Transformers/Ghostbusters is a five-issue Ghostbusters (IDW Comics) Crossover limited series by IDW Publishing in 2019, designed to celebrate the joint 35th anniversary of the Ghostbusters and Transformers franchises. Teaming up the Ghostbusters with a version of Transformers mostly inspired by the original 1984 cartoon, the story starts off similar enough to what fans expect of the Robots in Disguise; the war for Cybertron is over, and the Autobots have no choice but to flee. They escape onboard their spacecraft, The Ark, where normally, the Decepticons pursued them on their ship, The Nemesis, where they'd fight in space and end up being stranded on Earth for millions of years before being reawakened in 1984 to fight their war once more.
Only this time, the Decepticons never got a chance to follow.
A mysterious elder god named Gozer has arrived to destroy Cybertron, and it ultimately does just that. The Autobots instead take to the cosmos for the next million years, unable to return home. It's only when the ship's resident theoretical physicist, Ectronymus Diamatron, detects a Cybertronian signal on Earth that he's given Optimus Prime's permission to investigate. Arriving on Earth, his presence coincides with New York's resident paranormal hunters, the Ghostbusters, dealing with another job. One bagged ghost later, and the boys in beige are prepared to head home. Only problem is their iconic car, the Ecto-1, is literally in the ground. Or is it? It's right next to the hole where the other is! But which one is real? It's from there that Ectotron reveals himself... and a familiar looking ghost joins the fray.
The series is produced the Ghostbusters comics' regular staff: Erik Burhman as writer, with art by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado.
Transformers/Ghostbusters contains examples of:
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: To the Cybertronian War itself. Originally, it had resulted in both parties fleeing from their home, with the Autobots in pursuit of fuel and the Decepticons in pursuit of their enemies, with both sides landing on Earth four million years ago, then being reactivated in 1984 to keep fighting. Here, Cybertron was destroyed by Gozer before the Decepticons could pursue the Autobots, technically giving Optimus and his allies the victory, but at the expense of their homeworld.
- Adaptational Badass: Kremzeek was far from a wimp in the original cartoon, but here, he's one of many beings who form the ghostly Scavenger, who's capable of turning the living into ghosts.
- Alternate Continuity: While this may or may not be one for the Ghostbusters series (seeing as they've used the first two films, the video game, and the comics as their primary timeline), it is definitely so for The Transformers, seeing as Gozer destroyed their home.
- Ambiguous Situation:
- It's not clear what happened to the other Decepticons outside of Megatron, Starscream, Shockwave, and Soundwave, leading one to assume they either perished when Gozer attacked Cybertron, or they were made into ghosts themselves. Either way, Ectotron is determined to find out what happened.
- And the Adventure Continues...: Ectotron receives permission to join the Ghostbusters and find any potential Decepticons that may have been turned into ghosts by Kreemzeek. As he flies off into space, Starscream's ghost follows him.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Egon is initially dismissive of alien presence, as he can't possibly accept that Ectotron is from another planet.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: When Gozer gains it's "Destroyer" form, it's a giant Starscream, crowned and robed in his coronation gear from the movie, wearing the Matrix of Leadership around his neck, with the heads of Optimus Prime, Jetfire, Shockwave, and Megatron hanging from it.
- Badass Boast: Optimus Prime gets one when he faces off against the ghostly Decepticons on Earth.
- Canon Immigrant:
- Ectotron was made as part of Hasbro's "Collaborative" series of figures that combined iconic vehicles of pop culture with new Autobots (with Ectotron being the first). This marks his first appearance in any medium outside of toy form.
- Megatron's One-Winged Angel form was originally made for the cancelled Transformers Universe MMORPG that was meant to tie into Transformers: Prime.
- Continuity Nod:
- Egon is quick to note the team's encounter with Gozer after Starscream tells of what happened, noting the Destroyer may have been to other planets before he went to Earth.
- When Megatron possesses Ectotron, the Ghostbusters use the mood slime they used to defeat Vigo to snap him out of it.
- Death by Adaptation: In contrast to the Autobots, the Decepticons (and Cybertron) were completely wiped out by Gozer before they can ever pursue the fleeing Autobots on their ship eon ago. Those appear in the present day are now ghosts.
- Starscream is, well, The Starscream. He may seemingly be in a pretty bad situation, but his reputation is well known enough to the point that absolutely no one trusts him. When he starts snooping around the firehouse, Peter is quick to trap him in a hidden security measure to make sure he doesn't cause anymore trouble until Prime arrives.
- Unlike Megatron, Kremzeek has absolutely no use for a treacherous underling, especially an incompetent one. Once he figures out Starscream's game, he re-absorbs the Decepticon. Though Starscream does get free when Kremzeek is defeated.
- Enemy Mine: Starscream, having been stuck as a ghost, is willing to work with Ectotron and the Ghostbusters to find a way to restore him to tangible form. Naturally, it's all a trick to lure Optimus Prime down so he can take him over.
- Emergency Transformation: When Gozer begins to tear apart the Decepticon forces, Megatron reluctantly agrees to accept the deal of the mysterious "Scavenger" to survive the ordeal, and is immediately turned into a ghost. Shockwave, Soundwave, and Starscream eventually undergo this.
- Eviler Than Thou: Kremzeek to the Decepticons. At least until Megatron is freed.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That:
- Venkman immediately has Starscream's number. . . because he does have a PhD in psychology, and recognizes a selfish, cowardly, traitorous scumbag when he sees one.
- Similarly, Optimus Prime has a few Deadpan Snarker tendencies and cracks more than his fair share of jokes, which stands out compared to how most adaptations since the third season of the G1 cartoon tend to portray him as The Stoic more often than not.
- Full-Name Basis:
- Ectronymous Diamatron insists he be refered to by his full name (at least part of which is apparently a title, like "Doctor,") as he worked hard to earn and requests that work be respected (though to be fair, most Autobots shorten it to "Eck"). It's only with the Ghostbusters that he finally gives in and shortens it to "Ectotron."
- Starscream refers to Peter by his full name not out of respect, but because Peter is the first to humiliate him. He continues to do so just after leaving Earth, swearing vengeance on the Ghostbuster.
- Generic Graffiti: Optimus Prime gets tagged while he waits in rest mode in truck form for Ectotron and the Ghostbusters to get back from a bust. He decides to cover it with a white paint scheme to fit into the Ghostbuster's theme (and to plug a white Optimus Prime recolor toy, a Ghostbusters themed redeco of his Masterpiece MP-10 figure).
- Grand Theft Me: Megatron does this to Ectotron himself by possessing his body.
- Karma Houdini: Starscream, in spite of all the trouble he's caused, is able to slip away Scott-free. Not that he didn't get put through the wringer beforehand.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again!: Ecto-1 is totaled, but Ectotron chooses to scan it for his alt-mode, becoming the Ghostbusters' primary means of transportation and honorary team member. They arrive at another call, and Ectotron shifts back to robot mode to see if he can help.Venkman: Let me ask you something — is it weird we were just riding around inside you a minute ago?
Ectotron: Let's. . . just agree to never speak of it.
- Let's You and Him Fight: It's a rather minor scuffle compared to how this trope normally plays out, but Ectotron destroys the trap containing the ghostly Starscream with an electric discharge. It's only when the Decepticon spots the Autobot and begs to stop that both sides immediately stop to hear him out.
- Mythology Gag:
- From Transformers:
- As with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Cybertron is completely destroyed.
- True to form, Starscream is once again made a ghost (and this time it's actually more revenant to the plot).
- When Wheeljack questions Ectotron's stability, Prime points out that many of the crew still think the same of the scientist, right as the panel focuses on Grimlock, referencing how Wheeljack built the Dinobots along with Ratchet.
- From Ghostbusters:
- When Gozer shows up on Cybertron, it takes a form not unlike a Cybertronian version of the "Eldritch supermodel" it appeared to the Ghostbusters in originally. The Terror Dogs are also robotic in appearance. Gozer is confronted by Megatron, Soundwave, Shockwave, and Starscream, roughly matching up to Venkman, Egon, Ray, and Winston (though Starscream is the one who has Gozer's Destructor form "just pop in there").
- Slimer is kept inside a containment unit for Egon to study properly.
- Ectotron in his Ecto-1 vehicle mode incinerates a parking ticket a cop was about to give him, referencing a scene deleted from Ghostbusters (1984).
- "Me Grimlock ain't afraid of no ghosts!"
- When fighting Kremzeek, the Ghostbusters lament they didn't bring a boson caster. The Boson Dart was an upgrade for the proton pack in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, filling the role of grenade launcher.
- From Transformers:
- Narcissist: It's revealed that the form Gozer took is a giant Starscream with his crown and a necklace with severed heads of high-ranking Decepticons and Autobots alike, and that's apparently what Starscream thought could destroy Cybertron as oppose to say, Unicron.
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe, Wheeljack tries to argue against Optimus going to help Ectotron because he's a little eccentric. Prime politely reminds him that he has to help out his men, and then points out that people thought of the engineer in the same manner not so long ago—while the panel is focused on his own creation, Grimlock. It seems Prime isn't willing to let Wheeljack off the hook for making a Blood Knight.
- Non-Standard Character Design: There are two random graffiti taggers who look nothing like the other humans in the comic, having much more realistic faces and hair.
- Not So Above It All: Even Optimus Prime, the living embodiment of The Stoic, can't help but feel relieved when Ectotron reveals he's shortening his name. He even later cracks a few jokes when he meets up with the Ghostbusters about how he stepped on a Cybertronian that turned into a gun, starting off a thousand years of war.
- Overly Long Name: Ectronymous Diamatron. He really doesn't understand why people have such a hard time with it. . . it's only eight syllables!
- Readings Are Off the Scale: Shockwave advises Megatron that maybe he's unwise to antagonize Gozer, as "Its power is beyond my senors' ability to categorize."
- Seen It All: The Ghostbusters don't seem to mind Ectotron's presence on Earth. In fact, they even lampshade how they're so used to the strange and unnatural at this point.Ectotron: Um, I was actually expecting you to be just a bit more intimidated. . .
Venkman: Yeah, we get that a lot.
- Sequel Hook: Ectotron leaves Earth and the Autobots to find other Decepticons who may have been turned into ghosts, unaware that Starscream is tailing him.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The entirety of the Autobots forces avoid their grisly fate seen in The Transformers: The Movie thanks to the Decepticons dying when Gozer destroyed Cybertron.
- The Starscream:
- But of course. His reputation is so well known at this point, it's practically no surprise that nobody else trusts him, even when he's practically begging for help.
- Tellingly, his second act in the entire story (after ineffectually shooting Gozer) is a fleeting thought about what could possibly be mighty enough to destroy Cybertron: a gigantic Starscream with a necklace made from the heads of Jetfire, Shockwave, Megatron, Optimus Prime, and the Matrix of Leadership, and wearing his crown and cape from The Movie's coronation scene.
- Take That: When on the job, Winston mentions he's a big Dodgers fan. Peter mentions that there's "two and a half perfectly good teams within 100 miles." It's not clear whether or not he's referring to the Yankees or the Mets, or one of the minor league teams, but he's clearly not a fan of one of them.
- Time Dissonance: Four million years pass onboard The Ark, but nary a thought is given to it by their crew.
- Troll: Peter Venkman gets to do this on Starscream when he deliberately toys with the Decepticon and traps the unsuspecting ghost without skipping a beat.
- We Will Meet Again: Starscream promises Peter this before leaving Earth.