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  • Accidental Aesop: You should let go of old grudges. Holding onto them will cause nothing but difficulty, heartache, and pain for everyone involved.
  • Abandon Shipping: Issue 44's cover featuring Tracks and Needlenose posing together in a selfie, and the solicit being: "LOVE AND HATE! Two emotions only inches from each other—and Tracks and Needlenose have felt them both. On opposite sides of an eons-long war, what happens when they meet again?" Lead to some fans seeing them in a relationship. Then the issue came out it establishes them as Spark Brothers (and also Canonizes Needlenose's relationship to Horribull), ending what little romantic speculation there was.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Metalhawk was considered by many to be annoying with his smug Holier Than Thou attitude, mud-slinging, and hypocrisy (trying to make a better world all the while belittling the aligned forces and straining the alliances). He's betrayed and killed by Starscream, whom he considered a friend, and his death was then used to accomplish his stated goal. Then he came back as a very angry zombie...
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    • Ironically, the characters you'd least miss in this series' first arc (Bumblebee and Metalhawk again) are some of the ones you'll miss most after finishing Dark Cybertron.
    • Galvatron vaporizing General Witwicky elicited this reaction.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The Monstructor Six. Was Jhiaxus lying when he said they volunteered for the procedure (considering his track record and Arcee, he may have been)? Were they willing accomplices to all of his plans, or are they just Slave Mooks with their free-will stripped in pursuit of the idea that "all are one?" Or is it a combination of that, with their minds destroyed or broken down, and them willingly following Jhiaxus as they can comprehend no other alternative? Bludgeon implies that it's the latter, but he's hardly the most trustworthy person. Galvatron inadvertently chimed in on this later on when discussing combiners he believes that those who combine have their personalities dilute themselves until their individuality rots away. This combined with the long period of time the Six have combined in addition with him being a flawed prototype, can also account for their mindset.
    • Then of course there's Prowl, Knight Templar or Well-Intentioned Extremist? Even with the revelation of his mind-control there's still debate. After The Reveal he can be seen as a Byronic Hero.
    • Arcee declaring that her old male form was a lie and that she's now what she was always "meant to be." Is she being truthful with herself or is it her way of coping and adjusting to her forced and torturous gender change?
  • Author's Saving Throw: Barber has been known to do these with his Arc Welding and cleaning up messy continuity.
    • Reflector caused a continuity headache when he appeared alive and well, when in an earlier issue he'd very definitively died. Barber wrote in a Time Travel device that both solved the continuity error, and tied into his overall story of Shockwave's ores.
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    • He does write in a justification for why the Constructicons became The Dividual, rationalizing it as the after effects of the Combiner process stripping away individuality. This easily sidesteps a franchise wide issue wherein Combiner teams end up with light characterization (with some exceptions), because they're just around to promote their combined mode.
    • Even after other colonies showed up and introduced more Female Characters, Arcee's gender reassignment still remained a sore point which several fans felt Scott and Barber should have retconned rather than used as a plot point. In issue 52, Arcee delivers a very definite statement of "I'm what I was always meant to be," showing that she is comfortable with who she is now. Depending on your perspective, this either solves the problem or adds a whole host of new ones (as up until this point, Arcee had very, very definitively been the PTSD stricken victim of a forced sex change.)
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    • The final issue of Till All Are One ended with Windblade declaring that being constructed cold was unnatural and that Starscream might have been a much better person if he had been born in his "natural" forged body. This became an issue with fans because it had been repeatedly established that there was no inherent difference from being forged or constructed cold and anyone who said otherwise was either a villain or a bigot. Issue 16 of Optimus Prime reaffirms that the method of a Transformer's creation is unimportant and all of Starscream's poor choices were his own fault, not because he was denied a "god-given form."
  • Awesome Art: Livo Ramondelli's drawings aren't universally liked, but when they work, they work.
    • The three-artist team working on "Earthfall" (Guido Guidi, Brendan Cahill and regular Andrew Griffith) all pick up each others' slack really well. That their art is very Alex Milne-esque helps.
    • Andrew Griffith himself deserves the title. Season 2 in particular sees some terrific character design and layout work, and the bulk of Issue #50 could very well be considered his own Moment of Awesome.
    • Sarah Pitre-Durocher's issues are widely beloved, for good reason.
  • Awesome Ego:
    • Deconstructed. Nova Prime starts out as fully deserving his ego, but eventually this degrades into him thinking he's a gift to the damned universe and causing him to become a self-loving extremist.
    • Shockwave is probably the smartest Cybertronian alive, and not only does he know it — he wants you to know it.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Turmoil, surprisingly enough. Some fans think he's a cool original character, citing his design and intimidating nature. His creator, Shane McCarthy was actually surprised that people had latched on to him as Turmoil was just created as a one off villain in Drift's origin. Other fans think he's just a generic "high command" con who exists to look threatening and give brownie points to whoever kills him. Some think he was underused, others just didn't regard him as important. Issue 7 billed him as a fan-favorite character, people either disagreed as he was from Drift's run, were glad to see his return or treated his reintroduction with a "meh."
    • Rattrap's Adaptational Villainy started the fractured fan opinion about him. Ruining of an iconic character or interesting new direction?
    • Alpha Bravo caused a divide even before he appeared in comic. The biggest reason is him being a Canon Foreigner, and replacing Slingshot. His detractors feel he throws off the all-plane Aerialbots by having a helicopter mode, and his whole appearance is a blatant cost saving measure (his mold can easily be redone to create Blades and Vortex). His defenders feel he adds some diversity to the team by breaking the mold, and feel the cost-saving measure is a necessary set back to finally give the fans the well-articulated combiners they've always wanted. Then of course there's the Slingshot fans who feel the character's gotten the short-end of the stick, though this has lessened with the announcement of a Slingshot figure (retooled from Fireflight).
  • Broken Base: Unlike it's near universally loved sister series More Than Meets The Eye, this series is was the divider amongst fans for quite a bit. It's starting to be much better recieved, though.
    • Season 1 had it's fans, the continuity was much tighter, the cast had more of the big names in meaty roles, and Post-war Cybertron was ripe with new story ideas. It also had its detractors, some felt the pacing was very slow, the Autobots and NAILS came off as too unlikable, and Megatron's return while a fun arc made him seem too generic.
    • Season 2 faced a dilemma when the main cast moved back to earth, as it would be touching on the maligned Costa run, and the continuity would end up even more confusing as it would rely more heavily on what's come before. There are some who like it, enjoying Galvatron's characterization, more screen time for Soundwave and Cosmos, the backstory for the Enigma was praised along with Thundercracker's return. Others disliked the return of the humans, and especially their team-up with the Decepticons as just odd characterization on both sides. With the humans siding with the cons, who leveled dozens of cities under Megatron, and Soundwave's complete trust in them, despite casually watching Frenzy tear them apart back in All Hail Megatron. Others feel the allegiance makes sense with Galvatron and Blackrock leading the respective schemes against each other, and the justification that past actions of the Decepticons could be chalked up to Megatron (who's defection to the Autobots makes the Humans distrust them more).
    • The direction Optimus Prime takes near the end of season 2 being reimagined as more ruthless, pragmatic, and setting up a Not So Different plot with him and the previous Primes. For some this was a great direction, much like Megatron's redemption, Optimus has been faced with new challenges and he deals with them in a darker way. It's a great way to show how Optimus is multifaceted and not The Paragon he always is. Others hate the new direction because they feel Optimus being a colonialist Pragmatic Hero is out of character and invalidates his arc in Season 1 where he ultimately rejects the corrupt legacy of the Primes and aspires to more. To these fans it's less of a compelling direction and more of a Ron the Death Eater scenario made canon.
    • Arcee's forced gender reassignment, an unpopular direction from the Furman era, continued to break the base under Barber and Scott's pen. They confirmed their intent to iron out all the uncomfortable issues that the plot point rather than retcon it away, but fans remain divided as to whether they did it well. Some fans are happy with their changes and respect that they built story on top of the plot point instead of dropping it. Arcee is given more introspection on the gender change and instead of it being forced on her, she consented to the procedure and its clear that Arcee struggled with the Cybertronian equivalent of gender-dysphoria. Others dislike the change immensely and felt that the problematic origin of the plot overshadowed any attempt at fixing it and their attempts just made it worse. They felt that if Scott and Barber were willing to retcon so much of her story, including her consent on the matter, they should have just retconned the entire plot point altogether. Even beyond that certain fans also argue over issues of Depending on the Writer where Scott's and Barber' take on Arcee clashed with one another.
  • Continuity Lockout: Not as bad as its sister series The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, but it's still present.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Quickly heading that way. The Autobots, Decepticons, and Nails are all assholes excluding a small few exceptions (Wheeljack, Sky Byte, Dirge, Scoop, and few others). Everytime the heroes seem to be getting anywhere, something comes along and bitch-slaps their victory away. Save New Iacon from Megatron? Starscream kills Metalhawk, screws over everyone, and takes control of the city. Orion and his team reach some of the ores before Jhiaxus and Bludgeon? Jhiaxus and Bludgeon outwit them and get it anyways. Some fans have stopped reading simply because they think all the likable and sympathetic characters are getting killed off and ignored in favor of detestable and annoying Designated Hero characters.
    • Thankfully season 2 seems to have largely fixed this, with the jerkassery of the less likable Autobots being reeled back (making Bumblebee and Metalhawk much more popular), the focus getting shifted from Bumblebee to Optimus, and a more humorous tone being added, giving the comic a tone more consistent with MTMTE and Windblade.
  • Designated Hero: Sideswipe is an Autobot, but he acts like a complete lunatic who constantly provokes fights and talks about how much he loves to engage in violence. On multiple occasions he's talked about shooting/beating up Decepticons and NAI Ls for fun and during the annual. No wonder the Nails hate the Autobots when they've got psychos like Sideswipe around. Likely intentional, though to what extent isn't clear.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Dirge is one with both the fans and the creators. Waspinator and Sky Byte were included solely because they were popular.
    • Pretty much everyone will agree that this iteration of Shockwave is completely, terrifyingly awesome.
    • Thundercracker was already an Ensemble Dark Horse in the previous ongoing, so his return here was met with much praise, especially given his development into a complete dork who has an adorable puppy and spends time writing awful screenplays for fun.
    • Amongst the new cast members joining in season 2, Cosmos seems to be getting the most fan love due to his earnest yet snarky personality and woobie-factor. It helps that he's a carry over from MTMTE.
    • Wheeljack is beloved by fans, many feeling that he should be the main protagonist. Not surprising given his popularity in previous G1 stories.
    • Flatline, the Decepticon-turned-NAIL medic, is extremely popular, despite his limited role.
    • Soundwave, for being a complex yet noble Byronic Hero. Like Wheeljack, many wish he was the main protagonist of the series rather than the Autobots. It seems John Barber partially agreed; season 2 gives Soundwave much more screentime and significance in the plot.
    • Original character Aileron is quickly headed this way, and not just for being a GoBots shoutout. In particular, her quick thinking saves the day at the climax of Issue #50, she's the one who gets Optimus to finally take a stand, and she's generally just a decent sort.
  • Evil Is Cool: Bludgeon and, to a lesser degree, Shockwave.
  • Fan Nickname: "Prowlestator" for the new form of Devastator with Prowl in Scrapper's place.
    • Crackerjack for Thundercracker, in light of his horrible fanfics.
    • "Captain Continuity" for John Barber, who goes to incredible pains to try to patch up every single plothole from all the way the "-ations" series.
  • Fridge Logic: So if the regenesis ores were sent to the worlds the Thirteen wound up on, how did Shockwave figure this out?
    • Turns out, it's because after Dark Cybertron, Shockwave got hurled 12 million years into the past and became none other than Onyx Prime! He knew where his past self sent the ores in the future, so his future self ensured that the Thirteen would go to those planets in the past (time travel is confusing..).
  • Growing the Beard: Some feel that the comic is starting to grow it's beard with issue 16, where Starscream takes over New Iacon (creating an interesting new setting) and starts to feature a more character driven story. Bumblebee also begins to become significantly more likable during this time before being done away with in Dark Cybertron, finally giving the other more interesting cast members (besides Starscream) a chance to take stage.
    • Happens again after Combiner Wars wraps up, allowing the plot to resume as intended and leading to a largely unbroken run of very well-received issues. Additionally, sister series More Than Meets the Eye was widely seen as suffering Seasonal Rot during this period, further drawing positive comparison between the two.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Generation 1 Superion was toy of notoriously poor quality, whose legs tended to snap off at the waist. In addition, the Generation 2 re-release had one of the components, Slingshot, suffer from the toy-destroying Gold Plastic Syndrome. Devastator rips Superion to bits in exactly this fashion in Issue #15, and irreparably and fatally injures Slingshot in the process.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Regarding its sister series: Both feature mysterious, Dreaded, spiky-headed villains (Tarn there, Onyx Prime here whose actual identities are both Empurata sufferers. Becomes doubly hilarious when the first reveal had a lukewarm reception, whereas the second is key to literally everything.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:The entirety of the "City on Fire" arc, but a special mention goes to Prowlestator.
    • The later issues of the Optimus Prime comic, but the cusses really start flying once Onyx Prime shows up and turns out to be Shockwave, displaced from time after the events of Dark Cybertron!
  • Iron Woobie: Wheeljack is underappreciated, often berated except when his science skills are useful, gets treated like dirt by several of his supposed friends, gets damaged quite a bit, and is one of the few wholly good characters in a setting of Grey and Grey Morality. Despite all of these hardships, he remains almost completely upbeat, never loses his sense of humor, and does his best to help anyone he can.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Prowl and Arcee.
  • Memetic Badass: John Barber himself gets this treatment on TF Wiki.
    TF Wiki Caption: I am God's gift to continuity.
  • Memetic Mutation: Josh Boyfriend. note 
    • Acree. note 
    • Tell Spike the way his father died.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Starscream murdering Metalhawk when no one was looking, then using his death to propel his own popularity and then win the population over to his side.
    • Bludgeon crosses it when he kills Varta.
    • Senator Proteus definitely crossed it after what he had done to poor Shockwave.
    • Galvatron murdering General Witwicky, then using his death to manipulate Marissa.
    • If Blackrock hadn't crossed it when he sets the jetbot combiners on Jazz, Kup and Jetfire, then dunking them in acid to melt them for no real reason did the trick.
  • Narm: When Gorlam Prime is undergoing its devastation, and everything's coming apart and disintegrating at a molecular level, Jhiaxus proclaims his victory and makes an epic escape after the Titan. Monstructor… climbs on and straddles the ship like a kiddie ride. What was once a triumphant Villain: Exit, Stage Left has now been made positively adorable.
  • Narm Charm: The old school comic styled flashbacks in the annual would usually be Narmy, but they manage to work fantastically when combined with the modern sequences.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Lots.
    • The fact that everyone Galvatron recruited into his army turned into Sweeps over time.
    • Bludgeon. Oh god almighty Bludgeon.
    • Hardhead being forced to blow Wheelie's arm off in issue 19.
    • Nova Prime's Start of Darkness in the annual is portrayed... rather unsettlingly.
      "I AM THE LEGACY OF PRIMUS!!"
    • Present-day Shockwave is a cavalcade of Nightmare Fuel.
      • Exemplified in a flashback in issue 17 when he's testing Energon variants on a hapless Cybertronian, who freaking explodes. The comic cuts to a panel of Shockwave taking stock of this as hundreds of test subjects' corpses hang from the ceiling above. HOLY PRIMUS.
    • Issue #33 has a double doozy with the massive, offline hulks of Omega Supreme and the Superion suspended in Starscream's hangar. Superion is by far the worse of the two, having been so badly damaged one of his components is fatally injured and his spine is visible.
    • The Falling arc has this little nugget. Shockwave is one of the original Thirteen Primes, and not only is everything his fault, but he's planning on bringing down literally everything single belief or faith in Cybertronian history in one fell swoop. And it's all because his time drive was destroyed. Good going Prime.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Barrel Roll only appears for one scene and dies in said scene, but comes off as one of the most sensible and likable Autobots.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: While an excellent read in it's own right, it's overshadowed considerably by its sister series.
    • Thankfully, the series seems to be moving out of this, not least because of a strong run while MTMTE was suffering Seasonal Rot.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Fandom reaction to the usually unpopular character Wheelie is less "annoying and wish he would die" and more "needs a freaking hug."
    • Bumblebee and Metalhawk mature into far more likable characters during Dark Cybertron's run, where the former becomes a bona fide badass and Megatron's Morality Pet, and the latter a psychotic undead servant of Shockwave's who eventually manages to break free and join up with the good guys. Sadly, neither of them survived the crossover.
    • To an extent, the IDW verion of Arcee. The original depiction of the character in Furman's run was widly disliked for being radically different from previous versions of the character. RID makes her a considerbly more likable and developed character, who isn't just defined as being constantly violent. Then she gets a cool upgrade, decides that Good Feels Good, and joins Optimus' team.
    • While still not popular, Spike Witwicky's general obnoxiousness is both toned down and widely mocked In-Universe, making him far more entertaining than he was previously.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some fans were hoping that Megatron and his loyalists would destroy New Iacon at the end of season 1 (or at least kill off Bumblebee, Metalhawk, and the obnoxious Nails like Tappet). Notably the reaction to Megatron smashing Bumblebee's face in was less horror and more "Finally!". This changed when the characters the readers actually liked such as Wheeljack and Dirge got targeted, too.
  • Rewatch Bonus: With all the stuff that's revealed in issue 14 you'll slap yourself in the face for not noticing all the hints and foreshadowing. This applies to everything regarding Prowl, Bombshell and the Constructicons, the Dinobots' actions in issue 9, and the wilderness surrounding New Iacon.
    • Following the revelation of Onyx Prime's true identity from Optimus Prime issues 17 and 18, just about everything to do with the character - and more besides - takes on a new dimension.
  • The Scrappy: Metalhawk and the Nails (excluding Sky Byte, of course) since early-on their only purpose seemed to be making things more difficult for the Autobots and Decepticons. Their Holier Than Thou attitude and tendency towards Never My Fault didn't help, not to mention most of their screen-time is spent insulting the protagonists.
    • Bumblebee before Dark Cybertron due to him being an awful leader who spent more time whining, provoking his own allies, and letting Prowl stomp all over him than actually leading. Thankfully he was rescued at the end of season 1.
    • In season 2, Chromia seems to be taking over the status of Scrappy from Bee and Metalhawk due to being a massive Karma Houdini and being one of the least popular recipients of Adaptational Villainy. She killed three people to try and get Windblade to return to Caminus. Other characters have avoided punishment for crimes, like Megatron or Prowl, but they at least suffer for their actions. Chromia is just let off the hook with a pinky promise that she won't kill people anymore. This got worse after issue 33, where she has the gall to insult Wheeljack before she even meets him.
    • The human characters in general, mainly for taking screentime away from the robot characters and being petty and irritating in general.
    • Slide takes the dubious honour of most hated character in Optimus Prime.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Arcee and Aileron. Even those who did want them to get together admit to their relationship feeling forced and out-of-nowhere.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Thundercracker's screenplay which has character names like "Josh Boyfriend", opens with a cheesy expository monologue about how hard life is, and has the characters constantly referring to themselves as "earth humans". Thundercracker thinks it's cinematic gold.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Prowl pretty much blames Spike Witwicky, the much-hated Nominal Hero from Mike Costa's run, for making him into a cynical bastard. The mere thought of Spike pisses him off to no end. The Constructicons also despise him and make their dislike quite outspoken. The solicitations for Issue #36 run with this and is essentially a parade of Take Thats against Spike.
    • Blackrock's angry speech to Marissa about Spike makes it clear that he only thinks of Spike as a punk, and a thorn in his side rather than the heroic anarchist Spike presents himself as.
    • Bumblebee getting his head smashed in and Galvatron vaporizing the unpopular General Witwicky probably fall under this.
  • Tear Jerker: Shockwave and Soundwave's respective backstories.
    • The deaths of Bumblebee, Metalhawk, and ultimately even Shockwave.
    • A lot of people admitted to tearing up when Sideswipe died
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A minor example, but some fans felt that Starscream killing Metalhawk ruined a really interesting Redemption Quest character arc that the comic seemed to be building up to. Somewhat subverted due to a) the comic still portraying Starscream as somewhat pitiable even after this and hinting that he may be remorseful for the act, and b) Metalhawk coming back to give Starscream grief.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Some fans feel that Bumblebee, Metalhawk, and a majority of the Autobots and Nails are this. This results in the Decepticons becoming Unintentionally Sympathetic.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Bumblebee is surrounded by a well-liked Cool Old Guy, a lovable Mad Scientist, a bot striving to find the best in people and make everyone equal, The Starscream who is trying to change, a former criminal trying to make a new life, the Big Good and his ragtag crew on a quest to stop a madman, a Noble Demon on a quest to make the world a better place, and many other colorful characters.
  • Wangst: Bumblebee spends way more time feeling sorry for himself than he really should.
  • What an Idiot!: Likely due to her relationship with Barricade, Swift was willing to go along with the Decepticons, but then she's shocked at their willingness to kill the occupants of the Ark. While she can be forgiven for not knowing their murderous history, at present they're an angry mob of well armed former soldiers who just shot the Port Authority, and are lead by the bots who threatened to kick her face in a few issues ago for her religious beliefs, this shouldn't be that suprising.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Maybe not to the extent of its sister series, but even so, it's generally agreed to be better than the predecessor to both. Its far stronger continuity is probably invaluable in this regard.
    • Season 2 seems to be attempting to do this for fans who felt that RID couldn't keep up with MTMTE in terms of quality. It's largely successful so far.
  • The Woobie: Shockwave, after we learn his gruesome origin. The bitterly ironic part is that the emotionally devoid scientist wouldn't say the same of himself.
    • Also, Dirge, who just wants to live his life in peace but keeps getting dragged back into conflicts he wants no part of.
    • Waspinator.
    • Wheelie.
    • Issue 28 does a very good job at making you feel bad for Cosmos. One of his first lines is commenting how miserable he feels because he abandoned the Lost Light crew based on the promise of a new life... which promptly lead to him getting shot at. Throughout the issue he makes multiple references to how lonely he is all the time.
    • Good lord, where to begin with Arcee? Arcee, in an attempt to introduce gender into the species, was subjected to a violent forced sex changenote , left with a crippling case of PTSD, and has shown woefully bad luck when it comes to holding onto friends, loved ones, and feelings security. According to Sins of the Wreckers, the only time Arcee ever experienced happiness was while killing the person responsible for said sex change.
    • Soundwave, especially after we learn his backstory.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • When Nova Prime snaps at Dai Atlas in the annual he's drawn with humanlike pupils and his normally soft yellow eyes suddenly become blood red. The result is... unsettling and serves as a small crack in Nova's apparent "knight in shining armor" persona.
    • The back-up story of issue 50 has Blackrock talking with Mindwipe. No biggie, except his face has been removed, and he's still talking through it. It's incredibly unsettling.

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