ULTRA MAGNUS DEATH#1 Transformers The Movie (1986)
Ultra Magnus saves our other heroes by collapsing a tunnel behind them, leaving him trapped alone with an approaching Galvatron, Cyclonus and the Sweeps. Magnus attempts to open the Autobot’s Matrix.
Too bad for our hero, the Sweeps fire upon him in full force while Galvatron stands nearby gloating at his superior strength and power.
Magnus tumbles to the ground like a sack of robo-potatoes past their expiry date. The energy of the sweeps blasts still building up within his body…
The charge reaches critical mass, and Magnus explodes violently, with his body parts flying in every direction. That’s one way to make a “junker”” I guess.
ULTRA MAGNUS DEATH#2 Transformers The Movie: The Marvel Comics Adaptation (1986)
There were many changes, edits and redactions to Transformers The Movie (1986)’s script. Some stuff made it into the final film, and other things were changed for budgetary reasons. Like the infamous Powered Convoy Diaclone colored Magnus for example that was in the early preview clip of the film sent out to retail/distributors.
An earlier version of the film had Ultra Magnus drawn and quartered by Galvatron’s Sweeps. The final movie version has Magnus beaten to death by Galvatron, while in the US Marvel Transformers comic, Magnus’ demise is much more grisly, as their adaptation was based on the earlier version of the movie, before this scene was cut.
ULTRA MAGNUS DEATH#3 Transformers Marvel Comics UK
The UK has it’s own Marvel Transformers comic title, that along with reprinting the US comic, also created their own stories. The UK received a reprinting of the above Marvel US Movie comic, but that is NOT the death I’m talking about here.
No, in Marvel UK – they did their own long running story that involved a time travelling insane Galvatron and several grudge matches between Galvatron and Magnus. After several back and forth battles, it appears Magnus has beaten Galvatron. Only to get lost in a monologue and then shot in the back. Whoops. Too much pontificating gets you dead fast Magnus.
Galvatron drags an unconscious Magnus up to the top of a volcano intending to be rid of the Autobot war hero forever.
Things get off to a hot start as in the following issue with a recap. Galvatron has another one of his insane schemes cooking up (harnessing the energy of a volcano and the earth itself) and decides the perfect seasoning for this recipe of chaotic madness is our pal the blue boy scout Ultra Magnus.
Thrown into molten lava, Galvatron assumes Magnus is dead. It’s a rather brutal graphic scene for a Transformers comic and really sells how mad Galvatron is.
Fast forwarding a little, turns out Magnus didn’t die. He’s back and better than ever.
It’s time to kick ass and chew gum, and you can bet Magnus is ALL outta gum, watch your back Galvatron!
A knock-down drag out battle ensues as good as any decent wrestling match, these two titans knocking the living cyber-shit out of each other in a battle to the death.
Showing no mercy, the tide swings back and forth and it looks like Galvatron is going to finish off Magnus for good this time.
What Galvatron didn’t account for, is just how determined and single minded Ultra Magnus can be. Self-sacrifice trumps madness in this case, with Magnus fighting Galvatron to a standstill. The enraged Galvatron used his mechanical might but failed to use his robo-brain, the entire fight was a stalling tactic as Ultra Magnus planned to explode the whole Volcano ring complex – with him and Galvatron still inside.
Magnus orders Goldbug to leave just before the Volcano top and the ring complex explodes in one of the most somber endings to a Transformers comic I’ve ever read. Magnus makes the ultimate sacrifice, having realized that Galvatron is too powerful to beat and just keeps coming back, so instead he is trapped frozen in cooled magma beneath a volcano, forever locked in combat with his nemesis.
ULTRA MAGNUS DEATH#4 Headmasters Episode #24 “The Death of Ultra Magnus”
Headmasters is a fun show with a long run of episodes with several varying plot lines. One sub-story involved a rivalry between Sixshot and Ultra Magnus. Sixshot is called a ninja in the show, but is portrayed more like a stoic Samurai with a code of honor. He sometimes questions Galvatron’s orders, and will go his own way if he doesn’t agree with the Cons, being somewhat of a free roaming gun for hire type.
Despite being a killing machine on legs, a one bot army of mass destruction who terrorizes earth, capable of wiping out entire populated areas single handedly – and gives the Autobots a run for their money at every encounter, he’s basically not a bad guy, or true Decepticon – but more like a mercenary specialist.
When it comes time to invade earth, the Cons arrive in force and Sixshot lays down the law, ordering them to execute all Autobots, but to leave Magnus for him alone. Confronting Magnus on the battlefield, Sixshot creates shadow clones of himself. A foolish Magnus rushes him headlong and pays the price for over-confidence.
“I am Sixshot, your escort to hell!” You know he means business when that is how he announces himself. Who doesn’t love a six-changer mercenary space-ninja?
While not the grisliest of deaths like the ones in other media, Headmasters has perhaps the most emotional death of Ultra Magnus. It’s not a five second clip like in the 1986 film, but a whole episode of the show that builds up slowly to the inevitable, and leaves our other heroes distraught in subsequent episodes.
Sixshot moves through each of his secret ninja forms, then takes on a secret flying seventh form “Wing Wolf” proving to be the most powerful, and annihilates Magnus with one relentless laser blast after another, after beating the living hell out of him.
Beaten and broken, Sixshot even rolls over a helpless Magnus in his APC mode, the crushing tracks on top of Magnus a sickening display of how ruthless Sixshot is. Our hero Magnus dies buying time for the rest of the Autobot cavalry to arrive in force.
If you want to know why Sixshot is seen as such a bad ass, it’s the time that he beat Ultra Magnus without a shred of mercy, dignity or respect. One of the Autobots finest (and often considered unbeatable) warriors and battle field leaders, calling him out like an old Western gunslinger for a final showdown.
The mighty City Commander has been beaten within an inch of his life, Sixshot only moves on once superior reinforcements arrived, and by then it was too late. Magnus’ injuries were too severe, and he dies in the arms of his friend Fortress (the head of Fortress Maximus).
A weeping Daniel mirrors the death scene of Optimus in the Transformers movie.
Fortress and Metroplex suggest that Magnus be laid to rest here on earth, rather than in space as his dedication to the earth and it’s people is un-matched by any other Autobot, except perhaps Prime himself.
The entire episode is a whirlwind of destruction featuring nearly ever major character, several combiners, Trypticon, Metroplex, Scorponok, Fortress Maximus and all the Headmasters. Even at the hectic pace, Magnus’ death manages to have a resonance and meaning beyond Transformer deaths in other similar media. It’s sudden and unexpected, with consequences that play out in subsequent episodes and you would have expected the hero to win. But it was not to be, leaving more than a few kids weeping for their fallen hero.
And this is the end of the Many Deaths of Ultra Magnus. May he rest in pieces.