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Transformers: The 10 Best Stories From The Comic Books

The Transformers franchise has been going strong on-screen since the very beginning with hit animated series and movies. But comic books have been as important a component of the lore of the shapeshifting robots from Cybertron, with the best stories hailing from the many different eras of the comics.

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Transformers began at Marvel Comics in the 1980s, but the franchise has since continued in new iterations with publishers Dreamwave and IDW. Each new variation on the classic tale of Autobots and Decepticons battling for the fate of the universe offers something compelling for readers old and new alike.

10 Shockwave Leads The Decepticons

The storyline beginning in 1984's Transformers #5 shows why Shockwave is one of the best Decepticons ever. In this comic book arc, tactician Shockwave makes his power move for control of the Decepticons and takes the fight directly to Megatron. This issue is great for fans wanting to know about Optimus Prime's main villains and, in particular, how they operate even when they are not on the battlefield.

The early story also shows how ruthless the Decepticons are and how savage even the coldly logical Shockwave can be. His ambitions are thwarted in this storyline but ultimately rewarded when Megatron falls a few years later in the comics.

9 Circuit Breaker

Circuit Breaker is a product of the unique symmetry between Transformers and Marvel Comics. An original character created for the book in issue #8, she would quickly crossover into the main Marvel continuity. The close connection to Earth-616 makes this a great story for Marvel and Transformers fans alike as it deals with the prototypical Marvel underdog, Circuit Breaker, learning how to be a superhero while battling the fearsome villain Starscream.

Circuit Breaker had once been regular human Josie Beller, who was injured severely by the Decepticons. She gained superpowers through a unique electric suit, which allowed her to fire energy blasts from her hands. She also appeared in Secret Wars II, a crossover the MCU should probably avoid trying to adapt, but is currently inactive in the Marvel Universe.

8 New Avengers/Transformers

A crossover the MCU might be tempted by if the rights ever aligned is New Avengers/Transformers. This meeting between one of the best Avengers rosters ever and the robots in disguise gives fans of both universes the major conflict they might have been hoping for if the two ever clashed.

The 2007 limited series largely takes place in Latveria, and the Avengers discover that Doctor Doom's army of Doombots is actually part of an unlikely collaboration with the Decepticons. This leads to an all-out battle between the Avengers/Autobots and Doom/Decepticons. For the first and so far only time in comics history, readers could witness Iron Man trade energy blasts with Optimus Prime, creating a unique crossover that has yet to be repeated.

7 Dark Cybertron

"Dark Cybertron" is a 2014 IDW crossover between its Transformers title that is arguably the highpoint of the revamp led by their More Than Meets The Eye title. The story is one of the best as it features fan-favorite character Shockwave trying to seize control of Cybertron.

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It's a master plan not just on the calculating Shockwave's part, but also on the part of IDW and Hasbro. The storyline slowly came together over several years through plots and concepts introduced in toy pack-ins, creating a unique interactive experience for collectors and readers. Readers could physically act out the storyline they just read by playing with the toys and accessories that were created exclusively for the story.

6 Matrix Quest

"Matrix Quest" is a story from late in the run of the original 80s Marvel comic. The story finds a select group of Autobots seeks the Creation Matrix to stop the coming of Unicron. The story is great in the way that each issue of the arc is an homage to classic movies.

The first chapter of the story, "Birds Of Prey" from issue #62, is an homage to the classic 1941 John Houston noir movie, The Maltese Falcon. Just as the overall mythos of the Transformers drew on mythic influences for its tale of good vs. evil, this story paid tribute to important screen inspirations of the past with several Transformers adopting the look of Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade to investigate a mystery.

5 G.I. Joe And The Transformers

Superheroes weren't the only characters the Transformers interacted with while at Marvel in the 80s. In G.I. Joe And The Transformers, the two titans of the toy aisle squared off against each other in a storyline that gave fans of the era a visual manifestation of their own backyard battles.

The 1987 limited series is a great showcase for the various toys of the moment, including some of the best versions of Snake Eyes. It's also key in the comic book lore of the Transformers as Bumblebee is destroyed by the Joes but then rebuilt as Goldbug.

4 The War Within

Simon Furman, the British writer who wrote "Matrix Quest," returned for the 2002 Dreamwave story arc "The War Within." This comic book arc is great for fans as it goes back to the origins of the Autobot and Decepticon conflict and tells the story of the war for Cybertron.

The storyline also reveals how Optimus Prime came to power, rising from a humble Autobot named Optronix to the leader of his people. The story concludes with Prime vowing to lead the fight against the Decepticons, which sets up the primary conflict all Transformers stories will follow in the ensuing years.

3 Chaos Theory

Though there have been many iterations of Optimus Prime and Megatron in live-action, animation, and comic books, the "Chaos Theory" storyline from IDW is notable in that it features no major battle at all, but simply the two opponents having a conversation.

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It's a conversation unique in Transformers lore as the two figures are usually punching each other. Here, with Megatron captured by Prime, they finally have a chance to talk over their disagreements and motivations in a way that illuminates both characters. Megatron in particular is portrayed with more depth than usual as the villain reveals more of his backstory to his enemy.

2 Lost Light

Lost Light is not only a great adventure story for Transformers fans, it's hugely significant in the history of the franchise. This 2016 IDW storyline is the first to feature LGBTQ+ characters in the franchise, including Anode and Lug.

The storyline is also significant as it opens the door to the concept of the multiverse. In search of the Knights of Cybertron, a group of Autobots finds themselves in another universe. This creates quantum duplicates of some characters, not unlike the best variants of Loki from the MCU.

1 Last Stand Of The Wreckers

One of the best IDW comic stories is "The Last Stand Of The Wreckers," which takes a bit of a The Suicide Squad approach to some characters. Focusing on a ragtag band of lower-tier Autobots organized by Springer, the team has to infiltrate a Decepticon prison.

None of the Autobots really get along, and the story is as unexpected and unfortunate for some members as it is the characters of The Suicide Squad, making for a fun read for longtime fans. No Autobot is spared in the story, which raises the stakes and keeps the reader guessing as to who will be left standing at the end of the narrative.

NEXT: Transformers - 5 Things Bumblebee Got Right (& 5 It Got Wrong)

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