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Comic Book / The Transformers: Dark Cybertron

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The final cataclysm is at hand... at my hand.

Dark Cybertron is the IDW 12-Issue Crisis Crossover event of 2013-2014 for their Transformers Series, More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise.

On Cybertron, the political turmoil that has become commonplace in the lives of its inhabitants is put aside as emotionless mastermind Shockwave summons a massive, undead Metrotitan from the bowels of Crystal City. Starscream, now ruler of New Iacon, sends a desperate plea for help to those he hopes may yet survive beyond the stars...

In the depths of space, the Lost Light rescues Orion Pax and his team from the collapsing Gorlam Prime. After a brief concurrence, the crews split up to deal with two unfolding crises. Orion and Rodimus lead a team into the Dead Universe through the portal created by the planet's destruction to thwart ancient despot Nova Prime's plans for conquest, while Ultra Magnus and the Lost Lighters heed a cry of help from the mighty Metroplex. Little do any of them know that Shockwave's influence runs deep... and none of them suspect the terrifying scale of his true plan.

The 12-issue series is co-written by John Barber, of RID, and James Roberts, of MTMTE, with art by several artists, including Phil Jimenez. The relevant characters can be found here and here.

It is followed by The Transformers: Windblade mini-series which deals with the aftermath of the events in Cybertron.


  • Action Comic, Quiet Drama Scene: Starscream talking to Metalhawk's body as it lays in state.
    • Issue 10 is almost completely comprised of such moments (overlapping with Breather Episode).
  • Action Girl: This crossover marks the formal introduction of the second, third, and fourth known female transformers in this universe, and all of them are capable of kicking your ass.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Tankor has gone from The Brute and later Diabolical Mastermind to a Heroic Neutral.
  • A God Am I: Nova Prime still has this mindset.
    • Shockwave, while superpowered.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Shockwave, who regains his former personality too late and has Optimus and Megatron kill him to stop the time drive from destroying the galaxy.
  • Alien Sea: Hydrophena, the ocean planet where the Lost Light catches up to Metroplex, is completely covered in red water.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The 'bots are fighting the smaller Ammonites, which then combine into a huge mecha bigger than the "Rod Pod". Lampshaded by Skids himself.
  • American Accents: Rattrap sports a Bronx accent, fitting for being a rat.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Invoked. Shockwave berates Megatron for caring more for Bumblebee's death than all the others that died by his hands or his orders. Then Shockwave proclaims he truly considers all life equal, and even assigned it a quantifiable value— zero.
    • Once again invoked by Starscream, after Metalhawk sacrifices his life to destroy the 70 billion Ammonites in one fell swoop. It should be noted that Starscream's only trying to paint him in a negative light.
    Starscream: Are you kidding? Metalhawk murdered 70 billion sentient beings. They had names, they had friends, they had dreams. But to Metalhawk - they were just numbers. When you think about it, he was just another genocidal despot vying for control.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Several 'bots and 'cons end up losing one or more limbs once the Necrotitan fires its first salvo.
    • Skids loses his arms in the fight against the Ammonites.
    • Nova Prime loses an arm right before being killed.
  • Anyone Can Die: Not so present in the beginning, but it really comes into effect in the final act.
  • Apocalypse How: Shockwave could've caused a metaphysical level apocalypse on the rest of the galaxy if he hadn't been stopped in time. Metalhawk ends up indirectly causing a minor societal apocalypse on the Stentarians, as his sacrifice ends up taking all of the Ammonites with him.
  • Anti-Villain: Soundwave is shaping up to be one.
  • Arc Welding: The Ore-13 would later play a major role in the Revolution crossover event to kickstart the Hasbro Comic Universe, and would also play a large role in M.A.S.K.; it's also been implied the armor of Rom the Spaceknight was formed from one of Shockwave's ores, and that the ores might be responsible for the Dire Wraiths/Solstar Order coflict to begin with.
  • Arc Words: "A new approach is in order."
  • Ascended Extra: Dreadwing was just a minor Decepticon, now he's on the cover of the series. Barber and Roberts addressed this in an interview, stating that, in addition to having a new toy, they made him more important because they chose him at random from a wealth of obscure characters.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Necrotitan.
  • Back from the Dead: Metalhawk and Nightbeat.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Arcee and Whirl during the battle against the second Ammonite horde.
  • Badass in Distress: Megatron until he was rescued, Metroplex until he was repaired and re-energized, Galvatron until he was discarded.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Inverted. Shockwave wanted Nova Prime dead, but it's Orion who ultimately kills him... after being lured to the Dead Universe portal on Gorlam Prime by Jhiaxus, himself acting on Shockwave's orders.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Starscream realizing that being the leader is not what it seems to be.
  • Berserk Button: For Prowl, anything to do with the Decepticons, and Bumblebee's style of leadership.
  • Big Bad: Seems to be Shockwave at first, then Nova Prime and Galvatron get involved. It actually is Shockwave, though— he was merely cooperating with them to further his own ends.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The Lost Light crew arrives in the nick of time to save Orion Pax and his crew from being dragged into Gorlam Prime's gravity well.
    • The Lost Light and Metroplex bridge to Cybertron at exactly the right point to punch the crap out of the Necrotitan.
    • Optimus Prime, Kup, Nightbeat, Rodimus and Cyclonus break into the main universe through the Dead Universe portal in Brainstorm's chest and take care of Bludgeon in short order.
  • Big Good: Orion Pax.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Subverted. Shockwave's assumption that Galvatron is no longer a threat doesn't come back to bite him at all.
  • Breather Episode: Issue 10, for the most part.
  • Broken Pedestal: The Primes to the population, including Optimus himself, for the most part — still, most realize that Optimus embodies what Primes SHOULD be, rather than what they actually were.
    • Megatron to Soundwave after the former's Heel Realization, which Soundwave sees as Megatron betraying his own ideals.
  • The Bus Came Back: Galvatron, Nova Prime, Nightbeat, Metroplex, and Kup.
    • Chromia disappeared after her cameo in Megatron Origin, and finally returns here.
  • Call-Back:
    • Whirl says Cyclonus should totally promise to kill Hardhead when he least expects it for calling him a coward, referencing to the promise Cyclonus once did to kill him back in MTMTE #2.
    • Rodimus offers Ultra Magnus a Weak Energon Spritzer, a drink referenced by Tailgate as something Ultra Magnus would drink in MTMTE#6, and also referencing the fact that Magnus Can't Hold His Liquor, as seen in MTMTE #13.
    • Metroplex's Thumb, first seen in Spotlight: Trailcutter.
    • Ultra Magnus references his travels with Verity Carlo.
    • Prowl confuses Ravage for a dog, similar to what Andy did back in The Transformers: All Hail Megatron.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: During the battle in Shockwave's HQ, Arcee and Blitzwing trade barbs with one another.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Metroplex's thumb.
    • Turmoil's time machine.
    • Skywarp's teleportation. He was stabbed by Arcee back in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise and mentioned having problems keeping himself together. When they engage Shockwave, he loses control of his Teleportation and vanishes altogether in Issue 5. He comes back in Issue 10, having regained control of his power, and rescues Metalhawk and Waspinator, taking them (as well as the information on Shockwave's plan) back to the city.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Tailpipe makes his debut, although he was mentioned as early as Issue 12 in MTMTE.
    • The Ammonites show up again to battle the Lost Light crew. Twice.
    • Skywarp.
  • The Chessmaster: Shockwave has been putting the pieces in place since before the events of The Transformers (IDW).
  • The Chosen One: Starscream, apparently, given that the Titan reacted to him and The Prophecy.
  • Combining Mecha: The Ammonites.
  • Continuity Nod: Garnak and Rodimus have a happy reunion after the time they spent as crewmates back in The Transformers (IDW).
    • In part 5, mention is made of Tailgate recovering after the end of "Remain In Light".
    • As confirmed by James Roberts, the cliff that Prowl and Chromedome meet on is the same one that Whirl and Cyclonus fought on in the first issue of MTMTE.
  • Cool vs. Awesome:
    • Megatron vs. Galvatron. The former missing his legs at the time.
    • The Necrotitan vs Metroplex.
    • Nova vs. Orion— no, wait, Optimus Prime.
    • Megatron vs. God!Shockwave.
  • Crisis Crossover: For the storylines in the two IDW Transformers ongoings.
  • Dark Messiah: Starscream, unwillingly. Shockwave, willingly.
  • Dead All Along: Brainstorm, as revealed by part 11. In fact, he's apparently been undead since right before issue 1 of More Than Meets The Eye.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Turns out Galvatron and Nova Prime aren't actually behind everything— that's just what Shockwave wanted them to believe. In reality, he wanted Nova eliminated to make it easier to harness the Dead Universe's energies, and he intends to use Galvatron as a conduit for them…
  • Depending on the Artist: Starscream's new design changes a lot depending on who's drawing him.
  • Determinator: Arcee, who has spent most of Dark Cybertron without one of her legs and still kicking more ass than other fully-limbed 'bots.
    • And Megatron, who hasn't let being legless slow him down.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Nova Prime and the Necrotitan.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run: Twice on the same page, both by Swerve. Once because the metal flakes that Skids found in the water surrounding Metroplex meant that the titan had contracted a very lethal, very contageous Death Plague, and the second time because there were now about 2000 angry Ammonites converging on Skids's location.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Shockwave to Nova and Galvatron. Granted, he only made them believe he was their Dragon.
  • invokedDude, Not Funny!: Prowl smirking at the news of Rewind's death.
  • Dying as Yourself: Whether he is truly killed or not, Shockwave (after breaking free from the Shadowplay and getting his emotions back) asks Optimus and Megatron to gun him down to stop the collapse of time.
  • Dynamic Entry: Chromia and Nautica at the end of chapter 7. Doesn't get much more dynamic than hitting the Duly Appointed Enforcer Of The Tyrest Accord over the head on your way in.
    • Metroplex finally arriving to Cybertron, after getting jumpstarted by the Lost Light.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dead Universe.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Necrotitan, though it wasn't always that way.
  • End of an Era: For Nova Prime's attempted empire. However, there's a subversion with the Age of Primes, once Orion reclaims his title as Optimus Prime.
  • Enemy Mine: The Autobots and Decepticons end up having to work together to stop Shockwave's scheme. Lampshaded by Shockwave, who notes how utterly predictable it was. Also lampshaded by Starscream.
    Starscream: Well, that's a start. The enemy of my —
    Soundwave: Silence, Starscream.
  • Energon From The Mouth: Cyclonus, upon being infected by the Dead Universe.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: A revived Metalhawk pretty much lets Starscream have it for killing him in the first place.
  • Evil Plan: Shockwave plans to use all the functioning Regenesis Ores, in conjunction with the energies of the Dead Universe (using Galvatron), to essentially harness the rest of the galaxy to recharge Cybertron for eternity.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Megatron vs. Galvatron. Doubles as Cool vs. Awesome.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Downplayed, The Decepticons are against Shockwave because he turned on them they don't have knowledge of him wanting to end all creation outside of their planet, though when Megatron finds out, he's still against Shockwave.
  • Eye Scream: The "Rodpod" is taken into a trench in the foreign planet's sea, there they find a severed optic cable and realize that the trench is really Metroplex's eye socket, now a gaping wound on his face.
  • Expy:
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Hardhead is consumed by the Dead Universe when Nova Prime crushes his forcefield generator, disintegrating and blowing away on the wind.
    • Nova Prime himself gets an arm ripped off before having a huge hole punched in his chest in short order.
    • Metroplex's defense systems utterly incinerate the Ammonite forces. Well, the first ones.
    • Shockwave kills Bumblebee by blowing his chest apart from behind.
  • Fauxshadow: Issue 1 ends on a panel depicting random "future" events from later parts of the comic. However it seems that most, if not all these ideas were changed somewhere in production, because none of them play out.
    • Galvatron Vs. Megatron depicts the two coming to blows, when in reality, Galvatron tore Megatron in half via sneak attack, and then Megs blasted him away.
    • Starscream disintegrating: this might have been the result of the dark mark spreading over his body, but such a thing never happens, and the mark doesn't decay him.
    • Rodimus being crushed: Never happens.
    • The Lost Light crashing onto an ocean planet: While they do end up on an ocean planet, they never crash through its surface like the panel depicts, they just teleport underwater.
  • Femme Fatalons: Arcee, after her upgrade.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Perceptor and Brainstorm start doing this.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Downplayed: Jhiaxus makes a point that the age of legend and myth is over and this is the era of Science, to contrast Cyclonus's more superstitious beliefs, but at this point most religious events could very well be chalked up to science.
  • Foil: Whirl lampshades this about Cyclonus and himself in Dark Cybertron #1, when defending Cyclonus from Hardhead's criticism.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Starscream labels himself as the savior of Cybertron towards the end of Dark Cybertron. He's technically correct as it was his decision to call The Lost Light at the beginning what triggered a series of events which ends in Cybertron being saved. His ability to delegate jobs to the proper people is what made him a competent bureaucrat, and is the reason why he's still in power by the time The Transformers: Windblade rolls in.
    • He's also right when he discusses Metalhawk role in exterminating 70 billion Stentarians, easily half of their population, and how to Metalhawk they were just numbers, but each one of those had friends and families, as seen in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye when Skids and Whirl meet several of them in Hedonia and share drinks with.
  • Gallows Humor: Starscream, after being backstabbed by a revived Metalhawk.
    Metalhawk: I trusted you. I befriended you. And you killed me the moment it suited you.
    Starscream: Hey, if it's any consolation... I clearly didn't do a good job of it.
  • Genius Loci: The Dead Universe.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Ultra Magnus is trying to soften his image by using slang. Unfortunately, his idea of slang is outdated terms that sound like they would be said by a 50's sitcom dad, like "What in blue blazes?".
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Megatron gets ripped in half by Galvatron. It slows him down a bit.
  • Handicapped Badass: Arcee, Megatron, Cyclonus, Kup, and Metroplex.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Nova Prime towards Orion, during their duel. It nearly overcomes Pax, but Rodimus manages to give him a second wind, resulting in an epic Shut Up, Hannibal!.
  • Heel Realization: Megatron in issue 10.
    Megatron: "I lost the war the moment I gave the order to fight."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Metalhawk and, ironically enough, Shockwave himself.
  • Heroic Second Wind:
  • He's Back!: Thanks to Rodimus' words, Orion Pax goes back to calling himself Optimus Prime after kicking Nova Prime's ass in Dark Cybertron #9.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Subverted. The first episode sets up that Shockwave has been working with Galvatron and Nova Prime all along to free them from the Dead Universe. In reality, he was only planning on using the Dead Universe for fuel and discarded both them when no longer needed.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Nova Prime.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Rodimus poses a riddle to Nightbeat as an attempt to break Nova Prime's control. It works.
    • Later attempted against Shockwave by Optimus. It doesn't work at first, but Megatron donning Bumblebee's Autobot symbol and declaring himself one causes him so much confusion that he loses control of the chronal drive, and his original personality reemerges.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens twice. Waspinator is lucky and survives, Jhiaxus isn't and doesn't.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Cyclonus seems to be heading that way for a bit, but ultimately he survives it.
  • Info Dump: Orion Pax's monologue near the beginning of Dark Cybertron #1.
  • Insistent Terminology: When Nova Prime call him Optimus, Orion corrects him by pointing out that he gave up the title of Prime. Nova doesn't care and keeps calling him Optimus anyway. Orion only goes back to being Optimus Prime after kicking Nova Prime's ass.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Megatron and Bumblebee form one. In a twist, it's the younger person who ends up teaching the older one a lesson; Bumblebee ends up showing Megatron the error of his ways.
  • In the Back: How Shockwave kills Bumblebee.
  • It's All About Me: Starscream, Rodimus and Prowl. All get called out for it.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Brainstorm handing over two items to Orion Pax and claiming it will help him stop the Dead Universe.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Yeah, Starscream was just trying to make Metalhawk a Hero with Bad Publicity, but he was right about Metalhawk killing 70 billion sentient beings, easily far more than 4 million year great war the Transformers were involved with.
    • Starscream again when Megatron admits that for all his years of being...well, The Starscream, he was right to realize that ruling Cybertron would require winning the hearts and minds of its populace, not mere military conquest.
  • Lack of Empathy: The only trope besides Kick the Dog that describes the sheer audacity that is Prowl smirking when he learns that he got Rewind killed, in front of his widower, no less.
  • Karma Houdini: Though he endures quite a bit of punishment throughout, Dreadwing is the probably the only surviving member of Shockwave's team once the dust settles (the jury's still out on Bludgeon, and Waspinator's off the team by that point). In hindsight it becomes Karma Houdini Warranty when he's killed off in an explosion in Optimus Prime #17
  • Kick the Dog: As if Prowl wasn't big enough of a Jerkass, he has the gall to smirk when he hears that he indirectly got Rewind killed. This causes Chromedome to snap and pound Prowl's smug face in.
  • Killed Off for Real: Hardhead, Nova Prime (for real this time), Bumblebee, Metalhawk (for real this time), Jhiaxus, and Shockwave himself.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Shortly before Bumblebee's death, Megatron mentions how hard it is to kill Transformers. It works as both foreshadowing and humor (since Megatron is probably the most killed and resurrected/retconned Transformer after Optimus).
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Prowl's reaction to the Necrotitan storming into New Iacon.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Played Straight. The Autobots under Bumblebee and the Decepticons under Soundwave meet, then fight each other before teaming up.
    • When Nautica and Chromia are introduced this is used to set up a cliff hanger in issue 7. In the next Issue Getaway diffuses the situation by pointing out that they're all on the same side.
  • Lighter and Softer: While not a "light and soft" crossover, keep in mind that each issue was to be packaged with a figure from the Generations line which, while more collector-oriented, could still be bought by young kids.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Megatron apparently doesn't consider getting torn in half to be a serious issue.
  • Man Behind the Man: Seemingly Nova Prime and Galvatron for Shockwave. Subverted; they're merely a means to Shockwave's ends.
  • Manchurian Agent: Nightbeat is still one. Doesn't last, though.
  • Mark of the Beast: Starscream gets an expanding black mark on his chest after the Necrotitan's attack, which Scoop insists is this.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All of the heroes when a seventy billion strong army of Ammonites bear down on New Iacon on Shockwave's command.
  • Meaningful Echo: Right before he and Megatron kill Shockwave, Orion echoes the line the scientist made all the way back in MTMTE issue 12, promising to remember him as he was.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Given that the comics are pack-ins with toys, there are rather forced cameos of the toys themselves throughout. The writers wasted no time in making fun of this fact.
  • Midseason Upgrade: Both Starscream and Bumblebee get new bodies just in time for the crossover, and Arcee gets a new body courtesy of Ratchet in chapter 10.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Galvatron in part 7.
  • Million Mook March: The Ammonites.
  • Mirror Match: Jhiaxus' reactive armour changes his body to be a copy of Starscream's while fighting him.
  • Morality Pet: Bumblebee inadvertently becomes one for Megatron.
  • Mugging the Monster: Yeah, Prowl, go ahead and push Chromedome's buttons... again.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The following exchange.
    Orion Pax: "Don't worry, Autobots —"
    Cyclonus: (on his knees, in obvious pain) *kaff*
    Orion Pax: "Sorry, Autobots and Cyclonus..."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Galvatron when he realizes how Shockwave used him and sees what Shockwave is going to do to the rest of the galaxy to save Cybertron.
    • Shockwave after Megatron manages to restore his emotions and true personality.
  • Mythology Gag: "Why univerzze hate Waspinator?", this time said after Bludgeon impales him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Prowl is on the receiving end of one from Chromedome after smirking at the idea that he indirectly got Rewind killed due to his involvement in the Overlord debacle. It starts with him getting flung off a cliff.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Dead Universe team has two in a row when they realize that the Dead Universe is infecting Cyclonus, and Nova Prime is still in control of Nightbeat.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, there's two Tankors: one a Canon Immigrant from Beast Machines and the other Octane, whose toy was renamed Tankor for trademark reasons, which was carried over into the IDW comics. Unlike other characters, like say the Prowls, they both kept their names and Starscream lampshades it.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Bumblebee remarks to Prowl that he's been anything but logical since they were exiled from New Iacon.
  • Orwellian Retcon: The existence of female cybertronians. Prior, Arcee was the only "female".
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Necrotitan and Nova Prime's Sweeps.
  • Physical God: Shockwave in the final act.
  • Please Wake Up: Rumble to Frenzy After the death wave.
    "Speak to me buddy. Come on! Speak! BE OKAY!"
  • Plot Detour: A meta example; the events of this comic are essentially a plot detour for More Than Meets The Eye, with the crew of the Lost Light temporarily abandoning their quest for the Knights Of Cybertron to help out Orion Pax and his team.
  • The Prophecy: The events of Dark Cybertron were apparently foretold from the days before Nova Prime, including Shockwave being the one behind most of the events. Makes sense, as the prophecy is his.
    "He shall arrive with a Titan; and adorned the Titan will be in Metal Black."
    "And He shall arrive and stand alone while not alone; and time will rust and stars shall scream."
    "And the symbol of the uncreator shall be clear, and his gaze shall unravel the Legacy of Primus."
  • Punch Catch: Done brutally to Hardhead by Nova Prime. After catching his fist, Nova crushes it and the forcefield generator on it, causing Hardhead to be annihilated by unprotected exposure to the Dead Universe.
  • A Rare Sentence: In issue 12.
    Rodimus: We heard a drinking song coming from Nova Prime's corpse.
    Kup: Just when ya think there are no new sentences...
  • Reality Warper: Nova Prime has become one, having gained a significant amount of control over the fabric the Dead Universe. This is precisely why Shockwave wants him out of the way.
    • Shockwave himself graduates to one after stealing the Dead Universe's energies and mastering the Regenesis Ores.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Prowl gives one to Bumblebee, pretty much calling him a doormat. Never mind that Prowl's being a Hypocrite since he himself took advantage of Bumblebee and was undermining him at every little turn, even before being mind-controlled by Bombshell.
    • Bumblebee gives one to Megatron.
    Megatron: I've led an army battling for freedom for millions of years —
    Bumblebee: No, that's not what you led at all. You were a gang of destroyers ravaging the galaxy in the name of a cause you'd forgotten, except when you needed an excuse.
    • Orion also gives one to Rodimus after Rodimus confesses to the Overlord affair, telling him he should have resigned rather than ask for a vote, and that the reason why he asked for a vote of confidence was because Rodimus thought he was going to win.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Magnus taking leadership of the Lost Light crew after Rodimus, Orion Pax, Hardhead and Cyclonus jump into the Dead Universe.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: Bumblebee ultimately does this for Megatron.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Ultra Magnus' description of the Lost Light makes its surface area as big as Brooklyn and the Bronx combined.
  • Secret Stab Wound: Cyclonus. His forcefield generator broke upon landing in the Dead Universe, as thus he's infected, and throwing up black Energon.
  • Seen It All: Kup, as is tradition.
    Kup: I've been spiked by Squadron X, dipped in the smeltin' pool, framed for treason, shot into the sun - and I was the only 'bot still trapped inside the Nightmare Engine when everyone else woke up. I've seen off every rinky-dink, two-bit, catchpenny decepticon rust-picker, and I got the tends in my knuckles to prove it. End of the day? I'm ready for anything you can throw at me.
    • Which becomes hilarious after Nova literally throws Cyclonus into him.
  • Sentenced Without Trial: Invoked in the aftermath, where Optimus Prime takes pains to avoid being seen doing this in regards to Megatron. Unable to contact High Justice Tyrest, he becomes the judge overseeing the trial personally and follows every regulation to the letter. He is so scrupulous that when a squad of Decepticons attack the trial to rescue Megatron, Optimus declines to join in the fight until Ultra Magnus (being a Rules Lawyer) formally requests his involvement to restore order to the court. This pays off, as the Autobots' reputation among the returning Neutral Transformers begins improving as they see that Optimus is genuinely intent on returning to proper rule of law.
  • Sherlock Scan: Nightbeat's signature trait.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Bumblebee's character arc through all of the new ongoing ends here. Starts as a doormat, begins to get some serious Character Development, including winning over Megatron and making him realize his errors, only to die when shot in the back by Shockwave.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ultimately subverted with Ironhide. Knocking Nova Prime back into the Dead Universe had little to no effect on the ultimate outcome.
    • Three for the price of one with Metalhawk, Waspinator, and Skywarp, who bring word of Shockwave's plans back to the city.
  • Stable Time Loop: Shockwave uses the time ore to drain energy from the universe that will eventually become the Dead Universe, essentially creating the Dead Universe.
    • There's another one in the Prelude to Dark Cybertron, involving LV-117, The Reflector Trio and Turmoil's time-side-stepping ship, it's quite the Mind Screw.
  • The Starscream:
    • The trope namer is a main character. Unfortunately for him, he didn't anticipate Rattrap being as skilled of a Starscream as Starscream himself.
    • Then Shockwave is this for Nova and Galvatron, although it is kinda relative as he only led them believe he was their Dragon in the first place. Finally, there's a more positive example in Metalhawk, who is struggling against Shockwave's control all the while.
  • Sudden Name Change: Slag gets his named changed to Slug. The reason behind it is even lampshaded by Slug's conversation with Arcee.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Shockwave to Jhiaxus, specially given his last line in RID #22.
    Shockwave: I did not ask, Jhiaxus... I commanded.
  • Take That!: The writers poke at Hasbro's meddling to include certain characters in order to sell toys by giving them some ridiculous dialogue, and then quickly forgetting about them.
  • Take That, Audience!: Ratchet's finger-wagging and criticism of Ultra Magnus seems a preemptive move on MTMTE fans that have suggested taking a 5 month break from the comic for the duration of "Dark Cybertron".
  • Talking to the Dead: Starscream is still talking to Metalhawk's corpse for reassurance. This time, Rattrap overheard him...
  • That's an Order!: The Dinobots are initially not too keen on following Bumblebee, until he berates them.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: You got the Cybertron thread, the Lost Light thread, and the Dead Universe thread, with each story being drawn by a different artist. It's expected to go into Four Lines, All Waiting based on the fact that a future issue will feature FOUR artists.
  • Title Drop: "Dark Cybertron" is the name of the prophecy, as mentioned by Rattrap.
  • Time Skip: Both The Transformers: Robots in Disguise and The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye are set to resume six months after the events of Dark Cybertron.
  • Time Stands Still: Shockwave's ultimate plan would have frozen all of reality at a single point in time.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The solicitation for chapter 11 promises the death of a high ranking Autobot. It's Bumblebee.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Suffered terribly from this. Solicitations for future issues gave away the Autobot/Decepticon alliance and the plot threads for the resuming ongoings and the Windblade miniseries. Most infamously, after all the build-up and mystery about which main character would die in part 11, iTunes went ahead and thoughtlessly spoiled it through a preview.
  • Unsound Effect: "Incoherent babbling"
  • Unwitting Pawn: Metrotitan turned Necrotitan. Oh, and Galvatron and Nova were duped by Shockwave.
  • Verbal Tic: Wazzpinator hazz one.
  • Voice Clip Song: Swerve made Orion's distress call into his ringtone.
    Orion Pax: (cheesy jingle plays) AUTOBOTS IN DANGER! EXPLODING PLANET!
  • The Watson: Shockwave has to explain his plans to someone, and Jhiaxus already knows them, so Dreadwing takes this role.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Bludgeon's final fate is never touched upon, though he wasn't looking great when last seen.
    • Wheelie and Garnak are not seen or mentioned again after the Lost Light pursues Jhiaxus and it is revealed that the Dead Universe portal only works one-way.
  • Villainous Friendship: The Decepticons get more set-up as this, with Blitzwing and Astrotrain seeming to have a type 1. Galvatron and Nova have a type 1 as well, saying they've fought together for many years and turning on each other was a fault of the Heart of Darkness messing with them. Indeed, Galvatron seems very saddened when Nova is killed.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Necrotitan.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Shockwave's evil plan might cause the death of nearly every sentient being in the galaxy, make him a God-like being, and the destruction of two universes, but all he wants is the eternal survival of Cybertron.
  • Wham Episode: For both MTMTE and RID. Shockwave's Evil Plan finally kicks in, Orion Pax's team and the Lost Lighters battle the Dead Universe, Nightbeat and Kup are alive, Brainstorm isn't, Nova Prime and Galvatron are not actually behind everything, New Iacon is in ruins, Bumblebee and Shockwave die, and Megatron joins the Autobots. And after it's all over Orion and the Autobots are heading back to Earth, Windblade is causing trouble on Cybertron, Bluestreak is joining up with the Lost Lighters, and Megatron is taking over the Lost Light's quest.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Scamper, Metroplex's drone-assistant, is nowhere to be found despite leaving with Alpha Trion and Metroplex at the end of the Ironhide miniseries. Alpha Trion has since been located, but Scamper's fate remains a mystery.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Discussed by Starscream with Rattrap, regarding how Metalhawk's sacrifice also pretty much wiped out half of the Stentarian race; at least 70 billion sentient beings.
    Starscream:"They had names, they had friends, they had dreams, but to Metalhawk — they were just numbers."
    • Though ironically enough, this also indirectly ends the ridiculous Forever War between the Terradores and Ammonites. So by wiping out half of the Stentarian race, Metalhawk kind of brought peace to them after over 17 million years of war.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Orion doesn't react well to Rodimus's confession regarding Overlord. Or, more specifically, that he didn't resign afterwards, as Orion feels that if Rodimus were really ashamed of his actions than he would've taken responsibility rather than have the crew decide.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Shockwave performs two concurrent ones. The first? Finish gathering samples of all his functioning ores on Cybertron by having Metroplex teleported there to take on the Necrotitan. The second? Have Nova Prime end up in the line of fire so that Shockwave can better harness the Dead Universe's energies once he dies and his control over the realm is negated. This one seems to fail thanks to Ironhide, but Shockwave had already had Jhiaxus lure Orion to Gorlam Prime in case Nova wasn't able to emerge from the Dead Universe, thereby increasing the chances that Orion would kill him.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Orion Pax, in the Prelude to Dark Cybertron issues.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In part 10 Swerve gets really excited when his hero Blurr walks into the Lost Light bar. Barely a page later it's revealed that Blurr not only doesn't remember Swerve, he thinks that Swerve is annoying.
  • You Are What You Hate: The reason why Optimus Prime hated his name and cast it off, because of all the bad connotations the previous Primes gave it. Rodimus convinces him otherwise.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Shockwave orders Metalhawk get rid of Waspinator once he has served his purpose. Metalhawk only pretends to follow such order.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
    • Ratchet takes Megatron's attempts at compliments as intimidation.
    • Prowl really hates that the Constructicons actually like him.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Cybertron, Transformers Dark Cybertron