Another edition of “Who wore it better?” is here. Today we are looking at the Wolverine face mask. Contenders are Revenge of the Fallen Knockout, Beast Wars Transmetal Ramulus, and the original wearer: Marvel Comics Wolverine.
After being hit by the Aveda Kedavra curse in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, many believed Hedwig to have perished. She survived, though, and after an operation costing six million galleons she became stronger, faster, and better than any other owl…
Beast Wars Transmetal 2 Prowl aka Bionic Hedwig
Sometimes all you need is a badass quote. Here are some favorites of mine, featuring Razorclaw (from 3H Productions Transformers Universe comics), Straxus (from Marvel Transformers comics), Megatron, Optimus Primal, and Rampage (from Beast Wars TV series), and Overlord (from IDW Transformers comics).
To this very day I consider Cheetor from Beast Wars the best-developed character in the history of the entire franchise. Across three seasons of Beast Wars and two seasons of Beast Machines we saw him go from wide-eyed youngster to seasoned veteran and leader in a natural and believable process. Let’s take a look at his various developmental stages:
When we first meet Cheetor, he’s the wide-eyed kid caught up in a big adventure. He loves exploring the new planet, he revels in the speed of his new beast mode, and the danger of facing the Predacons isn’t quite real to him yet. It’s all still fun and games. Even when he gets captured and almost eaten by Tarantulas, he is only scared very briefly before being rescued by Rattrap, whom he considers a great friend despite the fact that Rattrap is pretty much annoyed with him 24-7. Cheetor is clearly the kid-relatable character here, maybe not quite as obnoxious as your average human-friend-of-the-Autobots, but still clearly a kid.
After spending the first few episodes of Beast Wars basically having to be rescued every other week, mostly from trouble spots he got himself into, Cheetor’s first opportunity to shine came with the great episode “The Spark”. Deep in enemy territory, Cheetor and Rhinox must save the protoform inside a damaged stasis pod even as the enemy is quickly closing in. Cheetor not just donates parts – including the vitally important locking chip that allows Transformers to go into a life-preserving stasis – but then heads off to buy Rhinox the time he needs to repair the stasis pod. Cheetor takes on Waspinator, Blackarachnia, and Terrorsaur by himself and manages to take out two of them before being taken down himself by Terrorsaur (from behind). And more importantly, he bought his friend enough time so he could finish the job and bring Airazor online.
Not only does this episode portray Cheetor as a capable warrior, it also shows him use tactical thinking (he leads the Predacons on a merry chase) and displays his willingness to give everything for his team (donating parts to a dying comrade despite the danger it puts himself in). This is where the little cat really started to grow up.
With his new Transmetal body (as in: new toy) and the ability to fly, Cheetor literally begins to spread his wings. He becomes a better warrior, he takes on more responsibility, and he begins to display signs of maturity, such as knowing when he’s outmatched and calling for help rather than just wading in. Toy-wise this was my favorite version of Cheetor
In the double episode “Feral Scream” that was mostly an overly long toy advertisement disguised as a puberty tale disguised as a horror story, Cheetor starts getting pimples. Said pimples being the result of being exposed to Megatron’s experimental Transmetal II driver and slowly becoming a Transmetal II robot (aka a new toy) himself. While the double episode itself is rather boring and predictable, it starts another phase in Cheetor’s development. He has become bigger and more powerful, while at the same time becoming somewhat moody and aggressive. He also starts looking at girls. Well, one girl, seeing as there is just one girl in the cast at this time, Blackarachnia. This also gets him into stand-offs with Blackarachnia’s boy toy Silverbolt, to the point where you really just want to shout at the two to just whip it out and measure whose is bigger. Yep, the little cat is a teenager now.
Over the length of the Beast Wars Cheetor changed a lot, but one thing remained the same: his utter confidence and faith in his team leader Optimus Primal. It was only after returning to Cybertron and finding it overrun by Megatron’s Vehicons that Cheetor’s faith began to waver. Optimus, it seemed to him, was too caught up with the spiritual and philosophical ramifications of their techno-organic nature instead of dealing with the important things, namely taking out Megatron. It’s part of the growing-up process to realize that one’s parents are not perfect and all-knowing and Cheetor has reached this important point in Beast Machines.
Near the end of Beast Machines, Cheetor has finished growing up. This shows both in his willingness to take over command of the team when he feels Optimus is in the wrong, as well as admitting his own faults and deferring to Optimus when he realizes that the other is right. While Cheetor was not directly involved in the final battle for the fate of Cybertron, he did play an instrumental part in taking out Megatron’s last remaining Vehicon generals and he did so by using guile and experience instead of just rushing in as he would have done at the beginning of Beast Wars. Yes, the little cat is all grown up now. And it was great watching him do it.
Sadly we are still waiting for another character to grow through a similar journey.
Beast Wars was, in my opinion, the best Transformers series when it comes to the quality of the plot and characterization. And here are my very own top 10 moments from the three seasons of the series:
(Season 1, Possession) A terrible Energon storm surges over the Beast Wars planet. Lightning flashes, thunder rumbles, and suddenly Waspinator is struck down and taken over by a foreign presence. In the glare of the lightning bolts a ghostly image is superimposed over him: it’s Starscream. The disembodied spark of the Decepticon has been thrown through time and space and has finally found a new body. The rest of the episode is only so-so, but that moment when Starscream appears sends goosebumps down the backs of every G1 fan.
(Season 2, The Agenda Part 2) For quite some time the Maximal flying wolf and the Predacon spider have danced around each other. When the Maximals conquer the headquarters of the Predacons, it is Silverbolt that allows Blackarachnia to get away. Being put under house arrest, he escapes and tracks her down. But instead of fighting something entirely different happens between them.
Silverbolt: “I know what you’re thinking. You don’t know whether to kiss me or kill me.”
Blackarachnia: “I’m a black widow spider, you moron. I can do both!”
And then they do it. The kissing, at least.
(Season 1, A Better Mousetrap) A malfunction of the Maximals’ security system Sentinel causes the heroes to be locked out of their own ship. Only Rattrap remains inside and has to work his furry little butt off, trying to deactivate the computer while evading dozens of traps. He is almost at the off button when a final trap activates. Outside the ship the Maximals only hear an ominous boom and the security system shuts down, making them believe that their comrade has perished. They mourn their lost friend and the screen slowly turns black…
… only to light up again as Rattrap exits the ship, crying fake tears as he admires the metaphorical flowers on his grave.
(Season 3, Nemesis Part I) Megatron has found the Nemesis, the giant warship of his Decepticon ancestor. Depth Charge wants to destroy it before it can launch, but is caught in a battle against his archenemy Rampage, which carries them into a Energon field. A huge explosion kills both combatants and seems to destroy the ship as well. Optimus Primal mourns his fallen comrade, but is relieved as well. But then a huge shadow appears beneath the waves, the water breaks, and a mountain rises from below. It’s the Nemesis, undamaged and ready for combat. Majestically the ship rises into the air and the final battle of the Beast Wars begins.
(Season 1, The Spark) Rhinox, the Maximals’ engineer, is on a solo reconnaisance mission when he sees a stasis pod come down in enemy territory. It crashes in a field of unstable Energon and the Maximal inside is in mortal danger. With help from Cheetor Rhinox does everything in his power to save the unknown comrade, including risking his own life. And when everything seems lost the stasis pod finally activates, scanning the form of an eagle. The new Maximal Airazor comes online, just in time to return the favor and save Rhinox from an attack by Terrorsaur. Rhinox’ iron-clad principles and readiness to do whatever it takes was never put on display any better than in this episode.
(Season 1, Other Voices) The Beast Wars planet stands on the edge of extinction. The second moon is a weapon of ultimate sanction. There is only one hope left, a stasis pod refurbishes as a space craft by Tarantulas. Optimus Primal steers it towards the moon weapon, intending to detonate the pod’s transwarp drive to destroy it. Primal intends to safely eject beforehand, but finds that he is sealed in. Megatron has rigged the pod, the hatch is sealed. Primal is helplessly locked in as Megatron cackles in triumph. The pod explodes, the weapon is destroyed, and Optimus Primal is dead (well, briefly).
(Season 3, Nemesis, Part 2) More than any other Predacon – or Maximal for that matter – Waspinator has been the Beast Wars’ whipping boy. He has been blown apart over and over again, nobody respects him, no one cares about what he wants. And as the series finale approaches Waspinator has had enough and tells Inferno and Quickstrike exactly what’s on his mind.
“Waspinator is sick of being evil! Sick of being Predacon! And Waspinator is more than sick of being blown to scrap all the time! So Commander suck-up and Two-Leg can pucker their mandibles and plant big, wet, dooky one on Waspinator’s big, fat, stripey…” and then they blow him to pieces. But Waspinator has the last laugh, because once the Beast Wars are over and all the other Predacons are either dead or captured, he remains behind, being worshipped as a god by the primitive humans. He is finally happy (well, for a time anyway)
(Season 2, Transmutate) Rampage aka Protoform X is a failed experiment, a clone of Starscream’s immortal spark. Rampage is a killer, who only feels joy when he can cause others pain. But in the crippled, mentally handicapped Transmutate he finds a kindred spirit. He considers Transmutate a friend and tries to save him from the other Predacons. This brings him into conflict with Silverbolt, who also intends to save Transmutate, and the crippled Transformer is caught in the crossfire. As Rampage mourns, the other Maximals see a chance to taken down the powerful monster, but Silverbolt, who also mourns, stops them.
“Tomorrow we shall fight again. But today… today we are brothers.”
(Season 2, Code of Hero) Dinobot was never quite sure where he belonged. He is a Predacon, but he has honor. He defects to the Maximals, but doesn’t really fit in with them. He knows of the Golden Disk, which holds a record of the future, and he ponders whether or not he is but a puppet of fate, his choices predetermined. As Megatron tries to change the future by annihilating humanity’s primitive ancestors, though, he finally comes to a decision.
“My question has been answered. The future is not fixed. My choices are my own. How ironic, for now I find, I have no choice at all. I’m a warrior! Let the battle be joined!”
In order to save the future Dinobot takes on six Predacons all by his lonesome. He beats them all, but is mortally wounded. As the other Maximals find him, the beaten Megatron flees and Dinbot is content. His honor has finally been restored.
“And the rest… is silence!”
(Season 2, The Agenda, Part 2) Megatron stands with his back to the wall. His plans have failed, his troops are beaten, his capture just a matter of time. But the Predacon leader always has an ace left in the hole. He has found the Ark, the crashed ship of the Generation 1 Autobots. The Maximals try to stop him, but Megatron is first to reach the inside of the downed ship. And after a Shakespear-like monologue, which always manages to give me goosebumps, he confronts the stasis-locked Optimus Prime and shoots him in the head. History is changed. A terrible time storm is loosened, encompassing all the universe, and Megatron laughs, triumphant.
“History has changed! The Autobots lose! Evil triumphs! And you… YOU! NO! LONGER! EXIST!”
And scene, season two is over. Possibly the best cliffhanger ever in the history of Transformers on TV.
In order to do some streamlining on my main site, transformers-universe.com, I will use this blog to basically outsource anything that isn’t picture galleries, reviews or toy information. Not sure how quickly this will grow or whether I will actually stick with it, but we’ll see. So for now, welcome to the TFU Show! Have a great pic of Perfect Effect Leonidas aka Beast Wars II Lio Convoy for starters.