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When the Transformers Ongoing portion of The Transformers IDW reached its peak in "Chaos", fans were... divided. So another reboot was launched, the third so far (the other two being Transformers: All Hail Megatron and the Ongoing itself), fourth if one counts the original "Infiltration" series. This reboot had two stories of the Transformers going in different directions. One was Transformers Robots in Disguise, and after the success of Transformers Last Stand of the Wreckers, James Roberts was brought on to write the other, this series (with the other LSOTW fellow Nick Roche helping with the first issue and the series' prequel). Artist Alex Milne draws the series.
After the Matrix was depowered, it revealed itself to be a star map which would lead the Transformers to their ancestors. Rodimus thus decides to lead a bunch of Autobots and a few others on a quest on the Lost Light to find those ancestors, the Knights of Cybertron. Along the way, the bots encounter mysteries, horrors, and strange occurrences.
- Rung, a naive, somewhat straitlaced dork with Opaque Nerd Glasses and gangly limbs. He spends his time doing things like geekily building model spaceships, trying to tiptoe around interacting with a ship full of loons, and needing to be rescued.
- Rewind, who runs around after Chromedome like a devoted puppydog, and gets picked on regularly for his tiny size and the fact he turns into a giant memory stick.
- Tailgate, who is trying to cope with catching up on six million years of lost time while having a very cheerfully naive and earnestly awkward personality.
- Ambiguously Evil: Cyclonus and Whirl. Cyclonus just pulled a Heel Face Turn, but doesn't regret killing anyone while serving under Galvatron, because they were at war. Whirl is a major Ax Crazy Jerkass and hated by everyone, but hasn't crossed the Moral Event Horizon yet.
- Amnesiac Hero: Skids. He knows from records his name and that he's a theoretician, but remembers nothing of his previous life before ending up on a shuttle crashing through a portal onto the same planet the Lost Light had also crashed on. He ends up becoming a sort of impulsive Action Hero, a far cry from his typical mild-mannered Actual Pacifist portrayal in stories.
- Big Bad: The Decepticon Justice Division is being set up as this.
- By-The-Book Cop: Ultra Magnus, typically Played for Laughs. Also Red Alert, though with a more paranoid angle.
- Comically Serious: Ultra Magnus is played as this to the hilt for comedic purposes, serving as the Straight Man even to other serious characters. He can't even bring himself to say the word "fun", at one point, having to prompt someone else to say it for him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, to a certain degree, but Ratchet, Drift, and Cyclonus especially.
- Deconstruction: See Meaningful Name below, but also transforming itself. The series shows how it integrates into culture, how some bots die in their preferred forms, how it can be addicting, how some altmodes can considered embarrassing or to say negative things about a person's history or personality, and how it's vital to how the Transformers live, instead of being just a gimmick to sell toys or used only for disguise. The biggest example was the crisis on Delphi, where bots' organ's liquefy and come out their optics, thus crying themselves to death, via a sonic-based disease that activates only when they transform.
- Distressed Dude: Rung is pretty much the exact wrong combination of Non-Action Guy, Weirdness Magnet, and Chew Toy. There's even a scene of Skids saving him from certain death and carrying him around afterwards in a manner visually similar to that of a swashbuckling action hero carting around a rescued love interest.
- Evil All Along: Pharma had been killing patients, and sold out Delphi, creating the virus as part of the selling out. Subverted with Ambulon, who was a Decepticon, but defected, and didn't start the virus despite suspicions.
- Expy: The Sparkeater is one to the eponymous monster from the Alien series.
- Foreshadowing: Oodles and oodles of it. The biggest example coming from an ominous message from the future at the end of the first issue:
"Don't open the coffin. Don't let them take Skids. Don't go to Delphi. And do not--I repeat, do not--look in the basement. And for the sake of the Cybertronian race itself, please don'tkzzzzzzzk"
- Heterosexual Life Partners: The diminutive data archivist memory-stick-former Rewind and normal-sized jetformer mnemosurgeon Chromedome.
- Interrogating the Dead: Chromedome's ability to read the thoughts and memories of other Transformers via surgical means is used to do this in one issue.
- Ironic Echo: "It's not a good name, but all the best were taken" was funny when said about Dent, but takes on a darker meaning when said about Ambulon's name.
- Jerkass: Whirl, voted "Autobot most likely to defect". Twice. He is disliked by many; even the normally bleeding-heart Ratchet hesitates to repair him. He mutilates corpses in his spare time, and is probably unhinged. After the war he and Sideswipe liked to beat on Neutrals. Before the war, he exercised his authority as an officer to beat a defenseless and innocent prisoner while the prisoner was restrained. That prisoner grew up to be Megatron!
- Lighter and Softer: As an adventurous romp full of snarky humor and witty dialogue compared to its sister series Robots In Disguise being a more serious and political storyline. (Though that doesn't mean this series is "light and soft" full stop, as there's still plenty of creepy horror and intrigue going on.)
- Meaningful Name:
- Possibly deconstructed: One of the doctors at the Delphi medical facility was named Ambulon,like Ambulance. It's actually short for ambulate: to move about. Ambulon was an ex-Decepticon who went rogue after being forced into a combiner procedure, and now can only turn into a leg. Another bot was named Dent: his name used to be Prowl, but he had to change it because of the confusion.
- Also played straight in the form of the name of the Autobots' ship, the Lost Light, which does indeed become lost after an accident causes an explosion in their navigational drive.
- The Medic: Ratchet, First-Aid, Ambulon, and Pharma before he went evil.
- Mood Whiplash: The series is full of witty dialogue, slapstick, snark, and humorous character interactions and situations... but it's also full of creepy horror, Squick, shady characters, betrayals, and Ominous Foreshadowing. Sometimes all in the same scene.
- Motor Mouth: Swerve loves to chatter whenever possible, to the point of annoying the bejeezus out of everyone else. He claims his nickname at the Academy was "Shut the Hell Up".
- Plucky Comic Relief: Swerve, definitely. Rung, Rewind, and Tailgate are also played as this at times.
- Shout-Out: The Sparkeater is one to the Alien franchise. The concept of 1984 refers to thought warfare, similiar to the Thoughtcrime from the book 1984.
- The Shrink: Rung serves as this to a ship full of some of the most neurotic Autobots ever assembled.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Brainstorm constantly behaves like he's a celebrity and Primus's gift to scientists, but nobody else treats him with as anything other than a typical Autobot nerd.
- This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: The overall reaction to Chromedome's methods for Interrogating the Dead.
Chromedome: "Ratchet, could you put his brain back in his head? With corpses, I prefer to go through the eye sockets."
Drift: "I cannot begin to tell you what's wrong with that sentence."
- Unreliable Narrator: Justified and Lampshaded with Cyclonus. He was absent from the war, and not privy to many of the details. His brief retelling of the war to Tailgate paints the Decepticons in a positive light, because the old Autobot regime (which he was familiar with) was corrupt. When Tailgate is set straight with the details, he confronts Cyclonus, who says that he gave the briefest version of a war he was absent for, and never told Tailgate to pick a side.
- Warrior Poet: Drift spends a lot of time spouting various flowery philosophical statements, and apparently writes all of Rodimus's grandiose speeches.