Watch Transformers long enough and you get used to certain things: despite being robots, no one can shoot worth a damn, the villains always bungle their grand schemes, and all bots can get a new “alt-mode” at the drop of a hat – see it, scan it, done.
So I was somewhat unprepared for this in the digital-only “Fall of Cybertron” comic, which details the genesis of the Dinobots.
What you’re seeing here is Shockwave, the Decepticons’ mad scientist, rebuilding Grimlock into the robo-dino we’re familiar with. Except instead of running a scan and painlessly reformatting, Shockwave has done the equivalent of removing his skin, exposing his skeleton and nervous system to the open air while he manually rearranges and bolts things on. All while Grimlock is awake so that Shockwave can break his mind and bend him to his will (in fact, by this point, Grimlock can barely self identify and is reduced to simple pronouns, a nice tip of the hat to his G1 speech patterns). It’s Transformers torture porn, essentially. And, maybe it makes me a sick individual; but I’m more interested in the conclusion of this story than anything I’ve seen from Transformers in years! It’s a fresh retelling that explores some of the darker elements of the mythology that have been flirted with, but rarely utilized (except maybe in the IDW “Kup” one-shot where Kup went insane, thought he was being attacked by zombies, but in fact was killing team after team of rescue parties). Forget that “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” morality play, this is how you hook new fans.