Today marks X-E's first 'official' birthday. Actually, that's pretty hazy, since I actually purchased the domain on February 9th of 2000. Still, the first article on this site - the first one ever - says 4/5/2000. So that's a full year of this nonsense, can you believe it? You know, you never say to yourself when you start something on how long you plan to do it, but jeez, a year's a pretty long time. I don't want to make too big a deal of it, considering how I usually go out of my way to hide my own birthday, and lending more celebration to my website's birthday would make me feel kinda like an elf who buys his hat anniversary presents. I know that doesn't make sense, but that said, I would like to thank everyone who's been a'comin, who's been keeping us a'goin, and to everyone who's made X-E what it is today in this sordid little net world.
Its no secret that I'm quite the Transfan. I'm not sure how to articulate why I like these transforming robots so much, but I'm pretty sure it boils down to them looking really cool. Of all the kids cartoons that came out in the 80s era, I'd say Transformers is easily the best. G.I. Joe was good, but there's only so many times you can hold out and hope for a Snake Eyes cameo before getting really bored with all these missles that never hit. He-Man? Well, I love He-Man too, but in the same way I'd love watching a racoon get forcibly strapped in for a roller coaster ride. So stupid and wrong, its endearing. No, Transformers was the show for us intelligent kids. We knew that it was impossible for He-Man to knock down a mountain with a single punch, or for an entire legion of Cobra soldiers to miss their targets for six years straight. Transformers...now that had realism, once you overlooked the fact that they were talking cars. Plus, if you remember our rules, the show was by default the coolest because it had robots. But, even these guys weren't without their fair share of idiocy.
So, with that, I proudly present to you...The Worst Ten Transformers of All Time! Not everyone was as smart as Prime, as battle-hardy as Kup, or as snazzily organized as Jazz. Some of them were downright stupid. But, in some cases, it wasn't their fault. While reading this list, make sure you note why I'm calling them one of the worst. There's more than meets the eye. Haha, pun. Yay. Let's roll...out. Ha, another one! Okay, here we go...
#10: Omega Supreme -- Its not what you think. Omega Supreme, for a time, what inarguably the most unstoppable Transformers. He was huge, he was eternally logical, and he could transform into a base that dwarfed every other Transformer eight times over. You'd think this guy would be the Ultimate Solution for the Autobots...how could the Decepticons possibly stop an adversary who's foot was 3x taller than them? Simple. The idiot Autobots stationed him so far away from the Ark that he was rendered completely useless.
I understand that the Autobots were the ones who wanted a fair fight, but what kind of an idiot puts Omega Supreme in the middle of an uninhabited field 500 hours away from the battle? Anyone who says Prime was infallible should really look at the amount of poor strategic decisions we've got against him. In fact, the only times we actually saw the almighty Omega was when the Decepticons landed a weapon that literally threatened to destroy the planet in one shot. So the poor guy never even got the chance to just kickass, he was only contacted when there was some nuclear missle or pool of power-inducing gold liquid to contend with.
The only viable reason I can think of for this was that Omega's personality was so utterly annoying that, even at the risk of Decepticon defeat, the Autobots would rather take their chances alone than deal with him. Its sort of like when you've got a rich friend, and your other friends want to go to a bar. If you take the rich friend, you'll probably score a lot of free beer. But you'll have to listen to him babble about his daddy's Fabrege Egg collection all night. Yes, Prime wanted to win the war. But he's already stuck on our boring planet...why should he have to deal with the Transformers' answer to Mr. Data on top of it?
Plus Side: Omega might've been absolutely useless in the show's capacity, but he had a really great toy. The first 'big' Transformer, motorized with lazer power! Back in my toy dealing days, which I reflect upon in the same way a former drug dealer would, I landed one of these. I never had it as a kid, which I'm assuming is a good thing, since even at age 20 I managed to break the thing within five minutes. Believe me, kids don't learn gentility because they're tired of getting smacked after beating up their little sisters. They just got sick of breaking all the cool toys.
#9: Wheelie -- If I didn't include him on this list, I'd be crucified. This is the Transformer virtually every fan wants dead. I'm positive that if you look hard enough, somebody's started a fund to get the original cartoon team back together for one more episode that consists solely of Devastator torturing Wheelie for 22 minutes. I know I'd throw a few bucks in for the cause, because Wheelie is just that annoying.
Wheelie arrived on the scene in the Transformers movie, rhyming words of encouragement to Grimlock and generally being a pest. Now, here's the thing - every Autobot who meets Wheelie has no idea who he is, but accepts him at face value simply because he has the Autobot insignia. Now any proud Autobot would rip that insignia off the guy to save their team the inevitable embarassment of having such a toad on the team, but this brings up some important questions. Are the Autobots so trusting that they'll automatically accept anyone with their team's insignia as a good guy? Its not like they found him chilling out with Alpha Trion, the guy was lounging on the same world where 5-faced Quintessons made no sense in their judicial decisions. By this logic, any robot could paint a few red stripes on their chest, walk into the Ark, and proclaim 'long time, no see!' before sneaking up and blasting everyone through the back.
All that aside, Wheelie was an all-around worthless addition anyway. Most Transformers had at least 2-3 giant guns that could turn a small city to dust in just a few minutes. Wheelie? Wheelie had a slingshot that shot glowing rocks. Its no wonder all the good guys seemed so grim during the movie. The Decepticons are landing top guys like Cyclonus and Scourge into their armies...and who do the Autobots get? A dwarfed poet laureate with the world's worst weapon. The fact that he sounds like a jack-in-the-box only adds to the reasons for his inclusion on this list.
Plus Side: I don't recall seeing much of Wheelie after the movie. That gave me the opportunity to pretend he met a death so gruesome and vicious that they couldn't even show it on television. So yeah, the plus side is that Wheelie, conceivably, could be dead.
#8: Reflector -- When the series first kicked off, things were pretty standard. The Autobots were cars, the Decepticons were planes. There were a few exceptions, but they made sense: Megatron would turn into a killer gun, Soundwave would turn into a worldwide-broadcast radio, and so on. Unfortunately, whomever's in charge of programming the 'Cons got a little too creative sometimes, as evidenced by one of their worst troops: Reflector, otherwise known as three useless robot midgets who merge into a camera for no apparent reason.
For the past five minutes, I've sat here trying to think up one possible use for a guy who takes pictures. Obviously, I'm at a loss. First of all, the Decepticons could easily buy or steal their own cameras and eliminate their annoyance over Reflector's infamous out-of-frame photography. But you know, the 'Cons don't really strike me as the type who'd want pictorial momentos of their time on Earth. If they were at all endeared by their time here, they wouldn't have spent so many days trying to blow us up. So what in the world would the Decepticons need a giant camera for? Would taking close-up pics of Prime's bigass gun clarify that yes, it can actually hurt you?
Plus, the robots they turned into fall into the category of the very few Transformers even Spike could kick the crap out of. They were totally useless in robot mode, so I'm guessing that camera was good for something. Problem is, all three of them had to be present if they wanted to merge into it, which means the poor robots probably never got any privacy. Can you imagine being a Transformer, and getting dealt this kind of hand? Not only are you one of the smallest, least powerful robots...but you've gotta depend on two other small, useless robots just to transform! And the whole time you're doing that, you're wondering what the fuck damage you could possibly cause as a camera to begin with. For these reasons and more, Reflector was hardly, if ever seen after the first season.
Plus Side: Remember that episode when the 'Cons found that overstock of energon and literally got drunk off it? That's one experience that I think a camera could prove useful for. Catch Skywarp spraying oil on the side of the hill, blackmail him later into telling Megatron that having a camera really improves their chances at victory. By the way, as far as I know, the toy was only available through a special mail-in offer, and thus is pretty rare today. Just another black mark on Reflector's resume - if he wanted kids to have his toy, he'd have to just prey that at least some of them actually saved their cardboard robot points. Poor Reflector.
#7: Skyfire -- Ah yes, the infamous Skyfire/Jetfire. Skyfire on the show, and depending on who you talk to, Jetfire in the toys. Its never really been settled as to whether the Jetfire toy was supposed to represent Skyfire, but seeing as how they're both big, white Autobot jets with the word 'fire', I'd say yes.
So what's the problem with Skyfire, you ask? Surely, he would be a great addition to an almost exclusive grounded Autobot army. He was big, he was strong, and most importantly: he could fly. Its just Prime's luck that once he finds a guy who isn't a 5' tall VW bug, or a boom box, its someone so incredibly stupid that all his good attributes are lost in a sea of ignorance. Skyfire was set free from some glacier, where he'd been stuck for millions of years. Apparently, he was friends with Starscream before this, but once he saw what those dirty Decepticons were all about, he joined up with Prime. That is to say, he joined up with Prime for eighteen minutes before dying again.
I like the guy, I really do. But in a cartoon world where the people would literally have to tie a nuclear bomb to their head in order to reach death, I can't believe Skyfire managed to pull it off so easily. He wasn't even doing anything that important, he was just shooting at Starscream. He knew that if he continued, he'd get the axe, but somehow he convinced himself that shooting Starscream was worth it. Sky, I got news for you. They'll be another day. The Autobots have been shooting Starscream for years, and never once has the threat of making a personal sacrifice ever come up. Because of this, Prime has to try to survive for another year on limited forces before Hasbro finally decided to kill him off and sell more toys.
Then again, considering that Prime stationed Omega Supreme in the Sahara, I'm pretty sure Skyfire would've been delegated to searching the moon for scattered energon cubes anyway. Oh well, here's the Plus Side: Jetfire was easily in the top 5 most well-made Transformers toys ever - created from the same mold as a Macross Valkerie, with more pieces of plastic armor than the entire line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Everyone who's collected Transformers placed this one high on their want-lists. If only he didn't cost 14 grand to get in decent shape.
#6: Kup -- Again, not what you think. I commend Kup on being able to kick so much ass at his age, and for being the only robot in history capable of getting wrinkles. My complaint is that people like Kup represent the main different between pre-movie episodes and post-movie episodes. In the pre-movie shows, it was pretty much all business. Post-Movie? These people were more catty and talkative than a group of six grandmothers playing rummy. Seriously, Kup never shuts up. Imagine being an Autobot in a ship on long space journey. The voyage will take many hours - maybe even days. You just want to use some of this free time to relax up a bit, unwind, and forget that the entirety of your existence is based on shooting at evil robots. How would you feel if, for every one of the 6,000,000 stars you pass on the way, stupid Kup has a 15-minute story for? This is a far cry from the first season, where the conversations were limited to quick exchanges about telling Prime something or protecting radio towers. Can you imagine someone like Sunstreaker or Cosmos having to sit with Kup for an extended period of time? Their circuits would blow.
Its not just that he talks so much, its what he talks about. Kup seems very proud to have been around as long as he has, but he often forgets that he's talking to people who spent millions of years trapped in a volcano. Most of the Autobots were millions of years old, I'm pretty sure that when you reach that point, you lose all sense of seniority. More so than anything else, its Kup's timing. When half the Autobots are dead and there's a planet trying to eat everyone, I'd say this isn't the choice time to bring up petro-rabbits or old birthdays. I can't believe that with two instances of swearing in the movie, neither of them featured Springer telling Kup to shut the fuck up.
I'm not alone in this opinion, its shared by the Autobots. Kup's two best friends were Grimlock and Hot Rod. Grimlock was an idiot who'd find entertainment in a pair of shoes, and Hot Rod was outcasted from the group as a whole over Prime's death. Kup was really just dealing with the bottom feeders - the people who had to listen to him because nobody else would talk to them anyway.
Plus Side: I speak mainly in jest, because Kup did provide some memorable moments. He ran over an Insecticon, and he debuted the Universal Greeting. And I guess its good to have a boring old bastard on the staff...wouldn't complain too much when the younger, hipper 'Bots went out partying and he was left to watchover the equipment.
#5: Seaspray -- Artificial intelligence is subject to the same mental illnesses as the rest of us, or there's just no way to explain how Seaspray got so dumb. He was one of the 'little' Autobots, or more directly, the group of 'Bots who provided so little that everyone would forget they existed for episodes on end. Seaspray was a type of boat, which worked out pretty good in the first season where the Earth appeared to be comprised only of lakes and construction sites. In later years, he was just completely useless, usually only showing up to cheer on Rodimus.
His first crime is his voice. Just because he swims doesn't mean he should sound like he's talking underwater at all times. Thank God he didn't have Kup's conversational skills. I really don't understand how the Decepticons managed to lose the war, they should've pummelled the good guys right from the getgo. The Autobots themselves said that they weren't warriors, and considering that a good portion of the Decepticon forces consisted of giant, bloodthirsty jets with big guns, how could people like Seaspray continue to survive? Only around five of the first Autobots seemed even remotely ready for battle, while the only Decepticon folly was that stupid camera.
Seaspray is also one of the only Transformers to taste love. No joke, in the Sea Change episode, he falls for a human-esque girl from another planet, with an episode moral that seemed to be something along the lines of tolerance toward multi-racial couples. Seaspray is upset because she's a girl, and he's a robot. The girl tells him that's alright, so they go for a swim. Hello, hello, it can't work. He's a robot. Even if he had a dick, it'd assuredly kill the girl. Besides, out of all those Autobots, this is the one you pick to date? Couldn't she at least pick one who looked cool, or who didn't talk like a retard? This was like that episode where Spike gets jealous because all the cute girls want to ride in Bumblebee. Having a show based on robots who befriend a few emotionally invalid humans really does wonders for the romance aspect. At least Prime knew to stay in the same species.
Plus Side: I guess, somewhere, somehow, there might be a use for a swimming Autobot. Maybe at some point the Transformers would choose to do battle in the ocean, but I think the reason here, again, was for Prime to get rid of people who annoyed him. 'Oh, you swim? Then swim you shall - all the time! For the good of the Autobots!' Seaspray was almost always alone at sea, which is the only way his teammates could possibly tolerate him.
#4: Sky Lynx -- I really feel bad for Sky Lynx, because he was truly useful to the Autobots. He's just such an island to himself, I can't help but pity him. Its hard enough to find common ground with people when you're a transforming robot...add in the fact that Sky Lynx is a mutant hybrid of a dinosaur and a space shuttle who talks like a gay interior decorator, and you've got a real mess. Do you think someone as intelligent as Sky Lynx liked the fact that he was such a jumbled monstrosity? Just because his head looked like a T-Rex, he immediately got demoted and grouped together with the Dinobots and all the other Transformers too stupid to inform on what's going on. Sky Lynx was the Edward Scissorhands of the Autobots, his true depth forever hidden behind a wall of ludicrous mock-transformations and a body that had even the most experienced Autobots scratching their heads.
Really, could any of you tell me what Sky Lynx is without thinking about it? I'm looking at his picture right now and I still can't figure it out. The guy's like Frankenstein. It looks like he's a jet with a talking head and convuluted legs salvaged from someone else's corpse. This is like turning Soundwave into a robot ferret with glass bottles for arms and feet. If they could bring Prime back to life, surely they could find a way to transfer Lynx's amazing brain into a body better suited for it. Until such time, I guarantee you Spike secretly charges his friends admission into Sky Lynx's bedroom in the middle of the night, calling the ordeal 'Spike's Sensational Sideshow'. Its no wonder Lynx was always so pissed off about everything. If I woke up and couldn't describe what I was in less than sixteen terms, I would be too.
Plus Side: Due to his size, at least Sky Lynx could kick the shit out of anyone who made fun of it. Except Omega Supreme, but he probably won't hear about Sky Lynx's existence for another decade or so anyway.
#3: Bruticus -- Like I said, not everyone on this list made the negative grade because they themselves are shitty. A lot of it has to do with the circumstances. Obviously, I'd rather have Kup on my side in a fight than Bumblebee. But this is a special case, because I absolutely adore Bruticus. He's my favorite Transformer combiner. (team of TF's that form into a larger one) He rarely appeared on the show, but when he did, he went against the Decepticon grain and proved mildly successful in his attacks. The problem isn't with Bruticus himself, its with that damn toy of his. It looks really cool, but its possibly the most frustrating thing on the planet. Let me show you...
The combiners, or 'gestalts', were some of the most highly-sought toys not only just from the Transformers, but of all 80s lines. Every kid wanted them. The first one we got was Devastator, merged from the Decepticon Constructicons. There were several others, but none came off looking quite as cool as Bruticus, the Combaticon combiner. Problem is, once you got him, you realized the worst thing imaginable: his chest plate will not stay on, no matter what you possibly do. The chest plate is easily the worst accessory ever. You could krazy glue the thing to Brut's chest, you can tie it with string, you can use rubber bands...it really doesn't matter...its not going to stay there. Making matters worse is the fact that Bruticus looks positively horrible without it. So the only way you can keep Bruticus looking great was by simply never touching him. If you even look at this toy, the chest plate falls off.
Look at that, even the instruction manual to the thing mocks you, suggesting that putting the chest plate on is actually possible. Its not. You might get lucky and have it stay on for a few minute spreads here and there, but believe me, I've had enough of these figures...it does NOT stay on. I eventually got so frustrated that I forced myself to forget that the Combaticons even could combine. The only thing remotely on par with this level of annoyance was the fact that, in the toys, Ironhide's head consisted of a piece of plastic with a shiny clown sticker stuck on it.
Plus Side: Everytime I type 'Bruticus', I start thinking about Shakespeare and Popeye. I love phonic similarities.
#2: Leader-1 -- If they want to rip off the Transformers, they better expect to be included on the worst-ever lists. Leader-1 is the heroic dictator of the Go-Bots, the Transformers knock-off show that redefined bad television. Awhile back, I rented a Go-Bots video with the intent to review on the site. Yes, somehow, a local video store actually stocked Go-Bot tapes. I considered it a sign. I was wrong.
The show, dare I call it that, ran 22 minutes. 15 of these minutes consisted of the three main bad guys mapping out plans on a space ship to steal oil. I'm not kidding, half the episode showed a few poorly-drawn evil robots debate the best way to steal oil. Obviously, I didn't make it to the 22-minute mark, and I never did the review. You know you're in a bad situation when the leading villain is a constipated motorcycle. I should've known better.
Plus Side: If there's a plus side to this show, I'd guess its the fact that nobody seems to disagree with me on it being terrible. I'd hate to think the children of yesteryear were so jaded that they actually bought into this crap as entertainment.
And finally...without further ado...
#1: Ultra Magnus -- What, you thought I'd forget about this guy? So much wasted potential. Magnus is big, strong, looks cool enough, and was Prime's 'chosen one'. So where'd he go wrong? How can someone with this much going for him suck so bad?
I honestly believe that the writers hated Ultra Magnus so much that they purposely scripted him as a shitty character. You know, the people who write these stories usually have to work within specific guidelines - there's toys to be sold, so there's characters that need to be written in. To get revenge on this creative roadblock, they just made Ultra Magnus into a waste of time. It all looked so promising. Magnus had two very important things going for him: he had the matrix, and he was voiced by Robert Stack. Those are two of the biggest coups I can think of, but Magnus blew it by being completely unheroic. When queried by his soldiers over the safety of their lost teammates, his usual responses are 'I can't deal with that now!', or in other cases, 'I have no soul.' If you think that Unicron threatening Cybertron's existence and a whole horde of more powerful Decepticons being born is what constituted everyone calling it the Autobots' 'darkest hour', you're wrong. The reason things were so dismal was because they were being lead by a guy who seemed to want to kill himself.
I've long wondered why people hated this guy with such a passion. I think most of it has to do with the fact that whomever was talking about Autobot history had to recognize him as a former leader - something nobody wants to do. His stint as leader is sort of like the Holocaust era of the Transformers. We all know it happened, but the results were so horrible that no one wants to think about it. My feeling is that Ultra Magnus sucked long before the Transformers movie...we just weren't around to see it. Everyone's stomach turned when Prime named him leader, but the poor guy was on his death bed, nobody wanted to question his decision. Think about it, if a good friend of yours was on their death bed, and they told you that their dying wish was that you would march around for a week wearing a monkey suit and challenging people on their religious beliefs, even then, would you have the heart to say no? If you look real closely in the movie, you can see the Autobots squirm when Prime picks Magnus as his successor...but they had to show respect. The poor guy was about to turn brown.
Every decision Magnus made in his short stint as leader was ridiculous. He'd either shy away from tackling the problem, or suggest blowing up half the ship. Either way, the Autobots were screwed. The few times they could get Ultra Magnus to commit to a decision only brought them twice as many problems as before. Notice how none of the Autobots actually asked the Junkions to put him back together after the 'Cons blew him apart...think that's a coincidence?
Plus Side: He never complained after Hot Rod took hold of the Autobot Matrix. At least he knew he sucked.
That concludes the list, and I've gotta say, I didn't think it'd be this hard to come up with ten Transformers I didn't like. There were more obvious choices, like Beachcomber and Bumblebee, but they've endeared themselves to me enough to get skipped. It'll be interesting to see how things unfold now that the new TF series is in the works. Let's just hope they do away with Prime's little Roller compatriot. Believe me, if he could transform, he'd be #1 on this list.
In honor of ze birthday, here's links to my fave ten articles that I've written for the site:
Nads - The Worst Witch - He-Man: Secret of the Sword - Quest for Ivysaur - Forgotten Star Wars Heroes - Jesus - Green Bamboo II - Warrior Gear - Corey Diary - Leprechaun IV
Thanks for a great year! ( Special thanks to: Rob, Chris, Scott, Kim, Blacksuns, Toasty, Stile, Lowtax, Tanya, Zilla, Blue Girl, and my mother, for putting up with all my shit :D )