Warning: spoilers for Transformers: Escape #1!
Many people think of Transformers as some of the lightest characters in pop culture – bright, cartoon robots who only ever need to be rebuilt should they fall. But like so many properties, the Transformers of the comics are much darker, including members who cannibalize each other to survive.
In its 2019 Transformers continuity, which takes place before the great war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, IDW Publishing unleashed the voracious, all-devouring Insecticons. Throughout the majority of the series, these cannibalistic robots live in exile on a remote and desolate planet, satiating their hunger on what little they can scavenge there. The worst these robots had consumed up until their debut in Transformers: Galaxies #2 by Tyler Bleszinski and Livio Ramondelli consisted of whatever the Cybertronians allowed them to eat before exiling them.
During that time, the Insecticons’ menu mostly included discarded waste… until the War of the Threefold Spark. Unfortunately, war has a tendency of inviting extreme and sometimes morally questionable actions out of necessity. Participating in this tradition, the Autobots’ leader expanded the Insecticons’ menu in the most disturbing way. The battlefield was filled filled with corpses, and moving them by normal means would have been an unpleasant endeavor, so the Autobots ruled that the Insecticons should feast on their remains. With their victims already dead, what was the harm?
Harm arrived in Transformers: Galaxies, as the Autobots exiled a new group of Transformers called the Constructicons to the same distant planet as the Insecticons, who soon exploit the anger and betrayal these builders understandably feel by offering a trade. In return for providing the Constructicons with enough Energon to destroy the city they were tricked into building, the Insecticons just want one thing in return: to feast on the living survivors.
How these Insecticons came into possession of Energon potent enough for the Constructicons to destroy a whole city is a combination of their innate abilities coupled with a very specific diet. The Insecticons somehow generate their own Energon every time they feast, and the more energy their food possesses, the more powerful the Energon they can create. The Insecticons’ poor victim in Transformers: Galaxies #4 undergoes a rather gruesome and painful death, and the Energon that his body generates is so effective that no survivors are left in the ravaged city for the Insecticons to consume, so they have to make do with corpses again.
Unfortunately, the Insecticons are under the employment of the Decepticons, who have finally risen to power and are no longer hiding their true intentions. Naturally, the Decepticons are taking full advantage of the chaos unfolding on Cybertron by setting the Insecticons free in Transformers: Escape #1 by creators Brian Ruckley and Beth McGuire-Smith. Transformers has often been able to get away with particularly grisly ideas and storylines given the mechanical nature of its characters, but an army of cannibal Insecticons promises to raise the stakes once again in upcoming issues, and fans should make sure they don’t miss a moment of the Autobots being confronted by a taste of their own dark medicine.
Next: Transformers: What Religion Do Autobots & Decepticons Follow?