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Comic Book / Transformers: Beast Wars (2021)

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Twenty-five years later, and the Beast Wars have begun anew!

"This world is rich in energon, and it will be ours. But before we can overthrow the Maximals of our homeworld, we must first deal with the ones who followed us and caused us to crash. We survived that crash... and until I see their corpses with my own eyes, it only makes sense to believe they did as well. We have enemies here, on this little planet. Enemies we will eliminate. A new war has come, my friends... and this time, it is ours to win."
Megatron, Transformers: Beast Wars #1

Transformers: Beast Wars is a comic book launched by IDW Publishing in 2021, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Beast Wars animated series. It is written by Eric Burnham (Ghostbusters, Transformers/Ghostbusters), with art by Josh Burcham (Transformers: More than Meets the Eye). The series is inspired by the animated series but set in a different continuity.

Centuries after the end of the Great War, a small squadron of Maximals — the Autobots' descendants — pursue a team of Predacons — the Decepticons' descendants — who have stolen a spacecraft and an ancient artifact known as the Golden Disk. Both sides end up travelling through time and crashing on a mysterious world. Rebuilt by their ships into organic modes to shield them from the planet's heavy Energon radiation, an entirely new war has begun to unfold.


The comic ended its run in June 2022 after 17 issues.

This series provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Nyx, though Rattrap's experiences with the Axalon flying all over the place during their pursuit of the Predacons makes him beg to differ.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Rattrap doesn't seem to be particularly happy about his new beast mode, whereas the original was very pleased with it. Although he does seem to get over it and uses his beast mode to enjoy organic food.
  • Adaptation Deviation:
    • Unlike the original series, Dinobot doesn't defect from the Predacons at the very beginning and spends a few issues on their team before defecting for other reasons.
    • In the original cartoon the first protoform to join the Maximals was Tigatron. In this new version however, it's fan-favorite Razorbeast from the original IDW Beast Wars comics.
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    • Notably, the Maximal CR chambers in this continuity don't appear to be as effective as they were in the show, leading to Dinobot having a Game-Breaking Injury as a result of suffering a Predacon No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. In the TV series, the CR chambers the Maximals had were capable of healing nearly all grievous injuries provided a Maximal doesn't override stasis lock and leave them as good as new.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Waspinator is shown as being a significantly skilled pilot. But, old habits die hard...
    • Cheetor is less of a kid-appeal character this time around, and is shown thus far as not only more serious compared to his more impetuous original counterpart, but is in charge of the Axalon's weapons systems.
    • Rhinox was apparently quite the warrior in his younger days.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: A trio of Vok appear in the second issue of the comic to debate on whether or not to destroy the Cybertonians for contaminating their experiment. In the original show, we didn't learn their of their purpose on Earth till the end of season one, and didn't see them in person till season three.
  • Adaptational Expansion: The theft of the Golden Disk and the Maximal's initial pursuit of the Predacons onboard their respective ships is shown here, as compared to having gone unseen in the cartoon.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the TV show Dinobot's betrayal of Megatron is motivated by a desire to rule the Predacons and he joins the Maximals in hopes of duelling Optimus for control of them. In the comic Dinobot turns on the Predacons to save Nyx's life after the actions of Megatron and Tarantulas completely flew against his moral and honor codes. He also wishes to join the Maximals not out of a petty desire for leadership, but because he feels they are more honorable than Megatron and his crew.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Downplayed with Optimus Primal, who's still very much the same Maximal, but he's a lot more eager for battle, and doesn't have nearly as much tolerance for Rattrap's antics.
    • Similarly, Rattrap is a lot snarkier than usual, and far more of a complainer. Once again downplayed, since Rattrap was more of a jerk in Beast Wars’ early episodes as well.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: Megatron (formerly Galavar), unlike the power-hungry megalomaniac from the original series that would go on to develop a god complex and nearly commit multiple instances of genocide several times (being a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist everyone mistook as a common thief), is implied to have taken up this grandiose scheme so history won't forget him, as it did his predecessor.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In #12, Optimus is attacked by Polar Claw, who in the toyline was a Maximal and therefore on Optimus's side, although Polar Claw's words suggest he is pursuing an agenda beyond the Maximals and Predacons' conflict. The following issue reveals that Polar Claw, Tigatron, Airazor and Inferno are all protoforms who were activated on behalf of the Vok to support their own agenda.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Nyx and Skold add women to the otherwise all-male starting cast.
  • Alternate Continuity: Most Beast Wars stories spin-off in some way from the cartoon, taking place either before, during, or after the series events; never properly taking place in an alternate continuity of the Beast Wars. For a time, the major exceptions were Fun Publication's Beast Wars: Uprising, and Hayato Sakamoto's Transformers Legends in Japan. Transformers: Beast Wars reimagines the original Beast Wars cartoon series from the ground up in the vein of IDW's other Transformers reinventions, reintroducing the characters and concepts for new audiences. A new spin on the original show, unconnected to any prior piece of Beast Wars media.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Downplayed but according to Nyx, Predacons are naturally aggressive, which Dinobot doesn't deny due to them starting out as a warrior caste. Though according to him, during times of peace they channel these impulses into things like athletics, law enforcement or even science due to it challenging old notions. Skold actually averts this since, despite her incredible brute strength, she has a surprisingly gentle nature and is mostly interested in the arts. She only really opposes the Maximals due to the extreme bigotry she faced from them back on Cybertron.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the cartoon, the planet that the cast crashes on is eventually revealed to be Earth. In the comic, the writer has stated that they may not follow this story path and wants to keep the audience guessing. The comic eventually reveals more bizarre alien fauna not native to Earth, but the cartoon had its own share of alien activity because of the Vok's presence.
  • And Show It to You: After Terrorsaur apparently kills Razorbeast by throwing him into a floating mountain of energon, Skold takes advantage of a moment alone with him during a battle to literally tear out Terrorsaur's spark, later claiming to Waspinator that she doesn't know where Terrorsaur is.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final issue ends with the Vok defeated and Megatron temporarily displaced from time. However, the Maximals and the Predacons are still in conflict, with Blackarachnia now in command of the Predacons and scheming to scavenge the Vok's technology to repair the Darksyde. Furthermore, Megatron and Tarantulas are both still alive and plotting their respective revenge and conquests. Aside from Inferno, who had joined the Predacons, the rest of the Children of the Vok remain unaligned in the Cybertronian conflict. Finally, Tarantulas and Scorponok both sent data packets to Cybertron detailing their situation, meaning someone from their planet is likely to come and investigate.
  • At Least I Admit It: Rather, At Least They Admit It; Skold states at one point that she won't join the Maximals because she feels they hide their true natures behind noble intentions whereas at least with Megatron and the others she knows where she stands.
  • Badass Boast: Megatron gets one in in Issue 5.
    Megatron: "There's only so long your lackeys can hold out before death comes for you... and it will come. After all—no one defies Megatron and lives."
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: After Skold finds and activates Razorbeast's pod, she spends time bonding with him before he is injured in battle. Knowing that he wouldn't be a good fit for life in the Predacons, she takes him to the Maximal ship to be healed.
  • The Berserker: #12 sees Optimus turned into one by Megatron's new weapon, involving energon that provokes an aggressive response in those exposed to it.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Megatron is the primary threat to the Maximals and kicks off the plot by stealing the Golden Disk behind the Tripredacus Council's back, but the Council is also working to take advantage of Megatron's success (or failure) for their own ends. Finally, there's the Vok, who are merely observing the war for now, but are prepared to raze the entire planet if the Maximals and Predacons excessively disrupt their experiments on earth.
  • Boring, but Practical: Rhinox criticized Rattrap for using his new beast mode to eat organic food. The rat is quick to point out that it's far easier than trying to synthesize Energon—a substance of which is far too overabundant and unstable on this planet—and that it can be just as effective to recharge.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The Vok argue amongst themselves about what to do with the newly arrived Cybertronians. One, named Tonrar, argues they should scrub the entire experiment now that the Maximals and Predacons have contaminated it. Another, Pakak, suggests they keep going to see what they can learn about the new arrivals. The leader, Tikanni, takes both points into account when he makes his judgement; they'll keep the experiment going, but they'll scrub it if either party causes too much trouble.
  • Butt-Monkey: Waspinator, per usual, is blown to scrap when the Darksyde crashes. The Predacon's computer has to pull him back together before reformatting him. He also tries to go to the mess after he gets back from assignment, only for Scorponok (who Megatron just gave a thrashing to) orders him back.
  • Canon Foreigner: Nyx and Skold — a Maximal bat and a Predacon snapping turtle — are featured as part of the main crews of their respective factions.
  • Cliffhanger: Issue 2 ends with Terrorsaur bringing an unconscious Nyx to the Predacon base, eager to deliver his new prisoner to an already irritated Megatron.
  • Cosmic Deadline: Due to IDW losing the Transformers license, the comic had to rush to wrap up the Vok storyline for its finale, with the three reality warping Vok being quickly destroyed by Rattrap and Waspinator using a weaponized transwarp drive. The final issues also quickly introduced a number of fan favorite Beast Wars characters such as Tigatron, Airazor and Inferno.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Issue 15 when Megatron opens fire on the Vok inhabiting Polar Claw's body, the Vok immediately take off their proverbial gloves and bring Megatron to his knees.
  • Curse Cut Short: A Cybertronian variant, thanks to the Vok.
    Rattrap: "So get off my back, and/or kiss my—"
    After the Vok leave
    Rattrap: —skidplate.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rattrap is in fine form here, and makes more than his fair share of snide remarks.
    Nyx: "Wings! I have wings!"
    Rattrap: "Well, at least someone's happy."
    • Dinobot gets in a few good digs in spite of not having Rattrap to bounce off of (yet).
    Nyx: "I know there's been 'peace' between Maximals and Predacons for a long time, but that doesn't mean there's no animosity. It's ancient! Encoded deep in the spark! I mean, I went to university with a Predacon who nearly killed me during a lab project..."
    Dinobot: "Yes. School is a difficult time."
    Nyx: "Don't make fun of me!"
    • Megatron still has his macabre wit.
      Megatron: Well, we know you can find excuses, at least. Pretend Dinobot's one of those.
  • Deal with the Devil: Optimus essentially makes one to stop the Vok wiping out both sides at once; he convinces them that it might be interesting to them to see how the Maximals and Predacons cope with the knowledge of the imminent threat posed by a superior force, convincing them not to spy on the two sides and give them a definite deadline for when they will expect a new attack.
  • Death by Cameo: Under-3, a character who was originally created as a McDonald's promotional toy before getting a full-sized figure at Bot Con in 2016, appears here defending the Wheeljack Ministry of Science before he's attacked by the Predacons. Dinobot tries to get his compatriots to spare the bot, as he cannot fight back and defend himself, before Terrorsaur and Scorponok offline him anyway.
  • Decomposite Character: Nyx has taken Cheetor's more excitable personality, and has Dinobot's more adversarial relationship with Rattrap (as the honorable Predacon has yet to join the Maximals).
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: In Issue 9, Megatron reveals that he managed to transmit a reprogramming signal to the stasis pods while both ships were in orbit, thus accounting for how Blackarachnia arrived on the planet as a Predacon. However, he notes that he cannot be sure how many pods were reprogrammed in this manner, and while Blackarachnia has managed to transmit a recall signal to at least some of the pods, they will come down at random as there was no way to transmit the signal so that the pods would land near the Predacon base.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Issue 7 has Rattrap commenting on Tarantulas' reputation as "a real backstabber" during Dinobot's report on his former teammates. At this time Dinobot was still partially crippled from Tarantulas literally stabbing him through the back. Rattrap quickly notices the (offscreen) reaction from his team.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Time will tell if he actually shows up, but one of the stasis pods Rhinox ejects from the Axalon in the first issue is the distinctive oversized pod containing Protoform X, A.K.A Rampage.
  • Enemy Mine: After Optimus and Megatron are captured by the Vok transformers, Optimus convinces Megatron to work with him to help them escape.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Megatron is absolutely huge compared to Optimus in this incarnation, able to comfortably hold him by the waist in his T. Rex hand, despite their original toys being roughly the same size. Their relative scale appears to be based on the original T. Rex Megatron toy vs. the mid 2000s Robot Masters Beast Convoy figure.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Like the cartoon, it's a comic about a war involving beasts.
  • Foreshadowing: When Megatron gives Tarantulas the coordinates to their destination, he notes it looks familiar.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Dinobot was initially portrayed as being so tough that he could take on all the Predacons with ease. However, in Issue 6, he gets stabbed in the back by Tarantulas and suffers a brutal beatdown at the hands of the his former teammates. He survives thanks to the Maximals but states that his wounds were grievous enough that he'll likely never be the fighter he was before.
  • Good Old Ways: Primal sends Nyx out to scout the planet, pointing out this very trope to her when she's concerned about leaving her repairs unfinished.
  • Goth Spirals: Tarantulas' spider legs and Scorponk's tail are drawn tapering off into these thanks to the more cartoonish art style. Only applies to their robot modes and issues drawn by Josh Burcham.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • In issue 3 when Dinobot is fighting his former teammates he grabs Skold when she's in her snapping turtle mode and throws her with enough force to knock Megatron into the Darksyde.
    • In issue 6 Dinobot tears off Waspinator's arm and clubs him with it.
  • Help Mistaken for Attack: When chasing Blackarachnia through the Axalon Dinobot suddenly tackles Cheetor and Rattrap, Rattrap immediately accuses Dinobot of lying about joining their side until Dinobot points out that they were about to run into a tripwire left by the Predacon that had some grenades attached to it.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Rattrap badmouths Optimus when he goes to take a call on the bridge. Primal has to point out that the communication channel is still open before Rattrap realizes it.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: During Issue 6, after Tarantulas stabs Dinobot in the back in a sneak attack, Megatron and the other Predacons sans Skold and Waspinator gleefully kick and beat Dinobot while he's down.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Tripredacus Council decides to do this to Galavar/Megatron when he goes behind their backs and steals the Golden Disk, hoping that they can use his success or failure to further their own goals. But, knowing Megatron is one himself, he may just as easily be using them.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Flashbacks in Issue 9 reveal that Skold was originally an artistic individual who enjoyed visiting museums, but when so many Maximals dismissed her as just another ruthless Predacon she was more willing to join Megatron's side.
  • Mythology Gag: Several to the original series:
    • The Tripredacus Council is shown through Megatron's hologram under an ominous red light, as they were in the original series, before their true colors are shown to match their original toys.
    • Cybertronian!Waspinator's head looks a lot like his Animated counterpart prior to his mutation, along with borrowing elements of his Bot-Con toy.
    • Cybertronian!Rhinox uses a design reminiscent of his Bot-Con toy, itself a redeco of Transformers: Cybertron Landmine.
    • Optimus Primal used to be a part of the security forces until his expulsion. Just like another Optimus.
    • The Maximals receive orders from Ironhide, who uses a Cybertronian-style version of his original Beast Wars toy, though it's not clear if this is the original Ironhide rebuilt in a new form.
    • The space in-between transwarp fields is called Unspace.
    • One of the stasis pods has a big red X marked on it. Said stasis pod contained the infamous Protoform X, alias Rampage inside of it. Hopefully he doesn't end up online this time...
    • Not even an issue in and Waspinator falls to pieces upon the Predacon ship crashing. Guess the universe really does hate Waspinator.
    • Nyx's bat mode is based on Optimus Primal's first toy.note  Similarly, Skold is loosely based off Snapper, a Predacon snapping turtle from the original toyline.
    • The planet has some rather bizarre biome arrangements, such as a desert bordering a tundra which is a nod to the original series which would have the characters traveling to different location much faster than they logically should be able to. Unlike the series however the characters notice this and acknowledge how strange it is.
      • There's also flying mountains of raw Energon, as the episode "Power Surge" famously depicted. Terrorsaur even gets to weaponize one of them like in the cartoon. Though in a much different way than he originally did.
    • Tarantulas gives a pretty scathing dismissal of Dinobot's authority (or rather, lack thereof) by claiming that they will only remain loyal to Megatron so long as it serves their own purposes. The original cartoon saw both of them betray Megatron when serving him no longer suited them (with Dinobot being thrown out after he pulled a Starscream on his boss and then joining the Maximals, while Tarantulas was a double agent for the Tripredicus Council the entire time).
    • Megatron is shown in possession of a rubber ducky, albeit one with a more robotic look to it.
    • When Dinobot and Primal are talking in the former's makeshift cell on his request to join the Maximals, Dinobot sarcastically asks Optimus if he should have just challenged him to a fight to the death for leadership, which is exactly what he did in the original cartoon.
    • The three racist Maximals who appear in Skold's flashback in Issue 9 appear to be Panther, Rhino and Manta Ray from the same Happy Meal toyline as the late, lamented Under 3. Strangely, Manta Ray was originally depicted as a Predacon, but this may be a mix up due to the Maximal Depth Charge turning into the same animal.
    • When the Vok unveil their cannon weapon installed in their flying island, Tonrar complains they should’ve installed it in a moon, which is what they did in the cartoon. His comrade points out that this is both Awesome, but Impractical and Your Answer to Everything.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • Downplayed, but Megatron's original name, which was never revealed in the cartoon, is shown in this series as "Galavar." He quickly changes it to Megatron once he goes behind the Tripredacus Council's back.
    • Similarly, the rest of the cast already has their names, whereas the original cartoon had them choose their names after gaining their beast modes (sans Primal and Megatron).
    • The Vok also have names in this continuity—three of them are called "Tikanni", "Pakak", and "Tonrar".
  • No-Sell: When Optimus is driven to a berserk rage by Megatron's new weapon, Rhinox questions why Dinobot wasn't affected, Dinobot speculating that it may have been either because he was in beast mode at the time or because he's more used to controlling his aggressive side than Optimus is.
  • Noodle Incident: Scorponok was apparently responsible for helping to put down a rebellion. He doesn't get the chance to say what he did to help, thanks to a very pissed-off Megatron.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Both leaders of the Beast Wars are this. On Cybertron, Optimus Primal is a Military Maverick in charge of a mere exploration crew, while Megatron is a small-time criminal leading a band of like-minded renegades, but the latter's theft of the Golden Disk and the lack of other Cybertronians on prehistoric earth allows them to become big players.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Nyx and Terrorsaur get into a chase while the former is out on patrol. Terrorsaur is able to win by transforming into robot mode and blasting the Maximal out of the sky.
  • Post-Final Boss: The Vok and their Cybertronian servants are the main forces the Maximals and Predacons have to fight in the climactic, final battle. However, after the Vok are defeated, Megatron becomes this. After deciding the truce is over, he tries to attack Optimus but is quickly zapped away by Rattrap with his unspace energy to wrap up the entire plot.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Megatron refuses to let the Predacons leave the remains of the Darksyde while he's focused on decrypting the Golden Disk. When Scorponok tries to offer his help and mentions the rest of the team is getting bored being stuffed up in the ship, Megatron harshly reminds him they're on an entirely new world with no idea of what defenses the planet or the Maximals have. He's also willing to put aside his grudge against Optimus and the Maximals in the face of greater threats like the Vok, if for no other reason than to increase his own chances of survival.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Discussed by Dinobot, the Predacons are largely a warrior caste and are meant to fight war, but there isn't always a war, and that to cope many throw themselves into other fields where there is conflict such as law or peacekeeping.
  • Ramming Always Works: Nyx rams the Axalon into the Darksyde after the Predacon ship disables the Axalon's guns. This stunt cripples both ships, leading them to crash on the planet below.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: As in the original series, Tarantulas built a transformation lock lens that can trap a Transformer in a single form. He tests the device on Nyx, leaving her trapped in robot mode and unable to protect herself from the energon radiation. Fortunately, the effect wears off once Dinobot destroys the device.
  • Siding with the Suffering: Dinobot was already having his doubts about the Predacon cause, but what finally gets him to change sides is seeing his teammates torture Nyx for information and throw her out of the Darksyde after disabling her ability to transform or enter stasis lock so they can watch her slowly die of energon radiation. Dinobot's disgust leads to him saving Nyx and trapping the Predacons in the Darksyde so they can both escape.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Nyx is notably the only female Maximal in the entire original cast (while Skold is the only female Predacon), as Airazor is not part of the crew of the Axalon (at least, not yet), while Blackarachnia would only join the Predacons in a later issue.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Rattrap and Nyx get some digs in at each other during the Axalon's pursuit of the Darksyde.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: The Maximals are all named prior to getting their beast modes. So Cheetor was named that before ever turning into a cheetah, Rhinox before turning into a rhino, Rattrap before turning into a rat and so forth.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Dinobot is a very skilled warrior but the main reason he was able to defeat all his old teammates at once the first time around was because none of them expected him to turn on them, giving him the element of surprise, but as Megatron points out, that isn't the case during their second battle. He's able to put up a good fight at first but not as well as before and facing multiple opponents at once leaves him vulnerable to a sneak attack which Tarantulas takes advantage of and impales him from behind then taking part in beating him while he's too injured to fight back.
    • Following the above example. Suffering such severe damage has lasting consequences for Dinobot. Even with repairs he's lost much of his former strength and he doesn't know if he'll ever be able to return to his former self.
  • Tempting Fate: Rhinox lampshades this when Primal receives orders from Ironhide to pursue the Darksyde.
    Rhinox: "You just had to go and wish that the mission was more interesting."
  • This Means War!: The Maximals were largely content to only fight defensively but after Blackarachnia infiltrates the Axalon and causes all the pods in orbit to come planetside without set destinations (likely leading to the destruction of several protoforms in the process), Optimus decides to go on the offensive and hit the Predacons were it hurts.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Terrorsaur wants to blast everything they have at the Maximals while traveling through Unspace. Dinobot objects immediately, noting that the laws of physics apply differently during such a transit; one shot could take out their ship.
  • Ultimate Universe: The comic is a retelling of the original story, set in its own continuity with new takes on established characters, as well as new additions to the cast.
  • Victory by Endurance: This is how Optimus defeats Megatron in Issue 12, by letting Megatron pound away at him, expending his energy until Optimus has him where he wants. He even references the Rope-A-Dope strategy.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: The belief that Maximals never instigate conflict is so ingrained in Cybertronian society that the Predacons didn't believe there was any need to prepare any security precautions. Optimus uses this to his advantage as he launches a sneak attack in an attempt to steal the Golden Disc and sabotage the Darksyde
  • Wham Shot: When Megatron attempts to decode the data hidden on the Golden Disk, rather than a message from the first Megatron as in the original series, he sees himself.
  • Wrestler of Beasts: In issue #4, Nyx is attacked by a creature resembling a saber-toothed tiger. As her weapons have been disabled, she tries to fight it off with a stick. This barely phases the animal who presses on its attack. Fortunately, Dinobot arrives to save Nyx by cracking the creature's neck and tossing it away.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Dinobot gets angry at Tarantulas' dismissal of his orders and attempts to invoke rank but Tarantulas points out that they're all rogue agents which means that they are all outside the chain of command and Dinobot has no real power over him.
  • X Days Since: The Maximal shipyards have a sign that reads "No Incidents in 14,207 Cycles." The Predacons blast a hole right through the sign.

Alternative Title(s): Beast Wars