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Comic Book / Transformers vs. G.I. Joe

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WARNING: This comic series gets as insane as this cover is awesome in every sense of the word.

Take Transformers, take G.I. Joe, give them to the guy who made American Barbarian, let him filter them through Jack Kirby and gonzo art comics, and lo and behold, you might get something like Transformers vs. G.I. Joe.

In the past, G.I. Joe and the Transformers had plenty of crossover seriesnote , first with the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) and The Transformers (Marvel) by Marvel Comics (which helped develop both properties in The '80s), and later when their licenses were with the likes of Dreamwave Productions and Devil's Due Press, who respectively did Transformers/G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers. But when both publishers either went belly up or lost the licenses, IDW Publishing saw it best to snag the licensing rights to both.

The series, written by Tom Scioli (who also draws the series) and Transformers group editor John Barber, has the war between the Autobots and Decepticons colliding with the war between G.I. Joe and Cobra. But things don't exactly go as paint-by-the-numbers as you'd think it would...

The series started on May 2014 with an issue #0 serving as a prologue for the series. The series proper continued with issue #1 in July 2014 and concluded with #13 on May 2016. A follow up comic was made as an In-Universe Comic Adaptation of the In-Universe Movie Adaptation of the In Universe Comic version of this comic was made in March 2017.

Near the end of 2017, a hardcover collection titled Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: The Quintessential Collection came out, which contained the entirety of the maxiseries, including the 0-numbered issue, the Free Comic Book Day Funnies strip (which was originally featured in the 0-numbered issue of the Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) comic book tie-in) and the Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: The Movie Adaptation one-shot.

This comic series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: In a sharp contrast to most incarnations of Snake-Eyes, this version of the Joes' token ninja isn't mute, though he still doesn't talk nearly as much as the other Joes.
  • Adaptation Decay: The In-Universe Comic Adaptation of the In-Universe Movie Adaptation of the In-Universe version of this comic parodies this. The first half is more or less a summary of the events in the original comic with most of the things right... but are not. Such as Scarlett becoming Optimus' Head Master when she was Scorponok's and Snake Eyes fighting with the Joes when he was a Double Agent inside of Cobra.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The My Little Pony cameo in which the deceased Megatron's remains are sent to be discovered by "Unicorn" instead of Unicron, deliberately mixes the generations together. The scene features G1's Moondancer, G3's Rarity, and G4's Twilight Sparkle and Lyra Heartstrings, all four of whom are drawn in the G1 art style.
  • Adaptational Context Change: The FCBD Funnies strip (originally published in issue 0 of the Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) comic book tie-in) references Cobra Commander's Madness Mantra of saying "I was once a man" after turning into a mutant snake in G.I. Joe: The Movie, except in this context the saying refers to how Cobra Commander was an ordinary man with a wife and a son before he became the dreaded leader of Cobra.
    • Oddly, its later revealed that he's in fact a reptilian creature from beneath the earth, a la the Sunbow film. This discrepancy is never really explained.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Most incarnations of Serpentor were presentable at the least. The incarnation of Serpentor in this continuity has green skin and multiple red eyes.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While Megatron has always been evil, most versions portray him as either somewhat sympathetic, or A Lighter Shade of Black next to truly devilish opponents like Unicron. This version portrays him as a murderous, diabolical monster bordering on a God of Evil with no redeeming qualities (clearly riffing on Darkseid).
  • All Just a Dream: The end of Issue #6 "reveals" the whole adventure was just pure imagination from Scarlett, confined to a mental institution. Subverted in the very next issue when it turns out that Scarlett was being manipulated by Cobra's Doctor Mindbender and the Decepticon hypnotist Mindwipe. In the backmatter, the authors reveal that so many people had suggested the series would turn out to be a kid playing with their toys that they decided it would be funny to do it as an obviously fake twist at the halfway point instead.
  • Anyone Can Die: It happens surprisingly very often.
    • Bumblebee's out of the picture in the prologue... until Issue #8 reveals that he's still alive.
    • Cobra Commander and Baroness die in the prologue too. But issue #5 shows they both survived... albeit comatose in Cobra Commander's case and heavily scarred in Baroness' case.
    • This hits Soundwave pretty badly in Issue #1... until his brother, Shockwave, resurrects him in issue #10's side story "Black Cybertron"... kinda.
    • Grimlock is a goner as of Issue #5.
    • As of Issue #8, we can add Optimus Prime into the corpse count.
    • And of Issue #10, the entire population of Earth.
    • Issue #13 has Destro, Hawk, Cobra Commander, and Storm Shadow.
    • Some of the above get better or appear again in the afterlife, though.
  • Babies Ever After:
    • At the end of the comic, it is mentioned that Brawn and Cover Girl are expecting a child and Roadblock is seen watching his daughters get onto the schoolbus (quickly revealed to be a Decepticon with the driver being a disguised Buzzer) for their first day of school.
    • The Baroness ends the series pregnant with Cobra Commander's child, who is implied to be this continuity's version of Serpentor.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Optimus, in the finale. And it is awesome.
    • In Issue #13, the narration assures that Megatron will one day return as Galvatron.
  • Boss Subtitles: As a nod to the file cards on the packaging of both G.I. Joe and Transformers toys, each of the significant characters is introduced with a caption featuring their portrait, code name, and a Boss Subtitle-styled caption. When Destro first meets Megatron, the Splash Panel of Megatron's face reflected in Destro's mask is accompanied by five caption boxes, describing Destro as "Gun Maker, Life Taker, Dream Breaker, Earth Shaker, Money Raker".
  • Came Back Wrong: Shockwave (who is is Soundwave's brother in the canon) does his damndest to resurrect Soundwave, but Soundwave ends up sounding monotone rather than melodious, much to Shockwave's horror. It gets worse when he notes that where he used to treat his cassetticons well and simply command them to return to his compartment, now he impatiently grabs them, crumples them into tape mode and shoves them into his chest.
  • The Cameo: Bludgeon appears as guardian of the afterlife in Issue #12.
  • Combining Mecha: Defensor as combined by the Rescuebots, which are comprised of Inferno, Jetfire, Ratchet, Prowl, Red Alert, Blades (who is styled after his Transformers: Rescue Bots toy incarnation physically while sporting the colors of his G1 self), and Arcee. ...We did say this comic series was insane, right?
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Parodied with The Movie Adaptation, which is presented as an in-universe comic book tie-in to a film adaptation of the story that has taken a lot of creative liberties.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting:
  • Covers Always Lie: Ultra Magnus appears in the cover for Issue #7... but he's nowhere in the actual story... until Issue #10.
  • Crossover: Between Transformers and G.I. Joe, natch... but be warned, for it is...
  • Denser and Wackier: Compared to the previous Transformers and G.I. Joe crossovers, this one goes... out there.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Cobra Commander and the Serpentress (formally known as the Baroness) have one in Issue #12. The Serpentress' scars aren't so bad, but Cobra Commander's? He's pretty bad looking.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Koh-Buru-Lah is a... thing made of tentacles and teeth.
  • Enfant Terrible: Crystal Ball predicts Serpentor will be one.
  • Fantastic Slur: The Joes initially negatively refer to Transformers as "Go-Bots", which is also a Take That! to a different franchise, the rival US Transforming Mecha show Challenge Of The Go Bots (which, funnily enough, is now technically another Hasbro property due to Hasbro buying out Go-Bots owner Tonka). It's eventually revealed that Go-Bots exists as a fictional show in-universe.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Dr. Venom is killed by having a live grenade pushed into his mouth.
  • The Ghost: A Decepticon chef named Confektor is mentioned, but never seen.
  • Grim Reaper: Turns out Cybertron has one... and it's Ultra Magnus. No, really!
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: Dr. Venom will always suddenly undergo a moral conversion to whoever seems to be winning, or claim to have been secretly working for them all along. This eventually gets him killed.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Megatron turns out to be one after eating a very much alive Skidmark in issue #10, much to the horror of most of the Dreadnoks.
    Ripper: GORE BLIMEY! I fink I've gone and lost me bloomin' happytite.
    Torch: Not me, mate. (CHOMP CHOMP) Grub's gotten way better since we shanghai'd that G.I. Joe celebrity chef.
  • In Name Only: Deliberately invoked in a lot of places, in that a lot of characters and concepts are vastly off from the originals - for instance, the Oktober Guard goes from a Russian counterpart to G.I. Joe to a Halloween-themed squad of villains, and Rodimus goes from a youthful cavalier given a sudden promotion to an exiled philosopher-king who now harvests "hot rods." The overall sensation is intentionally like a kid playing with their toys and making up lore and backstories as they go along. That being said, there are enough nods to the source materials and details that are accurate to most continuities that make it clear that Scioli is quite well-informed about both franchises.
  • Insult Backfire: Mini-Megatron was an Autobot creation meant to insult him by calling him a tiny weakling. Megatron instead took him in as an official Decepticon, and had him act as Destro's personal bodyguard and firearm.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The comic is a crossover between Transformers and G.I. Joe, with a tongue-in-cheek cameo from My Little Pony characters near the end.
  • Interspecies Romance: As a Last Minute Hook Up at the end, the human Cover Girl and the Autobot Brawn.
  • Last-Minute Reprieve: At the end of the series, General Flagg is set to be executed for treason after deposing the president. He's saved when a sniper shoots the rope meant to hang him and it's announced that he's been pardoned by the president.
  • Mythology Gag: The maxiseries has enough references to past G.I. Joe and Transformers continuities to warrant its own page.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: By the end of the series, Billy has become a Cobra-G.I. Joe-Transformer-Arashikage-Reptile-human fusion who not only leads the remnants of COBRA as the new Cobra Commander, but also inherited the Master Sword and both the title and costume of "Snake Eyes." However, to show him embracing both roles, there is now a COBRA insignia on the chest.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The Joes calling the Autobots "GoBots", aside from being a tongue-in-cheek allusion to a lesser-known rival franchise to Transformers that is now technically another Hasbro property due to Hasbro acquiring GoBots owner Tonka, comes off as alluding to Scioli's later GoBots miniseries in retrospect.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: Doctor Venom is very insistent that his name should be pronounced with a German "v" sound, to sound like the first two syllables of "phenomenon", and not with an English "v".
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Shockwave and Soundwave are brothers in this version, a decision most likely made from their similar names.
    • Serpentor goes from being a clone of various infamous historical figures created by Dr. Mindbender to the future son of Cobra Commander and the Baroness, in effect also making him half-brother to Cobra Commander's son Billy.
  • Retraux: Looks and feels like a much older comic series. While the storyline is heavily influenced by the styles of the 80's and 90's, the Kirbyesque art style, combined with the deliberate browning of the pages, is more along the lines of a vintage 60's or 70's book.
  • Retroactive Legacy: In the issue where Destro is Touched by Vorlons in medieval Scotland, he and his clan have to battle both Cobra-themed druids and a clan of Vikings from Giant Island Jotunheim, wielding a distinctive warhammernote  that reappears in the hands of Hawk and Duke.
  • Shoot the Rope: Happens to General Flagg when he's about to be hanged for war crimes and a pardon almost arrives too late.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cyborg-augmented Joe animals are referred to as the US7, a punning reference to the comic WE3.
    • In the finale, Megatron's corpse crash-lands on Equestria. No, really. The depiction's more in line with the original 80's version of MLP, as befits the Retraux feel. The only justification is the narrator mentioning him meeting a 'unicorn' instead of Unicron after his defeat.
    • One of the previous holders of the Matrix of Leadership is named Amazon Prime, a blatant pun on the streaming service of the same name.
    • The FCBD Funnies strip included in issue 0 of the comic book tie-in to Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) has a strip about Cobra Commander's son titled Billy the Brat, which is drawn in the style of Dennis the Menace (US), and a strip of Billy fighting Snake Eyes titled Ninja vs. Ninja, referencing the Spy vs. Spy strip from MAD.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Cobra Commander dies, but after his demise is revealed to have impregnated the Baroness.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: As in the 2008 IDW G.I. Joe comics continuity, Cobra Commander's son Billy does not die like in the Devil's Due and IDW continuations of the Marvel Comics continuity and survives the entire series.
  • Villain Team-Up: Cobra teams up with the Decepticons in Issue #3 onwards.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: After Billy gets his arm and leg cut off by Snake-Eyes, Megatron binary bonds him to Army and Limbot, who become powerful prosthetic limbs for Billy.
  • Wham Episode: Issue #8 ends not only with Optimus Prime dying at the hands of Megatron, but also the apparent destruction of Earth itself.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Koh-Bru-Lah vanishes from the series without explanation.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Issue #9 is a whole flashback to the origins of the Destro family in Dark Ages Europe and Issue #11 is a flashback to the Duke acting as Drill Sergeant Nasty to his half-brother Falcon as he is training to fight the Cybertronians.
  • You're Not My Father: Issue 5 shows a flashback of a younger Duke refusing to accept his stepfather and half-brother Falcon as his kin.
  • Your Head Asplode: Cobra Commander's fate, thanks to that helmet full of explosives he has.