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The Autobots' Secret Weapon! Spoilers Inside!!

by Nathan - November 19, 2002

As 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 below.

fig.1 - Literature at its finest.

You'll 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.

Right when you open said book, things kick off in high gear with an incredible two-page spread.

fig.2 - Crazy!

The 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.

fig.3 - Oh, so THOSE are the Autobots!

The 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.

The 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.

fig.4: Heroic Autobot! Shoot to the destiny! WIN!!

He 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 them.

Megatron happens to stroll in at that moment. He taunts Sunstreaker a bit, who in turn shoots him in the back of the head.

fig.5: OW! Dammit!

Megatron 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.

Megatron 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.

We 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.

The 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.

Paying him absolutely no mind, they leave. But the way is fraught with danger!

fig.6: Holy crap!

In 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.

They 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.

Back 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 by sunrise.

The 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.

The plan? Why, isn't it obvious?

fig.7: The only modern art I've ever liked.

Create 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...

They 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.

fig.8: Dun dun dunnn!

But 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!

Much 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:

"Rumble...decided 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."

Megatron 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.

Megatron 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!

fig.9 - TEH BIG W1NNARS~!@!~!

The 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.

And 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.

-e-mail: monster-0@alucentral.ca

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