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The Transformers: Combiner Wars is the IDW 6-issue event of 2015 for The Transformers: Robots in Disguise which launched the second The Transformers: Windblade series.

Starscream remains in power back on Cybertron and he's turned his sights to the stars. He seeks to reunite the wayward Cybertronian Colonies, starting with Caminus, all under his total rule. However, with the ever present threat to his leadership, Starscream turns to the age old Transformers super weapon: combiners. Now it's up to Optimus, Windblade and the rest to find some way to stop these titanic monsters from tearing the peace down and cementing Starscream's mad power grab.

This 6 issue event is written by John Barber of Robots in Disguise and Mairghread Scott of Windblade with art by Livio Ramondelli and Sarah "Fayren" Stone. It is followed by a one shot called Combiner Hunters written by Scott and drawn by Sara Pitre-Durocher which functions as something of a bonus 7th issue debuting the fan voted combiner, Victorion.

Combiner Wars is the first in a Trilogy of "Events" to tie into Toylines. In 2016, Hasbro teamed up with Machinima to produce an animated miniseries based on the same toyline as the comic, The Transformers: Combiner Wars.


  • Acrophobic Bird: In standard fashion for attacking a gigantic enemy, when Starscream's badgeless go up against Menasor they don't bother flying higher than he can reach and get crushed for their efforts.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Superion's original battle with Menasor back in the cartoon was noteworthy for it being one of the few times an Autobot combiner lost to their Decepticon counterpart, needing Omega Supreme to step in to help. Here Superion curb-stomps Menasor.
    • In most G1 continuities, Devastator, being the prototype combiner, is the weakest of the bunch (in the cartoon, he was easily bested by Bruticus). But in this story's climax, it takes three other combiners working together to beat him.
  • Advertised Extra: The advertising for the event unveiled The Mistress of Flame as a new player in the political climate, but she only appears in half the event, and is relegated to the background for most of her time on panel.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the cartoon Menasor was not only the Decepticon's strongest combiner, but also one of the strongest period. Here it's clear his limitations make him one of the weakest.
  • Agony of the Feet: When Defensor gets Devastator in a hold, Devastator shoots him in the foot and elbows his face to throw him off.
  • Ambiguously Evil:
    • The Mistress of Flame is solicited as a religious leader whose presence can lead to a valuable ally or dangerous threat. Though by series end she doesn't do anything remotely amoral.
    • First aka Elita One who only appears on the very last page of the event. The character displays an interest in Cybertron, all the while sitting on a sinister spiked throne that seems to be made of bots welded together with an off putting smirk. Whether or not Adaptational Villainy, will kick in (and to what extent) is left up in the air up until the character's formal debut in later issues. Compounding matters is that Obsidian appears alongside First, and Obsidian has had a history of appearing as both a good and bad guy in fiction.
  • Arc Welding: Like RID, Combiner Wars goes about tying story arcs together. This time Mirage's spotlight from 2008 (wherein he had a dream that he was a Decepticon, which may have actually been an alternate universe or something to do with time-travel) is referenced as him having gamma cybrobutyric acid building up in his head and causing such dreams, maybe. It retains the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane feeling as the spotlight, as it's tied into Ironhide's visions from the Ongoing and RID.
  • Armed Legs: All the Combiners save Devastator, which matches the related action figures. Defensor uses his foot guns to provide a little extra punishment at one point when he fires them while simultaneously kicking Devastator in the head.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Downplayed with Starscream. He has gotten through to Caminus, succeeded in his plan to form a government which he controls, and retains his Villain with Good Publicity status. However Rattrap knows of a way to prove he initiated the attack on Caminus, and at the end of the Combiner "War," two Combiners are loyal to Optimus and the people rather than him, and the one under his control is more likely to ignore him and smash stuff. All three give him only the illusion of power rather than a means to enforce his rule.
  • Big Bad: Promotional Materials as well as the Authors themselves all bill Starscream as such.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Starscream and Prowl share this role. Starscream seeks to use Combiners and the Spacebridge to strengthen his hold over Cybertron and take control of the Cybertronian colonies. Prowl opposes Starscream and wants to keep Cybertron and the colonies isolated for the good of the galaxy. However, this course of action will ultimately doom the Cybertronian race to extinction.
  • Call-Back: The reason Wildrider isn't involved with the Stunticons? He quit after they were beaten up by Bumblebee, in the guy's Spotlight issue.
  • Canon Foreigner: Rook and Off Road are introduced here (Alpha Bravo counts as well, but he was introduced back in RID). Both are original characters created for the series though they do bear some resemblance to previous characters namely Rook (the Autobot newscaster) and Ruckus (whom Off Road was originally supposed to be before they made him his own character). Non toyline related would be the Mistress of Flame.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Lightbright, originally a background extra from Transformers: Animated, is now imported into IDW as a city speaker.
    • Airazor and Tigatron from Beast Wars are glimpsed at the beast planet
    • Obsidian from Beast Machines has a cameo in the finale.
  • Caped Mecha: Like Tyrest, the Mistress of Flame wears a cape.
  • Combining Mecha: The central focus of the series will be the Combiners as weapons.
  • Composite Character: Blackjack is both himself and he assumes the role of the Roller Car, becoming Menasor's chest piece. Afterburner looks like a combination of his G2 self and Dreadwing.
  • Consummate Liar: Starscream. After he engineers Menasor's attack from behind the scenes and is called in to deal with it, he betrays none of his guilt. His response is completely in character: annoyance, slight vanity, blaming others, and finally doing something, all actions that he takes if he isn't the cause of the problem. Optimus still sees through him because of how convenient this problem is.
  • Cowardice Callout: After Cybertron is reformatted and Starscream begins taking a sort of leadership role in an uneasy alliance with the Autobots and Neutral Cybertonians; Starscream and Neutral leader Metalhawk are confronted by the Decepticon hardliner Turmoil, who curses Starscream as a coward and a traitor for trying to work with their enemies instead of destroying them. Turmoil calls Starscream a cowardly opportunist, whose only loyalty is to himself and pursuit of power. Starscream agrees, and then points out that Turmoil's mistake was giving an opportunist like him an opportunity. He then severs Turmoil's arm and splits his head in half.
  • Crucial Cross: When Optimus Prime opens his chest to unveil the Matrix, it shines out through his chest panels and looks like a cross. At this point the Matrix was basically empty and incapable of shining (which was later retconned), and the Transformer mythology had changed to make it resemble Christianity less in this continuity; but the message of Optimus being a Messiah-like figure come to save the world from hopelessness come across easily.
  • The Cynic: Good ol' Dead End, always keeping his disposition in the face of bad odds.
    Dead End: We had our chance and this is the prize for last place. Get used to it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Swindle, the snarky little bastard.
    Motormaster: Swindle you miserable little poppet valve.
    Swindle: Great to see you too Motormaster! I really thought you were going to beat Optimus Prime. I mean, I know literally millions of Decepticons have tried for literally millions of years, but I seriously thought tonight was the night bud.
    Motormaster: I'd be perfectly happy smashing you.
    Swindle: Take it easy big guy.
  • Detachment Combat: One of Superion's new skills is he can control his limbs and have them fly around and take on enemies. Defensor may have this ability as he can launch off an arm, but unlike Superion, his limbs don't have jet engines built into them for flying potential.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Camien aversion to guns and blasters carries over from the Windblade Miniseries. Camien soldiers use melee weapons while Badgeless use projectile fire. Chromia, notably, also uses blasters in this series.
  • Dumbass No More: After the Enigma and Wheeljack's repairs, Superion's mental capacity has greatly increased. He's not some Computron-esque genius, and still speaks in third person, but he's capable of fighting smartly, holding steady communication, and he emotes far better.
  • Engineered Heroics: Starscream has Menasor sent to Caminus so he can send Superion to save the day.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Out of desperation, Prowl turns Optimus Prime, himself, and some other nearby Autobots into Optimus Maximus. Although Prowl intends to use Optimus Maximus to go through with his original plan, his other components override his input and save the day.
  • Equippable Ally: Powerglide has been upgraded by Wheeljack to serve as Superion's gun.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Optimus Prime and the Camiens are more or less caught in the crossfire between Starscream, who wants to forcibly integrate the colonies into his new empire, and Prowl, who will go to any length necessary to cut Cybertron off from the rest of the galaxy. In the end, Starscream comes out on top, although Optimus and Windblade take steps to ensure that he can't abuse his new political power.
  • Eye Scream:
    • One of the Badgeless opens fire and shoots Menasor in the eye during the conflict in the first issue of Windblade. There is no lasting damage.
    • During their first fight, Devastator finishes Superion off with a clock to the side of his head, shattering his visor and crushing his left eye.
    • Devastator is also shot in the face in that fight by a group of normal-sized Autobots and Decepticons, leaving Prowl missing an eye (as he was functioning as Devastator's head at the time).
  • False Flag Operation: Played straight. Starscream hands the Enigma of Combination off to Swindle to throw a combiner at Caminus. He then hides his involvement, and sends troops to their aid, all to make him look benevolent. However Optimus makes him play his trumpcard (Superion) earlier than he wanted and that's what saves the day (fortunate too because Starscream's troops weren't exactly winning).
  • The Federation: Optimus and Windblade want to establish one made up of Cybertron and the colony worlds. Starscream would rather start The Empire with himself as leader, of course. Prowl wants none of the above.
  • Foreshadowing: During Optimus's first conversation with Superion, Superion mentions that it's hard to explain what it's like to be a combiner without being one yourself. Guess what happens to Optimus in the finale.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Swindle.
  • Hope Spot: The last regular issue implies that Prime and Prowl might reconcile their different views on life and salvage their friendship. The epilogue dashes any hope of that.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Rattrap allies himself with Prowl citing the latter's intelligence and ability to scheme. Unfortunately, he wasn't present for the Earth events showing Prowl's scheming ability is slowly going down in the world due to the Combiner Process.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: If there's anything Sparkstalker's learned from getting beaten up by a serial killer and having his legs shot off is just go with the flow. So now he's helping out the Autobots and assisting in the relief efforts on Caminus.
  • Hulk Speak: Menasor not have good grasp of grammar.
  • Identical Stranger: Hot Shot appears here as one of the Camien cityspeakers. He also got gunned down by Drag Strip during a Decepticon offensive all the way back in the Drift miniseries.
  • Implacable Man: Devastator is the most durable of the combiners to the point where it takes all of the Autobot combiners to gang up on him to finally put him down.
  • Large and in Charge: The Mistress of Flame rules Caminus, and is almost twice Windblade's size.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Victorion, the fan-built combiner appears in a one-shot adventure at the tail end of the event.
  • Lensman Arms Race: A continuing theme of IDW's Transformers work. Combiners are all the rage. The Autobots have two (Superion and Devastator, more or less), the Decepticons have one (Menasor), and Starscream really wants one of his own, for Cybertron's protection, of course. And now he has the means to do just that.
  • Macguffin: The Enigma of Combination, a creation of Nexus Prime hidden on Earth and stolen by Scoop, which kicks off the plot.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The biggest notable example in the IDW comics. The event promotes the much anticipated Combiner subline of Transformers.
  • Mental Fusion: We get a brief glimpse of what goes on inside a combiner's mind with Optimus Maximus, which involves all five parts of his psyche having to merge into a single unified entity to stay coherent, and Prowl refusing to go along with it.
  • The Messiah: Optimus, with Faux Symbolism and all.
  • The Mole:
    • Blackjack was assigned to infiltrate the Stunticons so his anger issues would make Menasor even more unstable.
    • Rattrap works as one for Prowl.
  • Mundane Utility: The Firecons breath flames so hot that the very air on Varas Centralus burned. Thousands of Autobots died at the hands of their fire. Here Sparkstalker wields the very same fire and uses it... to weld damaged infrastructure.
  • Mythology Gag: At one point Starscream is seen looking for a new body, with the options looking like other previous versions of him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Prowl's little stunt in Windblade #2 made Starscream look good. While Prime had maneuvered around Screamer and had the faith of the people not only invested into Cybertron itself but Optimus as well, now Starscream looks like a heroic Reasonable Authority Figure combating the Autobots' barely-controlled super monster. In the eyes of the counsel, Starscream looks good, and now he has two combiners at his disposal.
  • No Name Given: The Leaders of Caminus are just referred to as the Red Leader and Yellow Leader by the script.
  • Our Founder: Caminus's people all worship Solus Prime as having founded their colony. She even has a giant statue of her at work at her forge.
  • Pals with Jesus: Given that Optimus is basically Jesus in the eyes of the Camians.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Starscream, to quote Scott:
    Unlike other villains, Starscream is just as willing to do the right thing as the wrong thing. That’s what makes him so dangerous.
  • President Evil: Starscream.
  • Puppet State: It's no secret that the Ruling council of Caminus just squabble amongst themselves, and that the Mistress of Flame has most of the power due to the planet's heavy focus on religion. In a more sinister sense, this is Starscream's plan with both Caminus and the other Colonies, to have them work under him in exchange for survival and independence (which Windblade even admits is a better fate than starving or just burning out).
  • Remember the New Guy?: Averted with Off-Road, a new character who's joined up with the Stunticons to replace Wildrider, but played straight with Black Jack, another new character with the Stunticons, but his dialogue implies he's been on the team for a while.
    • Rook of the Protectobots, to a very jarring extent. While Hot Spot, First Aid, Streetwise, Blades and Groove all appear and have some dialogue, Rook is mostly silent, and often appears like he was just tossed in at the last minute. When Defensor is formed, however, Groove just up and vanishes while Rook takes his place without elaboration.
  • Rocket Punch: Three Variations. Devastator rips off Superion's arm, Air Raid, but as he tosses it away, Air Raid's engines activate and the arm flies back at Devastator. Defensor can launch his detachable fists, and he can also fire off his arm, Blades, for a devastating finishing blow.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The cast page gives a short description of the characters along with their names. Prowl's is simply "Prowl".
  • Spanner in the Works: Menasor's not mentally stable, even with the Enigma of Combination. However Blackjack was added to the team to help divert the giant's rage and make it harder to focus. So when Menasor realizes he's being tricked into attacking Caminus, and Swindle convinces him of Starscream's deception, his rage overrides his ability to focus and he goes back to smashing the planet.
  • Staff of Authority: The Mistress of Flame wields a hammer shaped staff, to honor their founding Prime, Solus.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Like Ultra Magnus, Prowl views the world this way, seeing probability numbers around everyone and everything.
  • Status Quo Is God: Prowl is removed from Devastator and replaced with Scoop (whose altmode resembles Scrapper's), with Hook returning to the head position, only a few months in advance of Hasbro releasing a new Constructicons set based on the G1 characters.
  • Third-Person Person: The Heroic Combiners speak this way. For Defensor it's part of his stilted Omega Supreme like speech, while for Superion it's more of a verbal tic, as he speaks normally otherwise.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Subtly implied by one of the Aerialbots when they're about to combine, that it's going to hurt at the very least.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A Camien law officer's reaction to finding Menasor is to attempt to read of the statutes he's breaking. This goes as well as you'd expect.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Superion's back, smarter, and stronger than ever.
    • In his first appearance, Menasor barely worked as the Stunticons minds were not completely in sync. While he's still not bright, he is able to fight effectively and hold his component parts together.
    • While not more physically powerful, Starscream is much better prepared and positioned in this event than he was in the last one.
  • Torso with a View: Weaponized when Menasor punches Superion in the chest, he separates his chest panels so the blow passes through him, and ends with Menasor stuck at a difficult angle. The toy's chest panels can also separate, but not in such a manner.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Take a good look at Devastator in all the promotional images where's Prowl?
    • Also there's Scoop, having retrieved the Enigma of Combination, spoiling the outcome of the RID arc building up Combiner Wars.
    • Solicitations were released for the epilogue, on the day the first part was released no less, revealing Starscream is likely to get away with whatever he's going to do, and if not, still be an active schemer post Combiner Wars.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Starscream has Scoop imprisoned with the other Constructicons when his addition fails to bring Devastator under his permanent control, despite Scoop's unwavering loyalty and contributions to Starsceam's machinations.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Devastator doesn't have as many different skills as the Enigma Combiners, but his brute strength more than makes up for it. When he fights Superion, the Autobot makes use of his Detachment Combat, turns his feet into fists to sucker punch him, and uses his smarts to get around Devastator's attacks. Devastator just beats him to a pulp and drags his unconscious body through the portal. When he takes on Superion again, the Autobot's more artful skill is countered by Devastator... just punching him, again. For Example, Superion dodges a punch to the face by splitting his head in two, so Devastator just slams his fist into both sides of his head.
  • Villain Has a Point: Starscream just loves to lace his self-serving ambitions with logical thinking. His insults to Optimus about using titles (like Prime) to put oneself above the others is detrimental to the new peace (which ol' Screamers obviously being a hypocrite about since his whole Chosen One schtick puts him above others), which Optimus agrees with. Then there's Starscream's justification about using Superion, since Optimus has Devastator, a dangerous powerful monster that Optimus really cannot control.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Starscream presents himself as the savior of Cybertronians and Camiens. While the main characters and most of the Decepticons don't buy it (none of the Titular Combiners trust him), and the Camiens are far more interested in Optimus as he is a Prime, Starscream does have enough support from the public and the Camiens themselves to stay on this trope's good side.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Prowl violently attempts to keep Cybertron and Caminus separate, rationalizing that in uniting them it will just give Starscream more pawns. He isn't wrong, but Windblade and the others go along with it because the alternative is death, that and Prowl's mind is eroding due to being part of Devastator.

Alternative Title(s): Transformers Combiner Wars