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Top 10 greatest and most important events in Transformers fiction history – part 2

Welcome back to the Top 10 Greatest and most important events in Transformers history!  If you missed part 1, you can check it out here!

5- Optimus Prime activates Metroplex – Fall of Cybertron

5 Metroplex puts the smack down on Megatron

Metroplex has always been kind of a mystery in Transformers lore.  He just sort of showed up one day, and everyone carried on their merry way.  At least Trypticon had some sort of bizarre origin story in G1.  Metroplex just was.  It’s taken about 30 years, but finally some lore is being established for the biggest of the big.  The IDW comics and latest Transformers game, “Fall of Cybertron”, have given our famous brute some real meaty backstory and helped explain why such a titanic Transformer would ever exist.  With a behemoth like this, it’s hard to wonder the Autobots could ever lose.  At the end of level 1 of “Fall of Cybertron”, we finally, FINALLY, get to see something that should’ve happened eons ago.  Metroplex rips the roof off and uses his size the way he always should’ve: he pulverizes mini Megatron into the ground, literally.  Players even have the ability to gleefully hit him again and again with the touch of a button. This moment definitely shocked me and has the power to bring the kid’s imagination out in anyone who has a soul from the 80’s. The best part?  Megatron is defiant to the bitter end.

4- Orion Pax becomes a Decepticon – Transformers Prime

4 Orion Pax joins the Decepticons in Transformers Prime

“Transformers: Prime” is an absolute breath of fresh air to Transformers fiction as well as children’s programming in general.  It’s obscene how much detail and charisma the Transformers: Prime staff squeezes out of each episode.  Let’s hope for a full-length movie while we’re at it.  The story arc really picked up at the end of season 1 culminating in the memory loss of Optimus Prime and a bit of cohesive backstory that barrows from multiple arenas of Transformers history. Optimus reverts to his former self, Orion Pax, and follows his long-lost buddy Megatron(us). After a full season of watching the Autobots claw for every victory against an army of Decepticons, one’s heart sinks to a new low as the Autobots watch in horror at the apparent loss of their leader to the bad guys after insurmountable odds. You really feel for them and the weight of the event is crushing. Fans had to wait for the next season to find out if Orion’s new friends were going to welcome him with open arms or at arms. Somewhat unfortunately, the defecting of Orion Pax only lasted for 3 measly episodes. Those hoping for a full season of Autobotic drama forgot this is a children’s show, and seasons-sweeping conflicts don’t often hold a child’s attention.

3- Death of Starscream – Transformers Armada

3 The death of Starscream in Transformers Armada / Micron Legend

Although his first death was rather abrupt and grotesque, Starscream’s removal from the Transformers franchise was rather expected after the first 25 minutes of “Transformers: The Movie”‘s systematic deletion of the season 1 and 2 cast. His death in the “Armada” cartoon series, however, took us a little more off guard. The character had gone back and forth between the good side and bad, expanding his archetypal quarrel with Megatron. Most thought Megatron had gotten the best of old Starscream after stabbing him with the Star Saber, but no.  Starscream was not about to perish lying down and attempted to thwart the dreaded Unicron my powerlinking with his minicon.  The result?  A repeat of his “Transformers: The Movie” execution by the dark lord himself. His relationship with the Alexis was even a bit touching as she witnesses his death from afar, unbeknownst to her. This is still the most memorable scene from “Armada” and “Micron Legend” and results in a truce between the Autobots and Decepticons to fight against Unicron, shaping the final few episodes.

2- Megatron destroys Optimus Prime – Beast Wars

2 Beast Wars Megatron destroys G1 Optimus Prime

Forget Michael Bay, Beast Megatron is who really wants to destroy your childhood!

When it was decided that “Beast Wars” was to exist alongside the original Generation 1 canon, everyone shit their collective pants.  If you were on the internet during the ongoing creation of “Beast Wars”, then this is by far your favorite series.  Truth is, it’s not that good and doesn’t hold a lick to “Transformers: Prime” in regards to production value and over all enjoyability.  That being said, the story holds an integral seat in Transformers lore and helped shape the fandom to this day.  The most important moment of this story has to do with time travel distrubance caused by Beast Megatron.  How could such a little guy take out Mr. Optimus Prime himself?  Let’s not forget that Prime was deactivated, but little old Beast Megatron did what his namesake could never do in a quadrillion years.  The destruction of Optimus Prime sends the entire Transformers universe into a colossal spin with the possibility of not being able to set it back to right.  Of course this scene occurs at the end of an episode, which during the original airing may have caused as much panic as the shooting of JR.

1- Death of Optimus Prime – Transformers Animated Movie

1 The death of Optimus Prime Transformers the Movie

This is a complete no-brainer.  What hasn’t already been said about the death of numero uno, Optimus MF Prime?  Crying children, outraged parents, 30 years of paying for it (and it paying off). Without the death of Optimus Prime, Transformers may not even exist today. Hasbro has come to realize the power of the fiction they paid to have created back when they tried to launch this crazy robot-into-vehicle toy line.  This is apparent with the Transformers Hall of Fame and their continued re-release of specific characters- a far cry from the G1 days when new characters were the norm to replace old. It took something as ludicrous as killing your main character off (Game of Thrones, anyone?) to wake Hasbro and company up to the juggernaut they had created.  Transformers was not just a flash in the pan, it was here to stay, and stay it has. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No event in Transformers fiction will ever top this, ever.

Honorable mention- The Transformation of Unicron

Galvatron shocked as Unicron Transforms in the movie

Yeah Galvatron, I had the same reaction the first time too!

I couldn’t decide where this should be placed in the top 10 and since I’d already referenced the animated movie already, I figured this could be a runner-up. As a child in the theatre, my mind just wasn’t ready to accept that this big talking, planet-eating planet who lived in the world of Transformers was going to transform and be a giant robot.  Blew my mind to smithereens. I don’t have many memories from that age, but telling my sister in the parking lot about how this awesome giant orange guy showed up is one of them. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted a toy of that big orange guy.  Well 3-year old me, you finally got your wish, you finally got it.  Thanks for reading!

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Top 10 greatest and most important events in Transformers fiction history – part 1

10- Sentinel Prime turns on the Autobots – Transformers Dark of the Moon

10 Sentinel Prime kills Ironhide dark of the moon

Cosmic Rust makes its mainstream return!

Bringing up the rear of the pack comes one of the more recent events occurring in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  Sentinel Prime had been billed as an “great” good guy and mentor to Optimus Prime by Micheal Bay and the villain of the film had been pegged as the evil Shockwave, to the delight of one-eye fans.  Little were we to suspect that Sentinel Prime would betray the Autobots at a key moment of the film and kill the much beloved Ironhide.  In some versions of the script, he was meant to kill the Autobot twins, Mudflap and Skids, but this didn’t make it into the film.

The moment has a bit of emotional impact due to Ironhide’s decomposition into rust, but this is not touched upon in the film after it happens even once!  This is Optimus Prime’s right-hand man that’s dead here, and we don’t hear a thing about for the remainder of the film.  The plot of the film tries to convince us that this betrayal was many, many years in the making between Sentinel and Megatron but after piecing the plots of all 3 films together, there is just no way this makes sense.  Ultimately, the movie takes a sudden dark turn after this event and the siege and resultant destruction of Chicago is a direct result of Sentinel Prime’s allegiance with Megatron.

For non-super fans and people avoiding spoilers, this event was most likely a major twist in the Transformers movie plot.  Fans digging for any information on the film most likely knew the twist was coming before they saw the film, and so this event was at least a bit predictable.  The film’s marketing department did a pretty good job of keeping a lid on Sentinel’s Decepticon ties though so this event should receive notable mention in this top ten.

9- Overlord discovered to be prisoner of the Lost Light – Transformers: More Than Meets The eye

9 Overlord discovered in the cargo of the lost light more than meets the eye

Just been hangin' around!

Is this the golden age for Transformers comics?  I’ll put my energon on “yes” and usher in the most recently occurring event in this top ten from the last page of Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye issue 6.  In this final panel of the book, we have an upset Red Alert peaking through wall’s crack, discovering very top-secret cargo near the bottom of the Autobots’ ship.  Unexpectedly, we discover the lethal Decepticon Overlord is being held incapacitated, and clearly against his will.  Overlord has always had an almost mythic role in the minds of Transformers fans.  He had a large base-bot toy that has never been available in the United States.  His toy commands high prices worldwide and he finally received serious characterization in the highly-acclaimed “Last Stand of the Wreckers” comic book, in which he was the main antagonist and displayed a level of sadism that was new to Transformers.

We have not seen him since his near-death at the hands of Springer during the climax of “Last Stand of the Wreckers.”  Many had anticipated his return in “More Than Meets the Eye,” but the eventual reveal in issue 6 created intense excitement as well as more questions than it answered.  Who put him there?  Does anyone aboard the ship (other than Red Alert) know he is there? Who rebuilt him (last we saw, he was missing limbs and all but skeletal)?

This issue was followed up with the introduction of the very dangerous Decepticon Justice Division, whom has Overlord at the top of this hit-list.  Having recently discovered traces of Overlord’s energy signature, the DJD is en-route to meet up with our heroes aboard the Lost Light, which we’re all assuming will culminate with deaths, explosions, and utter insanity.

Although the story has not yet been told in full, readers have been biting their nails with anticipation for what Overlord’s discovery could mean and the comic has been in free-fall mode ever since.  It remains to see what the outcome of his presence, but no one was expecting everyone in this comic to come out alive.

8- Forest battle – Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

8 Transformers Movie Revenger of the Fallen forest scene

He'll take you all on!

It’s hard to claim that any of the events in Revenge of the Fallen deserve to be on this list, but if I had to pick one highlight from the entire movie franchise, it is definitely the forest battle where Optimus Prime takes on Megatron, Starscream and a Blackout clone.  After discussing with many fans, this is THE SCENE from the entire movie franchise that made allowing Michael Bay to have his way with us worth it.

I have to wonder though if there may be some sort of generation gap involved with the importance of this scene.  Do young transformers fans choose a different battle scene?  Would the highway battle from movie 1 stand out as more epic in their minds?  Did the initial transformation of Barricade while interrogating Sam have more “WOW” factor?  Hard to say, since I was not able to view these movies with fresh eyes.  To me, as a long-time surveyor of Optimus and Megatron battles, this took the cake for battle scenes and my overall excitement level was at its highest during my first viewing of what we all have come to call the Forest Battle.

The sense of scale of this scene probably took a cue or two from The End of Evangelion, and who else loved Optimus hitting Megatron with a tree?  Such bliss.  It even culminated in the apparent death of Optimus Prime, and our first look at Cybertronian loose teeth.  But more on that later…

7- Return of Megatron – Transformers Animated

7 Megatron returns iN Transformers Animated

Transform and RISE UP!

One thing that was absent from most of the start of Transformers Animated was the Decepticons, and most importantly Megatron.  The method the writers chose to tell the Animated story was somewhat unique to Transformers: the main antagonists were human villains.  This was changed significantly during Season 2 and 3 though, when Hasbro realized they weren’t planning to sell toys for the villains.  The big payoff at the end of season 1 of Transformers Animated was the triumphant return of Megatron as a dual-blade helicopter.  The scene was dark and many thought that Megatron had murdered Professor Sumdac during his metamorphosis from a immobile head and body to a full-fledged warrior of destruction.  We later learned that Megatron was keeping Sumdac as some sort of pet, but it took the break until the next season to discover that.

After a full season of an incapacitated Megatron, seeing him come to life was incredibly satisfying and set the tone for the rest of the run of the show.  The Decepticons were completely over-powered compared to the Autobots and the return of their leader signified a heavy sense of dread that the Autobots themselves must have felt.  Voiced by Corey Burton, the original voice of Shockwave, we now had our first good look at a new style of Megatron that no one dared to challenge, that is except the immortal all-spark-infused Starscream.

All in all, the arrival of Megatron showed that Animated had a lot more to offer than just being a kids’ show.  Definitely the most anticipated and ultimately game-changing event of the series, Megatron’s return reminded us to never underestimate his devious and manipulative demeanor, even if he is lying around the room in pieces.

6- Ultra Magnus takes off his armor – Transformers Dreamwave

6 White Ultra Magnus

They took the brother at arms thing all the way

Compared to where Transformers comics have gone most recently, it’s almost sacrilege to give praise of any kind to the Dreamwave comics run of the early 2000’s.  The Dreamwave era was something Transformers fans had devoured instantly but years later, it’s easy to see where they feel short on many levels.  The art is still one of the great successes of the company’s uses of the Transformers comic license, but even that has its critics.

There was one major plot point that had a resounding impact for the fandom and that was the finale of the second volume of Dreamwave’s G1 series.  During this pivotal moment, Ultra Magnus removes his battle armor and reveals in canon for the first time that he is a white clone of Optimus Prime.  He then attempts to thwart Shockwave, who has already activated the matrix, and evidently doomed Cybertron after inadvertently sending some sort of beacon to a previously dormant Unicron.  It’s a shame that we’ll never know the true outcome of this event since the comics were never fully resolved due to Dreamwave’s demise.

The impact for this was a legitimization of the white Optimus Prime figure included with the G1 Ultra Magnus toy.  Many a young transfan had made up their own reasons for the white Prime figure during make believe battles.  Now for the first time, the white prime was not just being swept under the rug but being celebrated and revered.  Magnus essentially saves Optimus Prime and redeems his previous deeds from the previous five issues.  The scene had nostalgia value, great art, and made for one heck of a wrap-around comic cover.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article!