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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.
  • 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.
  • Alien Invasion: The Decepticons take a mixed approach to invading planets. They follow a six-phase infiltration protocol that gradually softens up the local population in preparation for Phase Six, an all-out assault that annihilates the locals and strips the planet bare of its resources.
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  • Almighty Idiot: Thunderwing's experiments with Pretender technology have made him extremely powerful and nearly indestructible. They also drove him mad, and the formerly brilliant scientist is now a near-mindless engine of destruction.
  • 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 Cult: Bludgeon's Decepticons worship Thunderwing like a god and seek to resurrect him. They believe that allowing Thunderwing to destroy other planets will somehow revitalize Cybertron and undo the damage the Transformers' war has done to their homeworld.
  • 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.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Nightbeat's narration in his Spotlight issue.
  • Artificial Human: Facsimiles are vat-grown cybernetic clones which the Decepticons use to infiltrate and undermine a civilization. There are several human Facsimiles running around on Earth, naturally.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Megatron's the main villain on Earth, but we also have Nova Prime, Shockwave, Bludgeon and Scorponok elsewhere.
  • 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.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Well, bizarre alien robotics, at least. While previous series handwaved the Ridiculously Human Robot elements, this series plays with the Mechanical Lifeforms concept a little more. The energy-based spark is a Cybertronian's life-force or "soul." The transtector or "structure" is their robotic body. Cybertronians are generally "born" one of two ways:
    • Forged constructs are created when naturally occurring energy pulses within Cybertron are harvested and placed into a protoform - a transtector made from a mimetic poly-alloy known as "sentio metallico." The protoform alters its appearance based on programming codes within the spark, sculpting itself into a shape that (usually) compliments the Transformer's personality.
    • Cold constructs are the result of artificially created sparks (often stockpiled in cryogenic stasis) being placed within pre-fabricated transtectors that, in most cases, were NOT malleable enough for the spark to reformat into a unique form.
      • This also accounts for the existence of "male" and "female" Cybertronians: It's more or less similar to, say, the masculine/feminine programming of the droids in Star Wars, but the "forged" sparks being able to shape their bodies into the form they want allows for a level of dimorphism robots normally don't have.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The Autobots are not absolutely squeaky-clean good guys this time 'round.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: In the distant past, Starscream (of all people) was Megatron’s bodyguard. Megatron is more than capable of defending himself, however, and merely kept Starscream around for the sake of appearances.
  • Breath Weapon: Megatron can shoot energy beams from his mouth while hopped-up on Ore-13.
  • 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.
  • C-List Fodder: In Devastation, the only Decepticons killed by the Reapers are Runamuck & Runabout; their deaths are even disregarded by Astrotrain as "acceptable losses".
  • Capture and Replicate: When the Decepticons infiltrate a civilization, they identify individuals which could be useful to their long-term plans, capture them, and replace them with obedient cyborg clones called Facsimiles. The original person is kept alive in case the Decepticons need to clone them again.
  • Captured Super-Entity:
    • Skywatch collects deactivated Transformers and attempts to reprogram them for use against other aliens. They eventually get Laserbeak and Ravage under their control, only for Soundwave to jam their command signals.
    • The Machination captures Sunstreaker, reduces him to a disembodied head, and uses him as the template for an army of Sunstreaker clones. They also used his brain as a hub to coordinate their Headmasters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Optimus Prime versus an Ore-13-empowered Megatron. Though Optimus gets some good hits in, Megatron thrashes Prime and would have killed him if not for a timely distraction from Roller.
  • 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 disliked 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 him.
  • 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."
  • Disney Death: In Escalation, Optimus appears to die when Megatron crushes his Spark. In reality, Optimus downloaded his consciousness into his trailer, fooling Megatron into thinking he was dead.
  • 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.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dead Universe is another reality adjacent to the main universe. Cybertronians who enter it without protection become undead creatures that will die if they stay outside of the Dead Universe for too long, but are otherwise nearly indestructible. The place is also home to a mysterious force called the Darkness.
  • Enemy Mine: The fight against Thunderwing causes Autobots and Decepticons to team-up. Both times.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Megatron is horrified by Thunderwing's artifical grafting process, calling it "unnatural", "misguided" and "ill-conceived". Thunderwing does it anyway, leading to the temporary death and abandonment of Cybertron. Whoops.
  • 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 Knockoff: The Machination’s Headmasters are based on Sunstreaker’s design, having his appearance, weapons and capabilities.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Starscream attempts to stage a coup against Megatron in Infiltration. In Devastation, the Decepticons are attacked by the equally evil Reapers.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The Decepticons stationed on Nebulos make a token effort to stop Thunderwing from destroying the planet, if only because his rampage won’t leave them with any resources to exploit.
  • Evolutionary Levels: The Machination’s Headmasters claim to be the next step in Cybertronian evolution, making normal Transformers like Hot Rod and Wheeljack surplus to requirements.
  • Explaining Your Powers to the Enemy: In Devastation, Sixshot taunts the Autobots by telling them about the upgrades that make him Nigh-Invulnerable. His boasts don’t impress Hardhead and Optimus Prime, who prove strong enough to damage him regardless.
  • 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.
  • False Flag Operation: Blitzwing disguises himself as a Russian tank and opens fire on Brasnyan border troops as part of a Decepticon plot to provoke a war between the two nations.
  • 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.
    Arcee: I was forged male, which did not match my spark.
  • 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.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Stormbringer, Thunderwing picks up Ruckus and uses him to smack Roadgrabber out of the air, killing both Decepticons at once.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Headmasters, and later on Scorponok.
  • Hand Cannon: In his handgun form, Megatron is small enough to be wielded by a human and powerful enough to destroy a tank with a single shot.
  • Hard Head: Hardhead lives up to his name in his Spotlight issue. Nightbeat shoots him in the face at point-blank range, and all this does is chip a small divot into his visor.
  • Hard Light: Transformers can project "holomatter" avatars which are tangible enough to interact with their surroundings. The Autobots use them to make it look like their vehicle modes have drivers, and to investigate places that their physical bodies cannot enter.
  • Hypocrite: Megatron comes to Earth to punish Starscream for deviating from the infiltration protocol and potentially exposing the Decepticons’ presence to the humans. Yet when the Autobots thwart Megatron’s efforts to start a war between Russia and Brasnya, a furious Megatron throws the protocol out the window and calls in the incredibly conspicuous Sixshot to exterminate the Autobots.
  • 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.
  • Join or Die: The Reapers want Sixshot to join their ranks and won’t take no for an answer.
    Deathbringer: Join us in our crusade to end war or die here, now.
  • 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.
  • Losing Your Head: Scorponok has been reduced to a head by the time we first see him in the main series. Sunstreaker meets the exact same fate at the hands of the Machination. Runamuck also survives being decapitated by one of the Reapers, only for another Reaper to kill him by crushing his head with a boulder.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mole in Charge: The Decepticons have replaced numerous influential figures with Facsimiles. They include a U.S. general, the leader of a Brasnyan separatist movement, and a senator campaigning for the presidency of the United States.
  • 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 problems with Energon radiation that 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.
  • Neutral in Name Only:
    • In the backstory of IDW's original Transformers continuity, it's revealed that Tyrest was a highly revered believer of law and order who unsuccessfully tried to broker a peace agreement between the Autobots and Decepticons. Despite this failure, he managed to at least convince both sides to sign the Tyrest Accord, which forbade sharing of Cybertronian technology with alien races. He was made Chief Justice for this, but despite his title implying he ought to be neutral he continued to identify himself as an Autobot for most of the Autobot-Decepticon war. Despite this, he was so scrupulous in his dealings that the Decepticons as well as alien races who otherwise despised the Transformers offered him tremendous respect. note 
    • Similarly, Omega Supreme is described during the post-war period as being viewed as an ancient protector of Cybertron, long before the Autobots and Decepticons even existed as factions. In his first appearance he's shown to be hiding out on a personal asteroid and not an active participant in the Autobot-Decepticon war (though in a flashback he's shown to be one of the Transformers who attempted to stop Thunderwing). Despite this, he apparently acts as an advisor to Optimus Prime due to just how old he is and how much he knows. In Transformers: All Hail Megatron it's mentioned that the Decepticons sent an entire army to kill him during the Surge, but all this did was convince him to outright join the Autobots.
    • When the war ends and Megatron is put on trial, Optimus Prime assumes the role of Chief Justice for the duration. Megatron protests at the idea of his nemesis being the judge at his trial (since, after all, Optimus is the leader of the Autobots), but Optimus wins over most of the planet by being scrupulously neutral. When a group of Decepticons attack the trial in an attempt to rescue Megatron, Optimus even refuses to join in the defense because of his position as judge, until Ultra Magnus makes a formal request for the Chief Justice to assist in returning order to the court.
  • 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.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Nova Prime doesn't confront his successor until the final issue of Revelation. Justified, as he knows the Darkness, like the Matrix, would pass to Optimus if they met.
  • 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."
  • Obfuscating Insanity: The Machination tries to brainwash a captive Hunter. He’s able to resist, but acts like a drooling vegetable to convince them otherwise. Once his captors leave him alone, he drops the act and tries to escape.
  • Off with His Head!: Runamuck is decapitated by one of the Reapers - his head thereafter crushed.
  • 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 then the Darkness will try to abandon him for Prime.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: Crankcase wrecks himself against Thunderwing’s leg while trying to ram the much larger Transformer in vehicle mode.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Thunderwing and Sixshot are both powerful enough to destroy entire planets singlehandedly.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Hunter is kidnapped by the Machination and converted into a cyborg Headmaster. They try to brainwash him as well, but he resists and uses his newfound abilities to escape.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse:
    • Bumblebee may be small, but he's a crack shot and an expert spy.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Thunderwing used himself as the first test subject for his controversial Pretender technology. The results weren't pretty, for him, or for anyone else on Cybertron.
  • Punched Across the Room: Hunter discovers his Super Strength by punching a Machination scientist so hard that the man flies out of the room and crashes into a wall with enough force to crack it.
  • 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.note  And in the case of the latter two, it drives 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.
  • Shock and Awe: Nova Prime suddenly starts zapping Optimus in their confrontation.
  • Shockwave Clap: Thunderwing’s claps have enough force to stagger larger Transformers and send smaller ones flying.
  • 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.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Devastation, neither Hardhead nor Optimus Prime are impressed with Sixshot’s attempt to demoralize the Autobots by boasting about his strength, speed and invulnerability.
    Hardhead: So what? They call me Hardhead. (headbutts Sixshot) And that’s really all you need to know.
    Optimus: You’ve got a bad reputation, Sixshot. (punches Sixhshot hard enough to leave cracks in his chestplate) Here’s where we separate the truth from the hyperbole.
  • Silent Antagonist: The Micromasters never say a word.
  • Sinister Surveillance: In Devastation, the Autobots find abandoned surveillance equipment around the Ark’s perimeter and realize that the mysterious group which abducted Sunstreaker must have been watching them for some time. They promptly move the Ark to a new location.
  • Sizeshifter: As usual, Megatron shrinks whenever he transforms into a gun. He does this by using mass-displacement technology to convert some of his mass into energy, which violently discharges from him as he transforms. It doesn’t explain how he gets his mass back, though.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Machination Headmasters believe they’re superior to other Transformers and love to taunt their opponents with this supposed fact. Their performance doesn’t bear out their boasts: five of them fail to defeat Hot Rod and Wheeljack despite having the advantage of numbers and surprise.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: In Devastation, Hot Rod and Wheeljack are driving to a junkyard where Ironhide is scheduled to be wrecked. Wheeljack tells Hot Rod to slow down, as they have plenty of time to get there. Right as he says that, they get ambushed by a squad of the Machination’s Sunstreaker clones and lose valuable time fighting them off.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Super Strength: As a Headmaster, Hunter is strong enough to send a normal human flying with one punch.
  • 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 Called Me Mad!: Megatron rejected Thunderwing’s experimental Pretender technology on the grounds that it was "unnatural", "misguided" and "ill-conceived", and withdrew all support for his research. Thunderwing continued the experiments regardless, which had dire consequences for all of Cybertron.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Optimus and Megatron's first fight on Earth goes badly for Optimus, to the extent that he very nearly dies.
  • 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 takes 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.
  • Trigger Phrase: Megatron programmed Sixshot to shut down if he hears the command "Reset: Pi-Orion-Actual-Orbit. Engage." Starscream uses this command to disable Sixshot after the latter defects to the Reapers.
  • Ultimate Universe: With the reimaginings of classic characters and concepts into a more realistic setting, the series is essentially this for Generation One.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: The Machination captures Hunter and converts into a Headmaster against his will.
  • 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.
  • We Have Reserves: In Devastation, the deaths of the Battlechargers are written off by the other Decepticons as "acceptable losses.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Reapers want to eliminate war. They believe this can only be done by eliminating those who make war, and destroying anything worth fighting over (i.e., everyone and everything).
  • 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.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Decepticon Facsimiles are decommissioned once they’ve fulfilled their intended purpose. The Facsimiles themselves don’t seem to mind, and will go to great length to terminate themselves if ordered to do so.