In 2019, Hasbro is celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Transformers franchise. To celebrate, IDW returned to the earliest Transformers fiction ever created, the original comic book. The Marvel-published series ran for 80 issues from 1984 through 1991. IDW returned to that continuity in 2014 with the series Transformers: Regeneration One, a continuation of the original story. For the 35th anniversary, IDW returned to that continuity one more time with Transformers ‘84 #0, a prequel to Marvel’s original Transformers #1. The issue is more than a commemorative novelty, making a major retcon to the Autobots' mission that formed the basis of the original comic.
Simon Furman writes the issue. Furman wrote most of the latter half of the original Marvel Comics series. Before that, he wrote most of the supplemental material included in the series’s UK reprint magazines. Furman also wrote IDW's Regeneration One series.
In the original Marvel continuity, the Transformers’ home planet Cybertron became in space during a civil war. Optimus Prime's Autobots launched the Ark. Megaron's Decepticons attacked it. The ship crash-landed on prehistoric Earth. The Transformers slept until the 1980s. when they awoke and resumed their battle.
Transformers ‘84 reveals that Optimus Prime had the Ark built with an ulterior motive in mind. He sold the leaders on Cybertron on the idea of the Ark as a way to save Cybertron from becoming lost in a region of space known as “the graveyard of the stars.” But in truth, Cybertron’s scientists had already found a solution to that problem.
In truth, the Ark was a decoy meant to lure Megatron and his Decepticons away from Cybertron. Prime didn’t expect to return from the mission. The idea was that once the Decepticons boarded the Ark, Prime would crash-land the ship on a nearby planet on purpose. With Megatron and Optimus Prime both stranded, the war on Cybertron would end. Prime hoped the reprieve would allow their leaders to make peace and rebuild.
Prime went as far as to embed a spy, Punch, within the ranks of the Decepticons. Punch’s job was to act as a double agent sabotaging any efforts by Decepticons or Autobots to find the Ark and bring the lost warriors home.
Those who have read the original series know that Prime’s plan didn’t work out. Drawing Megatron away from Cybertron left a power vacuum for Decepticons on Cybertron to fight over. Another leader as ruthless as Megatron came to power. Once Megatron awoke, they restored communications between the Decepticons on Cybertron and those marooned on Earth.
Even though the plan failed, the idea that Optimus Prime led his troops on a suicide mission is an interesting new wrinkle in the original Transformers continuity. What do you think of this retcon? Let us know in the comments.