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Comic Book / The Transformers Megaseries

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When we say "disguise," we really mean it this time!

A series of inter-connected mini-series published by IDW Publishing, the first in their version of the Transformers continuity. Most of these stories were written by Simon Furman. These stories tell a much different story than fans were used to, where the war between Autobots and Decepticons is more of a cold war, Cybertron has been abandoned, and Earth is not the frontline but an mostly unimportant dirt-ball, that is until the Decepticons find an all-new fuel source, one that could give them the edge.

The mini-series first started in 2005, with Infiltration (and the tie-in Stormbringer), followed by Escalation, then Devastation, and finally Revelation. Also released concurrently were the Spotlight issues, which usually followed one character while setting up future plot points for the main series. These series were eventually halted in favor of The Transformers: All Hail Megatron, though Furman was given the chance to wrap up several of his plot points in Maximum Dinobots.



  • Aborted Arc: There was a growing storyline about the Decepticons replacing a corrupt US senator for their own ends, and having his replacement enter the presidential race, which utterly vanished after the change in writers.
    • Simon Furman implied that something had happened to the Matrix long ago, but due to Revelation's hurried ending, this didn't happen.
  • Abusive Precursors: Nova Prime and Jhiaxus live and breathe this trope.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The purpose of the Spotlight issues.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Iguanus gets this after Bludgeon murders him in a moment of insanity.
    • Optimus and Jetfire have this reaction to Nova Prime's death. Prime's final words to Nova are about how saddened he is by the fact that Nova succumbed to the Dead Universe's corruption.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Wheelie loses an arm to the Chaosterous. He eventually finds it again, but it's functionally dead, and when he transforms, it just hangs limply from his undercarriage.
  • Apocalypse How: The Infiltration Protocol, a six staged process which Megatron employs to conquer inhabited worlds results in a societal collapse of the planet it's employed on.
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  • Apocalyptic Log: Nightbeat's narration in his Spotlight issue.
  • Ax-Crazy: The experiments that gave her gender have left Acree more than a bit angry.
  • Awesome Mccool Name: The whole reason Grindcore exists is because Simon Furman used a Movie-toyline character with the same name, and liked it.
  • Badass Crew: The Wreckers, the Dinobots.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Megatron's the main villain on Earth, but we also have Nova Prime, Shockwave, Bludgeon and Scorponok elsewhere.
    • Non-Action Big Bad: Nova Prime doesn't confront his predecessor until the final issue of Revelation. Justified, as he knows the Darkness, like the Matrix, would pass to Optimus if they met.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Dead Universe and the Machination have been defeated, the universe is saved, Sunstreaker and Hunter reunite with their friends, the Dinobots are absolved of their crime, Shockwave is carted off to prison, Doubledealer was exposed and killed, Arcee gets her revenge, and the Micromasters are freed from Nova Prime's control, allowing them to begin a new society. But the Decepticons are still causing trouble throughout the galaxy, the Transformers have been exposed to the public, Hardhead had to condemn himself to the Dead Universe, Grimlock takes the fall so the other Dinobots can go free, the Decepticons now have Monstructor in their army, and a lot of good people had to die to make it all happen, including Nightbeat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Trailbreaker, in Spotlight: Kup.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The Autobots are not absolutely squeaky-clean good guys this time 'round.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Optimus Prime finds out the true purpose that the initial Arks crew from Omega Supreme, as well as Omega Supremes involvement in hiding it and the existence of combiner technology and Omega Supremes solution for it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sunstreaker. It's why the writer had him turned into a Headmaster, because he's the Autobot who'd hate it the most.
  • By-the-Book Cop:
    • Ultra Magnus, Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord.
    • Prowl is a much less likable version, who refuses to do anything that goes against the rules unless ordered otherwise.
  • The Chessmaster: Scorponok. On Earth he's responsible for the Machination, who capture Sunstreaker and Hunter while making it look like they were both killed, even producing a decoy corpse for the Autobots to investigate, has moles in Skywatch, who manage to take control of four of the five Dynobots and has created Headmaster technology that allows the Sunstreaker copies to tap into the originals mind for use in battle.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Prowl implies Ratchet has tried to play hero on other planets before.
  • Combining Mecha: Monstructor, who in this continuity is not a Decepticon. Also, the experiments done to create it have rendered the 'bots who comprise it utterly insane.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Hunter O'Nion.
  • Cool Ship: The Autobots have whole fleets of Arks.
    • The Decepticons have the Thanatos, Megatron's flagship.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Shockwave versus the Dinobots, which goes decidedly against the scientist, until he gets angry. Then the Dinobots find themselves on the receiving end.
    • Megatron and Starscream's fight. Starscream barely scratches Megatron, while he manages to take out most of Starscream's torso with one shot.
    • The Decepticon infiltration unit on Nebulos actually try to fight Thunderwing. Almost all of them die, and the last two standing decide to leave.
  • Cyborg: The natives of Gorlam Prime are all cyborgs. When he sees this, Nightbeat wonders if something similar happened in Cybetron's long distant past.
    • The Headmasters, and their creator Scorponok, become this.
  • Darker and Edgier: A little bit. Optimus is certainly less of a paragon of virtue than normal, and Cybertron was utterly ruined by the war. Whole worlds have been razed by the Decepticons, simply for fuel.
    • Heck, even Bumblebee is less friendly and more pragmatic.
  • Deconstruction: Of Combining Mecha. Putting six minds together in one body is not cool, and drives the resulting creation utterly mad, with the added side effect of creating a gargantuan robot monster lashing out at everything it sees.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Dinobots are only present in Spotlight: Shockwave.
    • Soundwave was taken out of action twenty-odd years ago, and spends most of the run stuck in tape-deck mode.
  • Desk Jockey: Prowl practically loves to use the rules as an excuse for inaction. And naturally, he's utterly un-liked by everyone.
  • Determinator: Even as he's slowly succumbing to stasis lock, Grimlock is still trying to grab hold of Shockwave. He almost succeeds.
    • Ultra Magnus, Duly Appointed enforcer of the Tyrest Accord. The only thing separating him and his quarry is time.
    • Arcee wants Jhiaxus, and she'll cut through anything and everything in her path to get it.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Reapers seemingly show up for no other reason to give Sixshot reason to turn on Megatron. They are quickly disposed of and when they are no one knows who they were or where they came from. Even the dialogue had between Megatron and Blitzwing seems to lampshade this.
    Megatron: "Who are they?"
    Blitzwing: "We don't know Megatron."
    Megatron: "What do they want?"
    Blitzwing: "Er, Ditto."
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Galvatron. Because some things just never change.
  • Dumb Muscle: Skywarp has the fantastic ability to teleport, and almost no ability to think for himself. This has been part of his character for years, but this is the first time it's really been brought to the fore.
  • Enemy Mine: The fight against Thunderwing causes Autobots and Decepticons to team-up. Both times.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Grimlock passes over Slag's first choice for new alt-modes, Ice Age-era animals. Then he sees a projection of a dinosaur.
    Grimlock: "Perfect."
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Everything on LV-117 wants to eat you. Spiders, mollusks, birds, everything. Given who it's previous owners seem to be, this isn't much of a surprise.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Starscream attempts to stage a coup against Megatron in Infiltration.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Jhiaxus, in spades.
  • Eye Scream: Ultra Magnus shoots at Scorponok as he's fleeing, and apparently just clips him. The next time we see him, it turns out Magnus had managed to shoot out one of his eyes.
  • Fantastic Nuke: What Combiners are treated as. The Decepticons really, really want their own, and are willing to lay siege to Garrus-9, the Autobot's highest security prison, just to get it, and the Autobots are so determined to prevent this that they leave Earth to the Decepticons. The Phase Sixers are also a clear analogue for this.
  • Fate Worse than Death: When Arcee finally finds Jhiaxus, she decides that since he'll only keep reviving every time he dies, that she'll just keep on killing him, over, and over, and over...
  • Gender Bender: Arcee wasn't always a female.
  • Godzilla Threshold: For the Decepticons, calling in Sixshot. For the Autobots, letting Arcee out of prison.
  • Government Conspiracy: Skywatch, who have devoted themselves to fighting the aliens. In the national interest, of course.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Headmasters, and later on Scorponok.
    • Hunter, after the Machination are done with him.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Dead Universe.
  • Ignored Expert: Thunderwing told everyone he could find (and Swerve) about what the war was doing to Cybertron's environment, but they all brushed him off.
  • Implacable Man: Sixshot, being a Phase Sixer, can take anything thrown at him. One of Optimus' punches barely leaves a mark.
  • The Juggernaut: What Thunderwing has become. It takes the combined might of the Autobots and Decepticons to put him down, and even then it doesn't take.
  • Large and in Charge: Nova Prime's bigger than most. Artwork by Don Figuroa gives his vehicle mode a trailer he merges with, but this doesn't come up in story.
  • Large Ham: Nova Prime.
  • MacGuffin: Shockwave's Ultra-Energon is responsible for almost every single problem both sides face.
    • Meanwhile, franchise mainstay the Matrix isn't anywhere to be seen.
  • Made of Iron: Galvatron takes a hit from weaponry designed to deal with comets. He barely gets singed, and is up and about five minutes later.
  • Manchurian Agent: Nightbeat. Beachcomber.
  • The Mole: Facsimile Counterparts are Decepticon plants, designed to exacerbate local problems for the Decepticon aims. One we see in action seems to know this, and doesn't mind.
  • Mook Promotion: Astrotrain becomes Megatron's second-in-command after Starscream is taken out of commission.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Cyclonus is dedicated to Cybertron. He hates both sides of the war for what they've done, and is hesitant about unleashing Thunderwing again. Sideswipe goads him into it.
  • Mythology Gag: Jhiaxus' body looks like the Starscream of the Transformers Film Series.
    • The Dynobots run into the same problem the Maximals and Predacons did in Beast Wars, and adopt the same solution.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: The Machination is a clandestine group with technology advanced enough that they can detect Holomatter, and weapons that can neutralize Cybertronians. They're working for Scorponok, and are a front for his development of the Headmasters.
  • Never Found the Body: The original Ark disappeared, with all hands lost, several million years ago. Naturally, it and its crew are still out there.
  • Not as You Know Them: Galvatron eventually shows up, but he's not related to Megatron at all, and in fact they never meet.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: For most of Spotlight: Wheelie, we just focus on the little bot's attempt to survive on LV-117 alone.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Shockwave. Or as he puts it:
    Shockwave: "Ultimately, I serve only one master. Pure logic."
  • Orcus on His Throne: Justified with Nova Prime; he can't survive outside of the Dead Universe for long and he secretly knows that if he confronts Optimus personally than the Darkness will try to abandon him for Prime.
  • Off with His Head!: Scorponok has been reduced to a head by the time we first see him in the main series.
    • Sunstreaker's fate at the hands of the Machination.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Bumblebee may be small, but he's a crack shot and an expert spy.
    • The Micromasters are a whole race of these.
  • Redshirt: Poor Leadfoot.
  • Reimagining the Artifact: A whole slew of Transformers gimmicks are re-used in more serious lights here
    • The Micromasters, combiners and female Cybertronians are all attempts by Jhiaxus to accelerate Cybertronian evolution. And in the case of the latter two, it droves those he experimented on insane.
    • Pretenders, here re-invented as a perversion of science that ultimately resulted in their creator going mad and needing both armies to fight him. The process is also incredibly dangerous, and destroys the minds of whoever undergoes it. At first, anyway.
    • The Headmasters are presented as far more dangerous, and the method behind creating them is far more sinister.
    • The Dinobots, whose alt-modes would sort of ruin the cloak-and-dagger themes of these series, have their designs justified because they came to Earth when it was covered in Energon, and rather than risk stasis lock chose those alt-modes in order to fight Shockwave.
    • Megatron turning into a gun, which is noted to use mass-displacement technology, which eats up a ton of energy and can't be kept up for long.
    • Wheelie's rhyming, which is justified because he's stuck on a planet with an alien whose translator is stuck on rhyme.
  • Sanity Slippage: Kup, Thunderwing, Bludgeon.
  • Shock and Awe: Nova Prime suddenly starts zapping Optimus in their confrontation.
  • Shout-Out: The planet LV-117 is a reference to Alien. It's not the first time this has happened in Transformers.
  • Shown Their Work: Whenever Don Figuroa designs a character, he designs them so they could actually transform if turned into a figure.
  • Silent Antagonist: The Micromasters never say a word.
  • Spanner in the Works: Shockwave's and Dynobots appearance on Earth were largely unknown by their respective factions much less Scorponok. Their presence and revival on modern day Earth are what thwart all of Scorponok's plans, and bring down the Machination. If they hadn't landed on Earth, it's very likely the most Scorponok would have had to contend with is Ultra Magnus, Hot Rod, Headmaster Sunstreaker, and then the rest of the Decepticons, which despite sounding like much he was at least aware of the threat before him. As it was he had the added force of The Dynobots, Shockwave, Soundwave, and the Monsterbots to deal with.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Cybertron itself is rendered near uninhabitable by centuries of war, and the battle with Thunderwing made sure that it was the case.
  • The Spock: Shockwave, who while fighting the Dinobots actually freezes up because he cannot logically comprehend their motives (petty revenge). He then turns this to his advantage by logically making himself angry. The Dinobots quickly find their asses getting kicked.
  • The Starscream: It's what kicks off the entire plot, and what brings Megatron to Earth. Starscream has found a new source of energon, and has become so overconfident because of it he's breaking protocol. During their fight, Megatron mentions that Starscream's treachery was supposed to be a thing of the past. A quick ass-kicking re-establishes the pecking order.
    • It's Galvatrons betrayal of Nova Prime that actually saves Optimus from being taken over by The Darkness
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Hunter and Sunstreaker are abducted by the Machination for this purpose.
    • Nightbeat. Only he's awake when it happens, and aware.
  • Super Soldier: Sixshot, one of the 'bots called in when Megatron wants a world broken for good. He angsts about it, and the fact that it doesn't make him popular. For a while, at least.
  • Teleportation Sickness: Some of the Autobots verbalize discomfort when doing an orbital jump. It outright proves lethal for Humans and Facsimiles.
  • The Undead: Anyone who enters the Dead Universe becomes this.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Optimus and Megatron's first fight on Earth goes badly for Optimus, to the extent that he very nearly dies.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Runabout and Runamuck.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Thunderwing goes from a meek little scientist to an unstoppable monstrosity that can barely be scratched by the combined might of both armies. It take an explosion large enough to ruin Cybertron's atmosphere to take him out of the picture.
  • Touch of Death: Anyone from the Dead Universe is capable of killing on touch, as Leadfoot finds out first hand.
  • Ultimate Universe: Essentially, yes.
  • Visionary Villain: Shockwave just wants to save Cybertron, and will do whatever it takes to do that.
    • Bludgeon wants to restore Cybertron. It's the whole "burn other worlds to the ground" thing that everyone takes exception with.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Springer even asks himself this after rescuing Kup. Bearing in mind, several good Autobots were killed in the attempt, and even after being rescued, he still needs to be keep on constant life-support.
  • Wham Line: Jetfire summing up what happened to Gorlam Prime: "They call it Cybertron."
  • Wham Shot:
    • The last page of Spotlight: Wheelie shows the interior of the ruined building that he and his friend Varta had found a spaceship in. In an otherwise disused corridor, a ran scurries away from something, and we pan up to see a mural of a familiar five-faced alien... and its eyes are glowing.
    • Much earlier on in the issue, after days of tracking across a desolate void following a signal, Wheelie finds an obviously unnatural bridge.
    • Devestation issue 3, we finally see who is behind the Machination. It's Scorponok. Or what's left of him, anyway.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's not exactly clear what happened to Thunderwing. Simon Furman suggested the Autobots probably chucked him into a black hole.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Optimus is less than impressed with how Omega Supreme handled the Monster Combiners.
  • You Have Failed Me: Hot Rod finds the last Headmaster that attacked him as a smouldering ruin. He guesses that this trope was the reason why.


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