we all know, the Transformers franchise is back in a big way.
With new comics, cartoons, and action figures, it's anyone's
guess if they'll ever go out of style. But what of the roots
of everyone's favorite robots in disguise? Legacies are rarely
built up overnight, and this one is no exception. The Transformers'
popularity in the 80s was at incredible heights as well, and
today we take a look at one of the byproducts of that era:
the New York Times Best-selling novel, "The Autobots'
Secret Weapon", by Nancy Krulik. Beware, spoilers lurk
- Literature at its finest.
have to forgive me in advance; while I appreciate the Transformers
very much, I'm not a hardcore Obsesso-nerd like all those
people I saw at Botcon. So if my knowledge seems pretty limited,
well, you know why. In fact, the only reason I appear to know
names of specific Transformers is because they're in the book.
when you open said book, things kick off in high gear with
an incredible two-page spread.
pictures features the Autobot's and Decepticon's respective
ships hurtling towards Earth, I suppose. This seems to be
far in the past, during a time when our solar system had approximately
eight hundred planets, as opposed to our meager present-day
10. Also, in an odd twist, the Earth is apparently a satellite
of the Moon.
- Oh, so THOSE are the Autobots!
next page features the requisite credits, and a handy Who's
Who guide to the Transformers universe. I guess the spread
was expected to blow your mind so much that you would just
forget stuff like this, so I'm glad they put it in.
story goes like this; Sunstreaker is kickin' it back by a
lake, admiring himself. He is suddenly attacked and thrown
in prison by a giant Decepticon. For some reason, though,
the D-Cons (like my hip shortening? No? Okay, sorry) completely
neglect to take his weapons away.
Heroic Autobot! Shoot to the destiny! WIN!!
attempts briefly to use this to his advantage, but eventually
gives up. The giant Decepticon breaks down into six smaller
pieces, each of whom are Decepticons unto themselves. One
of them reveals the big secret - they can combine to form
Devastator! Also, he adds, the Autobots are helpless against
happens to stroll in at that moment. He taunts Sunstreaker
a bit, who in turn shoots him in the back of the head.
and his cronies immediately turn on Sunstreaker and pummel
his ass with a barrage of what the book keeps referring to
as "missiles" even though it freely acknowledges
that these "missiles" are fired from laser guns.
Also, it looks like the "missiles" in question are
really paintballs, judging by the impact on Megatron's head.
But I digress.
then orders that a message be sent to Autobot HQ: Since they've
captured Sunstreaker, the war is over, the Autobots are defeated,
and the earth is theirs. No, seriously.
hop over to the Autobot HQ, where they worry briefly about
Sunstreaker just before receiving Megatron's message. Megatron
assures them that they are defenseless against Devastator
and that they may as well surrender and leave earth, or else
they're going to destroy Sunstreaker and rebuild him as a
Decepticon. Also, he has until sunrise.
Autobots were never ones to sit idly by while a comrade is
in danger (unless it's the Dinobots - they seem all too happy
to send those poor guys into battle) and a rescue team consisting
of Sideswipe, Sludge, and Slag is quickly assembled. Before
they depart, Optimus makes a startling revelation; Devastator
is really six Decepticons put together, and it will
take all their strength and cleverness to defeat him.
him absolutely no mind, they leave. But the way is fraught
a once-in-a-lifetime demonstration of foresight, the Decepticons
actually took the time to place traps along the main road
to their hideout. Sideswipe runs straight into a landmine,
but transforms just in time and lands perfectly fine.
arrive at the base in no time and quickly overpower two nameless
"Decepticon Guards". Once inside, however, they
encounter Devastator, who curbstomps them and tosses them
in prison next to Sunstreaker. Devastator disassembles and
two of his pieces scuffle over who will have the honor of
destroying the pitiful Autobots, but Megatron assures them
that the time will come soon enough.
in the Autobot HQ, the gang is listening to another one of
Megatron's pissy rants. Megatron claims he warned them not
to send a rescue team (a lie) and again tells them to surrender
Autobots are genuinely scared, and are ready to admit defeat
until (bum-ba-da-daaaa!) Optimus steps in and creates a plan
that could very well save them all.
plan? Why, isn't it obvious?
The only modern art I've ever liked.
a giant statue of Devastator, and attach a note detailing
the Autobot's unconditional surrender, of course! However,
all may not be as it seems...
drag the statue over to the Decepticon base (and probably
step on more than a few land mines in transit). The captured
Autobots weep silently, the Decepticons cheer, and all seems
lost. Devastator appears genuinely touched by all this and
goes to get a closer look at his statue.
Dun dun dunnn!
as he does so, the statue is revealed as a fake, and Autobots
come pouring out, attacking the crap out of Devastator. Devastator
gets horribly confused and disassembles himself from trying
to fight in too many directions at once. Total war erupts!
like the show, the final battle basically consists of the
Decepticons getting their asses handed back to them. I became
a little unclear on just how many transformers were fighting,
however, when I read this passage:
to cause the earth to shake and swallow up all the autobots.
...He jumped and pounded...[and] then the ground cracked open.
Thousands of robots were falling into the cracks! It looked
like Rumble's plan had worked."
screams at Rumble when it turns out that Decepticons were
actually falling in, but what got me was the "thousands"
part. The picture only shows three, and I had no idea that
there were thousands of Decepticons out there.
Oh well, live and learn, I guess.
and Optimus Prime have their requisite final showdown, which
O-Prime wins by grabbing a piece of shiny metal and reflecting
Megatron's attack back at himself. Oh, cruel irony!
- TEH BIG W1NNARS~!@!~!
next page reveals that the battle is suddenly over altogether.
Optimus tells everyone they did a great job and working as
a team helped them defeat Devastator, but we all know it was
really that giant statue that saved the day.
there you have it! But many questions remain unanswered -
is Megatron actually defeated for good? Will the same trick
work on Devastator in the future? And who the hell switched
all the laser cannons with with super soakers? Perhaps we
will know, someday.