Retcon This! Special Edition – Megatron and the Constructicons

In the ever-evolving landscape of comics, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved characters’ sordid histories.

runner-retcon

In planning our two Transformers weeks here at Panels on Pages, Retcon This! was a tough one to figure out just because it’s Transformers and there’ve been so many different versions of these characters over the years and so many different stories that most of this stuff has already been effectively retconned out of existence anyway and the stuff that’s currently running is solid enough, if not a little confusing (lookin’ at you, IDW). So for this installment, I’ve decided to focus on something I touched upon briefly in the first day of Rolling Out for 25 Years, the G1 cluster-eff that is the intertwined origins of Megatron and the Constructicons.

autobot_soundwave

Soundwave, incorrectly animated with a purple Autobot logo, but just for this shot.

One thing that never made any sense to me was that on Cybertron, the Transformers had different alt modes, as seen in the opening scenes of the show, yet their robot forms looked exactly like their Earth modes. This was true of EVERYONE. We were treated to an origin episode for Optimus Prime where we saw him in his previous form as Orion Pax, but as soon as he got Primed up he looked like he turned into a semi. I never really understood that one.

Round 1!

I was born today, you know?

All of that PALES in comparison to the origin of the Constructicons. Comparing characters from the show to the comic is irrelevant since clearly they’re two separate continuities, but the disaster made of this within the confines of the show boggles the mind. In “Heavy Metal War (season 1, episode 16),” Megatron creates the Constructicons so that they can build him a machine to help him absorb all the Decepticons’ unique abilities. Why needs a machine to do this as opposed to a good rewiring, I don’t know. That episode also ends with the Decepticons falling in lava, presumably to their fiery deaths. Whatever. That’s all fine and well. But then it gets weird.

4 Million Years Earlier... WTF?

4 Million Years Earlier... WTF?

Season 2 brought us “The Secret of Omega Supreme” in episode 30. It’s one of those “Hey look at this new character who’s inexplicably in the show now” episodes. The Constructicons are doing something nefarious on an asteroid and Optimus Prime needs omega Supreme to fly them up there because he’s the only one who can (Cosmos must have been sick that day). We’re then treated to an extended flashback that shows how Omega Supreme was close friends with all the Constructicons back on Cybertron 4 MILLION YEARS AGO! Never mind that while they were buddies, they still sported Decepticon logos (good job, animators). The story gets tragic when the Constructicons are taken captive by Megatron and reprogrammed for evil and they double cross the peaceful guardian robot. So with that we now have two wildly different origin stories for the Decepticon Local 404 reps.

This does not compute.  And who the hell are those other 2 Cons?

This does not compute. And who the hell are those other 2 Constructicons?

But wait! There’s more! In Season 3, Episode 4, “Five Faces of Darkness Part 4,” Rodimus Prime enters the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and learns all sorts of crazy secrets about the origins of their race from ancient Autobot Leaders. The Quintessons created the Transformers as slaves, leading to a revolt and subsequently, the Quintessons took their ball home and left their playthings alone. War broke out, the Autobots created transformation and then won… But then the Decepticons learned how to transform as well and the Constructicons created their new leader: Megatron, thus reigniting the war… I am NOT joking. There is an episode where Megatron makes the Constructicons AND an episode where they create him.

Look, I understand it was a different time, but did they even HAVE story editors on this show? Were they hiring guys off the street to write these episodes, regardless of what they did or did not know about the property? The “Five Faces of Darkness” series was nothing more than a means to bring the movie bit-player Quintessons into the show as another enemy to the Autobots, but come on now. Did they really have to “retell” Megatron’s origin? The first time around wasn’t good enough? That’s just sloppy. To this day, it’s one of the most insane contradictions I’ve ever seen in a TV show, and for that you can’t help but love it, despite the half-assed nature of it all. So the next time you think Lost is confusing, try to wrap your head around this craziness.
— Rodriguez

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Filed Under: ColumnsRetcon This!

Who ARE these people!?

Lee Rodriguez is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Panels On Pages. He is also a freelance graphic and web designer, action figure customizer, swell guy, and an awesome dad.

I'm even on Google+... Kind of.

Comments (5)

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  1. Robert Eddleman says:

    Okay, let’s see if I can win a No-Prize without having actually seen any of these episodes…

    4 million years ago on Cybertron, the Constructicons built Megatron and hung out with Omega Supreme. Before the Transformers left Cybertron for Earth, they were destroyed. (Eaten by Sharkicons or something.) So later, needing some new lackies to build that machine, Megatron thinks “Hey, why not rebuild the same dudes who built me. They obviously did a great job that time.” So he builds them (but not all of them; those other two of the originals were slackers, and Megatron doesn’t like slackers), resulting in two different groups of Constructicons.

    How’s that?

    • JasonKerouac says:

      Rob – I can’t promise you a No Prize, but if we ever meet, you’re getting a kiss. That was awesome!

  2. Ben Gilbert says:

    I think thos was a simple case of the writers thinking no one was really paying attention and wouldn’t remember the show anyway. Whoops…

  3. Ben Gilbert says:

    Correction: “this was a simple case…”

  4. Sean says:

    Lee,

    I figure there were a bunch of Constructicons built by Decepticons on Cybertron. Sort of like how there are seemingly a couple dozen “seekers” or more.

    I think it was “War Dawn” that established there were at least one peaceful period during the fighting. I reckon after Megatron was born — built by ‘cons that simply looked like the ones we know and love — and smoked the old Autobot leader, he backed off to build his forces grand enough to overwhelm Cybertron.

    Enter another period of peace. Then comes “War Dawn.” Megatron had laid low long enough that ‘bots like Orion Pax didn’t even know Meg’s rep — just vague rumors of some fighting on the other side of the planet.

    Then, Megs struck — big-time. He assimilated former Decepticons, now neutral, with that stupid “Robosmasher” thing, including the “real” Constructicons.

    Maybe they were damaged in battle or something and shot into space, only to be rebuilt for “Heavy Metal War.”

    That’s the best I can make of it after two stiff glasses of bourbon, anyway 😀

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