Despite his great power, size, and rank, Fortress Maximus is a weary and reluctant warrior. Fighting is against his pacifist nature, even for the most noble of causes. Over time, the endless conflict on Cybertron has worn him down, to the point that he's willing to walk away from the war entirely to preserve himself and his ideals.
- Japanese name: Cerebros (see below)
- French name (Canada): Forteresse Maximus
- Cracked-out English-Malay dub name: Spaceship Bruce (starship mode only)
- Chinese name (Taiwan): Ford / Fort / Furmon
Marvel Comics continuity
Fortress Maximus was an architect in his early career, designing and even constructing many works on Cybertron. When the war came, he reluctantly turned his talents to fighting.
During the long absence of Optimus Prime, Megatron, and their respective troops from Cybertron, unit commander Fortress Maximus became so sick of the war that he decided to leave it. He didn't care if it made him a coward or not, he simply believed that the war would go on regardless of whether or not he was in it. Taking a number of Autobots with him, he retreated to the peaceful planet of Nebulos.
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before mistakes were made and Maximus's group found themselves at odds with the local human populace. Maximus 'proved' their peaceful intentions by marching up to the Nebulan capital, and discarding the group's weapons. When that didn't work, he did the next logical thing and pulled his head off. Four other Autobots also resorted to this grotesque stunt before Galen, head of the Nebulan World Watchers, was convinced they weren't a threat.
When the Decepticons followed the Autobots to Nebulos, Galen himself ended up becoming the head of Fortress Maximus to help defend the peace and his world, as both the Nebulan and Autobot underwent the binary-bonding process to become a Headmaster. Fortress Maximus remained the leader of the Nebulan Autobots for the rest of their battles there, eventually abandoning the planet to support his stranded comrades on Earth. During the transport, Fortress Maximus underwent a number of treatments to alter his size considerably, increasing himself from a city-sized behemoth to a slightly larger city-sized behemoth. With these changes, he could save a lot of time in combat by simply stepping on Decepticons instead of having to actually fight them.
Of course, with his larger scale, Fortress Maximus needed a new head (Galen still being stuck at roughly human-size). For this reason, another Autobot, Cerebros, was added to serve as a secondary stage between Galen and Maximus. As the head of Cerebros, Galen could transform Cerebros into the larger head of Fortress Maximus.
Arriving on Earth, Fortress Maximus led his fellow Headmasters to Mount St. Hilary, source of the Autobot distress call that had drawn them to Earth. After recovering the damaged Goldbug, the group encountered Spike, who had come in search of his missing younger brother Buster Witwicky. Spike asked for the Autobots' help in finding his brother, but Fortress Maximus was more interested in their primary mission of locating the Autobots of Earth, and led his troops off to follow the fuel trail of the missing Ark.
Scorponok's crew soon followed Maximus to Earth, however, and to the same cave. When Spike replayed Goldbug's distress message, Fortress Maximus and company returned to the cave, apologizing to Spike for his failure to consider the danger he had brought to Earth's natives by leading the Decepticons there.
In the ensuing battle, Spike retreated further into the volcano's caves to seek shelter. Scorponok followed, seeking a hostage; Fortress Maximus pursued him. As the caves narrowed down, Maximus was forced to send Cerebros onward, and eventually Galen himself had to leave Cerebros to cross a fragile rock bridge. Scorponok used the distraction to blast rocks down on Galen, killing him. As the Decepticon leader left, laughing, Galen passed on his control helmet to Spike, allowing the Earther to assume control of Fortress Maximus and drive the Decepticons off.
Spike soon underwent the full binary bonding process and became the leader of the Steelhaven's crew of Autobots. He tried using this power to rescue Buster from Club Con, but ended up damaged, though he did manage to send Shockwave falling to his apparent demise. They then caught wind of a Floppy disk in possession of one Ethan Zachary, which contained the memories and personality of Optimus Prime. With the aid of a computer generated version of Prime, Fortress Maximus gathered a lot of data from Scorponok's Pretender experiments, and gave that ability to some of his own crew.
Unfortunately, Grimlock developed an immediate dislike to Fortress Maximus, partially because he was a possible threat to Grimlock's leadership, partially because he was part human, and partially because he had a fugitive (Goldbug). He challenged "Fruitloop Multipuck" to a duel for leadership on the moon, but his injuries from prior battles forced Fortress Maximus to have the recently liberated Blaster fill in for him. When Ratbat led an assault on the Autobots during the duel, Fortress Maximus ordered Goldbug, Joyride, Getaway, and Slapdash to take the disk to Nebulos to restore Optimus Prime.
Spike and Fortress Maximus would go on to have a very tumultuous relationship, fighting both the Decepticons and, at times, each other, as Spike constantly expressed his displeasure at being the large Autobot's partner. Once his brother Buster was finally rescued, Spike's organic qualities was instrumental in preserving Fortress Maximus from an Underbase-powered Starscream in the battle of Buenos Aires. Spike tried to go his own way and resume his life, but time and time again the Decepticons would pose some sort of threat to the planet so immense that he would have to join with Fortress Maximus to combat it.
After the other Autobots and Decepticons left Earth to battle Unicron, Spike and Fortress Maximus remained on Earth to safeguard the planet. Thus, when the remains of the Ark fell from orbit and crashed in the northern tundra of Canada, and Galvatron emerged from the wreckage to wreak havoc, it fell to Fortress Maximus to stop him. After putting aside their differences, Spike and Fortress Maximus managed to unite in thought and deed, and defeat the crazed Decepticon.
It was ultimately Megatron who would prove to be the undoing of this giant warrior: when the reborn and reconditioned Decepticon leader stole the Ark and used it as his personal flagship, Spike and Maximus took it upon themselves to stop him. Brutally beaten in combat with an upgraded and super-charged Megatron, the pair dragged themselves to the heart of the ship and threw themselves into the anti-matter containment unit at the core of its power supply, killing both of them. To add further insult to their sacrifice, it was a complete waste of effort: every other Transformer who was on board, including Megatron, managed to survive the destruction of the ship and lived to fight another day.
American cartoon continuity
- Voice Actor: Stephen Keener
When the Hive of Nebulos had developed the massive Transformer Scorponok in 2007, Spike found that his only available resources to combat the threat were the Hive's older technology and the pacifist Autobot Cerebros. Spike used the technology to create an Autobot giant, at the same time re-engineering Cerebros to become the new robot's head, and to take Spike himself as his own head (Cerebros seemed to get little say in these matters). The giant, named Fortress Maximus, blasted off for Cybertron, where he expectedly fought (and won) against Scorponok. After Maximus/Cerebros and Spike saved Cybertron and Earth from the Hive and the Decepticons, Optimus Prime sent them back to Nebulos as its guardians.
Japanese animated continuity
The Headmasters anime
- Voice Actor: Ikuya Sawaki
Headmasters were human-sized Transformers who had long ago left Cybertron and established themselves on the planet Master in an attempt to escape the Great War. To better survive the harsh climate, they built larger bodies for themselves. They could then transform to become the heads of these more powerful forms. The Headmasters themselves eventually split off factions, some claiming loyalty to the Decepticons, while others held loyalty to the Autobots, though neither group came into contact with Cybertron (or Earth) until 2011.
The leader of the Autobot faction on Master was named Fortress. Fortress took the Headmaster process one step further. Not only did he combine with a larger robot, but that robot could in turn enlarge and become the head of another, much larger robot, the robot form of the Battleship Maximus, thus forming the mighty Fortress Maximus.
Upon meeting again with the Autobots, Fortress quickly became a lead figure not only to his own troops, but to most of the other Autobots in the ongoing war, though he loyally answered to Rodimus Prime. Primarily, he led the other Headmasters into battle, often working away from the other Autobots and handling overly dangerous situations.
When Cybertron was destroyed, Rodimus Prime vowed to search the universe for a new home for the older, non-headmaster Autobots. He passed supreme command of the Autobots—but, interestingly, not the Matrix of Leadership, which he kept on his travels—to Fortress Maximus.
Fortress wasn't entirely confident that he was the best choice for leader, not because of any discomfort or indecision performing the duties, but due to a certain common tendency to feel like he wasn't worthy. Nevertheless, he led the Autobots against Galvatron and Scorponok decisively and was popular as a leader. While some of the other Headmasters had trouble getting along with humans, Fortress proved himself reasonably friendly, or at least good at making silly faces to amuse children (and talking them into dangerous missions). Fortunately, Arcee was around to help smooth relations on both sides, as well as to help Fortress personally to coordinate and present plans.
In Scorponok's final campaign against the Autobots, Fortress Maximus battled his arch enemy, and thanks in part to Sixshot's intervention, the work of the Autobots as a team, and all the present Autobot troops—along with Daniel Witwicky—lending him their energy and the power of friendship via a Head Formation, he was able to overcome and destroy Scorponok's transtector, as well as his plan to destroy the Earth, sending the Decepticons into retreat once and for all.
Fortress continued to lead the Autobots as they left Earth for good to travel around the galaxy, trying to repair all the damages dealt in the war and to remain vigilant should the Decepticons return.
Fortress was seen briefly trying to relay a message to the Autobot Pretenders through great interference.
Dreamwave comics continuity
Later in the same era, a more normal-sized Fortress Maximus was a co-leader of the Autobot forces on Cybertron, along with Ultra Magnus. As Cybertron's resources ran low, they struggled to hold the Autobot army together. The peaceloving Fortress Maximus decided to offline himself indefinately following the Micromaster revolt however.
IDW comics continuity
A slightly less pacifistic Fortress Maximus (seriously, he repeatedly threatened to kill his prisoners or otherwise 'strip them down to their spark cores') was the warden in charge of Garrus 9, an Autobot-run penitentiary where both Autobot and Decepticon prisoners were kept in containment. As the ultimate imprisonment, each inmate was reduced down to their spark and laser core alone, held inanimate in a storage center known as "The Rig" until such a time as Fort Max deemed to rebuild and release them, if ever.
Fortress Maximus was one of many Autobots across the galaxy who watched a news report heralding the miraculous return of Blaster.
After Optimus Prime encountered the Monstructor combiners on Omega Supreme's asteroid bunker, he sent them to Garrus 9 with Jetfire and the Technobots, hoping the science team could help the six recover from Jhiaxus's experimentations. Fortress Maximus was dubious of the possible results, but allowed Jetfire and his team to run their tests at Garrus 9. Things changed for the worse, however, once word of the gestalt technology got out, and agents of the Decepticon Secret Service came to claim the remarkable new tech for themselves. Faced with an incredible amount of orbital bombardment and ground warfare, Fortress Maximus and his defensive crew were at serious risk of being overrun.
In order to maintain control of his base, Max reactivated the only Autobot inmate classified as Threat Level-9: Arcee. Knowing Arcee had strong feelings about Jhiaxus and his work from personal experience, Fortress Maximus felt confident she would do anything to prevent the Decepticons from laying claim to the "Monstructor Six". In case he was wrong, though, Fort Max made it clear to Arcee she was lowjacked with synchronized G-forces that would crush her spark if she stepped out of line. Despite Arcee's help, the Combaticons still managed to make off with the gestalt robots. Despite his better judgment, Fortress Maximus allowed Jetfire to convince him that Arcee was the best available to track and intercept the Secret Service ships and retrieve or destroy the gestalt robots.
When Optimus Prime and Prowl met with Fortress Maximus and Jetfire on Garrus-9 to discuss the prisoners' breakout, also mentioned was that a surviving Decepticon had been tortured. Maximus and Jetfire exchanged guilty glances. Prime left Maximus in charge and returned with Prowl and Jetfire to the Ark-32.
Fortress Maximus joined Hound's attack team on Earth towards the end of Dead Universe incident, battling Grindcore and Straxus for the space bridge located there. While Sideswipe distracted the two lieutenants of Nemesis Prime, Fortress Maximus passed through the space bridge for the moon of Rotan with Warpath. By some means they got passed Monstructor and successfully disabled the Negacore there, sending it to the Benzuli Expanse for diffusion.
Shortly after this, once back in command of his prison, Megatron launched his galaxy wide conquest of Autobot positions. Garrus-9 got targeted by the Predators special forces led oh so briefly by Skyquake, that is until Overlord swooped in and 'promoted' him. One of the new Overlord's first actions was, of course, to lord it over the newly freed Decepticons and defeated Autobots, especially a well beaten Fortress Maximus, throwing him to the mercies of his former prisoners.
Maximus did survive in some form, albiet a horribly mangled form. Badly mutilated his brain was hooked directly into a high security door to act as an electronic lock pick. Perceptor, TwinTwist, Ironfist and Pyro found him in a completely comatose state and attempted to rescue him.
Fortress Maximus was the only being pulled alive from Garrus 9, though according to Ultra Magnus he appears to be on critical life support. So unless someone thinks up some sort of Spike Initiative to help replace his cranial damage he probably won't be too active for a while. Hmmmm....
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At a certain point, Fortress Maximus is a patient at the Delphi Medical Facility in a coma. First Aid manages to jar him out of it when the station was visited by Ratchet, Pipes, and Drift, who were investigating a strange report. The facility had been attacked by a pair of Decepticon combiners, Sonic and Boom, and infected with Red Rust. When he awoke, the two Decepticons had the other Autobots at gunpoint. Fotress Maximus explained politely to them that they were the first Decepticons he had seen since Overlord 'took him down', and that they were standing in the worst place in the universe. He then ripped one in half, smashed the halves together and threw the remains to the side. As the other fled, he grabbed him, punched him in the face (like 10 times) and then proceeded to slam a chest panel on his head, decapitating him. He then remarked to Ratchet that it "felt good".
Fortress Maximus' actions on Delphi led Ratchet to recommend him to Rung for psychiatric care. After a few sessions (with no progress), Fortress went on a rampage, incapacitating several Autobots with similar colors to Overlord. He then took Rung hostage, who was in the middle of a session with Whirl, and demanded that they turn the ship around so he could beat the scrap out of Prowl for waiting three years to send help. This eventually resulted in Rung being shot in the head by Swerve accidentally, and Whirl stabbing Fort Max with some sort of pipe.
Fortress Maximus was later able to apologize to Rung once the latter had recovered from being shot in the head, a very rare occurance for anyone. This was not the only redemption Fortress Maximus received that day as shortly there after Overlord went on a killing spree throughout the Lost Light. With the help of a code phrase activation from Rodimus, Fortress Maximus was able to pound Overlord worse than any save Megatron had done before. Not being able to destroy the Phase Sixer, Fortress Maximus hauled him to his temporal cell and hurled him inside to be jettisoned into space.
- Fortress Maximus (Headmaster Base, 1987)
- Fortress Maximus is, by far, the largest Transformers toy ever produced (That is, untill the arrival of the new Generations Metroplex.) In robot mode it stands 22" (or 56 cm) tall, nearly 8" (20 cm) taller than its in-fiction rival Scorponok. The original retail price was over $100USD. Taking into account ongoing trends in toy pricing and retail shelf space jockeying, it is highly doubtful any other Transformers even close to this size would ever be made again.
- The toy has multiple alt mode configurations, transforming into a relatively compact "city" mode, and also a secondary mode described in the US instruction as a "battle station." That mode was rebranded as a starship for the Japanese instructions, and is the "default" mode for Fortress Maximus in the Headmasters animated series. Additionally, the 1987 Hasbro toy catalog features a mis-transformed Fortress Maximus in a mode referred to as an "impenetrable fortress," essentially consisting of his city mode with the legs splayed outwards.
- In all modes, Maximus has a wide array of pop-out (non-firing) guns and gimmicks. Its left leg hides a small prison cell, plus has a swing-out cannon/helipad. Its right leg has a small storage compartment. Its torso has a gear-activated spinner for the detachable radar array accessory, a "control socket" for Cerebros' "communications tower" mode, and a working elevator that can lift small toys up to its central ramp to be launched in its altmodes. (The crank for this elevator ends up in a very unfortunate position in robot mode.) Each arm had a long ramp on the back with sliding launchers for small vehicles.
- Its robot-mode head is formed by Cerebros, who does not actually need Spike to attach to the upper body. It came with both Headmaster units, plus the Gasket and Grommet mini-vehicles (which, by the way, never appeared in the cartoon).
- The Japanese release of Fortress Maximus came with a pair of swords; one for Fortress, a large one for Maximus. It is currently unknown if the swords were originally planned for the Hasbro version but dropped for price or safety concerns, or if they were a Takara-initiated addition to their release of the toy.
- This mold was used to make Masterforce Grand Maximus, Robots in Disguise Brave Maximus, and Robot Masters' "Cybertron Base".
- Fortress Maximus (TF Jr, 1987)
- Japanese ID number: C-114
- Accessories: Fortress Headmaster unit, Photon Rifle
- A smaller rendering of the character, scaled down to regular Transformer size, and with only one head. Fortress Maximus Jnr. could only transform from his starship mode to his robot mode, as his legs lack the joints to fold into city mode. Much of his detail and accessories have been simplified into stickers, such as his shin cannons. He comes with only one weapon, his large blue photon rifle.
- This toy was also available in a leaders three-pack with Chromedome and Convoy Jnr.
- Fortress Maximus was a larger "build-a-bot" from the third "Act" of the Super Collection Figure PVC line; one piece of it was packaged in each of the six clear pieces in a case of twelve. Like the regular PVCs, it was available both in full-color or colorless-clear versions.
- The Fortress Maximus PVC was revisited for Hasbro's Heroes of Cybertron line, again as a pack-in, one part in each of the six releases of wave four. This version was cast entirely in clear-blue plastic then painted over, save a small spot on his head to give him a "light-pipe" glowing-eyes effect.
- At 22" (56 cm), Fortress Maximus is the tallest Transformer toy ever produced by far. However, it has been announced that Fall of Cybertron Metroplex will be 24", so that title will not be held by Fort Max much longer.
- 'Fortress Maximus' was likely a considered name for the character that eventually became Metroplex in Generation One. The Marvel comic adaptation of the 1986 Movie even refers to Autobot City as Fortress Maximus in a caption.
- Fortress Maximus was the first toy to be released with a bona-fide Earthling figure. All of the other Headmasters' companions were from Nebulos. (Although Maximus's on-package bio refers to 'the Nebulan leader, Spike', the general consensus is that it was supposed to be the popular figure from TV and other media, who is almost certainly an Earthling.)
- When Spike transforms to join Fortress Maximus for the last time in the Generation 2 book, Cerebros is not shown, and Spike transforms directly into Fortress Maximus's head. Maximus is shown to be no larger than Megatron. In real-life terms, it's an obvious series of art errors; in the context of the story, one might wonder if Maximus was reduced back to his original, smaller, size. It seems improbable, considering that Spike had been retired for years by that point.
- Fortress Maximus has the distinction of having one of the most well known Transformers bootleg versions in existence. While Cerebros has been omitted, the Spike figure is the same, and the body has been scaled down to match, effectively making the body compatible with any other Headmaster head. It also fetches absurd prices for a bootleg.
- In America, Fortress Maximus is seven distinct flavors of awesome, while in Japan he is only 3 kinds of awesome.
- In The Transformers cartoon, it is unclear if Fortress Maximus had any sentience of his own; he did speak once in his own voice. But for the most part, even Cerebros' will seemed to be pushed aside so Spike could run the whole thing himself.