The Wreckers were a team of Autobots created by writer Simon Furman in the Marvel UK Transformers Comics (TFUK) whose chief feature was their ability to die or be sent on suicide missions like The Dirty Dozen or Suicide Squad.
A crew of expendable die hards who went on special ops off the books missions, often to their deaths and not expected to return, it’s surprising the Wreckers managed to be any kind of non-team at all.
Key members in the TFUK version of the Wreckers included Springer, Rack ‘n Ruin, Topspin, Twintwist, Whirl, Broadside, Sandstorm and Roadbuster who would go on missions at the behest of Emirate Xaron and/or UKG1 Ultra Magnus
TFUK had excellent art and fun stories, The Wreckers were a fun background bonus to the ongoing shenanigans such as the war between Magnus and Galvatron, the time travelling movie cast appearing in the 80s with the original Ark crew – so much was packed in that it was sure to please fans.
With their battle cry “Wreck and Rule” being a variation of Rock ‘n Roll, the Wreckers dove headlong into dangerous battles, with members new and old not expected to last long.
The Wreckers made infrequent apperances in the background of Transformers UK, and mostly were known to the UK only audience in the 1980s, and the lucky individuals in Euro territories who got to read the import comic.
In America, TFUS from Marvel did not feature the Wreckers, so they were somewhat obscure in the days before the Internet and IDW Comics, but have since been embraced by the fandom in comic reprints and toy representations.
AIN’T NEVER KILLED A CON THAT DIDN’T DESERVE IT
The Wreckers made a comeback in the relaunched IDW Transformers comics line, with their own mini-series Last Stand of the Wreckers, a spiffy new updated design for Springer and the addition of the old war horse Kup alongside classic tough as nails hard bastards like Roadbuster and Whirl.
Like the TFUK stories, The Wreckers made brief but memorable appearances in the IDW TF comics outside of their mini-series, each time causing disaster and mayhem and punching above their weight, while pissing off everybody in either faction with their strike first and strike hard guerilla tactics in impossible situations.
Roadbuster, Whirl, Springer, Topspin and Twintwist returned along with some new greenhorn members who would soon be dead.
I’M NOT INTERESTED IN EMBROIDERY, ONLY IN RESULTS
One of the most significant additions to the IDW version of the The Wreckers was KUP.
Yup, old war story rambling on kindly Uncle to Grimlock… Kup.
Except this isn’t the cartoon Abe Simpson version of Kup we know and love from the Sunbow/Marvel TV show.
This is a Kup who is the literal embodiment of Lee Marvin and Nick Fury combined into the angriest tougest ass kicking asshole who leads Bots into battle and somehow survives to tell the tale every time. A living legend.
Kup survived the Cybertronian civil war (and about 100 other wars) lived through more horrors than anyone can remember and became a trainer and mentor to the Wreckers – he is literally too old, for this shit. IDW Kup was a good reinvention of the character for a modern audience but his mythos can also serve as a backstory for G1 Kup before he retired and became the Transformers version of Grandpa Simpson.
With the Hasbro Thrilling 30 subline of Generations toys, we got some cool IDW comics style characters who were key members of the IDW Wreckers, and quite a few years later in Titans Retun and SIEGE, we finally got some more of the members – such as Impactor – enough to make a proper comics style team for the first time.
Sandstorm, Broadside, Springer, Whirl ,Roadbuster and more – it may have taken more than a decade but fans finally got some decent representations of Wreckers characters to mix and match at their leisure for the first time since G1.
The fist solo IDW mini-series story Last Stand of the Wreckers gave the spotlight to a new version of another old obscure character. OVERLORD. Previously a Japanese/Euro only late toy release, and a villain in the Masterforce anime. Masterforce Overlord was a piloted mecha, in IDW he was reinvented as a sentient evil robot dictator, and slimmed down with a new look captured perfectly by the 3P MMC toy.
IDW Overlord was a sort of General in Megatron’s arms who went rogue, took over an alien planet nobody much cared about, installing himself up river as a crazed dictator who does as he pleases, kills his own men, holds public executions, gave himself a big throne and is a complete sadist.
When the Wreckers came to town we also find out Overlord has been made of special Terminator like rare metal alloys that make him practically impossible to kill.
Last Stand of the Wreckers helped to re-popularize Overlord for a new generation of fans, and with the Masterforce anime getting a great sub thanks to Karyuudo Fansubs Overlord was back and here to stay. New toys inspired by both the classic G1 and IDW comics look appeared from MMC and Fans Hobby, and even Hasbro Generations put out a half decent Leader class Overlord that didn’t scale with Ginrai at all, but was still a decent fun toy.
The spirit of the Wreckers old, new or expired is a rag tag group of misfits that you can add or subtract whatever members you like, adding in random bots or obscure nobodies or Red Shirts to create your own unique team. I have a heap of side bots that also go with my core comics Wreckers, so many in fact that I didn’t have time to photograph them for this article.
I have a couple of Power Core Combiner little guys that are military themed, Generations Scoop and some other weirdos in my full Wreckers line up.
This nasty brutish colorful bunch is just the comic book inspired characters with the B and D listers hastily shoveled into a mass grave… uhh “storage container” until the next mission.
Whether modern Wreckers or classic Wreckers, it’s a free form non-team of dying die hards that fans can mix, match and dis-assemble in their own style. They are a team that refuses to conform, doesn’t play by the rules and officially doesn’t even exist. So if they turn up on your doorstep, you are pretty much fucked.
WRECKING AROUND THE WORLD
While Wreckers characters have been featured in other media, it’s mostly a nod and wink such as in Transformers Prime where Wheeljack and Bulkhead were formerly part of that continuities Wreckers Unit, or the odd background character for fans to train spot. The core appearances are in the Transformers Marvel UK run and the IDW Comics TF Universe. The live action movie appearances are basically name re-uses with some fun designs. The point is you can make up whatever team members you like, that is part of the fun.
That’s it for this brief look at the non-team that defies the odds, does the impossible as part of their job description, getting sent into the worst hellholes and hotzones that regular troops are pulling out of.
WRECK ‘N RULE!
Overlord MMC / G1 Comparison photo by U.Nem Studios
G1 Overlord / Black Zarak photo by Seibertron Transformers Galleries