COUNTDOWN: 10 MORE times the Marvel Transformers comic was shocking AF

A little while back we did a list of 10 times the Marvel Transformers comic shocked us to our very core. In fact it was our first ever Countdown! Well now it’s time for a follow up, so here’s 10 MORE times the comic was shocking AF.

We’ll be considering every story included in the extended UK run of the comic. It goes without saying that there will be MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for the whole of the Marvel comic storyline!

 

#10: Space Pirates

Space Pirates! (UK #184)

Despite the 1986 movie being canonical in the Marvel comic universe, the way a lot of plot elements played out is very different to the cartoon series. One of the biggest deviations was the Quintessons, who were no longer the original creators of the Transformers but a merciless race of beings set on conquering another world after their own planet was on the brink of destruction. As part of this they end up launching a full-scale assault on Autobot City on Earth, destroying a number of fan favourite characters in the process and leaving them strung up in pieces for Rodimus Prime and his reinforcements to discover. As the little yellow panels state, it’s a sight that will be forever etched on their horrified minds! We assume they’re also talking about anyone who read this as a child.

Artwork credit: Braithwaite / Harwood

 

#9: Megatron crushes Nightstick

Dry Run! (UK #189)

This was one of several stories in the long build-up to Time Wars, but it packs a punch all of its own. Despite a thin effort to form an allegiance with present day Shockwave (in the hopes of making it back to their own future time of 2008), Cyclonus and Scourge come a cropper when they accidentally let slip that they’re directly implicated in his death further down the line. It’s at this point that Shockwave turns on them and also reveals a secret he’s been keeping – he’s recovered and restored a presumed-dead Megatron and he’s fighting mad!

Whilst both future Shockwave’s death and what comes next for Cyclonus already made it onto our original list, this story deserves a spot all of its own for how Megatron takes down his future lieutenants. Seeing him rip Cyclonus’ head off was something, but for our money it was they way he casually crushes Targetmaster Nightstick in one hand that sticks in the memory! By this point we were used to robots having unspeakable things happen to them, but when you remember that Nightstick is a flesh and blood Nebulan, it’s pretty shocking.

Artwork credit: Abnett / Anderson

 

#8: Megatron & Ratchet

Eye of the Storm (UK #308), The Price of Life! (UK #309-310)

Anyone who knows anything about Megatron and Ratchet in the G1 comic will know what’s coming here. After a transporter malfuncti— wait, wrong franchise… after being caught in a massive explosion and pushed through a dimensional portal, it later becomes apparent that the age-old enemies have been fused together in one very horrible form… and it seems like it’s not a particularly pleasant experience for either of them!

Artwork credit: Wildman / Candelario

The artwork alone was enough to make this one pretty memorable, but the way the story presents it is perhaps even more shocking, as Optimus Prime is conflicted about how best to deal with the creature. He logically concludes that it is best to terminate it for the dual reason of getting rid of Megatron but also showing his old friend Ratchet some mercy, but then cannot bring himself to do it… although it transpires that this is exactly what the Megatron/Ratchet hybrid wants! The sight of an Autobot begging his own leader for death is a hard-hitting subject for a comic designed to sell toys!

Artwork credit: Wildman / Baskerville

 

#7: The Smelting Pool

The Smelting Pool! (UK #66-67)

It’s not always the case, but all too often when you see an original character who isn’t based on a toy featuring in the Transformers comic, you just know that they may as well be a red shirt on Star Trek. So it is with Scrounge, Blaster’s old mate, who ends up falling victim to the legendary smelting pool on Cybertron. Just when it seems like Blaster and Powerglide have saved the day we see the horrific truth that Scrounge has been mostly melted away already and is beyond saving, leaving Blaster to watch as he meets his doom. Poor little guy.

Artwork credit: Perlin / Williams

 

#6: Shockwave humiliates Megatron

The Worse of Two Evils! (UK #25)

In our original list we covered the moment when Shockwave suddenly appeared to take down all of the Autobot forces and win the day for the Decepticons at the end of the original Transformers limited run, but what comes next is shocking in its own way. A weakened Megatron is forced to watch as Shockwave claims leadership of the Decepticons until he can take it no more, and makes an ill-advised attempt to wrestle back control before he’s ready. Naturally this doesn’t exactly go to plan.

Yep, old Shockers wipes the floor with him, but it’s the sight of Megatron begging for his life that really sticks in the mind here. Shockwave ultimately refuses to grant him a quick death (hey, it’s only logical) but tosses him aside like a simple rag doll. So much for the infamous Decepticon leader, eh?

Artwork credit: Kupperberg / Yomtov

 

#5: …and the Autobot’s too

The New Order (UK #22)

Oh, and speaking of Shockwave’s victory, we’re also going to include the moment when we discover just what he’s done with all those Autobots he defeated, as it seems he’s strung them up inside their own base and left them to rot! Bearing in mind that this was very early on in the comic run, perhaps you could argue that it set the tone for the kind of horrors we could expect in future years.

Of course Shockwave reserved a special fate for Optimus Prime, who has had his head removed in an attempt to extract the Creation Matrix programme and give birth to a new army of Decepticons. What a revolting situation!

Artwork credit: Kupperberg / Yomtov

 

#4: Death’s Head kills Bumblebee

Wanted: Galvatron – Dead or Alive (UK #118)

There aren’t many UK stories that actually deviate from the Marvel US Transformers continuity as opposed to simply expanding upon it, but this was definitely one of them. Whilst Bumblebee meets a similar fate at the hands of GI Joe in the American version of events, we’ll take the UK version for this list as Death’s Head calmly and casually blows him away without a second’s thought. What a way to make an entrance, yes?

Artwork credit: Simpson / Perkins

 

#3: Bludgeon kills Catilla

A Savage Place! (UK #239)

Though he would go on to become one of the more well-known big bads of the G1 comic storyline, at this point Bludgeon was still a little-known member of the Decepticon Mayhem Attack Squad, although he definitely earnt himself a place in our memory for the way he quickly murders Catilla. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s in his more adorable beast form, but it’s just a very sad way to watch the Autobot Pretender go. Carnivac’s reaction is what really sells this moment, however, as he cradles his dying comrade and refuses to let Springer come near him. It’s not often that we get genuine signs of grief in the original comic, despite all the death and destruction going on, but this one was noticeably poignant.

Artwork credit: Senior

 

#2: Bumblebee vs the Decepticons

Crisis of Command! (UK #43)

You might think that being blown up was bad enough for Bumblebee, but how about a little humiliation as well? Yep, he gets a pretty rough ride at times and this early UK storyline is definitely one that is lodged in the ol’ noggin. After attempting to recapture an escaped Ravage all by himself, it quickly transpires that the diminutive Autobot has wandered into a Decepticon trap, which is only the beginning of his troubles.

Despite attempting to flee he’s quickly incapacitated, but it’s as he’s lying helpless that he starts being mocked by the significantly stronger Decepticons. His attempts to fight back are in vain, and the bad guys humiliate him for their own amusement.

Ultimately it’s all pretty nasty stuff, and if you needed any further evidence of that then it’s the sight of his severed arm being dropped off at Autobot headquarters just to let his comrades know that he’s in trouble. Grim.

Artwork credit: Senior / Hart

 

#1: Megatron vs Straxus

Resurrection! (UK #103), Two Megatrons! (UK #244)

OK, this one is an absolute doozy, so bear with us. It all starts with Decepticon commander Straxus having his decapitated head being kept inside some kind of weird stasis device. He perhaps understandably gets a bit fed up of this (and Megatron’s taunting) and hatches a plan to take over control of Megatron’s body against his will.

The moment itself is pretty shocking as we see the two of them wrestling for control…

…but the story ends with a surprise twist as it seems that Straxus has actually been successful, and he crushes Megatron inside his own former body. At least now we know where Doctor Octopus got the idea from, eh?

Artwork credit: Simpson / White

In any case, it later turns out that Megatron’s consciousness still exists as the two battle for control. It all ends up with Megatron going a bit crazy, until he’s eventually blown up and goes off the radar for a bit. When he finally reappears he later finds himself teaming up with Galvatron as part of Time Wars before returning to Cybertron. It’s at this point that we discover that the character we’ve been reading about for quite some time actually isn’t Megatron at all… it is in fact Straxus inside a cloned version of Megatron’s body! Wha–?!

After coming face-to-face with the real Megatron, the clone quickly realises what is going on and in an effort to put an end to Straxus’ attempts to assert his control he shoots himself in the head. It’s a bizarre story that ultimately came about in an attempt to reconcile a continuity problem caused by the UK storyline trying to work around events in the US comic, but it just about works and makes for some good drama all of its own. What’s arguably even more shocking though is the implications it throws up… after all, if it’s the cloned version of Megatron that features in Time Wars and Galvatron has all of his memories, doesn’t that kinda imply that Galvatron isn’t actually a future version of Megatron at all, but rather Lord Straxus? Major continuity conundrums, Batman. It’s never definitely concluded one way or another, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless and means that this story ends up having some shocking implications for the comic storyline as a whole.

Artwork credit: Senior

 

So, that’s our list! Do you agree with our choices? Let us know if not and of course feel free to suggest your own!

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers photographer & blogger from the UK with quite a well-known carpet. Collects both vintage G1/G2 and Masterpiece/3P.

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