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Characters / The Transformers Robots In Disguise Decepticons

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    Decepticons In General 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Probably the most sympathetic depiction of the Decepticons ever, due to the stories exploring pre-war Cybertron very thoroughly. Where most depictions have the war start through Megatron's lust for power, here their forming is a natural response to the events of the time - such as Functionism, a corrupt Senate keeping itself in power via any means and despotic, dictatorial Primes - with 'bots like Megatron and Soundwave being genuinely well-intentioned at the start. By no means universal though, as many of its members remain as bad as ever - or in Shockwave's case, considerably worse.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The series also dove into this as stories showed how far they strayed from their original path during the war. MTMTE in particular made a point of showing the atrocities of the DJD, the genocide against organic species and the horrors they perpetuated against their own kind - such as turning captured Autobots into living landmines or melting them down for raw materials to make more Decepticons.
  • Badass Decay: In-universe. At the start of the IDW continuity they were a galactic power, and subsequent materials indicated they had huge fleets and many planets under their control at various points in history. Then All Hail Megatron happened and their empire fell apart, with the remainder of their forces reduced to cannibalism under Starscream or scattered across the galaxy perpetuating their own little horrors like the DJD. While they attempted to return to glory under a returned Megatron and later Galvatron, it never ended well for them. Now what's left of them either follow Soundwave in his quest to return the Decepticons to their peaceful roots or live under Starscream's rule on Cybertron.
  • Big Bad: As ever. No matter what other threats materialised through IDW's run, the series would always come back to them as a major threat. At least until Onyx Prime and Unicron take centre stage.
    • Big Bad Ensemble: While they're a constant antagonistic presence, they're forced to share the Big Bad role with many other groups - Scorponok's Machination, the Reapers, the Dead Universe/D-Void, Nova Prime and Galvatron, Starscream as head of Cybertron, the Junkions, Onyx Prime - throughout the series, to the point the occasional Enemy Mine with the Autobots is required.
  • Cult of Personality: They sometimes resemble this in regards to Megatron, most notably with the DJD over in MTMTE. Notably, later stories explore what happens when the cult is robbed of said personality, with the Decepticons in general stuggling to find a role without him, leading to Galvatron and Soundwave taking the faction down very different routes as leaders.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: They signed the Tyrest accord so their technology couldn't spread to the organic races they so hated. Given Magnus' pre-MTMTE role, it even appears they stuck to it pretty well.
  • Fantastic Racism: While Cybertronian contact with organic races has invariably been a disaster since the age of the Thirteen Primes (with Megatronus' inadvertantly turning the two sides' first contact into a war zone) the Decepticons profoundly despise organics, with Tarn explicity outlining the moment where Megatron decided to pre-emptively obliterate all organic races to prevent the "anti-mechanical bias" he perceived over in MTMTE. Here's how Fulcrum - a member of the Scavengers, arguably the nicest and most normal Decepticons in the entire series - once described that whole situation:
    Fulcrum: We'd overthrown our oppressors, we'd torn down a system that served only those at the top, and we'd turned outwards—refining the galaxy by cleansing it of organic races too backward to reconfigure their inferior nature.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Portrayed to varying levels after war's end. Megatron goes all the way and officially joins the Autobots. Soundwave keeps the Decepticons separate and tries to return them to their peaceful roots, but still ends up helping Optimus against threats like Sentinel Prime, Baron Karza and the Junkions. Many Decepticons renounce the movement altogether and try and live peaceful lives under Starscream's administration. And of course some avert it entirely, like the DJD or Deathsaurus' forces.
  • Meaningful Name: The term Decepticon was taken from one of Megatron's writings - "You are being Deceived." Soundwave and others took the name to mean revealing the deception of others - be they Senate, Primes or Autobot.
  • Out of Focus: Aside from Soundwave, they don't have much importance to the plot from "Titans Return" onwards. Their most important role is serving as a backdrop to Starscream's latest power-grab in in the Unicron storylines.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Soundwave makes pretty clear that their philosophy of equality for all is in response to the God-like Primes holding themselves over the population.
  • Religion of Evil: The DJD certainly viewed the cause this way.
  • The Remnant: By the time Galvatron takes over they're reduced to only the most hardcore and warlike Decepticons. Their numbers swell considerably as Galvatron promises a return to the age of conquest (and their main alternative is Starscream) but they're reduced to this again after Gavatron's failed conquest of Earth leads to most of them being captured or killed as the survivors are either put in jail or rally round Soundwave.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: The end of All Hail Megatron is seen as this, with Megatron's almost dying robbing them of effective leadership and their army falling apart, being reduced to cannabilism with an apathetic Starscream in charge. Even after Megatron returns in a new body, it's regularly referred to as the end of the war in-universe.


The leader of the Decepticons and, unsurprisingly, the Big Bad behind most of Season One's events. During the The Transformers: Dark Cybertron crossover, he abandons his Decepticon ideals and joins the Autobots, migrating over to the cast of More Than Meets the Eye. Tropes regarding him can now be found on the MTMTE character sheet.


  • 0% Approval Rating: During and after All Hail Optimus the only ones who seem to like him are the really battle hungry Decepticons like Acid Storm, Blitzwing and Brawl. The Decepticons on the commune hate him and the colonist soldiers view him as a Memetic Loser. Even Frenzy and Rumble (who love killing) decide to abandon him due to their loyalty to Soundwave.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: The notorious insanity of the G1 cartoon/Marvel versions is downplayed here in favour of a remarkably cunning warrior who uses Obfuscating Stupidity to dupe his foes with the image of being little more than a bloodthirsty thug, yet is smart enough to understand and use the relics of Cybertron's past (like the Enigma of Combination) for his own ends.
  • Affably Evil: To Arcee - and only to Arcee, treating her with genuine warrior's respect. This makes more sense when it's revealed that Arcee is Galvatron's twin and, before Jhiaxus' experiments modified her, looked almost identical to him. With everyone else he's as Obviously Evil as it gets, though he's occasionally Faux Affably Evil with Soundwave.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In a truly vicious bit of irony, his last words are an example of this trope when he realizes just how screwed he is.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Gets this in a roundabout way from Arcee in #9 of Optimus Prime, when she shows visible regret at standing by and letting Optimus and Soundwave kill her brother. The following issue reveals in flashbacks this was indeed Galvatron.
  • An Axe to Grind: He's almost never seen without one in a fight, claiming in issue #50 to have battleaxes older than human civilisation - something shown to be completely true in "Origin Myths" (around 12 million years ago), which showed him using one as a gladiator.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: Despises the concept of combiners and attempted to destroy the Enigma of Combination at least once. That said, he's not above using it to create Combiners for his own army...
  • Arm Cannon: One of the most famous in all Transformers fiction, second only to Megatron. Proves his undoing in his final battle after Arcee damages it, causing it to explode and take half his body with it.
  • Badass Boast: In the distant past, he makes a pretty good one to Nexus Prime just before Galvatron kills him.
    Nexus Prime: Your place is to serve your masters.
    Galvatron: I told you, I serve no master. Moreover...I BELIEVE IN NO PRIME!
  • Bad Boss: He has little patience for his underlings, which causes him to get violent. He hates those who fail him, those who interrupt him, those who question him, and Astrotrain, just because.
    • Completely outdoes himself in All Hail Optimus. In the space of six issues he betrays the eternally loyal Soundwave (solely because his dream of peace is incompatible with conquering Earth), leaves most of his new army to get slaughtered by the EDC after the battle in Shanghai turns against him, forcibly combines most of his remaining troops into a gestalt, leaves them to get captured when that battle goes against him too, finally causes Skywarp to snap and leave him due to his total lack of concern for his malfunctioning teleporting powers, and sacrifices Astrotrain without hesitation to escape Arcee. This is taken to its logical conclusion, as he's left all alone when Optimus and Soundwave show up to back up Arcee, loses the subsequent fight and is executed without mercy by Optimus.
  • Barbarian Hero: Not a hero by any means but otherwise he's a perfect fit (the roll-call page in many issues have Barbarian as his only descriptor). He's an ancient warrior from the dawn of Cybertron's history known as "Galvatron of the Darklands". He also used a battleaxe as his primary weapon and shows a great deal of disdain for the current generation of Cybertronians for failing to live up to his and Nova Prime's legacy. "Origin Myths" even reveals he was a gladiator at the dawn of the Primes' reign.
  • Berserk Button: He can fly off the handle at the drop of a hat, especially early in season 2 - but referring to Megatronus or Nova Prime as his master (or even implying he has one) really makes him mad. When Nexus Prime sneeringly tells him his place is to serve his masters, Galvatron obliterates him on the spot.
  • Big Bad: In the post-Dark Cybertron comics after he becomes the new leader of the Decepticons.
    • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Nova Prime for Dark Cybertron.
    • Big Bad Ensemble: The initial arcs of the second season present him as this along with the increasingly unstable Prowl (who is nominally a good guy, but whose manipulative ways and control of Devastator make him as much of a threat as Galvatron's Decepticons). He takes over after the sole threat after Prowl's incarceration in Combiner Wars.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Played with. He's very much a serious threat to the Autobots and Earth, and almost manages to win out several times - but his lack of any aims beyond conquering planets the hard way (in contrast to Megatron's infiltration tactics) and killing everything in his way means he's never a long-term problem on the level of Megatron or Shockwave.
  • Blood Knight: Galvatron's defining character trait. He comes from an age of constant bloodshed and conquest, and he'll happily restart the Autobot-Decepticon war solely so he can return Cybertron to the bad old days of total war.
  • Break the Badass/Break the Haughty: Briefly in Dark Cybertron when he realises he's played right into Shockwave's hand. Happens again at the finale of All Hail Optimus, where he's definitively beaten by Optimus and co. Optimus destroys his pretensions to something greater (fighting the Primes) and unceremoniously puts Galvatron down like a dog.
  • Brutal Honesty: Subverts this and plays it straight in the same conversation in issue #37. He lies to Arcee that Prowl killed General Witwicky, but when Arcee laughs at his proposal of an alliance, he tells her with total honesty that it's little more than a temporary alliance to get rid of the Enigma for the good of all Cybertron, and the moment it's done they'll both go right back to trying to kill each other. It actually convinces her.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Deconstructed. By the time "All Hail Optimus" ends, he's killed his own ally General Witwicky, manipulated and betrayed the EDC and Soundwave's Decepticons alike, held Blackrock hostage and been particularly poor to Astrotrain and Skywarp, the former of whom he sacrifices to Arcee to save his own miserable hide... and by the end of it all, he's utterly alone. Cue the biggest of Big Damn Heroes.
  • The Comically Serious: Believe it or not, Galvatron actually gets some laughs with how seriously he takes everything, his level of ham, and his inability to understand expressions.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: It took him one cannon blast to kill Nexus Prime.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Along with his comically serious mannerisms, he is prone to throwing out snarks at the expenses of others in his calmer moments. Like when he gives Arcee the Onyx tablet.
    Arcee: Why are you sharing this?
    Galvatron: Selfishness. Your side may have a better handle on research. This is what I'm working with.
    (Galvatron points to Astrotrain who's screaming in panic over seeing a giant bug)
  • Decomposite Character: Galvatron is usually an upgraded version of Megatron. In IDW continuity, however, they are separate people - and Galvatron is over twice as old as Megatron to boot.
  • Defector from Decadence: By the time of the original Cybertronian civil war, he'd deserted Megatronus' army to wage a one-man war against the Headmasters.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Nova dies, he's so despondent that he doesn't even try to dissuade Megatron from killing him. Bumblebee manages to talk Megatron down, though.
  • Determinator: You have to hand it to him - the old git never gives up trying to kill and conquer. His immediate reaction to the Indian Ocean battle, in which the Nemesis is wrecked and almost all his surviving troops are captured, is to basically go "Ah well, there's always next time." and immediately takes Astrotrain to go take over the Jupiter Commune.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: He killed Nexus Prime, something that was thought to be impossible for a non-Prime.
  • Didn't See That Coming: In All Hail Optimus he's undone on three separate occasions by his foes making completely unexpected/out of character moves.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After the humans use the Mind Bomb on him when a battle with the Autobots gets out of control, he confronts the device's operator and tells him if it gets used on him again, he'll kill everyone in the poor guy's home state of New Mexico. And the old Mexico, just to be sure.
  • The Dragon: Way back at the dawn of the Primes, he and his brother Arcee were this for Megatronus, leading his army across Cybertron. He would later be this for Nova Prime as well.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: D-Void was able to manipulate Galvatron by preying on his devotion to Cybertron. As twisted as that devotion is, it does come from a genuine place and when he breaks free of D-Void's control he's horrified by how he has harmed his planet.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He's a consummate Manipulative Bastard throughout most of his RiD appearances - but after his final defeat he monologues on and on at Optimus, mocking them for not finishing him off and claiming they need him against the oncoming arrival of Onyx Prime, failing completely to understand he's finally got Optimus to the point he realises that Galvatron is practically irredeemable. He pays for it with his life.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Arcee, something that's recently gained a whole new level of complexity with The Reveal they were originally brothers. Both started out the same way, as gladiators that served Megatronus, and both would battle at the head of his army before later losing faith in the original Primes. Both are unquestionably the Blood Knight, both have served as The Dragon to less-than-ethical leaders (Prowl for Arcee, Nova Prime for Galvatron), and both rose to prominence in the Autobots/Decepticons after starting as outsiders. The difference is the effect the Autobot/Decepticon cause had on them. Arcee starts out as Prowl's assassin but thanks to Bumblebee and Optimus gradually comes to believe in the Autobot cause, eventually giving herself over to it as one of Optimus' main lieutenants. Galvatron, despite having one of the most noble Decepticons in Soundwave as his lieutenant, completely perverts the Decepticon cause away from Soundwave's peaceful ideals to his own vision of constant violence and bloodshed. In other words, Arcee comes to believe in the cause of others, while Galvatron never stops putting his own beliefs first.
  • Expy: Optimus Prime reveals his backstory has more than a few similarities to IDW Megatron's. Both were essentially slaves who fought as gladiators and went on to fight in planet-spanning revolutions - Galvatron as part of Megatronus and Onyx's unification of the tribes, Megatron leading the Decepticon uprising. Both have even offed Jerkass Primes with their fusion cannons at point-blank range (Nexus for Galvatron, Zeta for Megatron). The difference being that Megatron fought equality for all (something that admittedly got badly corrupted along the way) while Galvatron was fine with a distinct underclass of Cybertronians as long as he wasn't one of them.
  • Fantastic Racism: He hates anything that goes against the pure Cybertronian ideal. He hates beast modes, he hates combining, he hates all deviations from what he feels a Cybertronian should be. Oh, and humans too. Windblade speculates that it could all just be an excuse he formed to wage endless war upon others, killing anyone he can so long as he has a reason to.
  • Flanderization: Though still very cunning, his tactical mindset is downplayed from the early Simon Furman stories in favour of his berserker tendencies. Justified because the D-Void was suppressing his bloodlust in favour of his tactical prowess. Without it, he's back to normal.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Does this to Megatron when he escapes the Dead Universe. Later flashbacks dating back to his battles with the Headmasters show this to be one of his preferred ways of ending a fight.
  • Hostile Takeover: He takes over the Decepticons in place of the now-reformed Megatron.
  • Hypocrite: Arcee points out in Optimus Prime #10 that Galvatron only objected to being a slave when he was one - he's perfectly fine with being on top of a hierarchy including slavery as long as he benefits from it.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Galvatron freely admits that taking advantage of the Enigma's energies to combine his troops is against his ideals and a crime against nature. However it's also good for a strength boost to bring about a Decepticon victory, saying:
    All is Fair in hate and conquest.
  • In the Back: How he gets rid of Nemesis Prime when he's trying to claim the Darkness.
  • Irony:
    • In Titans Return the heroes have to deal with Sentinel Prime, who keeps ranting about the purity of the Transformers race and how anything that doesn't fit his view of what the Cybertronian ideal is (Decepticons, Transformers from Cybertron's colonies) is an abomination deserving death. In the distant past Galvatron annihilated Sentinel's race, the Titan Masters/Headmasters, for not fitting HIS vision of what the Cybertronian race should be. Optimus even comments on how much alike the two sound.
    • Also, while out-of-universe, he was given an action figure in the Titans Return toy line, making him a Titan Master. For bonus points, Word of God is that writer John Barber had actually not been informed/forgotten that this was Galvatron's next toy when he wrote his decapitation.
  • Jerkass: Might be the single biggest in the whole series - and considering it also features Prowl, Starscream, Spike Witwicky and Sentinel Prime that's a big achievement.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Mad old conqueror he may be, but it's easy to see where he's coming from with his loathing of combiners after seeing Devastator's rampages on Earth and the events of Combiner Wars - even Optimus concedes to Alpha Trion that his firing the Enigma of Combination into space wasn't a bad move. He's also not wrong to warn against the re-emergence of the original Primes, as flashbacks show he was actually pretty accurate about what assholes they were.
    • He hijacks the Decepticon remnant out from underneath Soundwave and dashes his hope for peace. However Galvatron is right; many of the Decepticons are violent killers and fascists. Soundwave's hope for a peaceful solution with so many of them was naïve at best.
  • Kick the Dog: Ruins Soundwave's dream of a peaceful rebirth of the Decepticons solely because he really likes killing.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Killing General Witwicky, then blaming Prowl for it in order to increase Marissa Fairborne's hatred for the Autobots.
  • Made of Iron: Even by Transformers standards, he's harder than old nails. To date, has been blasted repeatedly by Megatron at close range, stomped into the ground by Devastator, endured an uncontrolled orbital re-entry courtesy of Arcee and been up again in minutes at most each time. His luck runs out in Issue 56, courtesy of Optimus, Soundwave and Arcee, who eventually shoot him in the Spark, decapitate him and throw his body into Jupiter.
  • Man Behind the Man: He and Nova Prime are this for Shockwave, Duumvirate-style (or so he would have them think).
  • Manipulative Bastard: This is really apparent in hindsight. He gives Arcee a database with the Enigma of Combination's source code on it for the Autobots to study, feigning ignorance as to understanding it - which is then activated by Garrison Blackrock, crippling the Autobots ship dead in space, and allowing Galvatron's forces to activate the Cybertron space bridge onto the ship en masse, coming through in such numbers Galvatron can now begin his invasion of Earth - just as he and Skywarp capture Blackrock, giving him another ace in the hole. Subsequent events in All Hail Optimus prove he knew Blackrock was Onyx Prime's agent all along, and that he understood the Enigma's program perfectly, so this stands as a hell of a piece of long-term planning for a character usually dismissed as a bloodthirsty lunatic, and the only reason it didn't work is Optimus' out-of-character wholesale annexation of Earth.
  • Meet the New Boss: Makes no bones about being every bit as much of a genocidal conqueror as Megatron used to be. Actually works in his favour, as it draws a lot of the more less principled and Obviously Evil Decepticons to him.
  • More Than Mind Control: He falls under this during his tenure in The Transformers (IDW). D-Void invades his mind via the Darkness and while Galvatron is in control of his actions and morality, D-Void steers his goals and mind in more subtle ways. Galvatron releases eldritch horror and provides him with the massive Deceptigod body but in actuality he thought he was performing all of those actions to stop D-Void.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Almost pulls it off in issues #53-54. As noted in the Obfuscating Stupidity entry, he understands the Enigma of Combination source code perfectly, and is the only character to realize Blackrock using it as the foundation of his Onyx software basically spreads its power Earth-wide - so when the Autobots and Soundwave's Decepticons attack his ship, he's able to use the Enigma's power to not only create Combiners loyal to him from both his own troops and his enemies, but deactivate Victorion (who was created by the original Enigma), negating his foes' numerical advantage and giving the Decepticons a huge power-boost. If not for Superion rewriting and deactivating the source code using his own powers, Galvatron would have won.
  • No-Sell: In the Infestation crossover he gets hit by a Skywatch transformation inhibitor, something which has taken down numerous other Decepticons. It doesn't even faze him slightly, and the humans/Autobots need three to temporarily take him down.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He's not seen as stupid by anyone, but his Blood Knight tendencies cause most characters to look at him as a much more straightforward and less manipulative leader than Megatron. In reality he's extremely cunning and one of the only characters to be truly familiar with the artefacts of Cybertron's lost past - such as being familiar with the source code of the Enigma of Combination and pegging Blackrock as an agent of Onyx Prime. The combination of the two almost enable him to take over Earth in the All Hail Optimus arc. Twice.
  • Obviously Evil: Galvatron's no good egg, to be sure. To be fair, the book doesn't treat this as a secret, and the EDC is only allied with him out of perceived necessity. The only person who doesn't seem to have realised this is Soundwave, who is genuinely surprised when Galvatron turns on him to lead a new Decepticon invasion of Earth.
  • One-Man Army: In his prime. He was singlehandedly responsible for the near-extinction of the Headmasters, and his teaming with the future Nova Prime was enough to defeat an entire army of Onyx Prime's beastformers.
  • Off with His Head!: After discharging a round point-blank into his Spark Chamber, Optimus yanks the old bastard's head off and lets the rest of his crumbling remains fall to crush depth.
  • Only Friend: The only fellow Cybertronian we've ever seen him content to stand by is Nova Prime, and even that had its spotty moments...
  • Pet the Dog: In Infestation he orders humans to get out their cars before throwing them at the oncoming zombie horde. All the more remarkable given later series showing his distaste for humans prominently.
  • The Peter Principle: An interesting case. Galvatron spends most of his life as The Dragon to first Megatronus, then Nova Prime, legendary figures who, for better or worse, were leaders of Cybertronian civilisation. When he gets a chance at leadership and takes over command of the Decepticon faction from Megatron (another legendary leader) he runs them into the ground in less than a year, with most of the survivors either arrested or defected. All this might suggest he's not cut out for it, but Heart of Darkness showed him successfully forging an alliance of Cybertronians from the Autobots and Decepticons (as well as other mechanical lifeforms) in order to stop the D-Void, implying that if he let go of his Blood Knight tendencies, Fantastic Racism and endless desire to be The Conqueror he'd actually be a really good leader.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He views his use of Combiners as this. He hates the idea of combining and the Cybertronian race that spawned it but ultimately he's willing to put those feelings aside if he can use them to get an advantage in the fight.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Galvatron's an old Cybertronian warrior, proud of battle and heritage. When he murders General Witwicky he mistakes the man's last words involving his son as "sun," and tells the dead man that he hopes the sun shines in his afterlife wherever it may be.
  • Recoil Boost: He's typically depicted as firing his arm cannon behind him in order to fly. Unlike many continuities, most Decepticons in IDW's series can't fly in robot mode unless they have a flight-capable alt-mode.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: With fellow baddie Nova Prime (Galvatron's the Red).
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-universe, Soundwave and Ravage view him as this compared to Megatron. Others like Acid Storm and Mindwipe view him as a Superior Successor.
  • Retcon: Initially Ark 1 being lost in the Benzuli Expanse was Galvatron's doing, having betrayed the rest of the crew and sending the ship plunging in, as he believed that was where his destiny lay. In Dark Cybertron this is changed to being Nova's doing, as he saw the Expanse as fresh ground to explore and conquer; Galvatron followed him willingly.
  • Spanner in the Works: To Nova Prime and Jhiaxus' attempts to create a combiner. Galvatron took possession of Nexus Prime's Enigma of Combination, the artifact that makes true combination possible, after he killed him and all of his Headmaster warriors because he thought the way Nexus used it to bond beasts to actual Cybertronians diluted the purity of their race, and kept this hidden from Nova and the others. When Alpha Trion began to suspect that the Enigma was in his possession, Galvatron fired it into space, where, by either accident or design, it crashed into Earth at the dawn of man. As a result, Jhiaxus' attempt at creating a combiner was...less than successful and it wouldn't be until millions of years later that the first truly successful combiner, Devastator, would be created by the Decepticons.
  • The Starscream: Initially presented as such to Nova Prime, then Nemesis Prime. While Nemesis sought to corrupt the Living Universe with the Dead, Galvatron wanted to overthrow Nemesis and take the source of his power, the Darkness, for himself. He ends up killing Nemesis to achieve this goal. Though after both of their returns to the Dead Universe it's revealed that this whole affair was merely the Darkness screwing with their heads. In reality, Nova and Galvatron are good comrades willing to work with one another towards their shared goal.
  • Static Character: Though plenty colourful, Galvatron's general mindset hasn't changed since the day he was forged - a bloodthirsty, warlike conqueror. He is, of course, defeated by a group of characters who are only able to work together and do what has to be done thanks to their own respective Character Development.
    • It's what ends up dooming him in the end - where Megatron displayed the desire to change himself for the better after all that he had done, and Arcee went through a journey of self-discovery in season 2 that saw her moving away from her Blood Knight tendencies, Optimus recognizes Galvatron will never, ever change from being what he is and will cause tons of problems in the future if left alive - so he promptly executes him while he's surrendering.
  • Stock Evil Overlord Tactics: After a complex chain of manipulations, once his army is assembled in Shanghai his plan seems to be just to Kill 'Em All and conquer everything on Earth with maximum bloodshed involved. Justified in that Galvatron's Blood Knight tendencies and desire for battle/killing would never allow him to conquer from within as Megatron did with the original Infiltration protocols.
  • Tank Goodness: His Earth altmode is a self-propelled artillery cannon, somewhat resembling an M109.
  • Time Abyss: He's been around twelve million years and has killed maimed and slaughtered his way through most of it (until the Dead Universe,anyway). Even now, as one of the oldest characters in the series (rivalled only by Alpha Trion and Arcee) Galvatron is still as bloodthirsty as ever, and a good match for any of the Autobots one-on-one, stalemating both Prime and Arcee at different points.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Let's just say dismissing the legless Megatron wasn't his best idea. Likewise, his death would eventually come about through a combination of underestimating Optimus Prime, Soundwave and Arcee.
  • Undignified Death: After being decisively worn down by Optimus, Soundwave and Arcee and still remaining defiant, Optimus proceeds to trash Galvatron's misconception that his help standing against the Thirteen in any way outweighs the damage letting him live will do. Optimus' resolve reduces Galvatron to fruitless begging in his last seconds of life.
  • Unwitting Pawn: He and Nova both. Turns out they were playing Shockwave's game.
  • Verbal Backspace: When talking about the abominations the Enigma of Combination produced, Galvatron slips and talks of the Enigma as a physical object (something he knows full well, having killed Nexus Prime and taken it for himself). When Alpha Trion questions him on this, Galvatron backspaces that he was talking of the concept of the Enigma - but it's too late and Trion quickly realises both what happened to Nexus and that Galvatron has the Enigma.
  • Villainous Friendship: Shared a Type 1 with Nova Prime.
  • Villainous Legacy: His alliance with the EDC and his betrayal got them shut down and replaced with G.I. Joe as well as turning the people of Earth even more against Cybertronians. Among the Autobots, his execution is brought up to highlight the changes in Optimus' personality.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The extent of their relationship and what it entailed was unknown, but issue #52 seems to imply he had some sort of past with Arcee. The later revelation that she hails from the same region as him and knew Jhiaxus seems to support this and casts a new light on their previous discussions throughout the series. "Origin Myths" reveals they were a lot more than just friends, being twin brothers prior to Jhiaxus' experiments.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dipped into this territory throughout the IDW continuity, most notably in the last Ongoing, where he genuinely believed that by destroying Cybertron he was saving the rest of the universe from the D-Void.
  • Written by the Victors: Furiously notes himself as the Uniter of the Thirteen Tribes to Soundwave and the Cassettes during an argument, conveniently ignoring the rather major roles played by Alpha Trion and Nova Prime.
  • Worthy Opponent: Believes Arcee is this, as the two seem to understand each other quite well due to their shared Blood Knight tendencies and loathing of Jhiaxus. He actually treats Arcee far more respectfully than just about anyone else in the comic (including his own followers), to the point of having an almost-friendly conversation with her in the middle of their violent death duel in a volcano. Arcee doesn't quite agree.
    • Given a very interesting twist in Optimus Prime #10, which gives a very different take on their mutual understanding: before Jhiaxus' experimentation, the two were brothers.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Comes part and parcel with being a Bad Boss, of course, and he'll happily sacrifice any of his minions for his own convenience.
    Galvatron: Thank you, Astrotrain. You have been loyal.

    Soundwave and his Cassettes 
See the MTMTE character sheet for tropes on Ravage.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Probably the most sympathetic version of the character in the entire Transformers mythos.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated:
    • Sure Frenzy and Blitzwing are bored out of their minds at the thought, but Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon sounds like fun to Rumble. Even if he doesn't know what a movie is. Laserbeak would rather kill Jimmy for suggesting it.
    • Bizarrely, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw have taken to performing a Cybertronian impression of Statler and Waldorf in season 2 onward, though whether that's a running joke on the author's part or them having fun with Earth culture is unclear.
    • In recent issues, Rumble and Frenzy's holomatter avatars turn out to be based on Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction.
  • Ascended Extra: Buzzsaw is brought to the fore to act as part of a comedy duo with Laserbeak. It's especially notable because all of the other main Cassettes have all had at least some of the limelight while Buzzsaw was just The Artifact.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Using the Cybertronian and Earth Enigmas in tandem with his own abilities, Soundwave is able to mentally and spiritually combine with the Sparks and minds of the dead as part of the plan to defeat Unicron. Though fatal, it works.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses both arms when he uses his abilities to stop the Ore-13 overload destroying Earth in Revolution #5.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: This Soundwave is one of the sympathetic versions ever seen - but if you pose a threat to his goals or ideals he will take you down hard.
  • Catchphrase: Has an odd habit of referring to whatever he's currently doing as "Operation: ——", even for simple things - like saying "Operation: Incineration!" when firing his shoulder rockets at someone.
  • Characterization Marches On: One of John Barber's most developed characters. When IDW first started doing Transformers comics, his character was like the latter days of the Marvel UK run - a Manipulative Bastard in it for himself. He was Out of Focus for All Hail Megatron, the previous Ongoing and even the first arcs of this series - then issues #21 and 22 shed far more light on his origins, painting him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who desired total equality for all Transformers against Functionism, including his Cassettes, and joined up with Megatron when he scanned his mind and discovered he genuinely wanted the same thing. These principles inform his post-Dark Cybertron attempt to restart the Decepticons as a peaceful movement building a homeland for Decepticon-kind (and any other Transformers wanting to stop fighting), and eventually presage his turning against the Blood Knight Galvatron and his followers - finally becoming a full-blown Heel–Face Turn when he joins Optimus' side in All Hail Optimus. Issue #57 reveals this is a genuine change of heart too.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He tends to be much more direct in his problem-solving than his Autobot allies after the events of All Hail Optimus. When faced with an escalating G.I. Joe attack in Revolution #1, instead of getting sucked into individual battles like the other Cybertronians he just blasts the Joes with a massive EMP, taking out the bulk of their vehicles and heavy weapons in one shot.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • When he meets Thundercracker to see if there's a place for him on the new commune, he completely fails to understand that Buster is Thundercracker's pet dog, and casually offers to kill it as a pest. Thundercracker is NOT amused.
    • Later on, gets this gem when dealing with G.I. Joe:
  • Cool Mask: His iconic faceplate.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Good one, Ratbat.
  • Crusading Widower: Of a sort. Buzzsaw kills some poachers who were targeting elephants displaced by Unicron's debris in Soundwave's name.
  • The Dragon: One of Megatron's principal lieutenants, and plays this role among Galvatron's Decepticons post-Dark Cybertron. After Galvatron betrays him to conquer Earth, he ends up fulfilling this role for Optimus Prime of all 'bots, as Optimus' shadier actions and Soundwave's more ruthless approach means he qualifies more for this while 'bots like Arcee fill in the Number Two role.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Subtly with Laserbeak and Buzzsaw. While they generally play off each other and are indistinguishable, differences bubble up from time to time. Laserbeak is the cynic, while Buzzsaw is more optimistic and is loyal to Soundwave's ideals. Their designs also invoke this with Laserbeak sporting a more angular, classic look while Buzzsaw is more rounded.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Shown to care very deeply for Megatron and his cassettes, except his former boss Ratbat. MTMTE #55 shows him being able to feel Ravage's death from the other side of the galaxy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Back in the early Decepticon days, he's shown to be deeply uncomfortable with Shockwave's brainwashing signal (vowing to win people over through reason instead of trickery) and Starscream's gunrunning (after he'd just assured Orion Pax and Prowl the Decepticons weren't involved in such things).
  • Facial Horror: Spends the first chunk of the series with damage to his face sustained in the previous series.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Humans are not on an equal platform to Cybertronians and to try and say so denigrates the Cybertronian species (though he shows in issue #30 he's not nearly as bad about it as Galvatron). Gets over this in a big way in issue #54.
    • He's also dead against anyone who is a follower of a Prime (due to having lived through the reigns of Sentinel Prime and Zeta Prime). Is revealed to have gotten over this too in issue #57 after seeing Optimus raise a Titan, but the return of Onyx Prime and Optimus being willing to hear him out confirms it hasn't gone away entirely...
  • Fighting for a Homeland: After The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, he abandons the original Decepticon mission of conquering the galaxy in favor of establishing a peaceful settlement for Decepticons with the aid of humanity. With humanity's help he manages to construct a space station in orbit around Jupiter for Decepticon-kind, as well as any Transformers that want to join him.
  • Flunky Boss: For a decent portion of Autocracy - he's nowhere near Optimus in terms of power, but frustrates his attempt to apprehend him for several issues via cunning and clever use of the Cassettes. Just as all this fails him, the other Decepticons show up to tell Optimus that Megatron wants a word...
  • Foil: A cross-title one to Tarn. Both mechs were persecuted under the Senate / Functionist regime, and took wholeheartedly to Megatron's manifesto, and felt utterly betrayed by his becoming an Autobot. The difference is that Soundwave doesn't use The Cause as an excuse to mutilate and kill everyone in his path, followed by weak justifications. Where Tarn responds to Megatron's change of heart with suicidal despondency followed by a drive to murder Megatron just to get back at him, Soundwave continues to dedicate himself to the original goals of Decepticonism. Where Tarn is perfectly willing to murder his supposed friends for minor slights or offenses, Soundwave is genuinely loyal to his cassettes. Their respective powersets take this even further. Soundwave's abilities are based primarily in listening, where Tarn's are based in speaking.
  • Handicapped Badass/Empowered Badass Normal: His powers throw him either way at different points in the story.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Is revealed to have fully undergone one at the end of Issue #57, as he explains how he now believes in Optimus' vision for equality for all sentient beings, not just Transformers. That said, the humans later observe that Soundwave himself is still fundamentally uncomfortable working with Optimus as well.
    • Hazy Feel Turn: While the Cassettes stay with him, it's clearly out of loyalty to Soundwave rather than any sort of principles. Rumble and Frenzy are shown to be happy to use their full powers to fight back against an EDC attack, having to be talked down by Strafe. Rumble makes it clear in "Optimus Prime" that he's dead against Soundwave's alliance with the Autobots and the two of them later turn out to have been supplying humans with Cybertronian weaponry solely to make a profit.
  • Heel Realization: In #54, Optimus convinces him to read the humans' minds; he succeeds, and is struck by the realization that their brain impulses are electrical, just like a Cybertronian's — meaning their thoughts and emotions are just as real and valid as any Transformer's. Recognizing the depth of the crimes he's perpetrated against humanity, he immediately lays down his arms and surrenders.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Laserbeak dies alongside Sky-Byte and Cosmos fighting to give Sanctuary's 'bots a chance to get away from Bludgeon's fleet. Soundwave later sacrifices himself to make sure Prowl's plan of using Shockwave and the Earth Enigma to give Prime the strength he needs to make peace with Unicron.
  • Hidden Depths: When asked about a conflict on Cybertron that prevents them from coming home Laserbeak and Buzzsaw give two very different answers. Laserbeak reveals that there's no love lost for his homeworld, and he's fine where he is. Buzzsaw misses Cybertron and hopes it will be ok. And when they're confronted by Bludgeon's massed fleet coming to destroy Sanctuary, it's Buzzsaw who affirms his faith in Soundwave, leading them to fight alongside Cosmos and Sky-Byte to give the Transformers on Sanctuary time to get away.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Was the one who let Horri-Bull die at the start of RiD to uphold the masquerade that the I/D chips didn't work. Much later, Onyx Prime - actually his old pal Shockwave - reveals the truth and causes the remaining Decepticons to turn on him.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Beyond trusting the blatantly warlike and bloodthirsty Galvatron to lead the new, peaceful Decepticon movement, he genuinely seems to think that all the other remaining Decepticons share his ideals and belief in the equality of the Decepticon cause - when in fact most of them are psychotic, unprincipled maniacs who happily abandon him to follow Galvatron when he decides to invade Earth.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Spends a lot of time in season 2 talking Galvatron out of obliterating the humans, stopping Galvatron from kicking the crap out of his own troops and generally holding the Decepticon remnant together, in addition to being the driving force behind the construction of the Jupiter Commune (which Galvatron clearly couldn't care less about). He even saves the day pretty-much singlehandedly in issue #38. Post-All Hail Optimus, he's managing to be this for Prime too, seemingly becoming one of his senior lieutenants.
  • Jerkass: Rumble and Frenzy. Their ID panels in "Primeless" even describe them as "Jerk" and "Arguably Bigger Jerk" respectively.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The US President believes Soundwave is this, noting he went from working with Galvatron to working with Optimus overnight.
    • Rumble and Frenzy also manage this after getting caught selling weapons on Earth, as it's pointed out public punishment will cause a storm of problems with their Decepticon allies and the humans. Jazz believes Optimus will likely cover it up for the greater good - and given that the two are action movies stars by the Optimus Prime Annual, he was probably right.
  • Killed Off for Real: Laserbeak dies during Bludgeon's attack on Sanctuary. Later subverted with Buzzsaw, who looks like he'd copped it, but later shows up alive.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: His murder of Horri-Bull, by detonating his inhibitor chip when the Decepticons had already deactivated them in order to maintain their cover, comes back to haunt him when Arcee turns out to be aware of it and tells Optimus Prime. Prime then uses this information to blackmail Soundwave into doing his bidding, since Needlenose discovering that Soundwave had killed the only person he'd ever loved could instantly turn him from loyal follower to staunch opponent and destroy Soundwave's work from within. Come Optimus Prime #18, that's exactly what happens.
  • Living Lie Detector: You can't hide much from a telepath.
  • Mind Rape
  • Mouth of Sauron: Served as Ratbat's spokesbot before the war.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: We meet him when he was a homeless amnesiac, but by the time of the war he's Megatron's most faithful lieutenant and one of the highest-ranking Decepticons. After Megatron's Heel–Face Turn, it's Soundwave who keeps the Decepticons going and masterminds their alliance with the EDC and construction of the Jupiter Commune.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Admittedly, he's only a hero when compared to the other main Decepticons - but putting Galvatron in charge of the Decepticons post-Dark Cybertron was spectacularly stupid by anyone's standards.
  • No-Sell: When Needlenose finds out he was responsible for Horri-Bull's death, he furiously unleashes a barrage of missiles. Soundwave just ignores it, before delivering an Offhand Backhand to Needlenose when he won't shut up.
  • Not So Different: An infuriated Needlenose points this out with regards to Soundwave and Starscream, noting that given Soundwave was seconds away from murdering Starscream to keep him away from control of the surviving Decepticons, the two only do things for the adulation/attention of others (albeit Soundwave genuinely believes it's for a greater good).
  • The Only Believer: Soundwave never lost touch with what he felt were the true ideals of the Decepticon movement - peace, equality for all Cybertronians regardless of form or function, and freedom from those who would put themselves above other Cybertronians (such as the Primes and the Senate) - and tried his best to restart a movement that had lost its way in the aftermath of Megatron's defection. Unluckily for him, flashbacks have shown him to have failed to realise from pretty much the beginning that he was one of the few Decepticons who either lacked their own agenda or weren't completely psychotic - something that royally screws him over when Galvatron takes advantage of the latter to have the bulk of the Decepticons abandon him to invade Earth again.
  • Only Sane Man: Among Galvatron's Decepticons. Tellingly, when he leaves to meet with Thundercracker in issue #34, he's not even gone a minute before even the Cassettes are joining Galvatron's excursion to hunt down Spike Witwicky and torture him to death for info on the Enigma of Combination.
  • Odd Friendship: Soundwave and GI Joe Mainframe develop one. Mainframe later being killed even triggers a Heroic BSoD in the decepticon.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Both times when he thinks Ravage is dying and BIG time when he actually does. Later, in Optimus Prime #2 he completely blows his top at the Colonist Autobots when they mouth off about the Junkions, something Optimus notes is completely unlike him.
  • Papa Wolf: Harm one of his Cassettes (except his former boss Ratbat) and Primus help you.
  • Psychic Link: Appears to have one with his cassettes as he was able to sense Ravage's death.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a small one to Rom in issue 3 of Revolution, stating that even if the Dire Wraiths are evil creatures, Rom is still killing sentient beings without any mercy or trial yet still acting like he has the moral high ground over Cybertronians. While Optimus is later revealed to fully agree with Soundwave, he cuts him off before he can really lay into Rom.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's repeatedly shown to be this among Galvatron's Decepticons (in direct opposition to his leader), being open-minded enough to invite Thundercracker back into the fold and offer the lonely Cosmos a place in the Commune after realising how the other Autobots mistreat him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: They don't outright flee, but this is Rumble and Frenzy's thought process when their attack on the sunken Decepticon ship in All Hail Optimus turns into a massive smackdown between multiple combiners. They basically hide and only reappear when it's all over.
  • Spanner in the Works: If it wasn't for Soundwave inspiring the Sharkticons to rebel, the Junkions might very well have won.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Laserbeak and Buzzsaw spent much of the IDW continuity mute, ala their more animalistic portrayals, while Ravage was the speaker. This series has the two speaking like the humanoid Cybertronians, and often playing the peanut gallery to other characters.
  • Super Senses: They were powerful enough to cause Sensory Overload that destroyed his memories until Ravage taught him how to control them.
  • Tastes Like Purple: He has the Cybertronian version of Synesthesia.
  • Telepathy
  • Token Good Teammate: Definitely for Galvatron's Decepticons, as he's nowhere near as bloodthirsty or lacking in standards as they are.
    • Token Evil Teammate: For Optimus' inner circle after All Hail Optimus - while his Heel–Face Turn is genuine (as confirmed by Issue #57) he's still a lot more ruthless in his response to the G.I. Joe attack in Revolution than Optimus or Windblade, hitting them with a massive EMP that blows their planes out of the sky and likely would have killed a lot of pilots if Victorion hadn't been there.
  • Undying Loyalty: Soundwave to the Decepticon cause and Megatron. His companions to him (except his former boss Ratbat).
    • Even with Megatron defecting to the Autobots Ravage makes it clear that one word from him that this is some sort of ruse, and Soundwave and the Cassettes will turn on Galvatron in a heartbeat, no questions asked.
  • Villainous Rescue: Of a sort at the end of the First Strike storyline. He's not even aware of the Decepticons' battle with Devastator, but when Thundercracker begs for his help in preventing a new human/Decepticon war, he shuts down the EDC's army of Thrust/Ramjet clones with zero effort, saving Earth.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • When Thundercracker calls to beg for his help in stopping the EDC's army of Thrust/Ramjet clones, he's taking in the natural beauty of Tanzania.
    • In the same arc the Cassettes are shown to be playing poker with Blitzwing when Galvatron recruits them to go find Spike Witwicky.
  • The Voiceless: His voicebox was destroyed back in The Transformers (IDW) and spends early issues in the background, unable to speak. His speech is eventually restored, though.
  • You Are in Command Now: While Megatron is imprisoned, Starscream the leader of the Neutrals, Shockwave rogue, and Big Bad Wannabe Ratbat dead, Soundwave is briefly left as the new leader of the remnants of the Decepticon forces until Galvatron takes over.

One of the most prominent Decepticons and the Evil Genius of the IDW Transformers continuity, Shockwave abandons the Decepticons during RiD's "Decepticon Uprising" arc to further his own mysterious goal, becoming the main antagonist of The Transformers: Dark Cybertron. Tropes regarding him can now be found on the Dark Cybertron Antagonists portion of the Robots in Disguise character sheet.

Another major ex-Decepticon, Starscream abandons the Decepticons to further his own rise to power in the "Decepticon Uprising" arc, managing to spin the situation to his own advantage in order to become the ruler of Cybertron. Tropes regarding him can now be found on the Neutrals portion of the Robots in Disguise character sheet. Tropes relating to his actions in sister series Till All Are One can be found here.


Click here  to see Pre-war Senator Ratbat.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He tries to take control of the Decepticons but is killed by Arcee within two issues.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Arcee kills him by slicing off his wings and pinning him to a wall with a sword through his chest. Prowl claims he committed suicide.
  • Corrupt Politician: Pre-war as a member of the Senate.
  • Create Your Own Villain: He was the one who ordered Cybertron's energon mines to be automated, which let the miner Megatron escape to become a gladiator, he also gave a homeless bot called Soundwave a job working for him, later he sent Soundwave to offer Megatron funding and weapons technology, seeking to foster political instability for his own profit, which led to Soundwave joining Megatron's cause and Megatron turning his gladiator team into a planet-destabilizing army which would become the Decepticons. Which means Ratbat unintentionly kick-started the Autobot-Decepticon war. Good one, Ratbat.
  • Fantastic Racism: He looked down on non-humanoid Cybertronians and treated them as little more than beasts.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Soundwave and the rest of his companions hate him.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Interested by Megatron's early gladiatorial exploits, he sent Soundwave to offer the gladiator a wide variety of advanced weaponry. He was either trying to get in on the fight racket and increase the violence for profit, or was deliberately trying to create greater instability (also for profit). But Megatron used the weaponry to turn his gladiator team from members of a underground fightclub to planet-destabilizing army.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: He was a member of the Senate Cybertron's elite before he was transferred into a smaller, compact bat form he became a mere Decepticon Mook.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He's impaled by Arcee's energy-sword.
  • Killed Off for Real: He's killed by Arcee under orders from Prowl.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Soundwave had Ratbat's spark and brain module removed and transferred into a smaller, compact bat form meant to serve Soundwave, a punishment for the Senator's support of discrimination through functionism, along with Ratbat looking down on non-humanoid robot modes and treated them as little more than beasts.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He was responsible for the automation of Cybertron's energon mines, a move which gave the recently-disillusioned Megatron the freedom to preach his anti-Senate philosophy to the masses and form the Decepticons.

  • Evil Genius: Responsible for the Decepticon's breakthrough in Space Bridge Technology and him dissecting Hunter was key in the Surge. He also invented the Cerebro-shell mind control devices, and was able to use Jhiaxus and Shockwave's notes to produce the first sane Combiner.
  • Faking the Dead: Initially it seems like he'd been murdered by Prowl in issue 4. He reappears some time later.
  • Killed Off for Real: He meets a very final end at the end of Arcee's blade in issue 15.
  • Legacy Character: There was another Bombshell capable of controlling minds before him. It's not clear exactly what happened to him.
  • Mad Scientist: He managed to perfect the Combiner process in just a few years, something that had eluded Shockwave for millenia.
  • Mind-Control Device: His shells.
  • Sadist: He's clearly getting huge kicks out of forcing Prowl to commit atrocities.
  • You No Take Candle: Fluctuates in and out of this.

  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Inverted. Drift used to be Deadlock, his lieutenant.
  • Arm Cannon: He's had both types. During the war he had the wrist-mounted version, then during Drift's spotlight to post war he had the version that replaces the arm.
  • Canon Foreigner: Created by Shane McCarthy to be used for the IDW comics.
  • The Dragon: Megatron personally puts him in charge of the Iacon attack force during the Decepticon revolt.
  • The Dreaded: His reputation is marred with brutal offenses and war-crimes to the point where both the Autobots and Neutrals regard him with suspicion and fear. Seeing him encourages Metalhawk, who'd been arguing for peaceful integration of the Decepticons, to press Bumblebee to have him killed on the spot.
  • Eye Patch Of Power: Takes to wearing one after a very angry Orion Pax destroys one.
  • Eye Scream: Orion Pax manages to punch one of his eyes out.
  • Killed Off for Real: Starscream uses Metalhawk's severed armblade to stab him in the head, putting him down for good.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Has little patience for pacifists or opportunists. Dismissing Starscream as the latter costs him his life.


  • Depending on the Artist: An intentional example. Horri-bull was colored as his toy's silver in The Death Of Optimus Prime, and mustard yellow in the series proper. This was deliberate on part of the colorist who went with the color scheme to have Horri-bull stand out more.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Beats the life out of Zetca for some very minor insults - he's literally covered in Zetca's blood by the end of it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partner: With Needlenose. Though given we now know Needlenose's feelings on the matter, this trope is rather cast in doubt.
  • Killed Off for Real: Has his head blown off in the first issue.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: While Bumblebee made a conscious decision to kill Horri-bull by detonating his I/D chip, we later learn that Soundwave had hacked the chips, and Ratbat allowed him to detonate it so the Autobots wouldn't suspect that they could not control the situation anymore. Though this is played with in that while Ratbat wanted to make sure the Autobots didn't know about their doings, he also wanted to turn Horri-Bull into a martyr for the Decepticons to rally behind.
  • Police Brutality: During the time he served as Police forces under the new Autobot rule in New Iacon.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He dies in the first issue of Robots in Disguise, but the effects of Bumblebee's killing him - and more importantly, Soundwave's letting it happen - linger long after. It not only leads to Soundwave getting blackmailed into joining Optimus' cause when it turns out he knows about it, but is used by Onyx Prime (aka Shockwave) to destabilize the Decepticons as a threat to his plans when he returns.
  • Your Head Asplode: The consequence of having one's ID Chip detonated.


  • A Day in the Limelight: Issue #44 sheds a lot of light on his past, his relationship with Tracks and his Decepticon recruitment drive on Cybertron.
  • Ascended Extra: He was a fairly unimportant Con, seen with Razorclaw's offensive and the Decepticon group stranded on a meteor. Here he's grown in prominence to having as big a role as the Triple Changers.
  • The Atoner: After his Heel Realization in issue 21, he's less about the Decepticons as warriors, and more about trying to get them a better life. Though that's not to say the cons he pals around with share this mentality.
  • BFG: He takes the much larger Jetfire's gun when they storm the prison.
  • Cain and Abel: Zig-Zagged with him and Tracks. While his intentions for joining the Decepticons were noble and set him apart from Tracks' selfish egocentrism, Needlenose is clearly the more violent and dangerous of the pair.
  • Demoted to Extra: Needlenose had become one of the comic's more prominent Mauve Shirt characters and had a major supporting role in season 1. During Dark Cybertron and season 2, he faded into the background as other antics popped up. Issue 44 marks him coming back into the spotlight.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Revealed to have been in love with Horri-Bull. When he finally discovers Soundwave killed him, he tries to kill him in revenge on the spot.
    • His relationship with his brother is complicated. The two lost respect for each other Millennia ago, but in spite of that, Needlenose avoids direct confrontation. Though after Brawl previously injures him, Needlenose merely kicks him whilst he's down and leaves him for dead. However, with Brawl's absence and the pressure to be a good Decepticon alleviated, Needlenose does ask Optimus if Tracks was alright.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: Post-War he spearheads the Decepticon re-recruitment, bringing the disenfranchised 'Cons back into the fold in a scene mirroring Rodimus's own recruitment for the Lost Light.
  • Fingore: A spectacular example is to be had in the first issue, when Prowl crushes Needlenose's fist in his. To his credit, all Needlenose responds with is a furious growl.
  • Heel Realization: In issue 21, he becomes disillusioned by the Decepticons as a force for conquest. When he reappears in issue 44 and tries to get the faction back together, he's noticeably less combat orientated than Brawl. All Hail Optimus has him join up with Soundwave's peace-orientated Decepticons after the battle in Shanghai.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partner: Subverted with Horri-Bull. Though we haven't yet discovered the Horri-Bull's feelings on the matter, Needlenose was apparently in love with him.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Factions are one thing, but Needlenose really goes out of his way to denounce religious beliefs.
  • Moral Myopia: Resents the Autobots for killing Horri-Bull. Even if we ignore the fact that Soundwave was the one who really did it, the fact is that Bumblebee was forced to pull the trigger to stop Horri-Bull from beating an innocent civilian to death.
  • Police Brutality: During the time he served as part of the police force under the new Autobot regime in New Iacon.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After The Reveal Soundwave let Horri-Bull die shatters any faith he had left in the Decepticon cause (as well as Soundwave's willingness to assassinate Starscream), Needlenose abandons the entire mess with his brother Tracks.

  • Affably Evil: While willing to throw his lot in with Galvatron, he's nowhere near as unpleasant.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In Dark Cybertron #3, he gets both his legs and one of his arms blown off by the Necrotitan's death wave.
  • Blind Without Them: While not as severe as you'd think, but he still has bad eyesight and constantly uses binoculars to see far away distances. The fact that he kept this secret from everyone, especially Megatron, fearing he'd be seen as a liability, quickly gained him some fans.
  • The Chew Toy: Among other things that have happened to him in this series alone: almost going blind, getting hit by a shrapnel grenade, getting blasted by the anti-life wave which reduces him to a barely-alive torso, routinely being the object of Galvatron's wrath (who can't even remember his name, referring to him as Spacebus), and having the Decepticons' ship blown up with him still inside. When he transports Galvatron to a rendezvous with Arcee in a swamp, Galvatron casually offers to kill Astrotrain on the spot when accused of breaking a deal of silence. Then to cap it all off, Galvatron casually throws Astrotrain's life away to save his own; he flings the triple-changer, who's currently stuck in vehicle mode, at Arcee, and the Autobot trisects him with her swords.
  • Combining Mecha: Galvatron forcefully merges him with Dreadwing, Mindwipe, Blitzwing, and Acid Storm to form Galvatronus.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He and Blitzwing are not fond of the last time Shockwave and Soundwave had them biding time since they spent a while half-starved and eating each other.
  • Fingore: When fighting Soundwave, Ravage takes a bite out of Astrotrain's fingers. Astrotrain punches him off before he can do any real damage.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Arcee trisects him with her swords while he's stuck in shuttle mode.
  • Mook Promotion: He temporarily became Megatron's second-in-command after Starscream was taken out of commission in Infiltration. Starscream's return, combined with the infiltration unit structure being dissolved, saw him demoted back to being a foot-soldier.
  • Not Quite Dead: The MASK annual reveals that Astrotrain's confrontation with Arcee wasn't as fatal as first expected. An unknown alien restoration virus infected him and has kept him alive though unresponsive.
  • Number Two: Formerly the second in command of the Earth Infiltration Unit, and acted in this position during the war on Earth both to Starscream and Megatron. During the Surge, the unit was absorbed into the greater Decepticon hierarchy and he went back to being a soldier.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Back in All Hail Megatron, Astrotrain was pivotal in preventing too many humans escaping from Manhattan by destroying the subway tunnels. In issue #43, he quickly forgives a human for clumsily attaching a ducking tube to his shuttle mode. He seems to have mellowed these past few years.
    • He still follows the blatantly nuts Galvatron in trying to start a new Decepticon invasion of Earth in Shanghai without protesting though. Later, Galvatron literally throws him at Arcee in shuttle mode in an attempt to escape. When he yells he can't stop himself, a clearly angry Arcee notes he could have stopped years ago as she cuts him in three.
  • Viral Transformation: The various parts of his corpse crash on Earth in the M.A.S.K Annual and are revealed to have been partially altered by a technorganic virus, triggering a race between M.A.S.K/G.I. Joe and V.E.N.O.M for his body.


  • Body Horror: Blitzwing is captured by the EDC in issue #57, and is then forcibly disassembled and reverse engineered for his Triple Changer technology. The Revolution Prelude shows his various body parts hanging from the EDC HQ ceiling while his still-conscious head begs to die.
    • Made even more horrifying in Revolution #2. Miles Mayhem notes that they perform their vivisection while Blitzwing is still conscious because it provides the "necessary results", implying they could put Blitzwing offline, but deliberately choose not to.
  • The Brute: Comes off as this for Galvatron's forces.
  • Butt-Monkey: He's had a rotten time of it since the end of The Transformers, getting captured and vivisected by Miles Mayhem while still alive in order to engineer M.A.S.K's tech. First Strike shows him still getting brutally tortured, this time by Joe Colton in order to test the Talisman's effects on Cybertronians.
  • Combining Mecha: Galvatron forcefully merges him with Dreadwing, Mindwipe, Astrotrain, and Acid Storm to form Galvatronus.
  • Cool Plane: He's always had a jet mode as one of his alternate forms - Infiltration showed it looking greatly like a Russian Su-27 jet fighter.
  • Eye Scream: One of the back-up stories for First Strike shows Miles Mayhem ripping out one of his optical sensors with a crowbar.
  • Tank Goodness: A tank is traditionally one of Blitzwing's alt-modes - in Infiltration he resembled a Leopard 2A4, while in Devastation he looked like a Russian T-90.
  • Tempting Fate: Blitzwing takes advantage of the EDC attack to escape in issue #57, proclaiming whoever's attacking them can't be as bad as the Autobots. He near-instantly discovers how wrong he is as he's impaled by the EDC mechs, captured and then brutally vivisected while still conscious by Miles Mayhem to reverse-engineer his Triple Changer tech for M.A.S.K. By Revolution #2 he's begging Mayhem and any other listening humans to just let him die.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Can be seen playing cards with the Cassettes in his downtime.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: His ultimate fate went unrevealed by the end of the IDW continuity.

  • A Day in the Limelight: While his Seeker brethren Starscream and Thundercracker have both received a lot of focus in RID/The Transformers, his role in G.I. Joe is Skywarp's most prominent role in the IDW-verse to date.
  • Bash Brothers: With Rock n' Roll by the time of G.I. Joe: First Strike - they still bicker, but prove a remarkably effective team against Cobra/V.E.N.O.M, even having combo shooting moves they've actually named.
  • Cool Plane: His original alt-mode in the Infiltration days was an F-22 Raptor, before reverting to his traditional F-15 form in All Hail Megatron and then his War for Cybertron body once Cybertron is restored. With G.I. Joe, he turns into what appears to be an updated version of the F-15.
  • Confess in Confidence: Apparently has a habit of doing this with Rock, one seen example being how he admitted being lonely to him.
  • Defector from Decadence: Skywarp becomes this near the end of All Hail Optimus, helping Blackrock escape and joining up the the EDC after realising Galvatron couldn't care less about fixing his malfunctioning teleporting powers.
  • Deus Exit Machina: He's a 30ft-tall living war machine and easily the most powerful Joe - consequently he's been hurriedly sidelined by writers a few times in situations where he'd be extremely useful to the team. In both Micronauts: Wrath of Karza and Revolutionaries #8 he's quickly disabled before he can get into the fight (specifically so in the former case). Played for Laughs in G.I. Joe: First Strike, where Shipwreck deliberately leaves him out of the mission to stop Cobra/V.E.N.O.M on account of his being an asshole.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Skywarp's stabbed mid teleportation by Arcee near the end of the Deception Uprising arc. Since then his powers have been going AWOL, and he's barely able to keep himself together. While the other Decepticons stabilized him (by integrating him into the ship), he's still in bad shape. He later abandons Galvatron (after it becomes obvious he's not going to help him) and joins Blackrock and the EDC in the hopes they can do something about it.
    • G.I. Joe #1 confirms that while his physical instability has been fixed, he's lost the ability to teleport, and is now with G.I. Joe until they can sort it for him. Subsequent isses showed they were never on the level in case he went rogue again, but Destro finally fixes it in Unicron so he'll be of greater use against the planet-killer's forces.
  • The Heavy: For G.I. Joe. His size and firepower end a standoff with the Red Shadows in a matter of moments.
  • Jerkass: Very much so in G.I. Joe, given he's stuck with a group of humans he utterly detests. His character descriptor in First Strike even says "Jet and Jerk".
    • Played for laughs in G.I. Joe: First Strike, as Shipwreck declines to bring him along on their mission against V.E.N.O.M on the grounds "he's a jerk" - which backfires spectacularly as without him, the Joes have no way to catch the V.E.N.O.M agents when they use their vehicles to just fly off.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Moans about Thundercracker's arrival in Unicron and initially seems glad to see him blasted by the Maximals - but when the chips are down, saves him from the beast Transformers.
  • Mutually Unequal Relationship: Thought Doc liked him. She doesn't.
  • Not So Above It All: In First Strike he engages in a bizarre little dialogue with Roadblock, critiquing the current state of Cybertron's fashion.
  • Odd Friendship: Eventually develops one with Rock n' Roll, the human being the only one allowed to ride him and the two even being shown to be spending time chilling, talking and listening to music together.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Rock n' Roll looks to sacrifice himself (with Skywarp's help) to stop the mutated cavern creatures, Skywarp initially flat-out states he'll abandon him to save himself as soon as it becomes appropriate, but relents when it comes right down to it, admitting it's an honor to stand alongside a true warrior.
    • Admits in Unicron to liking Dirge after the latter's death, which is probably the nicest he's been to another Cybertronian since Thundercracker in All Hail Megatron.
    • Points out in the same conversation that out of all the Seekers he's the only one that actually turns up to follow Starscream in their insane-looking strike at Unicron - though Starscream's current less-than-stellar reputation among the Decepticons currently might have had something to do with that.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Even without his teleportation, Skywarp is very much still an elite Decepticon Seeker.
  • Reality Ensues: Not the cause, but the recipient. A common complaint among fans has been that a card-carrying Decepticon with a long history of atrocities against humanity like Skywarp is a very odd fit for a team of heroes like G.I. Joe. Scarlett's Strike Force consequently reveals that G.I. Joe felt this way too, being capable of repairing his teleport ability but choosing not to in case he ever goes rogue again.
  • Redemption Earns Life: G.I. Joe ultimately stabilizes his condition and gives him a new lease on life. Compare his fate to some of the other Galvatron loyalists...
  • Ship Tease: With Rock n' Roll! Even Accidental Innuendo about Rock riding him aside, it's so obvious to the extent that fellow joe Salvo even calls it out:
    Salvo: He wrecked the mole pod and jeopardized the mission! That psycho's more dangerous than his alien girlfriend.
    Skywarp: Hey! Watch your mouth!
    Salvo: Why? You getting jealous of Doc?
    Skywarp: What's that supposed to mean?
    Salvo: That explosion dislodge your processor? Need me to spell it out for you?
  • Those Two Guys: Rapidly becoming this with Rock N' Roll, to his immense annoyance.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Again, for G.I. Joe. While he's nominally on the side of angels, he's still a card-carrying Decepticon who occasionally refers to humans as vermin.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Between the original Simon Furman stories and All Hail Megatron. In the -ation miniseries he was just a Decepticon flunky whose most prominent role was nearly being blasted apart by Megatron to show how dangerous the Decepticon leader was. By All Hail #6 he was shown to have killed half the population of Beijing on his own. Assuming he wasn't lying/exaggerating, at the time the comic was published, that was around 8.5 million people.
  • Transplant: Skywarp joins G.I. Joe of all groups in their post-Revolution ongoing series, after they rescue him from Dire Wraiths in their Revolution one-shot.
  • Trigger Happy: With G.I. Joe. He shows zero interest in what the team's doing and takes great joy in getting to kill strange creatures.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His friendship with Rock does not mean insults aren't repeatedly exchanged.

  • Adaptational Wimp: Back in the 80s cartoon, he could pull a full-on Mind Rape, and in the comics managed to momentarily brainwash Soundwave. Here he can only throw up psychic shields and acts as a Mad Scientist.
  • Ascended Extra: Appears as a background guy in the first year. Around issue 50 he briefly shows up in a starring role, before going back to an extra.
  • Bat Out of Hell: His alternate mode which he's almost always in.
  • Combining Mecha: He forms part of Galvatronus. He considers it an honour to serve Galvatron in such a manner.
  • The Dragon: To Galvatron.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Soundwave. Both are telepathic Decepticons but Soundwave wants to stop the fighting while Mindwipe will gladly follow Galvatron into the jaws of hell.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: He serves the Decepticon ideology. Whether it's Megatron or Galvatron, he'll follow the leader without fail.
  • Telepath
  • Undying Loyalty: To Galvatron with the extent of it bordering on worship. It's not reciprocated in the slightest.

  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Inverted. He's prone to humor like his original version, but this Sky-Byte has more quiet dignity to him and isn't the Designated Monkey.
  • Beatnik: He even recites poetry at Maccadam's.
  • Canon Immigrant: From the original Robots in Disguise anime.
  • Defector from Decadence: Originally a Decepticon, but became neutral in the aftermath of the Decepticon uprising. By the time of All Hail Optimus he's joined again because he believes in Soundwave's dream of a peaceful home, and stays with him in the aftermath of Galvatron's betrayal.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Alongside Cosmos, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw, dies battling Bludgeon's hordes to give the inhabitants of Sanctuary time to get away.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dies during Bludgeon's attack on Sanctuary.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Subverted. He's an honorable and mellow fellow.
  • Warrior Poet: More Poet than Warrior, but still counts.


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