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"The whole universe knows more about me than I do... and they all hate me."
Stardrive
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Meet Stardrive! She's exactly what you'd expect to see in a model Space Knight cadet: loyal, friendly, dedicated to protecting the innocent from the evil Dire Wraiths, and a firm believer in the compassionate ideals of her mentor Rom. So why doesn't anybody in the Solstar Order seem to like her?

Maybe it's just because of one itty-bitty detail: she happens to be a 18-foot tall robot capable of turning into a car.

Autobots might wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons, but their penchant for collateral damage means that Cybertronians aren't the most popular species in the galaxy - a sentiment that the orphaned Stardrive learns the hard way as she grows up in the care of the Solstar Order. When a diplomatic mission to the backwater planet of Xetaxxis goes awry, Stardrive is caught between two worlds after Starscream's Decepticon-Wraith alliance targets her, forcing Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus to intervene. When these two worlds violently collide, Stardrive will have to decide where her true loyalties lie...

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Part of the Hasbro Comic Universe, Rom vs. Transformers: Shining Armor is a miniseries written by John Barber (The Transformers, Revolutionaries) and Christos Gage (Rom) and illustrated by Alex Milne (More Than Meets the Eye), exploring the galactic community during the height of the Autobot-Decepticon war set in the little-explored era before the Infiltration miniseries.


Tropes:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And then Sky Blast and Ultra Magnus were Dire Wraiths.
  • Apocalypse How: Xetaxxis ultimately suffers a Planetary-level one when Stardrive's energon synthesizer explodes.
  • Asshole Victim: The Jerkass Galactic Council captain who caused the deaths of Stardrive's guardians is killed and replaced by the Dire Wraiths.
  • Bad Boss: Vekktral doesn't care in the slightest about casualties, gleefully sending as many men to die as it takes to get a job done. Even Starscream is disturbed by how callous he is.
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  • Big Bad: Though Starscream is attempting to make it into a Big Bad Duumvirate, it's clear Vekktral is the singular Big Bad for the story. He's the one who's initiating the conflict, he's the one who's Eviler Than Thou, and he's the one who's most solidly in the antagonist role while Starscream can be more of a Villain Protagonist.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Definitely further to the bitter side. The Autobots and Space Knights break up the Decepticons-Wraith alliance, defeat Vekktral, and ensure that the Decepticons will never get their hands on the energon synthesizer. But Ultra Magnus, Sky Blast, and Auxin are dead and the heroes couldn't save Xetaxxis, which is devastated by the synthesizer exploding. Stardrive leaves the Solstar Order to find a new life, Rom can only watch as Livia continues to encourage young Space Knights to act like her, and Bumblebee is left trying his best to move on.
  • Body Horror: When a Wraith infests a Transformer, expect things to get ugly very quickly.
  • Butt-Monkey: Astrotrain does not come out on top here.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Sky Blast, a Mini-Con from the Unicron Trilogy, appears here as a full-sized Autobot warrior. Don't expect to see him in any future issues.
    • Ursa Major and Doomwings, Decepticons from the defunct Chinese MMO Transformers Online, make cameo appearances as Red Shirts.
    • The inhabitants of Xetaxxis very briefly appeared in a season 3 episode of The Transformers; here, they are re-imagined as an organic race wearing Tusken Raider-esque headgear.
  • Canon Welding: A John Barber specialty.
    • While not mentioned in-story, Word of God confirms that Stardrive came from the Transformer colony of Caminus, Windblade's homeworld.
    • The whole reason why Starscream teams up with the Wraiths is to get his hands on Stardrive's artificial energon synthesizer, owing to the scarcity of Energon after the destruction of Cybertron back in Stormbringer.
    • The violently robo-phobic Galactic Council first appeared over in More Than Meets the Eye.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ultra Magnus remains a Legacy Character, as first revealed in the pages of MTMTE. It's a bit of a mystery as to who's under the armor this time.
    • Magnus attempts to arrest Stardrive under the terms of the Tyrest Accord, which has been a part of Magnus' IDW history since his original appearance back in the -ations.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Starscream is particularly sassy in this miniseries, and doesn't have much patience for Vekktral's bombastic remarks.
  • Dirty Coward: Downplayed with Starscream. While it's still a core of the character, Starscream's cunning and pragmatism tend to outshine his cowardice. Even though he runs in the end he did make a point to continue to push for the Synthesizer and only cut out when it was clear that they weren't going to win.
  • Energy Weapon: The signature weapon of the Space Knights. As a consequence of her size and strength, Stardrive wields a massive set of wrist-mounted Neutralizers.
  • Fantastic Racism: A driving theme in Stardrive's story arc: as a Space Knight cadet, Stardrive's biggest hurdle is the fact that the people around her see her as a destructive monster rather than a person. Other Space Knights see the Cybertronians as a whole as emotionless machines rather than real people.
    • For their part, the Decepticons see organics as non-entities.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Downplayed, but Sata comes to begrudgingly respect the Autobots while fighting alongside them, and is genuinely upset by the fate of Ultra Magnus.
  • Friend to All Living Things:
    • For no other reason than out of the goodness of his heart, Rom rescues Stardrive's injured baby protoform so that it can be nursed back to health.
    • Bumblebee, naturally, tries to strike up a friendship with Solstar Order rookie Sata.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Ultra Magnus is a good guy at heart and is determined to fight criminals like the Decepticons, but that doesn't mean he has to be nice about it. Livia takes this trope even further; too far in fact, as it gets increasingly hard to see her as much better than the Wraiths.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: An infected Ultra Magnus reasserts control of himself long enough to allow the Space Knights to kill him and mortally wound Vekktral.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Bumblebee with Ultra Magnus after the latter is possessed by Vekktral. He can't free Magnus entirely, but does help him regain control long enough for Rom to destroy the Magnus/Vekktral fusion.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Bumblebee, Ultra Magnus, and Sky Blast come upon a Galactic Council cruiser just after it was attacked and find the crew all dead. Said crew was killed by Vekktral and his Wraiths with Starscream's help so they could infiltrate the summit on Orchid Crossing station.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Autobots and Space Knights briefly clash after crashing on Xetaxxis, though they soon learn that they're both on the same side.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As much of a tool as she is, Livia does bring some salient points and even Rom reluctantly acknowledges this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ultra Magnus initially seems overly violent and brash. However, he eventually proves more reasonable than he seems and doesn't hesitate at all to back up the Space Knights despite not getting along with them. Later, he not only bravely fights a whole battalion of Wraiths so that Bumblebee and Sata can escape, but gives his life to help stop Vekktral.
  • MacGuffin: Stardrive's energon synthesizer.
  • Magic Versus Science: Downplayed, but the central conflict is between the technological Space Knights and Autobots and the magical Dire Wraiths. Vekktral's attempts to combine the two are looked at unfavorably by his superiors.
  • Mercy Kill: Rom is ultimately forced to do this to Ultra Magnus.
    • Livia expresses the belief that half of Xetaxxis getting blown up when the synthesizer explodes is this, arguing that it was better than letting the people there be consumed by the Wraiths. Stardrive, Rom, and Bumblebee don't entirely agree and feel more could've been done to save Xetaxxis.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Sata, a Space Knight recruit with four arms.
  • Mythology Gag: Xetaxxans were a one-off species in the original Transformers cartoon in an episode that also featured a hectic interstellar diplomatic conference.
  • Nice Guy: Bumblebee. Of the heroes, he's the most focused on doing what's right regardless of the consequences or how much he and his suffer behind it.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Zig-Zagged. The first time a Wraith tries to merge with a Cybertronian, it fails to account for its biology and swiftly loses control of the fusion before dying. Vekktral just does it again and pulls it off, pointing out that he's had time to analyze his predecessor's mistakes. After Vekktral's defeat the Wraiths view the merging with Cybertronians as abhorrent to their culture and vow never to do it again.
  • Only Sane Man: Rom is not only the most experienced member of his team, but also has a cooler head and understands that saving lives is more important than fighting Wraiths. Unfortunately, he's been teamed up with a Knight Templar and three impressionable rookies.
    • Dirge is the first Decepticon to try protest allying the Dire Wraiths and is hesitant to work with them throughout the story. Naturally, Starscream blows him off.
  • Orc Raised by Elves: The Solstar Order believe that they've done this, but they're surprised to learn that not all Cybertronians are destructive monsters.
  • Original Generation: Stardrive.
  • Parental Substitute: Rom seems to be this for Stardrive.
  • Pet the Dog: Sata spends much of the story disliking cybertronions intensely and being openly rude to the Autobots with zero provocation... but when Magnus makes his Last Stand against an army of Wraiths, Sata is legitimately distressed and Bumblebee has to talk her out of going back to help Magnus.
  • Planetary Nation: Discussed - Rom notes that all of the member species in the Solstar Order united under a single planetary government before developing space travel. They are amazed to learn that the Cybertronians completely bypassed this stage of their development.
  • Power Armor: The hallmark armor of the Space Knights. Starscream is unimpressed by them, and is somewhat disgusted to learn that Stardrive has undergone the same process.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Livia sees herself as this, but in truth she's really more of Sociopathic Hero.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Rom, though his team doesn't appreciate it nearly as much as they should.
  • The Reveal: Though not a particularly plot relevant one, we do learn who's wearing the Magnus Armor by the final issue. It's an Autobot named Convoy. After his death a previous wearer of the armor, Minimus Ambus, reassumes the role.
  • Secret Keeper: Its revealed that Bumblebee knew about Magnus being a Legacy Character, having been told about it by the current Magnus/Convoy.
    • He also does not reveal that the Solstar Order can process synthetic Energon to Optimus and Autobot High Command fearing that even his own side would not be able to resist using force to take the technology from them.
  • Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story: Sort of. While it's arguably a victory for the heroes since they prevent the Decepticons and Wraiths from becoming unstoppable, the destruction of Xetaxxis leaves everyone with a bad taste in their mouth and it's clear that nobody got what they really wanted from the conflict.
  • Shoulder Cannon: Livia's signature weapons, which she uses to blow Ursa Major apart.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: The first time a Wraith tries to take control of a Cybertronian body, the resulting monster continues to mutate out of control until it simply burns away to cinders.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The very last panel of the miniseries shows Stardrive gazing out at her idyllic new homeworld... unaware that a trace of the same Dire Wraith infection that claimed Sky Blast and Ultra Magnus apparently lingers in her system.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Transformers, of course! Stardrive is notable for being a Triple Changer, able to become both a car and a starfighter.
  • Villain Team-Up: Starscream and his Decepticons team up with the Dire Wraiths, though it's clear that Starscream has very little patience for Vekktral's own goals.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus seem like the last people who would be friends and argue a fair bit, but ultimately it's clear they care deeply for one another.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Rom's Space Knight team can barely get along with each other, let alone the Autobots.
  • We Have Reserves: A major source of tension in Vekktral's villainous team up: the Dire Wraiths do, and the Decepticons emphatically do not.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Bumblebee is very much an idealist who tries his best to make everyone happy. He gets a fair amount of disrespect from most of the Space Knights for it (as well as semi-friendly ribbing from Magnus), but Rom definitely shares his feelings and wishes the other Space Knights could see things that way.
  • The Worf Effect: Lampshaded after Astrotrain blows up Auxin; Stardrive remarks that she's never seen a Space Knight die before.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Several other Space Knights try to compliment Stardrive this way. She's alternately offended and hurt by it.
  • You Shall Not Pass!!: Ultra Magnus takes on the Dire Wraith horde to buy time for the others and very nearly succeeds in taking them down.
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