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Cloudburst feels at home within the confines of his Pretender shell. His shell gives him the confidence to be smooth, charismatic and tough as nails (except in the presence of large organic females with broadswords). However, what his charming Pretender shell hides is nothing more than a nervous, dull and meek little robot who feels inferior to all those around him. His friend Landmine often tries to egg him on, provoking him to "come out of his shell", but Cloudburst still tends to hide behind his intelligence and within his shell.
Marvel Comics continuity
A member of Fortress Maximus's crew aboard Steelhaven, Cloudburst volunteered for the synthoplasmic conversion process Optimus Prime had stolen from Scorponok, transforming him into an Autobot Pretender. With Optimus Prime coordinating the Pretenders' first battle with the Decepticons, Cloudburst and his teammates easily overwhelmed the opposing force.
Landmine and Cloudburst were summoned by Optimus Prime shortly after the Autobots' devastating battle with Starscream during the Underbase Saga. The battle had burnt out a large number of microchips from the deactivated warriors — 500 million to be exact. Optimus charged the two Pretenders with negotiating for new microchips at the biggest black market in the galaxy, Grand Central Space Station. Because of Grand Central's reputation for being violently unwelcoming to robots, it was Prime's hope that Cloudburst and Landmine's organic shells would allow them to accomplish the mission unimpeded. The pair set off riding in Cloudburst's massive starfighter mode.
At Grand Central, they made contact with a disguised Hi-Test and Throttle, Nebulan Powermasters who were keeping their robot ties quiet in order to operate freely on the station. Cloudburst arranged a deal to exchange their energon cube currency for the 500 million microchips. It would've gone smoothly from there, but Landmine received information that a fellow Autobot named Sky Lynx might have gotten into trouble after dealing with these two, and demanded to deal with the Nebulans' sponsors, the Mecannibals, directly.
Aboard the Mecannibals' ship, Cloudburst sealed the deal with their leader Master Mouth. The Autobots were horrified to discover, however, that the Mecannibals came by their trade goods by eating robots, and then "recycling" their remains for resale. What's worse, Sky Lynx was apparently next on the menu. Landmine wouldn't stand for it, and operated his robot form independent of his shell to save Sky Lynx and fool the Mecannibals into believing his two parts were unrelated to one another. After freeing Sky Lynx and fending off the Attack of the Killer Robot Tomatoes, Landmine succeeded in distracting the Mecannibals long enough to hide inside his organic shell and therefore "escape". Unfortunately, their good luck didn't last. Cloudburst and Landmine's true identities were uncovered by the Nebulans, and they captured and returned the Pretenders to the Mecannibals to be eaten.
With some quick thinking, Cloudburst explained to Master Mouth that they were simply too bland to be eaten without seasoning, and offered to go acquire the proper ingredients to make a real gourmet robo-recipe in exchange for their freedom. This...unusual strategy worked, and the Mecannibals released the Autobots on their word to track down a supply of lead sulfate crystals on the planet Femax to top off the seasonings.
After penetrating the inner mountain city of the Femax warriors, Cloudburst and Landmine were captured and brought before their ruler, the First One. Cloudburst managed to defuse the tension caused by Landmine's inherent hostility, convincing the Femaxians that they were only there on a mission of mercy. The First One decreed that, before the crystals could be handed over, Cloudburst must back his words in battle in order to prove himself a valued mate...er, MATErial tradesman. Cloudburst successfully passed the various tests of stamina, agility, wrestling, jousting, ballroom dancing, and the talent competition.As Landmine entertained several Femaxian women with Sharkticon war stories, Cloudburst was led away by the First One for a more personal conversation. Having never seen a man smart enough to rub two sticks together before, she considered Cloudburst to be quite the specimen. When she tried to put the moves on him though, Cloudburst had to ruin the moment by revealing that (cue musical score) Pretennnnders Hide...The Transformers Inside. Not even a catchy commercial jingle like that was enough to calm the First One's fury, though, and in her disgust she lobbed off Cloudburst's head with one strike of her sword.
Luckily for Cloudburst, Landmine managed to stay level-headed enough to try to talk down the First One instead of fighting back. After her initial emotional outburst cooled, the First One accepted the "rejection" of her affections and repaired Cloudburst, allowing the Autobots to peacefully leave her realm with the crystals. They fulfilled their deal with the Mecannibals, and as a bonus informed them that their Nebulan employees were actually Decepticon Powermaster robots, giving Hi-Test and Throttle some serious trouble. Unfortunately for their overall mission, though, Cloudburst and Landmine found it too unconscionable to repair their comrades with the cannibalized remains of other robots. Instead, they renegotiated their bargain with the Mecannibals, convincing them to use the microchips to repair and revive the victims they had "recycled" for parts. The Pretenders returned to the Ark empty-handed, but with clear consciences.
Later, Starscream beat him up.
Sometime later, during the battle with Unicron, Cloudburst joined his fellow flyers Highbrow, Darkwing, and Dreadwind in taking the fight to Unicron's eye level. Unfortunately for Cloudburst, he was caught in Unicron's plasma breath and destroyed.
Cloudburst was among the "new age" Autobots who attended Optimus Prime's meeting with Grimlock and the Dinobots about their more brutal methods. When Grimlock threatened to quit the Autobots, Prime seemed all too willing to let him, and the two of them actually came to blows. After beating some sense into each other, however, Optimus Prime agreed to allow Grimlock his autonomy, to lead "Earthforce" while he and the Ark's crew took off for space.
IDW Generation One comics
Cloudburst, Landmine, Groundbreaker, and Waverider were sent to investigate the Benzuli Expanse, but discovered that any probes or drones entering the area immediately ceased to function. After reporting this to Jetfire, he volunteered them for the Pretender process as a means of safely entering the expanse.
Cyclonus was later patrolling the Benzuli Expanse with Galvatron to look for those who would disturb the Expansion. Upon spotting Cloudburst's ship, Cyclonus called "dibs" and Galvatron happily let Cyclonus attack the vessel.
- Cloudburst (Pretender, 1988)
Cloudburst almost turns into a Cybertronian aerial vehicle of some description. His thunderbolt laser pistol can be attached under the nose of his vehicle mode. His robot mode is fairly generic, much like all Pretenders of this period, though features decent articulation and proportions. He can wield the thunderbolt laser pistol by using the smaller peg to its side.
Cloudburst's outer shell appears to be a heavily-armoured human, perhaps in diving gear or a space suit. In this mode he can be equipped with the belt and helmet accessories and armed with both weapons, using the larger peg on the laser pistol. Articulation in the shell is limited to up-and-down movement at the shoulders.