Warning: Spoilers for Transformers: Last Bot Standing!The conclusion of IDW Publishing‘s run of Transformers comics points out the true horror of the Great War between Autobots and Decepticons. On the surface Transformers is just a fun franchise about toy robots doing battle while turning into cool cars and planes. However, much like the Autobots and Decepticons themselves, there is more than meets the eye to that assumption.
There are many accounts of how the franchise’s Great War started, with some claiming that the Autobot rulers of Cybertron enforced strict social stratification, while others say that the Decepticons are merely a criminal element within Cybertronian society. Whatever account people choose to believe, most can agree that open hostilities began with Megatron’s organization and militarization of that small rogue element. Also known as the Third Cybertronian War, the battle between the factions of the Transformers’ homeworld did not stay contained to that single planet. It eventually spread out, first to Earth and then other worlds, and in its wake it left devastation and unending conflict. Cybertron was the first to be consumed, reduced to a lifeless and unusable husk, but it was not the last planet to fall victim to the Great War.
In IDW Publishing’s Transformers: Last Bot Standing, written by Nick Roche and drawn by E. J. Su, readers learn the awful truth about the war between Autobots and Decepticons: that it consumed almost the entire universe. According to Rodimus Prime aka Hot Rod, who was born after the start of the war, the conflict consumed so many resources that it destroyed stars, planets, and drove countless alien species into extinction. “And eventually, finally, we did it,” he explains. “There were no more places left to battle over and drain of resources.” The Transformers then became the next victims, because without energon or people to repair them they too began to suffer from permanent death.
The Great War Will Never Be Allowed to End
This is a pretty grim take on a concept that was started to sell robot-car toys, but it is also a logical conclusion to the franchise. The main concept of every comic, television, movie, and toy iteration of Transformers has always revolved around the battle between Autobots and Decepticons. The entire premise of the franchise is built upon that war, and after almost 40 years that war can seem a bit unending. Additionally, one side will never truly be allowed to win, because as long as Autobots fight Decepticons the franchise can live on and continue to make money for companies like Hasbro and Paramount.
However, since IDW is now losing its rights to publish Transformers comics, it is choosing to end the war —with Last Bot Standing— in the most significant and depressing way possible. It’s a bittersweet commentary made even more impactful by the knowledge that even this story is not the end of the franchise. IDW may be losing its rights, which means that its story will end, but the larger conceptual war will outlast even this version of the Transformers’ reality. Much like the Autobots and Decepticons, the concept of the Great War will be rebuilt and redesigned by the next publishing company with all the old familiar faces and names.
Even though its tenure is ending, IDW Publishing is sending off its Transformers story with a bang that not only ends in a grim and shocking concept, but calls out the entire history of the franchise. The war of the Transformers will continue as long as there is enough money and energy to keep it going, and that is true in both the pages of comics and the halls of Hasbro.
Next: Transformers’ Final Battle Proves It Should Always Have Been R-Rated
Transformers: Last Bot Standing is now on sale from IDW Publishing.