Autobots' Lightning Strike is the first in the Ladybird Books series of Transformers storybooks.
When the Autobots witness the incredible power of a lightning storm, Optimus Prime puts Huffer to work on finding a way to harness its energy, in hopes that they can use it in the rebuilding of their spaceship. After a week of work, with a little help and lots of complaining from Gears, Huffer succeeds in erecting a massive lightning rod in some nearby mountains, connected to an energy converter in a cavern beneath.
Unfortunately for the Autobots, Laserbeak has been observing the construction, and reports back to Megatron, only for Soundwave to mistakenly believe that the Autobots have built a radio mast. The lack of a detectable signal from the tower only convinces Megatron that the Autobots have developed a highly-advanced communications technology, but Starscream believes that it should be destroyed, and conspires with Rumble to go against Megatron’s orders and do just that. Further observations by Laserbeak allow the Decepticons to learn of the existence of the cavern, and Starscream and Rumble sneak off to carry out their plan, with Megatron and the other Decepticons on their tails.
Meanwhile, with a thunderstorm having been forecast for that evening, the Autobots converge on the lightning rod to test the equipment. Keeping their distance for safety’s sake, the Autobots conduct the test from afar, and fail to notice Starscream and Rumble make their way into the cavern. Upon discovering the inactive machinery, however, Starscream believes that it doesn’t work, and pauses to mock Megatron – just long enough for Megatron himself to enter the scene with the other Decepticons. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes the tower, and the machinery in the cavern surges to life, scattering the Decepticons and overloading their mechanisms. Skywarp is caught between modes, Ravage automatically ejects and attacks Megatron, and Starscream’s null ray projectors are mangled when he attempt to turn them on the converter. Battling through the arcs of electricity surrounding them, the badly damaged Decepticons manage to escape into the night sky, as the amazed Autobots watch them go, unaware there had ever been a threat.
- In the illustrations for page 10 and 11, Huffer and Gears are colored incorrectly. Huffer’s orange parts are blue, while his purple parts are orange, while Gears is… purple and cream? Whuh?
- Ravage is described as a “mechanical hound,” when he’s actually a feline.
Items of note
- The Ladybird series picks up from the end of the original TV pilot, "More Than Meets The Eye", as evidenced by a passing reference to the Autobots’ continuing repairs on their crashed spacecraft. The pilot also inspires a few other aspects of the books – Spike keeping a journal is lifted right out of the miniseries, as is the Decepticon battle cry of “Scramble!” Additionally, Starscream and Rumble conspiring against Megatron would seem to be inspired by their discussion on treachery from the first episode
- This story was also released as a Talk and Read audiobook which included music and sound effects.
- The inside intro of the book is different from the intro on the audiobook, it says:
The heroic warriors, the Autobots, and their enemies, the evil Decepticons, have landed on Earth from their own planet, Cybertron.
The battle between the forces of good and evil continues on Earth as the Transformers change to robots and back again, in an attempt to outwit or deceive each in their struggle for power.
while the intro on the audiobook is:
Once, long ago, a race of robot beings called Autobots were forced to wage war against another race of robots called Decepticons to bring peace back to their home planet of Cybertron. As the war went on, chance brought both sides to Earth. They crashed so violently on landing that all the robots lay in the Earth's crust, seemingly without life, for over four million years.
Then, the energy set in motion by a powerful volcanic eruption gives them life once more, and the war starts all over again here on Earth. The Autobots have to defend themselves. They must protect this planet, with all its valuable resources and the people who live here, and they must also build a new spaceship if they are ever to get back to Cyberton—THE TRANSFORMERS!