Unicron

The last character in Transformers: The Last Knight is one we’ve been waiting for for a while now, albeit he appears in an oddly different look…and not even entirely. While brainwashing Optimus Prime, the evil Quintessa reveals to him that Earth is actually what in Cybertron‘s legends is called Unicron, an evil nemesis to Cybertron that must be destroyed. From Earth, in fact, six giant spikes emerge, and at the end of the movie a disguised Quintessa offers her knowledge on how to kill the creature they belong to. Unicron is not a planet in the original continuity, rather a devourer of planets, some sort of evil version of Galactus from the Marvel Universe. His presence in the movie continuity may hint at interesting future developments, let’s see together why is that…

At the beginning of space and time, there was only The One, a creature in which Chaos and Order coexisted. The only inhabitant of a newborn multiverse, the One wanted to explore and know it, so he split in two different beings: Unicron and Primus, each one of them the embodiment of a different primordial principle (chaos and order, evil and good), each one of them unique in every universe. Unicron could cross any reality, perceiving them all and constantly analyzing them all, while Primus inhabited them all at once. While Primus wanted to embark in his original mission of exploring the cosmos, however, Unicron only wanted to destroy it, wishing to be the only living being ruling over the Void, the dark emptiness that existed before reality (or realities) did. Primus tried to stop his twin brother, but Unicron proved to be stronger than him: the duel between the two siblings continued across realities, and eventually Primus understood he had to outsmart the stronger opponent. He moved the fight to the astral plane, and Unicron followed him there, believing he was trying to flee from him; when he followed him back to the physical world, however, Unicron found his essence trapped into a mechanical planetoid, falling into his brother’s trap. Although Primus hoped that the trap could hold his brother (and himself) forever, Unicron kept trying to break free, until he understood he didn’t have to destroy the planet: he could make it part of his own. His essence “possessed” the world, so that he was now a living planet free to move in the universe; the same did Primus, so the conflict between the two started again. Unicron learnt to control the metal he was now composed of, and he became able of transforming himself into a gargantuan robotic warrior, a humanoid the size of a planet; taking the idea of transformation from his brother, Primus, who was now the planet Cybertron, created some mechanical warriors who could change shape as well, and he gave them the mission of destroying his brother. These warriors were The Thirteen, the first Transformers in history. Unicron was now facing both his brother and his champions.

Apart from direct confrontation, Unicron had learnt other ways to fight his battles in his millennia of imprisonment, and he managed to convert one of the Thirteen, who would have later known only as The Fallen, to his cause, and he transformed him into his first acolyte. The battle continued, with the remaining twelve Transformers fighting Unicron and the Fallen, until the latter two were brought too close to a black hole, and disappeared in it. Albeit Unicron had seemingly vanished from reality, Primus decided to enter an eternal slumber, so that, if Unicron had survived, he wouldn’t have been able to track him with their psychic bond. Unicron was, in fact, still alive, and he used his powers to escape his dimensional prison and to look for his brother, the only obstacle to his goal of total annihilation of life, in every reality he could reach. While travelling from universe to universe, Unicron collected a growing number of acolytes, warriors who fell victim to his charisma and who chose to follow him lured by the promise of godly powers (but at the cost of their sanity), or whom he brainwashed to do his bidding. Finally, millennia after their last battle, Primus was accidentally reawakaned by Autobots and Decepticons, whose civil war had reached the nucleus of Cybertron where the god was sleeping. Primus was fast to reenter his slumber, but the Primal Scream he had emitted the moment he had regained consciousness was more than enough for Unicron to locate him. Wanting to investigate on the matter, Unicron dispatched four of his best minions to Cybetron, with the order to kill the dormant Primus if he really was there: he sent HookLine and Sinker from planet Ghennix, and even a Cybertronian from an alternate future in which he had triumphed over his brother, Galvatron. The latter, however, was a leader of his own, and wasn’t happy to serve under a master whose sole promise was to annihilate him along with the rest of the universe: instead of killing Primus, Galvatron abducted Emirate Xaaron, the leader of the Autobots, and forced him to awake Primus, so that he could dispose of Unicron. Finally, the war between the two primeval gods could restart, and now they both had a loyal army on their side, promising a cosmic conflict the likes nobody had ever seen since the dawn of the multiverse.

Unicron is a totally malicious being, the embodiment of all the chaos and the evil energy that inhabited the cosmos at the moment of its beginning, devoted entirely to the destruction of every form of life, energy and matter in the multiverse but himself. Driven by a neverending hatred towards his brother Primus, who’s the only one standing in his way to destroy the multiverse, Unicron taints and corrupts everything he touches, converting many to his genocidal cause according godly powers to his followers. A cosmic being, Unicron is a giant the size of a planet, with immeasurable strength, invulnerable and immortal; he can absorb and manipulate a limitless amount of energy, and he can hypnotize any living Transformer to become his accolyte; his conscience embraces every possible reality, and he can move through them freely; he can also transform into a huge planet and, sometimes, even into an immense tank. A threat to the universe like no other, Unicron is a primeval destroyer, whose sole purpose is to annihilate everything that exists to return to the peace of the Void.

Nemesis Prime

In Transformers: The Last Knight, one of the biggest surprises was to see the heroic Optimus Prime, always voiced by Peter Cullen, becoming the bad guy under the influence of the mad goddess Quintessa. While acting as her lieutenant, Optimus even changes his name and appearance, having half of his face turned red and calling himself Nemesis Prime. This isn’t a new name, quite the opposite. In the comics, though, Nemesis Prime isn’t a brainwashed Optimus, rather his evil clone. There are several versions of Nemesis, differing in origin and purpose, but we’ll stick to the original one. Let’s see together.

Unlike most of the Transformers, Nemesis Prime wasn’t born on planet Cybertron, nor he was created by someone originating from there. He was an “artificial” Transformer built by a human, engineered and assembled on Earth. He was born when Doctor Arkeville, an evil scientist who often allied himself with the Decepticons to obtain power for himself, became tired of his allies’ continuous failures in bringing down the Autobots. Believing that the origin of all his problems could be led up to Megatron‘s incapacity as a leader, Arkeville started designing a better ruler of the Decepticons, one who could obtain a definitive victory over the Autobots. Since the greatest leader around proved to be Optimus Prime, Arkeville decided he would have had an “Optimus” on his side, and he started stealing the Decepticons’ data on the enemy commander. With those data, Arkeville built a perfect replica of Optimus, changing the color pattern and programming it so that he would have possessed all Optimus’ abilities and none of his morality, a perfectly sentient being devoted to an evil cause rather than to a noble one. The only thing Arkeville was missing was a way to bring his creation to life, but several attempts, from stealing energy from the Autobot Spacebridge to capturing a Spark with a subspace linkup, failed. Before the scientist could try something else, a time portal opened right besides the inert body, and a shiny orb came out of it, merging with Nemesis: the clone awoke, just moments before he disappeared from his creator’s eyes. The robotic body, in fact, had been possessed by an Autobot’s Spark, sent back in time by Rodimus Prime to repair the timeline damaged by Ravage. Using the body’s energy, the Spark managed to do so, and reached the other Autobots to inform them of his mission…but in that moment, Nemesis Prime’s original A.I. took control of the body.

The Autobot’s Spark was still informing his teammates on how he had repaired the timeline, when Nemesis took over: the Autobot’s symbol on his chest became a Decepticon’s one, and he became suddenly hostile to the Transformers. Before he could do any true damage, the Spark used the last of its energies to open a portal to Arkeville’s lab, and deactivated the clone. Even without a Spark, however, Nemesis’ automated A,I. was enough for him to cross the portal following the Spark, coming back to his creator. Arkeville, in the meanwhile, had found an ancient, malicious life force he could tap in, and as soon as his robotic son came back home, he connected him with it: finally, Nemesis Prime came to life on his own, not a puppet anymore, but a sentient being with a mission. It was following this mission that Nemesis abandoned Arkeville’s lab and tracked down the Decepticons, eager to join their ranks…and to challenged Megatron for the right to rule. When the two Decepticons were about to fight, however, on Cybertron the Autobot Mirage had found the switch the Quintessons used to control all the Transformers: following Optimus Prime’s orders, Mirage turned it down, thus deactivating every Transformer in the universe who wasn’t upgraded (the ones from Generation-1). As a result, Megatron was deactivated, and Nemesis Prime emerged victorious without inferting a single blow. For first, Nemesis ordered Shockwave to collect as many inert bodies he could, in order to use them for spare parts: the powerful Decepticon found logic in what he was told, and he complied. Seeing Shockwave obeying the newcomer, even the other Decepticons swore their loyalty to him: finally, Nemesis had reached the goal he had been programmed for, and he was now the undisputed ruler of the Decepticons, ready to take on his hated enemies.

Nemesis Prime is a perfect replica of Optimus Prime, with all his charisma, his intelligence and his strenght, but none of his compassion and morality, making him a perfect dark mirror of his Autobot counterpart. He possesses superhuman strength, durability and reflexes, he can turn into a huge truck gaining speed, and he’s a master of unarmed combat and marksmanship. Whether created by Arkeville, by the tyrant Straxus, by the terrorist organization M.E.C.H. or simply born in an alternate universe in which Cybertron was conquered by Unicron, Nemesis Prime is a ruthless and brutal warrior, a worshipper of raw power who believes honor in battle comes from the total annihilation of the enemies.

Shockwave

In Transformers: The Last Knight, when Sir Edmund Burton shows the heroes his private museum of the Witwiccan Order, several historical pictures can be seen: the bigger one shows a militarized Bumblebee, but on other two we can see Ironhide and Shockwave as well. The latter appeared as one of the major antagonists in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a remarkably powerful Decepticon who commands a giant worm-like beast called Driller, and who’s able to overpower all the Autobots on his own. He’s killed by the united forces of the human army and the Autobots, with Optimus Prime delivering the final blow to a seemingly invincible opponent. His pictures, marked as “deceased”, is later seen in Age of Extinction. In the comics, Shockwave is just as badass as in the movies…but he speaks a lot more. Let’s see together.

Born on planet Cybertron, Shockwave started as an academic, dedicating himself to pure logical thinking, concentrating on meditation to free himself from all kind of emotions, which he saw as an unforgivable weakness. When the civil war between Autobots and Decepticons began, Shockwave joined the latters, as logic suggested to him that their cause was the one most likely to win the war, since they weren’t burdened by compassion. It was thanks to his calculations that the Decepticons found the perfect moment to attack the Autobots, just when they had been weakened by a planetary mission defending Cybertron from a meteor shower; while Megatron and the others boarded the Ark, however, Shockwave stayed behind on the Nemesis, piloting the warship. This proved to be quite a wise choice, as Optimus Prime sent his ship crashing on a remote, primitive planet, taking along Megatron and his Decepticons. Aboard the Nemesis, Shockwave followed the Ark until it reached Earth. While trying to follow the enemy ship down in the atmosphere, even the Nemesis experienced a malfunction, and its damaged guidance system led Shockwave in Antarctica. As Shockwave emerged from the Nemesis, the Ark’s A.I. detected him, and reactivated five Autobots (Grimlock, Sludge, SlagSwoop and Snarl) to oppose him, giving them the shape of the local forms of life, namely dinosaurs. The Dinobots reached Shockwave in Antarctica, where they tried to use their combined power to destroy their enemy. “Tried”. Not only Shockwave proved his power to be superior to that of the Dinobots combined, but even if he couldn’t kill them all alone, he tricked them into getting trapped in a tar pit; while they were sinking, however, Snarl managed to inflict a final blow that blew up the mountain Shockwave was standing upon. As his enemies got trapped in the tar pit, Shockwave himself was buried under tons of rock, trapped as well. He would have been stuck for millions of years.

Finally, during Earth’s 1980s, Autobots and Decepticons were awakened, and they resumed their war on the alien planet; the Autobots were still looking for their five missing comrades, and they sent probes all around the globe to find them…but one of the probes inadvertently reactivated Shockwave instead. In a matter of minutes, Shockwave located all the Transformers in Oregon, and he reached them just as the Autobots defeated the Decepticons in a long and difficult battle. His arrival was quite an explosive one: Shockwave single-handedly defeated the weakened Autobots, and he even executed Optimus Prime by decapitating him. He then reanimated the Decepticons, but only to serve him: since Megatron had failed, logic demanded that leadership was granted to him now. As a first act as a leader, Shockwave led the Decepticons in attacking an oil-drilling platform that became their secondary headquarters, but this second success only humiliated Megatron even more: the former leader challenged the current one, but Shockwave effortlessly defeated him, forcing him to vow his obedience and loyalty to him. Megatron agreed, but not without a grudge. This settled, Shockwave proceeded with his plan to lead the Decepticons to the ultimate victory, and he extracted the Creation Matrix from Optimus Prime’s head and the technology obtained from conquering Blackrock Aerospace Plant to create the Constructicons, the new frontier of Decepticon firepower. The next step had Shockwave build another extremely powerful Decepticon, Jetfire, but he soon realised that Optimus had transferred the rest of the Matrix in the mind of Buster Witwicky, a human. Buster used the Matrix to turn Jetfire on the Autobots’ side, reversing the situation in his favor, and resurrected Optimus, who challenged Shockwave. At the end of a fierce battle, the Autobot leader buried Shockwave in a swamp, finally defeating him…not that the Decepticon leader wouldn’t have come back sooner than his enemies hoped for…

Shockwave is an extremely intelligent tactician, a warrior who doesn’t feel any emotion and who follows a cold and relentless logic. As a Transformer, he possesses superhuman strenght, durability, stamina, reflexes and longevity, he is inhumanly intelligent, and his left hand is an energy cannon; he can transform into a Cybertronian ray-gun, a form in which he can shoot a variety of different rays, from highly dangerous gamma rays to x-rays that allow him to see through pretty much everything. An extremely powerful warrior, possibly even stronger than Megatron himself, Shockwave is loyal to the Decepticons only out of calculation: his one true loyalty is to logic, and pure cold logic can be even more frightening than murderous rage…

Starscream

Transformers: The Last Knight is in theatres now, and there are some characters appearing in the movie who hadn’t been seen in the trailers. Let’s start with the recurring ones…well, sort of, as they are all dead to begin with. When Daytrader arrives at the Autobots‘s hideout, one of the “treasures” he tries to sell is the severed head of StarscreamMegatron‘s former second in command (Megatron himself retrieves the head, and has a brief Hamlet moment with it). Starscream has been a prominent member of the robotic cast since the first movie, where he led the Decepticons in freeing and resurrecting Megatron (and ending up being the only survivor of the group). In Revenge of the Fallen he resurrects Megatron once again and comes back to his side, and the two flee as soon as the Fallen is killed; he’s finally killed in Dark of the Moon during the final battle in Chicago, having his head blown up by Sam Witwicky. His picture also appears in Age of Extinction, but it’s unlikely we’ll see this treacherous Decepticon again…so let’s take a mourning look at this living Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet.

Starscream was born on planet Cybertron, where he was trained as a warrior since his early life. He attended the Cybertron War Academy and, according to his own claim, he turned out to be their most skilled student ever, obtaining the rank of Air Commander and surpassing every previous standard. In the centuries-long civil war that was tearing Cybertron apart, Starscream joined the faction of the Decepticons, and he was put in charge of the elite squad of the Seekers, an aerial commando specialised in swift attacks. His skill as a leader allowed him to get close to the Decepticons’ master, Megatron, who took him under his wing and made him one of his most trusted men. Unfortunately, Starscream wasn’t to be considered “trusted” at all, as all his successes had created quite an ambition in him, and he dreamt of taking Megatron’s place as the Decepticon leader, believing that was what he was destined to be. Despite Starscream believed to be the most cunning plotter ever born, however, Megatron knew far too well what his true ambitions were, and he kept him close in order to keep an eye on him, all the while exploiting his and his team’s skills. While planning his mutinee, however, Starscream played the part of the loyal follower, and he obeyed Megatron’s orders in the conflict against the Autobots. Being Megatron’s second in command, he was selected to be part of the assault squad that attacked the Autobots on the Ark, their sentient ship, but the battle proved to be the beginning of a new life for Starscream and all the others involved: the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, seeing his forces defeated, had the ship crash on a remote and primitive planet, Earth, in the hope of destroying his enemies along with himself. As a result, instead, all the Transformers participating to the battle fell into a state of suspended animation, and they awoke only millennia after their arrival, in the planet’s 1980s. Starscream found himself stranded on an alien planet, but a new, unhoped for situation was in front of him: now, only a few number of Decepticons were present to defend Megatron, and he had the perfect chance to take his place.

As soon as the Decepticons woke up, however, the difference of power between Megatron and Starscream became immediately blatant: Starscream dared to question Megatron’s decisions, and the latter nearly reduced him to scraps. Barely surviving the experience, the treacherous officer understood he had to use subtler ways to mine Megatron’s leadership. In his first attempt to overthrow him on the alien planet, he lured the Autobots to him during Megatron’s absence, so that he could lead his teammates in the following battle showing his commanding skills to them and undermining Megatron’s charisma. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as another Decepticon extremely loyal to Megatron, Ravage, discovered his plan, and threatened to reveal everything to the others. A fight ensued between the two, and the Autobots arrived (as planned…) just as Starscream was trying to kill his rival. Inevitably he was caught, but as a prisoner he demanded trial by combat in his defense, a right that was granted to him. His chosen adversary turned out to be Brawn, a remarkably strong opponent…but Starscream managed to defeat him, and was released. Ravage, however, had been following him, and he attacked him taking advantage of his weariness: he deactivated him, blaming the Autobots as he came back to the base. As a result, Megatron gathered the Decepticons in an attack against the Autobots, obtaining exactly the opposite of what Starscream had intended in the first place. He was later reactivated and resumed serving Megatron, first, and Shockwave, later, but when both the Decepticon leaders were gone he finally said out loud he wanted to be the new leader: Soundwave, however, had different ideas, and he took the leadership for himself; in the following battle with the Autobots, Starscream was deactivated once again by Optimus Prime. He was reactivated just in time for a battle against the titanic Autobot guardian Omega Supreme, but he just got deactivated for the umpteenth time. Failure after failure, Starscream finally allied himself with a time-travelling Decepticon, Galvatron, who offered him a chance to get rid of both Megatron and Shockwave…not knowing that he was helping the guy who, in the future, would have been responsible for his death.

Starscream is a clever and deceiving warrior, crippled by an overflowing ambition, an unlimited arrogance and an embarassing cowardice, traits that bring him to always attempt to betray this or that leader, but never to be able to directly face his opponent despite his remarkable power. As a Transformer, he possesses superhuman strenght, durability, stamina and longevity, but he’s also incredibly fast, actually one of the fastest Transformers ever; he can transform into a jet, obtaining the power of flight and increasing his speed to an impressive Mach 2.8; he’s also functionally immortal, as his mutated Spark is able to survive even outside his physical body. Armed with blasters, missiles and bombs, a ruthless fighter and a treacherous plotter, Starscream could be the intelligent and charismatic leader he had always dreamt of, if he only had enough courage to fight his own battles and to inspire his men on the battlefield…

Alpha Quintesson

The second character we can identify in the third trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight is apparently the big bad of this time’s adventure, Quintessa, voiced by Gemma Chan. In the movie, Quintessa will belong to the robotic race that created the Transformers, and she’ll capture Optimus Prime while he’s travelling in space…and apparently she’ll brainwash him and turn him against humans, convincing him that, in order for Cybertron to survive, Earth must perish, transforming him into a destroyer ready and willing to reform Earth’s atmosphere to make it another Cybertron (eradicating humankind in the process). In the comics the Quintessons are indeed the creators of the Transformers and some major antagonists, but there’s no Quintessa: the robotic woman in the movie seems to be a gender-swapped version of Alpha Quintesson, the tentacular puppet master behind the century-old civil war on Cybertron in the Dreamwave continuity, and whose many faces and split personalities resemble the original Quintessons from Generation-1. Let’s see together.

The being who would have been later known as Alpha Quintesson (or Alpha Q, for short) was born on a remote planet called Planet Q. We don’t know the name of the planet’s ruler, but he led his world helped by his trusted Grand Chamberlain. Planet Q’s life came to an abrupt end when Unicron, the world devourer, found it and targeted it as his next meal: unwilling to let his planet die, the king sent against Unicron his entire army, launching at the monster everything he had…but with no apparent effect, as Unicron wasn’t even slowed down by the impressive display of power. Following the orders of his king, the Grand Chamberlain sent a distress call to the planet’s allies, the Autobots led by Rodimus Prime, but nobody came (not in time, at least). Facing the inevitable destruction of Planet Q, the Chamberlain accepted his and his people’s death, but he tried at least to bring Unicron along: he detonated the planet’s core just while the world devourer was consuming it. The massive explosion failed to kill Unicron, but it was enough to damage him heavily, to the point of forcing him to enter a state of hibernation to heal himself. Of course, all inhabitants of Planet Q died in the detonation, but the king’s spark (his soul) inhabited the inhert body of Unicron. Incorporeal and alone, the king was slowly driven mad by the time passing by year after year, and with nobody to speak to his psyche was shattered into five different personalities, each one with separated characteristics and identities. Finally, using the remnants of his deceased subjects inside Unicron’s stomach, the deranged king created a new body for himself, one with five different faces who could switch place depending on which personality was in command: only one face remained hidden all the time, the original personality of the king, who only spoke when his armor was closed and he could hide himself from sight.

Naming himself Alpha Quintesson, the mad king kept studying Unicron: demented but not stupid, he was still one of the most brilliant minds from his world, and he found out that everything Unicron had ever consumed wasn’t lost at all, merely stored, ready for being reconstituted. And there was only one way to do it: energon. Energon was a natural and extremely rare element that was basically crystallized life, the essence of everything in existence: to give life back to an entire planet, Alpha Quintesson would have needed quite a lot of it. Not wanting to abandon what remained of his planet, but needing to collect as much energon as he could, Alpha Q found the remains of his heroic army and reassembled them into the Terrorcons, a team of beast-like Transformers, and sent them to Earth, where a huge quantity of energon was detected, and where the Autobots where battling the Decepticons continuing the civil war that had led their homeplanet to ruin. Seeing an opportunity for his goal, Alpha Quintesson recreated his former Grand Chamberlain in the form of Scorponok, and sent him along with the Terrorcons to take the lead of the Decepticons. Unfortunately the historical leader of the Decepticons, Megatron, had managed to resurrect himself in the time being, and he wasn’t happy to find an “usurper” in his place; trying to get rid of the unwanted rival, Alpha used some of his energon to restore to life Megatron’s enemy, Starscream, but his plan failed, and not only Megatron regained the leadership of his group, but he also exposed Scorponok as a spy. Needing to manipulate the conflict to be sure that nobody would have interfered with his harvesting again, Alpha Quintesson released his Four Horsemen, three Autobots and a Decepticon he had captured years before and brainwashed to be his servants. With agents on both sides, Alpha Quintesson could manipulate the conflict to move the battles wherever he wanted on both Cybertron and Earth, thus collecting all the energon he needed: it was just a matter of time before he could finally achieve his goal and recreate his world…

The creature known as Alpha Quintesson is a wise and devoted ruler, who only wants to restore his lost world and people…unfortunately, he’s also completely mad. With one personality (the blue face) being highly intelligent and wise, one (white face) who’s constantly happy and always tries to avoid violence, one (red face) characterised by a constant blood lust and rage, one (green face) cunning and deceiving and a last one (always hidden) who’s scared by everything and everyone, he’s quite unstable and constantly battling with himself. Mad or not, he’s highly intelligent and a superb tactician; he also possesses superhuman strength, durability and speed, and he possesses a variety of limbs ending in either sharp blades or firearms, making him quite a threat also in close distance, even if his primary resource is his long-time planning. A disgraced monarch from a destroyed world, Alpha Quintesson will do anything in his power to restore his lost domain and people, including manipulating from behind the curtains a planetary war…

Onslaught

A new trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight has been released, and it features a lot of new footage for the upcoming fifth chapter of the saga. Among the many robots seen there, just a couple of them is recognisable, starting with the massive Onslaught, voiced by a yet unknown actor (if any). Onslaught will be one of the new Decepticons following the reborn Megatron in his war against humans, and despite his massive size he appears to be one of the tactical minds behind the civil war raging on Earth. In the movie he’ll be able to turn into a Western Star 4900SF Tow truck, quite a huge beast…definitely not something useful if you’re meant to observe a battle from afar, guiding your teammates. Anyway, let’s just have a look at the original Onslaught, leader of quite a pesky sub-team of Decepticons.

The origin of Onslaught represents quite a paradox: when Buster Witwicky came in contact with the Creation Matrix (the legendary artifact containing the essence of the creator of the Transformers, given into possession to the Autobots‘ leader from generation to generation), it gave him visions of the future, a timeline in which four sub-groups from both Autobots and Decepticons were able to combine with ease creating more powerful warriors. These groups, called the Special Teams, were the Aerialbots, the Protectobots, the Stunticons…and the Combaticons, led by Onslaught. In the vision, the evil Stunticons were battling the heroic Protectobots, and the first ones combined to form Menasor; the second ones combined in Defensor, and were about to defeat their enemies, but Onslaught led his team (BrawlVortexSwindle and Blast Off) to the rescue, combining with them to form Bruticus, an extremely powerful warrior. Unbeknownst to Buster and Optimus Prime, who were witnessing the vision, they were being spied on by Shockwave, that time leader of the Decepticons: Shockwave took inspiration from the vision and put all his team’s effort into the creation of the Combaticons before their time. Onslaught was born in the present, modelled after a future self that never came to be…but also his nemesis, Hot Spot leader of the Protectobots, was built before time. The two teams were created one the dark mirror of the other, and they found themselves battling each other time and time again. Onslaught proved to be quite a tactician, thus becoming a trusted subordinate not only for Shockwave, but also for the other leaders of the Decepticons, including the evil Megatron, who always regained control of his faction in a way or the other. It was while accompanying Megatron in one of his neverending battles against Optimus Prime that he crossed paths with Hot Spot and his Protectobots for the first time.

The two teams were battling near a computer lab, and the human scientist in it, Ethan Zachary, had an idea to limit the damage caused by the giant robotic contenders; he convinced them to continue their fight by transferring their conscience in a videogame of his invention, Multi-World, with quite some risky odds at stake: the leader of the loser team would have lost his life in real life. Megatron and Optimus accepted the challenge, so Combaticons and Protectobots found themselves challenging each other in a virtual world, level after level. Despite his tactical prowess, Onslaught found himself outmatched by his hated rival, and he would lose level after level. Finding himself losing the fight, however, Megatron used a cheat code, and after being destroyed in-game by Defensor, he came back to Multi-World, challenging Optimus directly. Optimus won, but he let innocents perish in the process, so he eventually sacrificed himself ridden by guilt. Despite the “victory”, Onslaught didn’t exactly come out with his head held high . He and his team kept fighting the Protectobots, but he wasn’t tasked with delicate missions anymore…until he was dispatched to kill Galvatron, a Decepticon would-be leader. The team travelled inside the volcano Galvatron was trapped in, but they faced a trio of human women who “myraculously” (they were actually controlled by Ultra Magnus, trapped in the volcano as well) managed to take down each and every one of the Combaticons…everyone but Onslaught, who managed to take the upper hand and to defeat the women. He was about to kill them, but he was stopped by the Throttlebots, a team of six Autobots who had come there in search of Ultra Magnus. Defeated and humiliated, Onslaught gathered his team members and started an all-out war on the Throttlebots, hunting them everywhere. He finally found them, but they were trapped in the form of a car, in a used car lot. Lucky news, they were being sold in an auction…

Onslaught is a cold-hearted warrior, a brilliant tactician who relies on his mind as his first weapon in combat. As all Transformers, he possesses superhuman strength and durability, and he can transform into a vehicle, specifically an anti-aircraft truck; he has an arsenal of heavy weapons, and he can combine with his fellow Combaticons to form Bruticus, who’s much stronger than the individual Decepticons, but also much dumber than Onslaught. Usually an observer of battles who keeps his distance to study the enemies’ moves and elaborate an effective plan, Onslaught is also able and willing to actively join the fight, distinguishing himself for ferocity and prowess: quite a brain and brawn combatant.

Hot Rod (Rodimus Prime)

hotrodfilmThe second character seen in the pics revealed from Transformers: The Last Knight is a new entry, and quite a major one: Hot Rod, who has still an unknown voice actor. We don’t know much about his role in the movie, apart from the fact that he’ll be Bumblebee‘s brother-in-arms, and that he’ll be able to transform into a Lamborghini. Hot Rod is quite a pivotal part of the Transformers universe, and his inclusion was just a matter of time…let’s just hope he won’t be one of the (far too) many place-holders in the blockbuster, a random robot shooting lasers around with no true purpose. As usual, in the meanwhile let’s take a look at the original one…who’s also known by a name other than Hot Rod, a pretty revealing one.

Hot Rod was born on planet Cybertron, in the middle of the centuries-long war that put the heroic Autobots against the tyrannical Decepticons. He himself was an Autobot, member of a squad led by the gigantic Fortress Maximus; Fortress had grown tired of the war as many other Cybertronians, and decided it was about time to simply walk away from it. In order to look for other worlds that could be inhabited, Fortress Maximus sent Hot Rod and Blurr to open space, in a quest for a new home. Hot Rod was young, inexperienced and definitely arrogant, and the first hostile aliens the pair met, he faced head-on without thinking about it twice. As a result, the two warriors were severely defeated, and Blurr was even captured. Forced to escape, humiliated, Hot Rod stumbled upon another Cybertronian, Kup, a war veteran who had escaped Cybertron after becoming disillusioned with the war; the strong will and bravado of Hot Rod awakened something in the old warrior’s soul, and between the two a strange mentor-pupil relationship was born. Kup helped Hot Rod to free Blurr from his captors, then the three of them returned to Cybertron, where they joined Fortress Maximus once again. Finally, a world for a brand new start was found: Nebulos, inhabited by a peaceful race of small Transformers. Hot Rod followed Fortress Maximus there along with many others, but also an unwanted contingent of Decepticons did the same, so the war started all hotrodcomics1over again, albeit on a smaller scale. The locals formed an alliance with the Autobots, and some of them decided to help them by entering in symbiosis with the warriors: Hot Rod was paired with Firebolt, able to transform into a laser gun, and the two fought many years one alongside the other on Nebulos. Eventually, Hot Rod received a transmission from Goldbug, another Autobot, who informed him that the Autobot leader Optimus Prime was on a faraway planet, still fighting the war with the Decepticons, and needing help. The Targetmasters (as the symbiotic couples formed by Cybertronians and Nebulans were called) were needed as well, so Hot Rod abandoned Nebulos to move to another alien world: Earth.

Hot Rod and the others joined Optimus Prime’s team, and they were welcomed in the crashed spaceship Ark, now functioning as headquarters. Despite his unchanging, difficult attitude, Hot Rod developed a strong bond with Optimus, especially after he had disobeyed his direct orders and stayed behind along with him to fight Megatron and Starscream, while the other Autbots returned to the Ark as they were told. It was Hot Rod who managed to make Optimus recover from the deep depression he had fallen into when Ratchet got killed, and he was always on the frontline, facing whatever threat might wait, even when it came to battle the planet-eater Unicron. Hot Rod was among the many Autobot casualties on the alien planet Klo, but he was resurrected by Optimus’ ace up the sleeve, the ultimate warrior known as the Last Autobot, and resumed his neverending fight against the Decepticons. Apart from Kup, who still acted as a calming presence for the hot-headed Autobot, Hot Rod also became close to the female warrior Arcee, who was among the few ones able to make him reason (from time to time): although the two often provoked each other, it became quite clear that something more than a friendship was rising between them. Despite his bad attitude, Hot Rod became such a trusted and respected Autobot that he was chosen as the successor of Optimus Prime the moment the Autobot leader was killed action. Now holding the Matrix of Leadership, Hot Rod hotrodcomics2was entrusted with the wisdom and the power of his predecessors, and he became Rodimus Prime, the new leader of the Autobots. This was finally put an end to his arrogance, as such a responsibility managed to quel his spirit, even instilling into him a great insecurity about his leadership skills. If living constantly under Optimus Prime’s shadow wasn’t enough, the time was indeed a dread one, as Galvatron had assumed the leadership of the Decepticons, and seemed more than intentioned to end the war with the hated Autobots once and for all. The enmity between Rodimus and Galvatron became even harsher than the one between Optimus and Megatron, and the war was about to know a whole new scale to it, one that the new Prime hoped he was able to manage…

Hot Rod is an impulsive and brash Autobot, whose self-confidence often becomes arrogance; independent and stubborn, he even disobeys orders and challenges authority if he doesn’t see things the same as his superiors. As Rodimus Prime, the weight of command somehow quelled his arrogance, and he’s now quite self-dubious about his role as a Prime, especially since he has to replace a leader such as Optimus. Being a Prime, he’s extremely strong and durable, more than the average Cybertronians, and he can access the wisdom and knowledge of his predecessors; he’s an accomplished marksman and fighter, he can shoot photon laser beams from his forearms, and he possesses six (three per arm) retractable saw-blades he uses in battle; his most impressive skill, however, is his short-circuit ability, which he can fry an opponent’s circuits with. As the other Transformers, he’s able to transform into a vehicle increasing his speed, in his case a Cybetronian race car. A young warrior who had to grow up quickly in order to accept the responsibility of command, Rodimus Prime is an inexperienced leader for a harsh war time, and maybe his arrogance and self-confidence are just what the Autobots need to win a war they can very well lose this time…