #17, this is no accident. They're the same person.
    • "Origin Myths" shows he was the one that made up the Chosen One prophecy meaning he's indirectly responsible for Starscream's rise to power.
    • The same issue shows him grasping the usefulness of stories in influencing people, even if they're not entirely true. It's implied to be the reason the Primes went from tribal leaders to being not only seen as divine demigods, but actually believing it themselves - a situation that would reoccur with the next generation of Primes in Nova, Sentinel and Zeta.
    • With The Reveal he's actually Shockwave he becomes perhaps the greatest-scope villain in IDW Transformers history - as "Onyx Prime" he ensures the reign of the Primes starts and disastrously fails, and that the history he knows - with its increasingly despotic new Primes, functionism, catastrophic civil war and drastic reduction of the Transformers race - plays out exactly as he remembers it, meaning Shockwave is responsible for everything that goes wrong in the IDW-verse on some level or another.
    • The conflict with the Visionaries also turns out to be part of his plot.
  • Hero Killer: Kills the former leader of the Torchbearers in their backstory, and after his arrival on Cybertron has killed Alpha Trion, Metrotitan, and is retroactively revealed to have caused or planned the deaths of most of the original Primes.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: For whatever reason, he keeps sending out beastformers to attack Cybertronians and their kin, for reasons related to the poem he recites, but he never tells anyone why he's doing this. When he returns to Cybertron, he keeps mentioning his actions are meant to cause chaos, which has certain other associations in Transformers fiction. Also, the fact he sent the Axalon to Earth looking for the Enigma suggests he wanted it for himself.
    • "The Falling" and Unicron clarify some of the plan: Everything from murdering the original Onyx onward was a plan to inflict a Broken Pedestal on a mass scale. To whit - build up the Primes as divine, get revealed and captured, proving this is all bull, while at the same time making every philosophy on Cybertron meaningless, because he knew Unicron was coming. The Talisman was sent to poison Cybertron's fuel reserves so that when Unicron eats Cybertron, he gets the worst case of indigestion he's ever had, allowing the Decepticons to rise to power again. The attack on Caminus was gathering a sample of Ore-4, while setting up Pyra Magna on the hunch.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Onyx looked to be the new Big Bad of Optimus Prime, but it turns out "Onyx" has been a time-displaced Shockwave from almost the beginning.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Appears to have captured Liege Maximo for punishment for his actions in TAAO, though given their past history it's not clear if this is a ruse. It is.
  • Kill and Replace: Shockwave technically does this, although he kills the real Onyx before any other figure of note had even met him.
  • Lack of Empathy: Gives precisely zero damns about who or how many he has to cheat or murder to accomplish his goals, or the damage he causes in the process, and is more than willing to kill with scarcely a second's thought or hesitation. Which makes it all the more disturbing when he turns out to be Shockwave, who'd supposedly gotten his empathy back when last seen.
  • Large and in Charge: He's big, with "Origin Myths" showing him towering over all his fellow Primes bar Megatronus. This is because the already large Shockwave crafted himself a suit of armour from Onyx' remains, making him appear much larger than he actually is.
  • Mad Scientist: As regards to weird and wonderful science and weapons, chances are if Shockwave or Jhiaxus didn't make it, Onyx did. Turns out he is the former.
  • Magic Versus Science: Another fact that makes him more dangerous - he can use both, as shown with the Talisman, which he confirms is magic.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Is he ever. When he returns to Cybertron, he manages to make Windblade and the Council look like chumps within minutes, and sets everyone else against each other just by talking. Then there's the list of people he's manipulated before: The other Primes, for a start (Liege Maximo, Megatronus and Alpha Trion chief among them), all of Cybertron, his past self, Starscream, Merklyn, Metrotitan, even Unicron are all part of his various plans.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • He's based on Antilla, the planet that hosted the Cosmic Rust plague in the eponymous episode of the G1 cartoon. He even recites the same poem from that episode. His small squad also seems to include Optimus and Megatron who have been noticeably absent from IDW so far.
    • The crew he sent to Earth to first find the Enigma travelled there in the Axalon.
    • Refers to his followers as Maximals, an even stronger allusion to Beast Wars.
    • His ship is called the Nemesis, the standard name for Decepticon warships across many continuities, and specifically is the Beast War II version - the first starship in TF lore to actually be called such.
  • Nice Guy: Onyx appeared to be this in his chronologically-earliest appearance before Shockwave killed him.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: His form in the Transformers Annual 2017 (drawn by fill-in artist Priscilla Tramontano) has a lower body with four legs, reminiscent of a centaur, something unique to him amongst Transformers. He's shown to be bipedal in his appearances in the series proper, which was originally considered an error but according to artist Kei Zama, he's facultatively bipedal. His natural stance is four legs, but he moves on two when he wants to appear more intimidating. This was later explained as Early Installment Weirdness, since the original Onyx was a quadruped, but he was killed and replaced by the bipedal Shockwave.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Even if he is a villain, he did establish Eukaris so his tribe of beast-formers could enjoy a safe place to live without being discriminated against. Horrendously subverted with his appearance in Unicron #1, where it's confirmed that Unicron has destroyed it and he doesn't appear to give a toss, instead making note of his plan to re-establish the Decepticon Empire once the planet-eater is gone.
    • Given his habit of screwing over, manipulating and betraying everyone in his path, the fact his Maximals are still around is nothing short of astonishing. Subverted in that he later indicates their joining Unicron was always part of his plan, and he didn't anticipate their genuinely turning on him to serve the Chaos-bringer.
  • Reality Warper: Downplayed but in the Optimus Prime Annual, he displays the ability to control a singularity'' which his planet orbits. Pyra even lampshades the impossibility of this. Makes perfect sense upon The Reveal. And then a later one suggests this ability was actually Caminus' Regenesis Ore, no.4, in action.
  • Red Optics, Take Warning: His optics are a very bright red. His real one is actually yellow.
  • Stable Time Loop: Pretty much the entire course of Cybertronian history is the result of Shockwave being shunted twelve million years into the past.
  • The Svengali: Was this for both Megatronus and Liege Maximo, using their talents for war and deception to ensure history played out as Shockwave remembered it.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • A legendary uniter of Cybertron's civilisation from its earliest days, who later turned out to be extremely morally dubious and disappeared - only to later return in the present day and threaten Optimus. Are we talking about Onyx Prime, or Nova Prime?
    • With The Reveal he's actually been the thought-dead Shockwave all along, he can also be seen as one for Infinitus/Sentinel Prime - another Cybertronian from a distant era (the age of the Primes instead of the far future) who would masquerade as a Prime in order to fulfil distinctly villainous goals, was also seen as tarnishing the legacy of the Primes for regular Cybertronians and would also return from the dead to reveal his true identity and present a much bigger threat than before.
  • The Reveal: He's Shockwave.
  • Theme Song Reveal: The official soundtrack for Optimus Prime uses David Bowie's "Blackstar" for issue 18, which fits "Onyx Prime's" motives to a tee.
"Something happened on the day he died.Spirit rose a metre then stepped aside./Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried..."
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: While he's quick to adapt it into his plans, it's strongly implied Antilla's devastation eventually spawning Unicron wasn't part of his original plan.
  • Vagueness Is Coming:
    • His attack on Pyra Magna had him recite a poem about how "danger is coming" and "the end is near". Note that Onyx never specifies what that danger is...
    • He tells Blackrock the Talisman is "immunization" against some coming threat, but doesn't specify further.
    • His vagueness is partially explained by wanting to keep the timeline as he remembered it the first time around.
    • Unicron reveals that at least some of his plans were preparations for dealing with Unicron.
  • Walking Spoiler: You may notice there have been a lot of whited-out entries since the start of "The Falling"...
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The real Onyx Prime lasted all of a page.
  • Wham Shot: The final page of Optimus Prime #17 has him tear off his own face to reveal "Onyx" has been a back-from-the-dead Shockwave the whole time.
  • Winged Humanoid: In keeping with his bestial theme.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Galvatron implied Onyx really wanted to do this with Nexus Prime, but needed him and his Enigma of Combination to fight the Primes' civil war.
    • In Revolutionaries issue 8, Blackrock has a psychic chat with him, in which Onyx says he's no longer necessary and tries to kill him.
    • Optimus Prime issue 18 reveals he killed Megatronus after Megatronus killed Prima, as his part in Onyx/Shockwave's scheme to shape history was over.

    Nova Prime 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nova-rid_1169.png
The first Cybertronian to take the title of Prime after the disappearance of The Thirteen, Nova turned out to be a genocidal conqueror determined to force Cybertron's will on the rest of the galaxy. He would disappear, but returned several times before finally serving as a major antagonist in Dark Cybertron.

  • A God Am I: Firmly believed that Cybertron had every right to conquer the rest of the universe and enforce one will upon every race - his.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Desperately implores Orion Pax to listen to reason as their fight goes against him. It doesn't work.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Orion tears off one of his arms before killing him.
  • Arch-Enemy: Omega Supreme seems to consider him this, considering the Guardian waited six million years for Nova to return to Cybertron so Omega could kill him the instant he stepped off the Ark.
  • At Least I Admit It: He never says this, but when Optimus annexes Earth, Starscream highlights that Nova was honest about his desire for conquest while Optimus claims he's protecting Earth.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Of Dark Cybertron, with Galvatron.
    • Big Bad: Definitely the bigger threat of the two, even if Galvatron is the more proactive one. Except he isn't the Big Bad; Shockwave is.
  • Big Good: If the flashbacks in the annual were correct, he was this at one point.
  • Broken Pedestal: To the Autobots, particularly Optimus and Omega Supreme.
  • Canon Foreigner: While there's often been a Nemesis Prime in fiction, and a mention of character called Prime Nova from the Marvel comics, Nova's a completely original character that Simon Furman invented for the IDW continuity.
  • The Chosen One: By all indications, the Matrix actually did respond to him. And then he turned out to be a horrific monster who had no intention of being a good leader, promptly handing the Matrix over to his scientists to poke and prod.
  • Continuity Snarl: The subject of one of IDW's biggest unaddressed ones: in Primacy Omega Supreme tells Optimus all about the dark history of Nova Prime. In the chronologically far later (but earlier-released) Spotlight: Optimus Prime Omega tells Optimus all about the dark history of Nova Prime - and Optimus is surprised by it!
  • Disc-One Final Boss: For Orion and co in Dark Cybertron.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Averted, his original tenure as a villain had him invert his color scheme and change his name to Nemesis Prime, but that was back under the control of the darkness. In Dark Cybertron he keeps his color scheme and name, showing he's back in full control of his actions. He's still evil, just a different kind of evil.
  • Evil Counterpart: One of many to Optimus Prime.
  • Evil Feels Good: Along with the inversion. Nova did possess the Matrix, but didn't like its influence, calling it a "leash of good intentions".
  • Fallen Hero: Whatever might be said of the person he became, it should still be remembered he did end the Great War, united the warring tribes, and oversaw a Golden Age. Alpha Triton himself was the one who decided he was worthy of the title of Prime. A shame he let his pride, ego, and other personality flaws promptly ruin that goodwill.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hatred of transformers with beast modes may have originated with The Thirteen, but Nova made damn sure it carried into his era, eventually becoming formalised as functionalism, the appalling caste system that eventually contributed to the rise of the Decepticons.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Notable right in the second chapter of Dark Cybertron. Nova talks how he and Galvatron have gotten over their "disagreements", and are capable of working together. Then Shockwave reveals he has no spacebridge at the ready, and Nova blows his stack, telling Galvatron to shove off when his supposed ally suggests he try calming down, not even addressing him by name.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Was initially just a soldier in Prima's army during the Primes' civil war (though implied to be a high-ranking one). Then Alpha Trion elevated him to Prime, and he became a brutal, warmongering dictator who turned Cybertronian society into a police state where Fantastic Racism against beast mode transformers and anyone without a useful altmode was the norm. And that's not even getting into his trying to take over the universe. Twice.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Delivers a hell of a one to Orion, exploiting his guilt over his role in the tainted legacy of the Primes. It would have worked, too if not for Rodimus.
  • Hero Killer: While not to the extent of the Decepticons, Nova's appearances usually ensure some Character Death.
  • Humanoid Abomination: When he comes back in Heart of Darkness - he's able to move and converse normally despite half his head and chest being blown open.
  • Hypocrite: In flashback conversation with Jhiaxus he espouses the belief that all are equal under Primus, while in the same breath telling a captive beast-former to shut it or else.
  • Killed Off for Real: After a long history of false starts - falling into the Benzuli Expanse, Galvatron shooting him in the back (and the Darkness leaving him), getting blown apart by Galvatron and his army when D-Void brought him back - Optimus finally kills him in their confrontation. Word of God confirms that the Dead Universe and Nova Prime have been concluded permanently.
  • Last of His Kind: Subverted - he looks to be this when Optimus abandons the title and becomes Orion Pax again, but in subsequent comics Rodimus motivates Pax to reclaim the title. Subverted further when later comics revealed that Sentinel and some of The Thirteen had also survived.
  • Legacy Character: The first of the new Primes, succeeded by Nominus Prime, Sentinel Prime, Zeta Prime, and Optimus Prime.
  • Light Is Not Good: As Nova Prime, his colour scheme is primarily white, with some black and grey highlights, but he's anything but good.
  • The Man Behind the Man: For Shockwave, with Galvatron. Except not really.
  • Mysterious Past: His past as Nova Major prior to becoming Prime is totally unknown, as well as the precise details of his taking power past Alpha Trion's decision to make him Prime. How he got his mitts on the Matrix is also a mystery.
  • Predecessor Villain: In a meta sense; with Nova, Simon Furman introduced the concept of a Prime being corrupt and evil, something that later writers used and fleshed out with Sentinel Prime, Zeta Prime and most recently the IDW incarnations of The Thirteen.
  • Pride: His defining trait.
  • Reality Warper: He's shown to have a significant amount of control over fabric of the Dead Universe, which is why Shockwave wants him dead.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The cold, proud, sinister Blue to the hot-tempered warrior Galvatron's Red.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: He truly did believe Cybertronians are the ultimate species in the universe and thus they deserved to rule the universe and conquer any other races.
  • Sadist: Very notably in Dark Cybertron, particularly when he kills Hardhead.
  • Shadow Archetype: While he's been one to Optimus Prime since he first appeared, Season 2 expands on it with both having been mentored and groomed by Alpha Trion to become Prime and Optimus' decision to annex Earth.
  • That Man Is Dead: Abandons the name of Nova Prime while under the Darkness' influence, instead going by Nemesis Prime. When Optimus thinks he's killed him in Revelation he mournfully notes everything Nova was is long dead.
  • Time Abyss: One of the oldest known Cybertronians at the time of his original appearances, and still capable of singlehandedly pummelling Orion's group in Dark Cybertron.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Shockwave was manipulating him and Galvatron the whole time.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Nova may have been a racist, arrogant expansionist, but he was also the one who united the thirteen tribes of Cybertron, ended the Great War, and started a whole golden age. Alpha Triton truly believed he was worthy of the title of Prime for these deeds, and Nova was smart enough to keep his darker ambitions hidden from all but his closest allies.
  • Villainous Friendship: Type 1 with Galvatron.
  • Villainous Legacy: His expansion is remembered by Starscream, who brings up Nova's attitudes when Optimus annexes Earth. More generally, Nova is the one who introduced the era of Fantastic Racism and attempted galactic conquest that would eventually lead to the Decepticon Uprising.
  • Winged Humanoid: He's seen to have enormous wing-like appendages. Word of God confirmed this was intended to form Nova's trailer when he transformed.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: One of his stated reasons for starting the Expansion in Revelation - he can't leave the Dead Universe or he'll die instantly without its energies. But he's desperate to see Cybertron once more.

    Nominus Prime 
The Prime succeeding Nova after his departure and seeming death, Nominus was killed shortly before the start of flashback stories like Chaos Theory and Shadowplay, leading to the rise of Sentinel.

  • Badass Decay: In-universe. Starting with him, the Primes go from the near-divine figures of the Thirteen to playing second-fiddle to the Senate in James Roberts' flashback stories, a role Roberts has likened to the diminished role of the British Royal Family in comparison to Parliament after the Restoration.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Supposedly, it was a long-standing rust infection that finally did him in, after being attacked by a suicide bomber. Ratchet, who'd worked as Nominus' doctor, called foul. In fact, it was Sentinel, on Proteus' orders.
  • Jerkass: While he never lived down to the low standards of Nova or his successors, by all accounts he was a pretty unpleasant dude.
  • Meaningful Name: His name seems to derive from the Latin "nomen", meaning name. And with his claim to the Matrix being a falsehood, he is quite literally a Prime in name only.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Alex Milne designed him as turning into an aerial vehicle, to break from the tradition of Primes having land-based alternate modes.
  • Posthumous Character: Has never actually appeared alive in a speaking role in any IDW Transformers story, even the flashback ones. An alternate version of him was seen getting killed in the Functionist Universe though.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • It was Shockwave's dissatisfaction with him that led to him looking into candidates for a new Prime, eventually leading him to Zeta... and Orion Pax.
    • In addition, one of Megatron's first political texts advocating non-violent resistance against the current state of affairs was called After the Ark: Nominus Prime and the Illusion of Progress.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: With the collusion of his eventual successor Sentinel, the Senate arrange an "accident" for him in order to get their hands on the Matrix. Once that turns out to be a fake, they have him killed.

    Infinitus/Sentinel Prime 

One of the Primes preceding Optimus, Sentinel was notorious for his Police Brutality, enforcing the draconian laws of the Senate. In Titans Return he would come Back from the Dead, being revealed as a Titan Master and herald of Onyx Prime.

  • Absolute Xenophobe: He views Cybertron as so polluted by "malformed" Transformers from the colonies, Decepticons and any Transformers without a standard altmode he's willing to unleash an army of undead Titans on it to "wipe it clean" of all imperfections.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Sentinel Prime's modern depictions have made him less than heroic, but here, he's a full on raving monstrous lunatic dedicated to killing all he views as less than his ideal of what a Transformer should be.
  • Back from the Dead: Was thought dead for a long time after seemingly being killed by Megatron in Megatron Origin. Titans Return revealed that his true Titan Master form survived and lay dormant for millions of years until being awakened by a broadcast from Metrotitan filling him in on the events since his fall.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Infinitus has a pair of curved energy blades that extend from his wrists - something he uses to decapitate Alpha Trion.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: He lets Prowl, Cerebros and Fortress Maximus flee after their first battle, assuming they won't be able to interfere any further. He's wrong. Even when they come back to stop him, he stupidly wastes time explaining his evil plan to Cerebros, allowing Red Alert to break his conditioning and Beak to eventually kill him.
  • Boomerang Bigot: For all of his ranting about Cybertronian purity, Sentinel is a Titan Master, something very similar to the Headmasters that were hunted to extinction at least partially for not fitting the "Cybertronian Ideal" that he himself preaches about. Even more fittingly, the one who obliterated the Headmasters? Galvatron, a bot astonishingly similar in outlook to Infinitus, just directing his hatred at different targets.
  • Characterization Marches On: Way back in Megatron: Origin, what little characterisation Sentinel got painted him as gruff, harsh, not entirely fond of the Senate but relatively reasonable, and at the very least a damn sight better than Megatron. Then "Chaos Theory" comes along, with him as the henchperson of corrupt senators.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Sentinel turns out to have had Mnemnosurgery done on dozens of unwitting Autobots back when he was in charge of the Senate's security forces, just in case he ever needed a brainwashed militia.
  • Depending on the Artist: Sentinel has two radically different designs in the series. Livio Ramondelli gave him a very complex design with muted colors and large quantities of black. Under his pen Sentinel had wings, and his headmaster gimmick worked like the Leader Class Transformers in that he was a diminutive Head that needed a helmet built into his large body to make up for the difference in size. Priscilla Tramontana drew Sentinel in a more simplified design and went more with the toy's orange. In addition Infinitus forms Sentinel's head completely without the need for a helmet.
  • Depending on the Writer: Whilst Sentinel's different motivations can be easily rationalized, his personality changes radically depending on whether he's in The Transformers or More Than Meets The Eye portions of "Titans Return". Barber's Sentinel is more bombastic and humorless whilst Roberts's Sentinel is Faux Affably Evil.
  • Detachment Combat: Sentinel/Infinitus' body fights on its own when he's off abducting Blackrock.
  • Disney Villain Death: Plummets to his death in a 1.5 mile-deep thruster after Beak knocks him in.
  • The Dragon: Both Sentinel/Infinitus and Sovereign serve as this to Onyx Prime. Sentinel was also technically this to the Senate prior to his death, enforcing their increasingly draconian laws without question.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When they visit Prion, Sentinel is visibly livid over Micronus's actions there, feeling that his decision to leave his people, the Minicons, was a cowardly act that lead to their destruction by the Black Block Consortia.
  • Evil Is Petty: Seems pretty keen on destroying everything Optimus has built, seemingly out of spite.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Genuinely seemed to think his offer would sway Optimus.
  • Hypocrite: Is livid Micronus Prime abandoned his people to be slaughtered by the Black Block Consortia - but he's also working for Onyx Prime, who abandoned his own tribe to Nova Prime's era of oppressive Functionalism.
  • Irony:
    • He despises Decepticons for their part in upending the Cybertronian social order that had seen the Primes venerated and worshipped at points in Cybertron's history. "The Falling" reveals his master Onyx had not only been a Decepticon - Shockwave - all along, but Shockwave was made what he was through the Shadowplay ordered after Sentinel himself took him into custody in the titular MTMTE arc.
    • He also states repeatedly that the Primes are holy and that all lower Cybertronians exist to serve them. Come "The Falling" it emerges that his master Onyx Prime/Shockwave engineered the Primes' rise from tribal leaders to perceived demi-gods just so he could expose their non-divine status to believers like Pyra Magna and destroy all faith in them in the face of Unicron's arrival.
  • It's Personal: The final issue of this series revealed he really wasn't happy about Megatron turning his body into a throne back in Megatron Origin, at least partially informing his vendetta against Decepticons in the present day.
  • Jerkass: One of the nastiest, most reprehensible characters in the entire series. Even Galvatron could occasionally come across as Faux Affably Evil, or have the occasional funny line. Sentinel can't even claim that.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Subverted - his hatred of Decepticons in the present day is probably the one prejudice he holds that makes a little sense, given everything they did. In practice most of the Decepticons we see him directly trying to exterminate are trying to fit in on a new, uncertain Cybertron and aren't actively causing problems, while Sentinel's actions in Titans Return are arguably up there with Megatron's worst moments.
  • Legacy Character: Sort of. As his Titan Master Infinitus inherited the worldview of Nexus Prime - that Primes were divine and all others should obey them no matter what - and would eventually take a larger body and become one himself, meaning essentially his rule was a direct continuation of the age of The Thirteen.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: He seemed this, as despite his Police Brutality he was viewed by the Autobots as a hero for battling Megatron. Thoroughly subverted in the present, as his plan to genocidally obliterate Cybertron and its population to "start over" is at least as bad as anything Megatron did, possibly worse.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Seems to have had no idea of Onyx' true nature as Shockwave, or that the Primes he so venerated were little more than unwitting dupes of Shockwave all along - and certainly weren't divine.
  • Mythology Gag: Infinitus's body, Sentinel Prime, is a non-sentient Transector, like in the Transformers Headmasters anime, rather than the 2 man team of the American Headmasters. Essentially, his main body is a drone and his head is the mind, whilst often times the Headmaster and the body were both sentient beings.
  • Off with His Head!: Infinitus slices off Alpha Trion's head and attaches himself to the neck stump.
  • Police Brutality: When he was Prime, this was his main attribute, enforcing the increasingly fascistic laws of the Senate and happily enforcing the Fantastic Racism of the time.
  • Powered Armour: Had an absolutely enormous battlesuit in Megatron Origin. It didn't help.
  • The Starscream:
    • He betrayed his predecessor Nominus Prime at the behest of the Senate, eventually becoming the next Prime himself.
    • It was hinted he would have become this to the Senate in time, complaining at their oversights and openly letting Orion Pax give a speech denouncing the lot of them. This makes a bit more sense with his turning out to be a firm believer in the teachings of Nexus Prime - believing Primes to be divine and waiting for the return of Onyx Prime, it's doubtful he would have tolerated any sort of government on Cybertron other than one of them.
  • Retcon: Sentinel Prime being a Titan Master all along as well as being Not Quite Dead.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: His Evil Plan is to "wipe the slate clean" on Cybertron - by having an army of undead Titans kill everyone there.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He was a nasty piece of work when he was Prime (Brainstorm even calls him the first Decepticon), but his death at Megatron's hands made sure the Autobots largely remembered him as a hero trying to stop the Decepticon uprising, especially after the Decepticons themselves became increasingly depraved as the war ground on.
  • We Can Rule Together: As a true Prime, he happily extends an offer for Optimus to work with him and Onyx to restore Cybertron to how things were in the age of The Thirteen. Optimus doesn't see it that way.

    Zeta Prime 
Originally Zeta of Sistex, a pupil of Shockwave who got in touch with Orion Pax after Shockwave's fall from grace. Zeta became Prime after Sentinel's death, but despite his seemingly benevolent approach quickly turned into an egotistical fanatic no better (and possibly worse) than his predecessor, until he was finally killed by Megatron at the outbreak of the war.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Tried to present himself as a benevolent reformer, but he was not-so-secretly an egotistical prick, who reformed the Institute behind Orion Pax's back.
    • In Spotlight: Orion Pax, his conversation with Pax shows a few cracks in Zeta's façade, such as gently "reminding" Orion that he should be addressed as Prime. Tellingly, he does it again in Optimus Prime #1, even though the two of them are alone.
    • A notable moment in MTMTE, when Orion Pax and his associates are defending a Hot Spot from Sentinel's goons, they assume the time-travelling Lost Light crewers are reinforcements sent by Zeta. No reinforcements from Zeta ever show up at any point (and a deleted part of the comic would've shown Zeta was haggling with Sentinel to get Pax and the Outliers to stand down in exchange for political influence).
  • Boom, Headshot!: Pre-Autocracy works by James Roberts and Nick Roche implied he'd been killed by Megatron with a sniper rifle. Autocracy... doesn't quite jibe with that, instead having Zeta's head "comprehensively emptied" via means of a point-blank shot from Megatron's fusion cannon.
  • Broken Pedestal: Several million years later, Optimus is still kicking himself for not realising what Zeta was. Blurr's not too proud of saving him from an assassination attempt either.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: For Orion Pax and his team in Autocracy. He's stopped about halfway through it, with the rest of the story focusing on the Decepticons switching from freedom fighters to full-on tyrants.
  • Evil Is Petty: He's well aware the Matrix is a fake, and has been since the reign of Nova Prime - but he still has lights installed in the replica just so he can look more impressive when showing it off.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He actually comes across as pretty friendly with Orion in flashbacks during Spotlight Orion Pax and Optimus Prime - but even then there are hints of something darker, like his repeated insistence that he be referred to as Prime rather than Zeta and his zeal to knowingly smear Hefter to the population to keep them from rioting.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Nova was formerly a soldier of Prima during the reign of the Thirteen, and Sentinel was actually Infinitus, Nexus Prime's Titan Master. Zeta, on the other hand, had no links to the Thirteen and their teachings and was by all accounts a normal Cybertronian until Shockwave came calling - and once he became Prime became an arguably bigger monster than any of his predecessors.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: His effective response to Orion Pax questioning his plan to use Jhiaxus' vamparc generators to squash the Decepticon Uprising is to send him to the city of Nyon to catch Hot Rod - then test said vamparc generators on Nyon, leading to the death of everyone there and nearly killing Orion and his entire team.
  • Knight Templar: Increasing the Autobot armed forces seemed reasonable enough, and shutting down the races to prevent the Decepticons recruiting is pretty harsh, but justified. Then he restored the Institute, just to brainwash anyone who's loyalties weren't 100%. Making the Decepticon Registration Act proved the last straw for a populace utterly fed up with a police state, and shortly thereafter the war really began.
  • Necessarily Evil: He certainly thinks so, given the Decepticon uprising.
    Zeta Prime: This Security Council has lost the will to do what must be done. That is why I was chosen to be Prime... because I am the monster the people need.
  • Not So Different: As Zeta unleashes the Omega Destructors on Nyon, Starscream wonders out loud if he and Megatron aren't more similar than the Decepticon leader had realised.
  • Obviously Evil: His Autocracy design makes him look like a stereotypical Evil Overlord, and yet somehow Orion Pax never thought he was evil until the guy started testing WMDs on his own people. Insanely obvious in Spotlight: Orion Pax where he's drawn in his Autocracy body in Steve Kurth's bright, energetic style, standing out like a sore thumb as a result.
    Ironhide: You've met Zeta. He strike you as bein' powered by the "Source of All Life and Hope?"
  • Pet the Dog: He gave the Disposable Classes more rights. It's about the only genuinely selfless deed he's got on his record.
  • The Poorly Chosen One: Senator Shockwave thought Zeta was a good choice for a potential Prime, but he quite plainly wasn't.
  • Posthumous Character: Long dead by the present day, but the damage he and his actions have caused still linger.
  • Remember the New Guy?: First mentioned in Spotlight: Blurr and All Hail Megatron, and established as being Prime between Sentinel and Optimus, and that was about it. Later works have increasingly expanded just what he was like, and why no-one ever talked about him...
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: The Thirteen were constrained by each other (at least until their civil war). Nova had followers like Omega Supreme and Galvatron he had to tread carefully around. Both Nominus and Sentinel had to work with the Senate as partners in crime. Zeta, on the other hand, had zero checks on his power aside from a Senate he'd personally selected. When he started using Cybertronian superweapons to annihilate rebellious cities, it took an Enemy Mine between Orion Pax and Megatron to bring him down.
  • The Unfettered: He hid it well at the start, but he had zero morals, inhibitions or any kind of empathy towards his fellow Cybertronians, and proved willing to do absolutely anything to wipe out the Decepticon uprising, to the extent of obliterating the rebellious city of Nyon solely to use as power sources for his vamparc generators. And he was utterly, utterly certain that it was all for the greater good.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Takes a while, but once he becomes Prime he increasingly becomes consumed with both his own power and the desire to utterly obliterate the Decepticons, eventually leading him into using Omega Sentinels and vamparc projectors on his own people.
  • Worthy Opponent: Megatron remembers him to Hot Rod as such in Autocracy, admiring his ruthlessness as unique among the Autobots.

Other Characters

    Trypticon 

An ancient Cybertronian with a mysterious past, Trypticon worked for the Decepticons during the war, before winding up frozen underneath Praetoros Wharf.

  • Adaptational Heroism: Par for the course for many IDW Decepticons. Trypticon has spent most of his life under the control of others, from Mortillus to Pentius to Bludgeon all of them having him destroy things. When he regains control of his body he rejects his former life as a weapon and leaves to fulfill the duties of a Titan and become a hotspot for a new generation.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Turns out, he hates being used as a living weapon and jumps on the chance to be anything else the first opportunity he gets.
  • Breath Weapon: Which he uses to nearly kill Bludgeon.
  • Cool Starship: In Primacy, he displays a starship mode.
  • Composite Character: His Mysterious Past, Breath Weapon and Cool Starship alternate mode are lifted right from his Aligned counterpart.
  • The Corruption: Trypticon's energon has a tendency to mutate anything it comes into contact with. Though it's shown that this isn't a hard and fast rule.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: His regular mode is a giant vaguely saurian form.
  • Foil To his brother Vigilem. Both are evil and supremely powerful Titans but Vigilem is loyal to his master and his commands while Trypticon doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks and has had it with being used as a weapon.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In Monstrosity and Primacy his actions are due to Megatron integrating the Spark of the Quintesson Pentius into his body. Salvation is the first time we've actually seen him as himself.
  • The Juggernaut: As comes from being a city-sized dinosaur thing armed with ludicrous amounts of weaponry. Only a Titan like Metroplex can give Trypticon a run for his money.
  • Killed Off for Real: Gets blown in half by Unicron's eye beams during the final battle.
  • Mysterious Past: Just where does Trypticon come from? He might have been created by Mortilus himself, but that would give conclusive proof the Guiding Hand existed... and Trypticon's not telling whether that's the case. That he turns out to be a Titan raises further questions, such as which Prime, if any, he served. Lost Light has confirmed the Guiding Hand did exist, so the spawn of Mortilus stuff is looking a bit more likely, but Mortilus turns out to have been a stand-up guy, which suggests that origin is also wrong. Though the same story also reveals Cybertron's memories of the Guiding Hand were wiped, so it's possible Trypticon just doesn't remember.
  • Nice Guy: Surprisingly! When not being controlled or directed by others, Trypticon is a pretty approachable guy who is all about co-operation and lifting people up. He comforts Slug after Gimlet's death and encourages Centurion when he tries Titanmastering him.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Like Chela, Trypticon's a Titan without a humanoid form.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: As it turns out, Trypticon no longer gives a scrap about being a weapon of destruction, and once set free from Bludgeon turns on him.
  • Papa Wolf: He considers the protoforms to be his children and he is very protective of them, even threatening Arcee directly when she nearly attacks one and rising from the ground to demand the fighting stop so as not to endanger the young Cybertonians.
  • Pet the Dog: Not only does he spare Devastator, he allows a collection of new Sparks to harvest metal from his body to create a new generation of Cybertronians.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He turns out to be a pretty decent dude when he's not working for the Decepticons.
  • The Quiet One: Trypticon doesn't speak much. He eventually does at the end of Salvation.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Onyx Prime's attack causes absolute chaos (not to mention said attack killing Metrotitan) flees to Earth rather than risk the protoforms.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Like his fellow Titans, he has a built-in Space Bridge.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Like Vigilem, he's one of the less morally upright Titans. Though he's not as bad as Vigilem.
  • Worthy Opponent: Trypticon could have killed Devastator, but chooses not to out of respect due to the latter's standing bravely against an opponent that hopelessly outmatches him.

    Stardrive 

A Camien Cybertronian who was taken in by the Solstar Order when the ship she was on had been shot down by the Galactic Council.

  • The Corruption: She didn't come away from her encounter with the Dire Wraiths unscathed. However, unlike other Wraith victims, her battle with Onyx' troops shows she can control it to some degree.
  • Creepy Awesome: Gains a number of amazing abilities after being corrupted by Dire Wraiths. She also retains near complete control and looks terrifying while using them. Even Prowl is impressed.
  • Fantastic Racism: On the receiving end of so much from pretty much everyone, save Rom.
  • Grumpy Bear: Her shabby treatment by the Order, followed by a hundred years on her own, then joining up with Prowl mean she's not usually very cheerful, getting caustic with Bumblebee when he tries to say hello.
  • Hulking Out: The more upset she gets, the more her Wraith side takes over.
  • Hybrid Monster: Part Cybertronian, part Dire Wraith.
  • Karmic Transformation: She spent the first five years of her life battling against the Dire Wraiths, only to become infected with their biology when she left the Solstar Order.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes ballistic after Cosmos and his crew die, giving herself over to her Dire Wraith side and ripping through the Maximals. Prowl estimates she'd killed 156 of them. On her own.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After her run-in with other Cybertronians, she decides she's had enough of them and the Knights, tears off her armor and leaves.
  • The Bus Came Back: In Optimus Prime issue 13, she appears in the modern day, working alongside Prowl.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Snaps at Prowl after he advocates leaving Devisin to its fate in order to raise defences against Unicron elsewhere. In Prowl's defence he makes the valid point there's only six of them versus a being that destroys entire worlds.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Any time a member of the Solstar Order acknowledges her accomplishments, it's usually along the lines of how she's not a murderous monster like the rest of her people.

    Centurion 

A 'bot with a mysterious past, Centurion is part Hearts of Steel Bumblebee, part Mike "Atomic Man" Power, and entirely conflicted about his role in the upcoming crisis that Cybertron faces.

  • Battle Trophy: He keeps the false Shockwave's blaster as one.
  • Been There, Shaped History: He met and befriended John Henry and Nikola Tesla, and John Henry's great-great grandson remembers stories of his grandfather's encounter.
  • Brain Uploading: Mike Power's spirit, inside the Talisman, willingly invades and merges with Centurion's pre-existing body to form a new being.
  • Cool Train: His second alternate form was a spike-driving tank engine.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Once he believes he's the last Cybertronian in existence and the Axalon vanishes, he has zero problem joining up with super-villains.
  • Drop the Hammer
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Word of God is that his original alternate mode was a "dinosaur-like space monster".
  • Expy: In-universe, he's one of Bumblebee.
  • Fake Memories: Shockwave brainwashed him into thinking he was Bumblebee out of malicious boredom.
  • Fusion Dance: Winds up becoming a mix of both Centurion and Mike Powers, the Atomic Man.
  • Good Is Not Soft: A Nice Guy he may be, he did not hold back in dismembering Domitius' hijacked corpse.
  • Identical Stranger: Of Bumblebee. So Shockwave decided to brainwash him into thinking he was the real one.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Around WWI, he began to believe all Cybertronians were destructive abominations and joined up with IRON and Krieger to fulfill his goal. He drops this in Revolutionaries #5.
  • Morphic Resonance: Even after adopting a modern automobile alternate mode, his robot form retains several conspicuous aspects of his 1860s steam engine form.
  • Not So Different: To Blackrock/Sovereign. Both believed themselves to be alone, both were sent to Earth by Onyx Prime and both were given Fake Memories. Blackrock even recognizes their similarities.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the Axalon crew.
  • There Is Another: He's quite happy to learn that there are whole planets worth of Cybertronians out there and expresses a desire to meet the real Optimus Prime.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By briefly thinking he's Bumblebee upon seeing an Autobot transmission, he gives Shockwave the idea to brainwash the Axalon crew.
  • War Is Hell: The horrors of World War I allowed him to break Shockwave's conditioning.

    Domitius Major 

Centurion's old commander.

  • Badass Normal: There's nothing to suggest he's anything but an ordinary Eukarian. He might very well have killed a Cthulhu Expy.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In fact he might have killed him, though he's not sure.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Though it's not seen on-page, his original beast mode is apparently some kind of sauropod dinosaur.
  • Expy: His backstory has a few shades of Optimus Primal. Design-wise, he's got a lot of traits from Big Convoy. In-universe, Shockwave forcibly turns him into one of Optimus Prime.
  • Fake Memories: Shockwave brainwashed him into thinking he was Optimus Prime out of malicious boredom.
  • Identical Stranger: While he looks more like Nova, he looks enough like Optimus that Shockwave decided to brainwash him into thinking he was the real one.
  • Posthumous Character: He died at some point during World War I.
  • Undying Loyalty: To his master, Onyx Prime.
  • War Is Hell: The horrors of World War I allowed him to break Shockwave's conditioning.

    Axalon crew 

Centurion's shipmates.

  • Badass Crew: They fought off the army of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The "Decepticons" who were controlled by the Elder Gods.
  • Fake Memories: Shockwave brainwashed (and in some cases rebuilt) them to make them think they were the Autobots and Decepticons.
  • Posthumous Character: A lack of Energon and continuous battle has killed all but one of them.
  • Stable Time Loop: The fact that their master "Onyx Prime" was, in fact, a time-travelling Shockwave means that Onyx deliberately sent Domitius and his crew out into the universe for no other reason than to be shot down by the younger Shockwave and experimented on.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Shockwave brainwashed them all for the purpose of conducting a war game. Then he fell into stasis lock and they continued fighting.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Axalon was teleported away at some point in World War II. Where it is now is unknown.

    The Maximals 

Onyx Prime's servants in the distant past, all beastformers discriminated against because of their alternate modes.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Many of them were Maximals in the Beast Wars and Beast Machines toylines. Here, they willingly serve as Onyx's army, murdering anyone they come across. Then they take it a step further by joining Unicron.
  • Age Lift: Typical Beast Wars fiction depicts the Maximals and Predacons as being a few hundred years old at the very most. Here, some of them have been with Onyx for ten million years.
  • The Cameo: All of them, essentially. Very few of them speak, or in Optimus Prime get fully-colored in.
  • Canon Immigrant: Among their number are versions of Steeljaw and Thunderhoof. If only very briefly, because they're among those who attack Arcee.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: There are a few dinos among them, such as Beast Machines Striker (stegosaurus) and one very familiar looking purple T-Rex, yeeeesss.
  • Evil Costume Switch: OK, so they've never been good in this continuity - but Unicron #2 has them change from their more familiar Beast Wars show forms to more biomechanical forms reminescent of their creator Liege Maximo to symbolize their shift in allegiance from "Onyx Prime"/Shockwave to an even greater evil - Unicron.
  • Killed Off for Real: All of them seem to snuff it in the finale of Unicron, either through Unicron's destruction or Shockwave's loyalists being killed on Earth.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Seems Onyx hasn't been keeping them up on modern events, since Cicadacon doesn't recognise Megatron's name when Goldbug mentions it. Given that "Onyx" is actually Megatron's contemporary Shockwave, it seems to be deliberate. Comes back to bite Shockwave when Rhinox turns on him after realising Onyx and everything he ever stood for was a lie.
  • No Name Given: None of them are ever addressed by name.
  • The Quiet One: Most of them never say a word. Even a pained scream seems to be more than most are willing to provide.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A lot of them have red eyes, seen quite prominently during the Mistress of Flame's flashback to her encounter with them.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: At one point in issue 20, two of the Maximals sent against Arcee (the only two survivors, in fact) are seen running away as fast as they can.
  • Threatening Shark: Sharp Edge, who turns into a sawshark, is one of the Maximals who attack the Throttlebots.
  • Undying Loyalty: They've stuck with Onyx Prime ever since he left Cybertron. However, in the wake of his unmasking as Shockwave and subsequent defeat, they've joined up with Unicron as his shock troops - something which Shockwave thought was part of his plan but is 100% a real change of allegiance on their part (though a few of the most recognisable stay loyal).
  • Zerg Rush: Their main tactic - they excel in close quarters combat, so they invariably use this to close in on their foes with overwhelming force.

    Rhinox 

Once a servant of Onyx Prime, Rhinox of the Mournsong was left behind when his master fled Cybertron during the first civil war, and was a witness to the beginning of Nova Prime's reign. He eventually reappears several million years later, none the worse for wear and ready to serve his master again...

  • Adaptational Villainy: As with all the other Maximals, and unlike his Beast Wars counterpart, it's without any brainwashing of any kind.
  • Age Lift: Beast Wars Rhinox was one of the older sounding Maximals around. Here, he gets several zeroes added to his age, being a contemporary of Galvatron and Nova Prime.
  • Betrayal Insurance: He figured that after Shockwave's habit of screwing over everyone else, he had to take precautions. So when Shockwave tries getting rid of him, that new gun Rhinox gave him doesn't work.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Prowl kills him by blasting his head apart with a Vamparc Ribbon.
  • Broken Pedestal: He served Onyx Prime faithfully... until he turned out to be Shockwave manipulating everyone and everything, at which point Rhinox figured that after lying to everyone and caring not a jot... why would anyone follow him?
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Initially, he's nothing more than a minor character in Alpha Trion's flashback, in an issue released at the same time Rhinox had a new toy on the shelves. He reappears at the end of Optimus Prime, in a big way.
  • More Dakka: Rhinox still has his Chainguns of Doom, as demonstrated by Unicron #5.

    Major spoilers 

Unicron, the dark opposite of Primus, whom legend claims the Guiding Hand fought against at the dawn of time. While the truth of the Hand and even Primus's own existence are sketchy, Unicron himself definitely does exist. And at the end of First Strike, he has awoken.

  • Adaptational Badass: Unicron has never been a slouch in this department, but IDW's take presents the most terrifyingly effective incarnation of the character thus far - in the space of an issue, he takes out six planets and billions of lives without breaking a sweat. And in Unicron #4 we see him do what he's never managed in any other major continuity - destroy Cybertron.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In other continuities, Unicron's demonic appearance is due to him being the Satanic Archetype for the Cybertronian race. Here its because Unicron's robot mode took on the visage of his creator, an Antillan native, who naturally had this appearance.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: He's not a god-like being here (though still insanely powerful) - he's a machine carrying out his programming with no individual will to speak of, driven by the soul of his creator.
  • Antagonist Title: His name is given to the miniseries focusing on him: Transformers: Unicron.
  • Big Bad: Of Transformers: Unicron, unsurprisingly, and for the final portion of the Optimus Prime portion of IDW's Transformers continuity.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: He deliberately targets Shockwave's Regenesis worlds, devouring them one-by-one, so that he can absorb their various super-powered ores into his body.
  • Character Title: The main threat of Transformers: Unicron.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Unicron's existence is kind of Cybertron's fault, what with their vicious attempt at colonising other planets causing his creation.
  • Dying as Yourself: In the end, Unicron chooses to kill himself, imploding after the spirit of the last Antillan chooses to abandon his vendetta against the Transformers.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Prior Transformers stories generally presented the Cybertronian race as having at least a passing knowledge of Unicron, allowing the characters to at least comprehend his motives. In this version of the story, Unicron is depicted as a monstrous, incomprehensible thing that nobody in the galaxy can identify.
  • Eldritch Location: And not just because he's the size of a planet. Unicron's insides are a horrific mash-up of everything he's ever eaten, which equally horrific composites of the beings he's eaten acting as antibodies.
  • Enemy Mine: As you'd expect, characters from across the Hasbroverse to put aside their differences to fight him.
  • Evil Counterpart: Identified as the opposite of Primus, god of light. Though, according to one legend, Primus was created to oppose him, so technically Primus is the Good Counterpart. Subverted totally with The Reveal of their unconnected and very different origins in the ID Wverse - the two never even met or were shown to be aware of each other.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The last survivors of Antilla wanted a doomsday weapon to get revenge on Cybertron's expansionism. They definitely got one.
    • Unicron's legend also existed prior to the creation of this setting's physical depiction. Meaning the Antillans - and by extension Shockwave - intended for Cybertron's most feared legend to be made reality as the means for their destruction. Well, that worked like a charm too.
  • Gravity Screw: As Unicron #2 confirms, his absorption of Ore-4 is what stops planets from just tearing themselves apart whenever he gets near, as would logically happen when two planet sized objects are next to one another.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Unicron #2 suggests that his creation was also responsible for the birth of the Dire Wraiths and the destruction of Prysmos.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Try half a planet - Unicron destroys Cybertron by ripping it in half with his hands.
  • Hero Killer: In the space of one issue, he causes the death of Cliffjumper and Wheeljack, and he's just getting started. Dirge and the Mistress of Flame cop it at the hands of his forces as well one issue later. Not to mention the fact he's destroyed all the colony worlds introduced in the last few years. And destroys Cybertron itself in the fourth issue.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: Starting with The Death of Optimus Prime, mention is repeatedly made to Primus' opposite number, but no name is given (and any time anyone is about to name him, something happens that makes them skip over naming him). Even his dramatic introduction in First Strike doesn't actually name him. It takes until the final issue of Transformers Vs. Visionaries for him to be named, and Optimus Prime #23 for the heroes to discover his name.
  • Invincible Villain: He shrugs off everything tossed at him - Elita One crashing a Titan into his face distracts him for mere moments. It takes an army of virtually every surviving named character to just distract him, before Shockwave's Talisman and the Heroic Sacrifice of Optimus Prime bringing peace to the soul of Unicron's creator finally bring the big guy down.
  • The Juggernaut: Optimus Prime and the united firepower of the Council of Worlds can't even dent him. Starscream sends out every single warship in the Decepticon fleet to stop him, and Unicron simply rolls right over them. Elita One ramming a city-sized Titan into his face does nothing but make him flinch for a second.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Not that things had been light and fluffy beforehand, but Unicron manages to make things much darker by successfully killing several characters and eating entire planets.
  • Lightning Bruiser: A staple of Unicron stories is that the planet-eater still travels as a normal space vessel, giving the Transformers at least a little time to prepare. This version, on the other hand, has consumed most of Shockwave's Ores and can now teleport himself across space leading to a Mass "Oh, Crap!" when he turns up in full robot mode in the skies of Cybertron.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In-universe. For much of the Barber/Roberts era hints had been dropped of Primus' opposite, one that required the aid of the first Titans for Primus to stop, and the first issue of Unicron directly references all this - except a few issues later Bumblebee gets a vision from Omega Supreme suggesting Unicron was an ultimate doomsday weapon created by a scientist on a planet that had been ruined by the Transformers' warlike expansion in their early days. The mundane option is confirmed with The Reveal over in Lost Light that Primus was Rung all along, and wasn't the Transformers' god, but the first Cybertronian ever created, as well as The Reveal of Unicron being powered by the soul of his scientist creator. The myths are implied to have come about due to Adaptus' planetwide memory loss in Lost Light obliterating Cybertron's population's memories of its early days.
  • Monster Progenitor: He is the real origin of the Dire Wraiths, as Omega Supreme's vision indicates they spawned from his creation.
  • Mythology Gag: This isn't the first time Unicron has turned out to be a scientist's ultimate creation gone wrong. Isn't that right, Primacron?
  • Planet Eater: It's what he does. Only he's also specifically going after the planets Shockwave's Regenesis Ores are on so he can absorb them and become stronger.
  • Power-Up Food: Unicron + Shockwave's thirteen ores = bad news.
  • Revenge: When Optimus makes contact with the soul of Unicron's creator, it's revealed he lost his daughter to the Primes' attack on his planet, driving him to create Unicron to annihilate all Cybertronians.
  • Silent Antagonist: He does not speak beyond the very occasional "I HUNGER" and only cries out in pain.
  • Superpower Lottery: Thanks to having Shockwave's Ores in him, he's got all their powers.
  • That's No Moon!: Some of the Space Knights initially assume he's just a Decepticon War-World that's gotten a tune-up.
  • Tragic Monster: In the end, Unicron is revealed to be powered by the spirit of the last Antillan, who wants justice against the Cybertronians for taking his daughter.
  • Walking Spoiler: What with being Unicron and all.

Dark Cybertron Antagonists

    Shockwave 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shockwaverid2_2690.png
Click here  to see his old self.

Once a right-hearted member of the Cybertronian Senate and student of Jhiaxus, Shockwave was physically and emotionally mutilated for daring to stand against the corrupt system. Cold and entirely devoted to logic, he is Decepticon follower solely for the purpose of furthering his own mysterious goals. The main antagonist of The Transformers: Dark Cybertron.

Major Spoilers as of Optimus Prime 17: Shockwave didn't die at the end of "Dark Cybertron", instead being flung 12 million years back in time to the dawn of the Primes' reign. He killed the "real" Onyx Prime before any other Prime save Megatronus had met him. Shockwave used the title of a Prime and built up the mythology around them to further his own agenda, finally returning in the present day and shedding the Onyx identity midway through "The Falling".

For tropes relating to Shockwave's time as Onyx Prime and some of the repercussions of his actions while masquerading as him, please see Onyx Prime's entry in "The Primes" section.

  • Adaptational Badass: While Shockwave has always been a major player, especially in the comics, this version might just be the biggest threat out of any of them.
  • A God Am I: At the end of Dark Cybertron.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Even though Optimus and Megatron manage to restore his old personality, it's too late to stop his plan from being carried out, and Shockwave allows himself to be killed to prevent the chronal drive from destroying the universe.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Figured out in his final moments in Dark Cybertron that ambition unrestrained by anything other than pure logic would have limits.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Pyra Magna tears his gun arm off in "The Falling".
  • Arm Cannon: Originally received one from Megatron in the aftermath of his shadowplay. Upgrades to a gigantic one for Dark Cybertron. Loses it to Pyra Magna in Optimus Prime but regains it courtesy of Rhinox in Unicron.
  • Badass Boast: He's good at these. And more terrifying, they're often not so much boasts as just statements of fact.
    • Agent Red sets him up for a fantastic one in Maximum Dinobots when he informs him he has only 24 hours to find and neutralise the Dinobots, Laserbeak and Ravage.
    Shockwave: Twenty-four hours. Agent Red, do you have any conception of how much damage I could do to this insubstantial world in that time?.
  • Badass Bookworm: Shown perfectly in his debut spotlight, where he correctly deduces Cybertron's energy shortage long before anyone else, works out and implements a solution from his own resources - and completely demolishes all five Dinobots without breaking a sweat.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While he's imprisoned after his escapades as Onyx Prime, he still gets away with at least part of his overall plan - namely, inoculating Cybertron for Unicron's arrival and breaking Pyra Magna's faith in the Primes completely.
  • Because Destiny Says So: As "Onyx Prime," he points out that he's done all kinds of terrible things because his former studies of Cybertronian history told him that he'd already done these things.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Just about everything in the IDW continuity - the fall of the Thirteen, the brutal rise of Nova Prime, the creation of the Dead Universe, the Great War, Hearts of Steel, the Revolution crisis, can all be traced back to Shockwave in some form or another.
  • BFG: Transforms into one of the most fearsome in Transformers fiction - in Autocracy his cannon mode proves capable of taking out an Omega Destructor in one shot after Hound's explosives had earlier failed to even scratch one's paintwork.
  • Big Bad: Takes center stage in The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, before Nova and Galvatron show up again. But then it's revealed he was using them for his own ends... And he's back again in Optimus Prime, which reveals the ending of Dark Cybertron didn't kill him, but marooned him in the past where he killed Onyx Prime and took his identity. Way, way subverted in Transformers: Unicron: he's spent the entirety of his time in the past as Onyx Prime preparing for Unicron's arrival, looking to use the Planet Eater as an Unwitting Pawn to destroy the belief systems of the Transformers - the Autobot and Decepticon ideologies, the religion of the Primes so they can start anew past the destruction of Cybertron on Earth - except Unicron doesn't die of Talisman poisoning as Shockwave thought (thanks to Ironhide and Windblade), leading the very, VERY angry world-killer to descend on Earth to show Shockwave his place in things...
  • Big Good: His opposition to the Senate and tutelage of Orion makes him one for pre-war Cybertron.
  • Body Horror: The real reason behind his cycloptic appearance. Again in the finale, where he's shown to have been imprisoned with his arms and legs removed to prevent escape (though unlike MTMTE's Getaway, he at least keeps his voice).
  • The Chessmaster: Unbelievably so. Everything in the first season of RiD, both the Decepticon uprising and Orion's efforts to stop Jhiaxus, played right into his plan. Outdoes himself with The Reveal he's Onyx Prime and has been pulling the strings of all the original Primes to ensure the history he knew played out. And that's not even getting into using his ores to brainwash Metrotitan into believing the Chosen One prophecy and shuffling him across time and space to ensure he'd validate Starscream's rise to power solely because Shockwave needed an Unwitting Pawn to take Cybertron's helm.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Of a coldly logical variety: his focus on attaining his goals in the long-term means he'll inevitably manipulate, then turn on whoever he's aligned with at the time as soon as it's convenient to do so, without a shred of compunction. He turned on Orion Pax the moment his emotional centres were cut away, turned on Megatron and the Decepticons as his "Dark Cybertron" plan began to play out and spent millions of years mainpulating the Primes, many of them all the way to their deaths, as Onyx Prime.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Bumblebee never saw him coming.
  • Complexity Addiction: His first scheme is truly byzantine in its approach. To whit: Create thirteen reality-warping energon variants, shoot them out across the universe, wait a few thousand years for them to mature, manipulate at least two armies, and invent and harness the power of time travel all to crush time and space into a ball just to solve Cybertron's energy problems forever.
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • Good one, Proteus. Stripping out Shockwave's emotions actually made him more ruthless and determined, along with a greater ability to focus without those pesky emotions in the way.
    • Did it himself, as he made sure when masquerading as Onyx Prime that Cybertron's aggression turned outwards rather than on its own people, with his pupil Megatronus starting the war that turned Antilla into desolate ruins. If Omega Supreme's flashbacks are to be believed, this event drove an Antillan scientist to create Unicron. Great job, Shockwave.
  • Creepy Monotone: Post-"Shadowplay" it's noted a few times this is how he talks.
  • Dark Messiah: The Ammonites certainly think so, given he's promised to finally end their 16-million year old war.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally:
    Overlord: Having one eye makes you see the world in unusual ways, Shockwave...
    Shockwave: Thankfully.
  • Death Equals Redemption: The time ores allow his pre-Shadowplay self to emerge once more. Horrifed by all he'd wrought, he allowed Optimus and Megatron to kill him, ending the link to the Dead Universe and saving his own. Except he didn't die, and getting in touch with his emotions meant he spent the twelve million years stuck in the past getting worse than ever.
  • Didn't See That Coming: After millenia of acting as the unparalleled chessmaster of the Transformers race, he's undone by a string of these in Unicron - he doesn't anticipate the Talisman not being on Cybertron when Unicron eats it, doesn't twig Bludgeon has genuinely shifted allegiances to Unicron until it's too late and fails to see the Maximals' betrayal coming (specifically Rhinox).
  • The Dragon: Originally one to Megatron, then Dark Cybertron reveals that he's been taking orders from Nova Prime and Galvatron. It's just as manufactured as the former allegiance, and he's ultimately only ever on his own side.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: He was never actually on Megatron's side. Ultimately Shockwave's only master is logic itself, meaning his own agenda. He's also not actually subservient to Nova and Galvatron— he was playing them.
    • Dragon Ascendant: Kinda sorta. He only pretends to be subservient to Nova Prime and Galvatron, but the defeat of the former is what really brings him to the fore in Dark Cybertron.
  • The Dreaded: Even among alien species, his reputation was one of pure dread.
  • Dying as Yourself: His pre-shadowplay self resurfaces as he loses his control over time, and helps avert catastrophe at the cost of his own life. Subverted: it's eventually revealed he survived, and the reawakening of his past self just ended up making him an even bigger threat.
  • Eccentric Mentor: To Orion Pax, the Outliers, and Zeta.
  • Evil All Along: Claims this at the end of Unicron, maintaining that he's been pulling people's strings since day one.
  • Evil Former Friend: Of Orion Pax and Dai Atlas. Once he returns in the present as "Onyx Prime", he still insists on calling Optimus "old friend", and later admits one of the reasons he's rescuing Optimus from the singularity is he desires Optimus' friendship once more. Given how many of Optimus' true friends he'd had a hand in killing by that point, Optimus was not pleased by this.
  • Evil Genius: The premiere example in the IDW Transformers-verse.
  • Evil Mentor: Was noted as being Mesothulas' teacher back in the days before he became Tarantulas, though he was more morally ambiguous than evil pre-Shadowplay.
  • Evil Plan:
    • His ultimate endgame in "Dark Cybertron" was to harness the energy stolen from the Dead Universe at the time of its creation, and use it in conjunction with his Regenesis Ores to take control of all aspects of reality, turning Cybertron into a single, self-replenishing point of existence in the universe unaffected by time or entropy.
    • His current one was to poison Cybertron with the energy from the Talisman, let it kill Unicron and re-establish Cybertronian civilisation on Earth in the aftermath, free from factions and the religion of the Primes. Except this one seems to have gone terribly wrong, with the fleeing Autobots bringing the Talisman to Earth and Unicron subsequently surviving Cybertron's destruction.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • Back in Maximum Dinobots ended up brawling with Scorponok over who'd get to kill the titular team, and won.
    • His fight with Soundwave in issues #21 and #22 also qualifies, although Shockwave is clearly the more Obviously Evil of the two by that point.
    • Flashbacks in Lost Light show he was on the DJD's notorious list of Decepticon traitors to be killed after going AWOL in Spotlight: Shockwave, leading to them trying to kill him in #14 of that series.
    • "Unicron #1 makes it clear he intends to use Cybertron's poisoned state to kill Unicron, with the aim of re-establishing a Decepticon empire afterwards.
  • Expy: As a Senator, he was one of both Professor Xavier and Bruce Wayne. Dark Cybertron makes him one of Thanos.
  • Fiction 500: Established to be super-rich and powerful enough to spring Orion, though his influence was on the wane by that point.
  • Foil: To his own present-day self. Both are determined to save Cybertron in their own way, but the latter has none of the morals of the former.
  • For Science!: Shockwave once came upon a crew of Eukarians who'd crashed on Earth when he was visiting it, during one of the Ice Ages. He promptly brainwashed them into thinking they were Autobots and Decepticons, before leaving them to it. Why? Why not?
  • Genius Bruiser: Shockwave is probably the smartest Cybertronian alive, and capable of fighting all five of the Dinobots at full strength.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Is this for the IDWverse in general - his Regenesis project casts a long shadow even after it's finished. Revolution and the first arc of Optimus Prime are built around Ore-13 even in Shockwave's absence, and Tarantulas' mutated version of is one of the driving plot points of Sins of the Wreckers. He might even have been the (indirect) cause of the Solstar/Wraith war through one of his ores.
    • It gets bigger. He turns out to have been Onyx Prime, and then turns out to be behind literally damn near everything.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: When he was a Senator and very much on the side of good against Proteus, Sentinel and Functionism, Dai Atlas noted that Omega Supreme had warned him about Shockwave as Jhiaxus' greatest student - despite being as against Jhiaxus' combination experiments as anyone.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lets Optimus and Megatron kill him to prevent the universe's destruction. Eventually subverted with his Optimus Prime reappeaarance as Onyx Prime, as what was thought to be said sacrifice just wound up making him an even bigger threat.
  • Hero Killer:
    • Executes Bumblebee in Issue #27. Or not, as it eventually turns out Bumblebee lived.
    • Kills Alpha Trion and Metrotitan during "The Falling" story arc.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard
    • It was he who gave Orion Pax the backing and bodily modifications that would allow him to eventually hold the Matrix and become Prime. As Optimus Prime, Orion would be the one who killed Shockwave millions of years later.
    • Lampshaded by Tarn in flashbacks in Lost Light - Shockwave had previously encouraged Glitch to push his full power as an Outlier to the limit. As Tarn, he almost killed Shockwave with said power.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Zigzagged. Of the people he had modified to bear the Matrix, he was on the mark about Orion Pax's potential. Zeta, on the other hand... Played straight in the present: an aeons long scheme goes a little pear-shaped because Shockwave makes the profoundly foolish mistake of thinking Bludgeon won't turn on him like he has everyone else. Surprise, Bludgeon turns on him.
  • Hot-Blooded: Ironically, one of his more notable traits as a Senator. He was repeatedly censured for "emotional conduct unbecoming of a Senator".
  • Hot Scientist: Well, he was. Not so much anymore.
  • Ignored Epiphany: At the end of Dark Cybertron, he manages to break his brainwashing and realize that his fixation on logic has turned him into a monster... but after being sent back in time to the dawn of Cybertronian history, he develops an entirely new brand of villainy based on deliberately manipulating Cybertronian history as "Onyx Prime." As of "The Falling" he's become convinced that chaos is the highest order of logic, so creating pure chaos on Cybertron is pure logic.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Somehow, Shockwave determined where each of the Thirteen supposedly fled to after leaving Cybertron. Exactly how he knew these things is unclear. Turns out to be a Stable Time Loop with The Reveal he was sent back in time and took Onyx Prime's identity - the implication is that rather than sending his Ores where the Thirteen had fled to, the time-displaced Shockwave/Onyx Prime instead ensured the Thirteen's final destinations coincided with where he knew he'd send his Ores later in the timeline.
  • Irony: He poses as Onyx Prime for millions of years and engineers the rise of the Primes, all so he could expose them at just the right moment to destroy all faith in the old ways. It never seems to have occurred to him that doing this would destroy the Maximals' faith in him too, leading to them turning on him and serving Unicron.
  • It's Personal: Subverted in Maximum Dinobots. It looks this way when he goes after the Dinobots for entombing him on Earth for millions of years, even battling Scorponok for the privilege of killing them. But he's actually playing for time until Soundwave is able to remotely disable the bomb in his head, then basically just tries to walk away without even caring slightly about the whole situation. Unluckily for him, Grimlock has other ideas.
  • Killed Off for Real: At the end of Dark Cybertron...except he never died. He just jumped 12 million years into Cybertron's past.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Anything involving him will inevitably be a lot darker.
  • Lack of Empathy: Justified. Thanks to the shadowplay, he's been robbed of the ability to care for the feelings of others. It's kept somewhat in check by his Pragmatic Villainy, but he will Leave No Witnesses or kill you to test a theory without so much as a second thought.
  • Leave No Witnesses/He Knows Too Much: Those poor Ardurian Rocs...
  • Mad Scientist: Even after having all his emotions removed with a knife, Shockwave remained focused on his goals, which involve utterly warping the basic fundamental properties of reality itself.
  • Man Behind the Man: To Jhiaxus in RID's early arcs.
    • Inverted with regards to Nova and Galvatron—he wants them to think they're this, at least until Nova gets killed and he can drop the façade.
    • Once he's revealed as Onyx Prime he's revealed as having tampered with Metrotitan's memory and ensuring he kept being in the right place at the right time to anoint Starscream the Chosen One - because he needed a self-serving fool like Starscream to keep the people divided through weak leadership rather than someone like Optimus or Megatron who'd see him coming a mile off..
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's good at playing folk. His plan required deceiving the Decepticons for millennia, and during the final phase he manages to get his former master, Nova Prime, a good seventy billion Ammonites, and even Optimus himself dancing to his tune. And that's not getting into his time as Onyx Prime, where he plays the other Primes like fiddles for millions of years.
  • Mark of Shame: His famous cyclopean appearance is revealed here as a product of Empurata, a form of mutilation the Senate subjected him to as punishment.
  • The McCoy: In his Senating days, Shockwave was emotional and passionate about doing right by people, no matter the cost or what the rules said.
  • Mind Rape: His emotion centers were removed by the Senate, rendering him an emotionless husk. Later, Prowl has Stardrive rummage through his mind using her Dire Wraith abilities so they can foil Unicron. Unlike the first time, he definitely deserves it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When his original personality resurfaces, he's absolutely horrified at his actions up to that point.
  • Nerves of Steel: Fearlessly gives himself up without hesitation to save Orion's team from the Senate's wrath in Shadowplay. In the present day, it's less due to principle and more due to not being able to feel fear anymore.
  • Nice Guy: Pre-Shadowplay. Well, mostly. There were a few hints of shadier activities, but by and large, generally a nice guy.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Set Zeta on the path to Primehood, which proved to be the final step in setting Cybertron irrevocably on the path to civil war.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Without Shockwave and "Onyx Prime's" various machinations, the Space Knights of the Solstar Order would never have developed their signature Powered Armor to battle the Dire Wraiths with. Then again, if "Onyx" hadn't caused the destruction of Antilla, the Dire Wraiths would never have existed in the first place.
  • No Name Given: During MTMTE’s "Shadowplay" arc, he went unnamed until the last page to hide that this was his Origin Story.
  • Non-Idle Rich: As a Senator, he was basically the Cybertronian equivalent of most modern-day interpretations of Bruce Wayne.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Very, very rarely due to his status as The Spock - but he has a major case of this in flashback in Lost Light #14, when the Decepticon Justice Division elect to forgo his offering up numerous other Decepticon traitors on their list in favour of trying to kill him on the spot. Only Bludgeon and Monstructor showing up in the nick of time lets him survive.
    • When he realises Unicron is approaching Earth, and that the Talisman wasn't on Cybertron to poison him as he thought.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Comes with the territory of his evil plan, as most of the universe would cease to exist as a necessary consequence.
  • Origin Story: In the Shadowplay arc of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. In an interesting twist we didn't know it at the time - until the last page of Shadowplay the Senator had appeared in all of Roberts' pre-War stories but was never named, with hints being dropped it was actually Ultra Magnus. Moreover, Shockwave was appearing prominently in MTMTE's sister title RiD at the time. Word of God states this was deliberately done as having the Senator turn out to be someone from MTMTE's sister comic would be a bigger surprise than a character from Roberts' own stories.
  • Pet the Dog: A rather twisted example in the Issue #17 flashback when he blasts Dai Atlas's legs apart. This leaves him unable to attend the Senate meeting the next day and spares him from the ensuing massacre.
  • Physical God: Becomes this at the end of Dark Cybertron.
  • Posthumous Character: Post Dark Cybertron. Shockwave's dead (for now at least), but his ore projects and all of his experiments are still felt throughout the IDW continuity. Averted hugely in recent comics, as it turns out the singularity sent him back in time, and he's been masquerading as Onyx Prime ever since.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: No illogical behavior to be had here, though he'll kill you without any qualms if he deems it to be.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: In "Shadowplay", though no-one realised it until the final page.
  • Punished for Sympathy: He was already on the Senate's radar. The Outliers just gave them an excuse.
  • Reality Warper: Attains this state as part of his plan towards the end of Dark Cybertron.
  • Red Baron: The Stentarians know him as the 'Dark Cyclops'.
  • The Rival: Issues 21 and 22 establish him as this to Soundwave from the moment he joined the Decepticons.
  • Sanity Slippage: By the time he's defeated in Optimus Prime, it's clear that the trauma of losing and regaining his emotions, combined with experiencing and manipulating millions of years of history, is starting to take his toll on Shockwave's mind; he spends his time rambling about his various adventures as "Onyx Prime" to people who aren't particularly interested in what he has to say.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When he thinks Unicron is about to munch off, calls Bludgeon for evac, claiming they'll deal with Unicron another time. Unfortunately for him, Bludgeon genuinely is working for Unicron at this point.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • All his grand plans to kill Unicron, to revive the Decepticon Empire and re-establish Cybertronian civilisation on Earth? They all hinged on the Talisman being on Cybertron to poison Unicron when he destroyed it. It wasn't.
    • He also believes Bludgeon is still his subordinate. He fails to realise the latter really has shifted his allegiance to Unicron.
  • The Spock: A decidedly villainous version after the Shadowplay.
  • Spock Speak: On occasion.
  • Stable Time Loop: When he was thrown back in time 12 million years at the end of Dark Cybertron, he killed Onyx Prime and took his identity, then spent the next twelve million years ensuring history played out exactly as he remembered it.
  • Start of Darkness: “Shadowplay” and “Shockwaves” detail exactly how he became the way he did.
  • Starting a New Life: A villainous example, and a large-scale one: he implies his scheme to destroy Unicron will give the Transformers race a chance to do this large-scale, starting over without the religion of the Primes or the Autobot/Decepticon factions to encumber them. Even Unicron potentially destroying Cybertron has been accounted for: once the poisoned Energon of the Talisman kills him, Shockwave indicates they can all decamp to Earth and forge it into a new Cybertron.
  • The Stoic: Comes with the Shadowplay-removal of his emotions. Even a rampaging Grimlock completely no-selling his firepower in Monstrosity barely fazes him.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: His eventual punishment, once everything's over, locked up in a spaceship at the bottom of the ocean, with his arms and legs removed, and Prowl as his jailer.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: He's ordering Jhiaxus around now.
  • Talkative Loon: By the time of Unicron, he's more interested in babbling about his time as "Onyx Prime" and his various schemes than anything else.
  • Take Me Instead: Willingly gives himself up rather than have Roller be killed in his name.
  • That Man Is Dead: Coldly tells Orion Pax this post-Shadowplay.
  • Third-Person Flashback: “Shadowplay.” In a major surprise, it played out not in this comic (where Shockwave had been a prominent character since its inception) but MTMTE's "Shadowplay" arc, turning out to be the mysterious Senator that had guided and protected Orion Pax in the other flashback stories and only being named in that arc's final page.
  • Time Abyss: He was already old pre-"Dark Cybertron", being old enough to have been a prominent scientist during the reign of Nova Prime 6 million years prior to the current stories. "The Falling" adds to this - he's cast through time after "Dark Cybertron" and, disguised as Onyx Prime", lives through another 12 million years on top of that - and is still as powerful and dangerous as ever.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Is hit with a ludicrous amount of this with The Reveal he's been masquerading as Onyx Prime from almost the start of Cybertronian history. Case in point: when Megatronus and Prima battle it out, Megatronus kills Prima - then is killed himself by Shockwave, in a case of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. As Onyx, Shockwave then tells Alpha Trion that the two killed each other in battle. Why? Because when he was younger, Shockwave remembered Trion telling him that they had killed each other, so took steps to make sure events played out this way so Alpha Trion would tell him this story in the future and history wouldn't change. Confused yet?
  • Time Master: Towards the end of Dark Cybertron.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He's one of the most brilliant Cybertronians to have ever lived - but his dedication to total logic leaves him unable to comprehend emotional responses, often leading to coming across as this. Most prevalent in his feud with Grimlock - in both Spotlight: Shockwave and Maximum Dinobots he utterly fails to realise the lengths the Dinobot leader will go to to avenge his wounded pride, leading to him being buried alive for millions of years on Earth in the former and incarcerated in Garrus-9 in the latter.
    • Really obvious in Lost Light #14's flashback, where he completely fails to anticipate the DJD may be a group of psychopathic monsters, but they're ones with a rigid code of conduct, leading to them rejecting his logical offer to get to kill a bunch of Decepticons lower on the list than him in favour of trying to kill him outright as he's no.1 on said list - something which is anticipated by several other characters, leading to their abandoning ship at the earliest opportunity.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After being flung back in time, Shockwave's had 12 million years to grind in badass. He's gone from manipulating armies to manipulating everything. Also, power-wise, he's learned how to use magic, and his arm-cannon has gotten a beef-up, being able to one-shot Titans.
  • The Unfettered: The series' premier example. Subverted towards the end, though. Then played straight again in his Optimus Prime appearance.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: He changed his color scheme constantly as a Senator.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Way back in his debut Spotlight, he's getting his ass kicked by the Dinobots because he's unable to process logically that they'd come so far to battle him over a minor incident - so he just shuts down his logic processes and lets himself get really, really angry. The ensuing fight does NOT go well for the Dinobots...
  • Villain Issue:
    • The "Shockwaves" issue of RiD is this, detailing his past from studying under Jhiaxus all the way through to the start of his association with the Decepticons.
    • The entirety of Optimus Prime #18 is one massive explanation of how the hell he came to be Onyx Prime.
  • Villainous Legacy: He's been dead for over a year (in-universe) and people (be they Starscream, Dire Wraiths, Baron Karza, Humans or Junkions) still want his powerful Regenesis ores.
  • Villainous Rescue: He needs Jetfire and Pyra Magna to get Optimus out of the singularity, after lobbing him in a few issues prior, because he needs the Matrix Data to enact his plan to inoculate the Transformers against Unicron.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's impossible to write down anything about Dark Cybertron without giving away at least part of his plans. And you may have noticed "The Falling" arc of Optimus Prime has resulted in a lot of whited-out entries...
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The entire "Dark Cybertron" storyline is a result of his seeking to use his Ores to collapse all of reality into a singularity that will power power Cybetron with energy for all eternity. That he'll wipe out absolutely everything else in the universe is of little concern to him.
    • By letting Unicron annihilate Cybertron then disposing of it via the Talisman, he aims to start Cybertronian civilisation anew, free from the religion of the Primes and the factional Autbot/Decepticon warfare. That this results in the destruction of Cybertron and all its colonies, the deaths of billions of Cybertronians and would have led to humanity being wiped out to make way for Earth's new settlers, is also of little concern to him.
  • Wham Shot: The final page of "Shadowplay", where we not only have his identity revealed as the mysterious Senator helping Orion Pax throught James Roberts' stories, but see the Shadowplay that turned him into his familiar cyclopean form and serve as his Start of Darkness.
  • Wild Card: He's nominally a Decepticon as they gave him the resources to create his Ores and work on combiners - but ultimately he serves only logic and the notion of saving Cybertron at any cost, and nearly destroys everything in Dark Cybertron.

    Jhiaxus 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jhiaxus-rid_8085.png
  • Adaptive Armor: His body can shift to the forms of enemies to ensure he is at least physically matched in combat.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Jhiaxus certainly wasn't stupid in Generation 2, but here he's one of the smartest Cybertronians ever to have existed, being responsible for the Combiner process as we know it, reintroducing gender to modern Cybertron via Arcee and other inventions like the Vamparc generator. Granted, the first two wound up trying to destroy everything/kill him but it all depends on how you look at it...
  • Adaptational Wimp: Downplayed, the original Jhiaxus was a powerful overlord who led his own faction, capable of near-fatally injuring Optimus himself. Here he's much smarter and let's his creations fight for him. He's proven less than adept in actual combat, but develops an Adaptive Armor to grant him greater combat abilities.
  • Blood from the Mouth: After Starscream stabs him.
  • Co-Dragons: With Galvatron to Nova Prime during the Furman comics, with Galvatron doing the killing side of things and Jhiaxus contributing the scientific knowledge to make the Expansion possible.
  • Death by Irony: Is permanently offed by Starscream after his new body (based on 'Screamer's) turns out to have built-in energy blades - which clues Starscream in that he has them too. Cue impalement...
  • The Dragon: To Shockwave.
  • Evil Genius: He's responsible for trying to reintroduce gender in Cybertronians, created the Vamparc Projector and pioneered the modern Combiner process.
  • Evil Is Bigger: His adaptive form is noticeably bulkier than Starscream's body, the template it's based on.
  • Evil Mentor: He was Shockwave's mentor, but Shockwave is now ordering him around.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Or the closest equivalent for a race of mechanical lifeforms, at any rate. He's even willing to experiment on himself, resulting in a body that has far more in common with the Transformer designs of the recent movies than Generation 1.
  • For Science!: Jhiaxus always wants to experiment to see what new things the universe has in store. When Nova created his inner circle, Jhiaxus was loyal up until the point the venture had exhausted its potential for him to do his mad experiments.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Jhiaxus had a very poor track record when it came to his experiments. The end result of his attempt to introduce gender to a genderless species, Arcee, became a psychotic and violent mass-murderer obsessed with tracking him down and murdering him as slowly and painfully as possible; and Monstructor, his effort at producing a gestalt, is a nigh-indestructible and vicious killing machine. About the only one that didn't go wrong is his space bridge invention.
    • Actually subverted on Monstructor's insanity. According to RID issue 7, Jhiaxus doesn't consider it a weakness.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Starscream kills him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Thanks for helping Starscream figure out his new body's nuances! *STAB*
  • Killed Off for Real: After surviving the Dead Universe, and Arcee's mutilations, he's finally killed by Starscream.
  • Mad Scientist: Cybertron's original mad scientist, having created one of the first combiners and many other scientific wonders and monstrosities.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: His body is more movie-inspired than the rest of the cast. Justified, as he redesigned it into an adaptive form.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: See above.
  • The Strategist: His pre-Dark Cybertron RiD appearances have him surreptitiously guiding Orion Pax to LV-117 so he can awaken what would become the Necrotitan.
  • The Unfettered: Freely believes madness isn't a weakness, and has a long history of messing about with the Cybertronian form just because he can.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Galvatron rescued Jhiaxus from a tortured and dishevelled state of undeath at Arcee's hands, and in return Jhiaxus threw in with Shockwave and attempted to use Galvatron to channel the Dead Universe.

    Bludgeon 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bludgeon-rid_3733.png
  • Ambiguous Syntax: His last words to Trypticon before being blasted are an understated "Oh... please." Begging for mercy in a bit of poetic justice or an unimpressed "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner? His obscured face only adds to this.
  • Arch-Enemy: Very much this to the Dinobots in the Barber-written comics. Their final confrontation in Unicron leaves all bar Swoop and Strafe dead.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Dismisses Skids' martial arts skills as merely imitative and lacking passion.
  • Asshole Victim: He's reduced to a burnt up torso, left to the tender ministrations of whatever insane ideas Starscream and Flatline can cook up... and given all the things he's done in life, he probably has most of it coming.
  • Ax-Crazy: Violent and cruel, he loves spreading misery and suffering wherever he goes.
  • BFS: In keeping with his evil samurai image.
  • Bullying a Dragon: And when the dragon's name is Trypticon, that's even dumber than usual for this trope.
  • The Bus Came Back: Twice:
    • After being missing since AHM, he returns in Syndromica to serve Jhiaxus.
    • He goes missing after the failure of Shockwave's plan in Dark Cybertron, but returns in Redemption.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Bludgeon has the uncanny ability to make Decepticons who should really know better trust him with something important, before inevitably betraying them to serve his own agenda. First, Megatron, then Starscream, and then Shockwave himself.
  • The Dragon: To Jhiaxus. Or more accurately, to Shockwave. In Optimus Prime, he reveals he's working for someone new - later revealed as Unicron.
  • The Dreaded: Greatly feared by other characters due to his power and fanaticism. MTMTE notes the time he recruited an army of "deviants and half-forms" as one of the worst events of the entire war.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Courtesy of a very pissed off Trypticon, Bludgeon's reduced to a just-barely alive head and torso. At Starscream's mercy. And in Flatline's care. Subverted later: by Unicron he's been restored to his full body.
  • Hero Killer: A feared and powerful soldier, Bludgeon manages to take out a few named characters whenever he shows up such as Varta and Barricade.
  • The Juggernaut: His Pretender carapace can take ludicrous amounts of punishment, even allowing him to survive a point-blank blast of Trypticon's breath weapon, albeit badly damaged.
  • Killed Off for Real: After a long history of near-misses, the Dinobots finally kill him when his ship crashes into the White House.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He performed twisted experiments on unborn sparks but after his encounter with Trypticon, Starscream is going to use him as a science experiment. Subverted in that he comes out of that as first one of Starscream's underlings with at least some autonomy, then gets repaired in time to face off with Unicron.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He's delighted by the carnage Unicron causes and changes his allegiances from Shockwave to the chaos-bringer as a result - but seems to either not know or not care about Unicron's origins as an anti-Cybertronian doomsday weapon designed to kill off their entire race.
  • Mad Science: He dabbles from time to time. First there was the incident with Thunderwing's remains, then there's experimenting with the Alyon hot spot, and there's also the mention Rewind makes of a time during the war he made an army of "deviants and half-forms".
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Thanks to his Pretender shell, Bludgeon is pretty much immune to near everything. Even a full point blank blast of Trypticon's Breath Weapon can't keep him down for good.
  • Nightmare Face: The Pretender Process gave him a skeletal face that looks like it's melting, with a half-formed mouth.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He's obsessed with the end times and tends to fall in with monsters and characters who can bring about the apocalypse - leading him to variously Thunderwing, Shockwave and Unicron.
  • Oh, Crap!: In Unicron, when Metroplex and Trypticon teleport in out of nowhere to take on his fleet and screw up Unicron's pre-ordained victory.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy:He intended to use Trypticon to conquer the galaxy in Cybertron's name.
  • Put on a Bus: Post Dark Cybertron he went MIA. However, The Bus Came Back in Transformers: Salvation.
  • Spanner in the Works: To Starscream, who has his life saved after being fragged by Trypticon. 'Screamer wants him to use the mind-controlled Slug to find Trypticon/the Dinobots so he can get his hands on the first new generation of Cybertronian protoforms in millions of years. Bludgeon instead has Slug try to kill Optimus and the other Dinobots, leading to Optimus making Trypticon the new Earth embassy on Cybertron and giving the protoforms diplomatic immunity.
  • The Starscream: Turns on Shockwave in Unicron, as it turns out he's embraced Unicron's spreading chaos for real.
  • Tank Goodness: His alternate mode in both his original and Pretender forms is a tank.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Even after Dark Cybertron, despite having worked for him, Bludgeon still doesn't think highly of Shockwave's grasp of mad science.
    • He really pays for underestimating Trypticon.
  • Villains Want Mercy: When he realizes Trypticon is free and has teleported him in the path of his Breath Weapon, he tries to plead with the enraged Titan, it doesn't work.
  • Visionary Villain: In Salvation we finally get a good idea of his motives. He believes that war and strife are the natural state of Cybertronians and as such he wants to take the new born sparks and make them into an army to conquer the universe. He states that it was never his intention to destroy Cybertron, but to honor it by spreading strife throughout the galaxy.

    Waspinator 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wasp-rid_5588.png
  • Canon Immigrant: Historically a Beast Wars characters, this marks his first appearance in G1 fiction.
  • The Chew Toy: It's Waspinator all right. Taken Up to Eleven in Transformers vs. Visionaries, where Virulina turns his body into her chariot.
  • Dog Food Diet: Not quite dog food, but Waspinator will happily eat anything that is free. Including somebody's energon that was spilled into the street.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Post-Dark Cybertron, he's now living on Cybertron. While not a good guy by any means, he's happy that he's mostly being left alone and not bullied by those stronger than he is. And he's absolutely delighted by the way he's treated on Caminus after he's enlisted to go there and help during Combiner Wars. At least until Devastator shows up...
  • Minion with an F in Evil / Punch-Clock Villain: He works for Shockwave because the 'Con justifiably scares the crap out of him. When not being bullied by someone, he's actually pretty nice, and is part of the crew loosely associated with Windblade in Till All Are One.
  • Verbal Tic: Just like his Beast Wars incarnation.

    Monstructor 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/monstructor_8801.png
  • Ax-Crazy: Jhiaxus' attempt to merge six 'bots into one was... not a great success. Immediately on forming, Monstructor went insane.
  • Combining Mecha: He's an experimental Combiner, six Transformers forcibly melded together both physically and mentally, creating one super-powerful but deformed and insane mech.
  • The Brute: He serves in this role to Jhiaxus, and later to Bludgeon as well when the two of them join up with Unicron.
  • Hive Mind: Six minds crudely merged into one.
  • Killed Off for Real: Superion and a remade Victorion finally take him out at the height of Unicron's attack on Earth, with Victorion putting her fist through his skull to make sure.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Monstructor and his components managed to survive getting rammed with a giant spaceship, not something most people can claim.
  • Oh, Crap!: In Unicron, when Bludgeon sends him out to kill Starscream, and he's confronted by not one, but two Titans instead.
  • Put on a Bus: He's not been seen since the end of Dark Cybertron. But then came "Unicron"...
  • Psycho Prototype: Monstructor was Jhiaxus' first and only attempt at making a combiner.
  • The Bus Came Back: Turns out to be back with Bludgeon in Unicron, as he's unleashed to fight Victorion.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Downplayed, while he's not any stronger, he's now far tougher after his weak point has been fixed, and nothing short of the Lost Light ramming him can take him down.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: In Unicron Monstructor battles the most modern Autobot combiner, Victorion, and overwhelms her with animalistic savagery and brute force. The rematch goes a lot more poorly for Monstructor...
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: They flee after Shockwave's defeat.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Monstructor disappears after Dark Cybertron. This becomes an in-universe plot-point, as Starscream uses Monstructor's unknown whereabouts as a reason why Wheeljack needs to repair Superion, in case he ever shows up again. He later returns in Unicron.

    Dreadwing 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dreadwingrid2_9512.png
  • An Axe to Grind: Manifests a purple Axe.
  • The Brute: Clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • Combining Mecha: Galvatron forcefully merges him with Mindwipe, Blitzwing, Astrotrain, and Acid Storm to form Galvatronus.
  • Defector from Decadence: Played straight in Dark Cybertron, where he abandons the Decepticons seemingly out of loyalty to Shockwave. Subverted in season 2, where he's revealed to have rejoined the Decepticons after being swayed by Galvatron's promise of conquest.
  • Demoted to Extra: Once he returns in the second season, he's relegated to being a minor minion of Galvatron, playing second fiddle to Brawl and Needlenose as they head up Galvatron's recruitment campaign.
  • The Dragon: To Shockwave.
  • Dumb Muscle: Will happily follow any sufficiently powerful leader as a foot soldier, having fulfilled this role for Megatron, Shockwave and Galvatron.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Discussing the current state of Politics with Soundwave, Dreadwing offhandedly mentions that he finds Windblade's ascension into Cybertronian leadership, while not his favorite, still a good move. He trusts her to be less corrupt than previous leaders at least.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Often a victim of it.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Under the effects of Ore-14.
  • Karma Houdini: Survives Dark Cybertron relatively unscathed. His luck runs out in All Hail Optimus, when Superion deactivates Galvatron's Combiners, and he's subsequently arrested by the Autobots.
  • Killed Off for Real: His body is seen after Onyx Prime's bomb goes off at the Council of Worlds.
  • The Igor: Serves this role for Shockwave.
  • Iron Butt-Monkey: Getting exposed to the Regeneration Ore opened him up to a whole world of pain.
  • Just Following Orders: He's a follower more than anything and doesn't really question the motives or goals of his superiors.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: He's pretty cool with Shockwave blasting a hole through his torso to test a theory.
  • Torso with a View: Shockwave executes him to demonstrate the effects of Ore-14, resulting in one of these.
  • The Watson: Shockwave has to explain his plans to someone, and since Jhiaxus already knows them...

    The Necrotitan 
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Since he's a villain against his wishes having been made a zombie by Shockwave, among other things.
  • Came Back Wrong: Killed and brought back to "unlife" by two of Shockwave's ores reacting together and creating a link to the Dead Universe.
  • The Dreaded: A two-mile tall undead Titan? He's far and away the biggest threat to the Iacon-based characters in Dark Cybertron - they have absolutely nothing that can harm it in any way. It takes a repowered Metroplex to take him down.
  • Genius Loci: Turns into a base and a ship. Galvatron and his crew ran across him in base mode on Gorlam Prime, but thought it was a abandoned settlement.
  • Humongous Mecha: As with all Titans in the series, he makes even combiners look tiny.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Well, okay, without the ninja and pirate parts.
  • No Name Given: On account of spending most of his screen-time undead, and not having had any real chance to talk before that. Backmatter for Unicron issue 6 finally names him Quintessa... which raises a few questions.
  • Non-Human Undead: A giant, transforming mechanoid...who has been turned into a zombie.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: A gigantic undead robot? Beyond question.
  • Plague Zombie: Unleashes a death wave on Iacon that kills some, maims others, and leaves Starscream with the "Death Mark" of a unwitting Dark Messiah.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Has a built-in Space Bridge that is hijacked by Waspinator, at Shockwave's behest.
  • Time Abyss: Dates back to the era of the Knights of Cybertron.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Was originally a servant of one of the legendary Knights of Cybertron. Then Shockwave had him killed and turned into a gigantic undead servitor.
  • We Need a Distraction: Shockwave sends him to destroy Iacon in order to keep the Autobots, the other Decepticons, and the neutral NAILS busy while he enacts his true plan.

    The Dead Universe 

    Ammonites 
The foes of the Terradores. Whirl's attempt to the end their war (and show them up) led to their alliance with Shockwave.
  • Affably Evil: Despite essentially being alien versions of the Decepticons, the ones Whirl and Skids meet on Hedonia are such pleasant company that Skids assumed they were their race's equivalent of the Autobots. Even the two who try to steal the Lost Light offer to let Rodimus evacuate his crew and claim they don't need to resort to violence.
  • Always Someone Better: Not only have they been fighting for sixteen million years rather than four, but they have up to nine alternate modes and are omnicombinational. Whirl does not take this well.
  • Combining Mecha: And unlike the Cybertronians, anyone of them can combine with another. There's no upper limit.
  • Cybertronian Aliens: They can transform, combine, live for millions of years and are mechanical. Sound familiar?
  • Deal with the Devil: Essentially, their pact with Shockwave, "the Dark Cyclops". He promises to help them end their war in exchange for some help, with the only apparent cost that they'll go up like a firework if any of them try to blab. And in the end, Shockwave's plan would've caused the destruction of their world along with everyone else's.
  • The Dreaded: Their war caused the formation of the Galactic Council.
  • Enemy Mine: They join Shockwave so they can fight the Autobots in retaliation for Whirl killing Imperius Drax and sending their war into high gear.
  • Glass Cannon: By Cybertronian standards, they fall pretty easily. A good hit is usually all it takes. Even being combined just makes a bigger target.
  • Higher-Tech Species: Zig-zagged. They've perfected combining but the Lost Light has more powerful engines than anything they have and Shockwave apparently would have been able to end their war for them.
  • In-Series Nickname: Given that they're essentially little Decepticons (about knee high by Cybertronian standards), many Autobots call them Mini-Cons.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the finale of Dark Cybertron, Metalhawk adds his own Ore-14 to the mix which destabilizes the balance of the Ores and causes all the Ammonites to self destruct.
  • Mooks: 70 billion of them for Shockwave.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: They were made one by Shockwave. It's doubtful he would have followed through on it.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: They allowed Shockwave to build one inside each of them. It goes off if they say something they shouldn't, like his name.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The only who actually asks this, amazingly enough, is Starscream who points out that Metalhawk essentially murdered seventy billion sentient beings and has probably halved the Stentarian race. Of course how much of this is genuine sympathy for them and how much is Starscream trying to score sympathy points is in question.
  • Zerg Rush: Their main tactic in Dark Cybertron. Then again there are 70 billion of them.
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