“For a time, we lived in harmony…”
We’ve been told that at one time, in almost every continuity, there was peace; that there was co-existence amongst the inhabitants of Cybertron. We have seen glimpses of this age, usually referred to as the “Golden Age” of Cybertron. Never before has Hasbro set out to create the definitive history of what happened that ruined this Golden Age; what it was that resulted in Civil War and left Cybertron the dried up, energy starved, and lifeless husk we know. Now they have.
So far, they have not done so well (or failed miserably depending on your level of cynism). This historical reboot was supposed to start in tandem; with a videogame, “War for Cybertron”, and a book, “Exodus”. Unfortunately the creative teams of these two endeavors were allowed the necessary freedoms to create, rendering the plots behind the two mostly irreconcilable. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed playing the videogame and, despite the apparent complete lack of an editor (soooo much self-contradiction), I enjoyed reading the book.
What they have created is yet another continuity, named “Prime” after the cartoon set to debut in November 2010, on the new Hasbro-owned cable channel, The Hub. Furthermore, what they have created — based on the designs presented in the “War for Cybertron” videogame — are some amazing toys. This week we look at the currently released line-up of War for Cybertron/Pre-Prime toys, released under the Generations toyline.
And we start with: Bumblebee. He’s the original poster-boy and template for all “kid appeal” Transformers to follow. The Prime continuity keeps in line with a convention set up by the 2007 movie fiction: ‘Bee has a damaged vocoder (voice-box for you humans) and can only speak when the thing isn’t on the fritz. His original vocoder was torn from his throat by Megatron himself as ‘Bee provided a heroic sacrifice to divert the Decepticon’s attention away whilst Optimus ejected the Allspark from the planet’s core.
This toy is amazingly complex, yet not actually difficult in its transformation.
He manages to maintain his Volkswagen Bug-like appearance while not being a passenger vehicle. Granted, despite being millions of years prior to the existence of human beings, he also blatantly retains his obviously earthen-inspired name, but we won’t dwell on that. When you have a property as well-known and lucrative as the Transformer Bumblebee, you don’t screw with him by changing his name — a lesson Hasbro already learned once with this very same character. In 1986 Bumblebee was given an “upgrade” (the reason being different depending on your continuity) and became the Throttlebot Goldbug. Hasbro eventually returned him to his more familiar self and name.
This Bumblebee’s alt-mode hints at his vocation; “Cybertronian courier mode”. Before the Civil War he was ostensibly the equivalent of a Cybertronian bike-messenger, earning him the wartime role of… well, Cybertronian bike-messenger. Same job, less pay, more being shot at by psychotic Decepti-creeps. His attitude in both the videogame and the novel is that of a scrappy, fearless, spritely little warrior able to hold his own in battle but equally capable of getting himself in over his head. His robot mode carries a handgun that stores on a peg in the back part of his alt-mode and can even be stored there in robot mode.
His robot mode is wonderfully game-accurate.
Some of the customizers have even added lights to simulate his panel glow. He has the aforementioned hand-gun as well as a swing-out, translucent red blade above each hand.
His robot mode is very reminiscent of the Classics Bumblebee mold, with a bulging backpack, thin legs and large feet. The only real complaint I have is that, due to his design, he has rather wobbly legs.
Up Next: Bumblebee inferior, Soundwave superior. War for Cybertron Soundwave!