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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 begins to unfold.


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 is still working with them.
  • 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.
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    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: 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.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Nyx is notably the only female Maximal in the entire cast (while Skold is the only female Predacon), as neither Blackarachnia nor Airazor are part of the crew of the Axalon.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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


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