What Henry Ford and Bill Gates were to the 20th century, Isaac Sumdac is to the 22nd. His invention of versatile reliable automaton robots revolutionized every industry and the American way of life, and turned Detroit into a major manufacturing center once again. The founder of Sumdac Systems, he is also the father of Sari. He probably won't be winning any parenting awards soon, considering he leaves the raising of Sari to robots, seemingly neglects her for days while he works in his lab, and lets her stay overnight with a group of giant alien robots at an undisclosed location. Being a single parent isn't easy, but being a rich single parent should make it a little easier. It's worth mentioning, however, that for all his faults, Isaac is a very devoted father, as shown by his concerns towards Sari's safety, the elaborate birthday presents he crafts for her, and his attempts to help her make friends (even if this does involve press-ganging the children of his employees into service). He just gets so wrapped up in his work that it's hard to remember that there is a world outside his lab.
He seems to think big, psychotic, robot dinosaurs would be a good thing to have around. Some would agree. Despite this, he has a code of ethics that results in Sumdac Systems having a zero-military-hardware policy, though they are willing to develop drone cop-bots for the Police Department. Isaac cares enough about the common good that when over-zealous employee Henry Masterson developed an obsession with war-bots and endangered the safety of Detroit in the process, Isaac had no hesitation in firing Masterson on the spot.
Perhaps stereotypically for an engineering genius, some of Isaac's personal skills are underdeveloped. He doesn't even know the extent of his own corporate holdings; he often seems blissfully unaware of the goings-on in Sari's life; he forgets to eat for days at a time; and he is quite gullible—just ask his good friend, the former Autobot head in his lab.
|“||I should be more careful when reverse-engineering alien technology.||”|
—Isaac Sumdac, "Blast from the Past"
Transformers Animated cartoon
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As a youth, Sumdac found Megatron's head after it crashed on Earth and reverse-engineered it. It is from this that he gained all of the technology he used to build his robots. He was (understandably) terrified that the Autobots, not to mention the world at large, might find out what launched his robotics empire.
Sumdac was shocked to find Megatron still functioned. He confirmed that the robot was indeed an old friend of the Autobots, but bore no grudge. Megatron even suggested the Autobots would be more forgiving of Isaac dissecting him if the scientist gave him a new body before revealing the truth. As a sign of good faith, Megatron helped Sumdac rebuild his robot dinosaurs. Unfortunately, a glitch made them rampage twice, and Isaac felt annoyed at the bad job he'd done. However, Megatron took the blame upon himself and was ashamed that he'd built weapons into the dinosaurs out of his desire to have a body again. Sumdac sympathized with his friend, promising not to tell the Autobots and to restore him one day.
Isaac briefly attempted to rebuild Megatron, but his modifications were unworkable due to lack of a critically needed element. It just so happened that Sumdac Systems' product line also included a prototype reflex-augmentation suit; when the only working model was mysteriously stolen and the thief then used it to try to retrieve the critical element Megatron desperately wanted, Isaac found that confusing but seemed otherwise untroubled.
For Sari's birthday party, he tried to get some kids her own age (all children of his employees) to hang around with her, but even with the help of the Autobots, this did not really work. Luckily, she was happy with her new present, Soundwave, a musical robot that had been created by Megatron simply to please children. (It turned evil, but surely that was all an accident on Megs's part!) Isaac appears to design and make special robots for many of Sari's birthdays, each trying to be better than the last, though as he sadly notes to Megatron, she seems to forget them quite quickly.
After meeting with Henry Masterson, who showed Sumdac the "Headmaster unit", he was horrified to discover that Masterson planned to use the technology for military purposes. Things got even worse when the rocket that Masterson's warbot controlled went flying into the city of Detroit. Furious, Sumdac fired Masterson on the spot. Several days later, Masterson stole the Autobot Bulkhead's body and used it to take control of a solar fusion power plant, demanding 700 billion dollars to be delivered by Sumdac himself. Isaac drove Optimus Prime into the power plant with the other Autobots, allowing them to take on Masterson. While Sumdac tried to shut down the reactor, a stray missile from Masterson destroyed the controls. Fortunately, Bulkhead built a drone that managed to shut down the reactor.
After discovering an energy signature out in the woods near Detroit, he found it was what he had been searching for since he came across Megatron's head: the rest of his body. Sumdac noted that Megatron would be most surprised by the discovery.
As soon as he brought back Megatron's body, he commented on how his body had done well in the wilderness for 50 years. As soon as Sumdac apparently finished the body's repairs, Lugnut and Blitzwing arrived, and Megatron revealed that he was a Decepticon. Depositing Sumdac in his severed hand, Megatron used the Key to restore his body. As wires pulled the hand to the body, it made a fist around Sumdac, taking him with it. When Megatron opened his hand upon being restored, Sumdac was nowhere to be seen.
Somehow free from Megatron's grasp, Sumdac tried to escape. Blitzwing intercepted his escape, but Megatron's calling of the Decepticons allowed him to flee. Meeting the Autobots in the lobby of Sumdac Tower, Isaac explained his role in what had happened. Prowl and Bulkhead were a little ticked, but Optimus decided that then was not the time for recriminations. Repairing the Autobots with residual Key energy, Isaac accompanied them on the Autobots' ship when they crashed on Dinobot Island. Fearing that the end was near, Sumdac said that there was something important that he wanted to tell Sari, but she ran off to find something that the AllSpark could charge in place of her Key before he could elaborate. Sumdac quickly assembled a device that damaged Megatron's equilibrium sensors, but disappeared in the chaos during the battle between Optimus and Megatron and the dispersal of the AllSpark.
In the aftermath, Sumdac had been snatched by Megatron. The Decepticon leader mockingly asked his prisoner if Sumdac was comfortable in his chair.
Professor Sumdac was held prisoner by the Decepticons deep in a cavern studded in carbon deposits which baffled the Autobot scans of the area. Shown a space bridge schematic which Megatron had stolen from Teletran 1, the scientist was put to work doing what he does best, reverse-engineering the technology.
When Megatron recieved a message by a fellow double agent on Cybertron, Professor Sumdac secretly patched the call to Autobot HQ. Little did he know how much help it would do when Bumblebee suspected that it was his old classmate Wasp who was the double agent.
Once the bridge was completed, it was learned that Sumdac had misinterpreted the schematics, leaving the Decepticons with a non-functional bridge. Megatron decided to kidnap Cybertron's top space bridge technician, who turned out to be Bulkhead. Megatron took Sumdac with him both as a hostage and to prevent Sumdac from interfering with the Constructicons' work. Bulkhead was captured and compelled to help under threat of being body-jacked again with a Headmaster unit. Once Bulkhead was put to work, Sumdac assumed that he was trying to sabotage the bridge and played along. However, Bulkhead actually was trying to fix the bridge and managed to finish it in short order...just in time for a rescue attempt by the Autobots to be hijacked by an attack by Starscream and his clones.
After trying to shut down the bridge, Sumdac commandeered the Headmaster and used it to steal Starscream's body to try and destroy Megatron. The Decepticon leader was unimpressed and shot the Headmaster off with his fusion cannon. Then power complications with the space bridge arose, and Megatron tried to fix that by adding Starscream's AllSpark-infused head to the mix, causing an overload. Fortunately, Omega Supreme arrived, being piloted by Ratchet and Sari of all people. Omega sacrificed himself after ejecting Sari and Ratchet, and the Autobots and Sumdacs escaped before the mine came down around them when the space bridge exploded. Free of Megatron and reunited with his daughter, Isaac Sumdac was relieved to know that the ordeal was at an end.
His troubles weren't over, though, as Sari noticed that the skin of her right arm had been torn...revealing robotic circuitry underneath! Faced with a daughter on the verge of a breakdown and five robots who had run out of reasons to trust him, Isaac told Sari that they needed to talk...
It turned out to be difficult to explain about how Sari was a robot (later discovered to be a Cybertronian protoform) that he had mysteriously found in his lab years ago. Sari soon developed a barrier between her and her father, angry that he kept the truth from her all this time. In the end, Sari made up with him again after putting his life at stake when he protected her from being killed by the Headmaster (and also saving his life in the process). After the incident of Sari's upgrade, Optimus revealed the coordinates of the Autobot base to him (much to the displeasure of the his teammates), claiming that "there will be no more secrets in this family".
Later, he and Bulkhead start constructing a space bridge in order to contact Cybertron about Shockwave. As he drove his forklift to move some building materials, the weight of the forklift and Bulkhead's body made a hole in the floor, while his vehicle fell as well as the Headmaster unit and the AllSpark fragments they had recently collected. After Bulkhead saved him from falling to his death with his wrecking ball, the save had pulled out his back and decided to rest on Sari's bed. He was about to get slagged by the new boss of the town after discovering that Bulkhead had recruited Mixmaster and Scrapper to help repair the broken structure, but luckily Bulkhead pretended to be aggressive against him to save his life.
Isaac was annoyed to see that Powel had stolen his Soundwave toy designs and was selling his invention on the open market. He later gives Sari a transforming jetpack for Christmas, along with a Soundwave toy (which he dances along with upon opening it, much to Sari's dismay).
Issac was one of the humans to be hypnotized by Soundwave as he was ordered to destroy Sari, due to that her technorganic form was immune to his mind-controlling music. Knowing she didn't want to hurt her father, Sari blasted down a bookcase to immobilize him while she made her escape to find help to stop Soundwave's control of the city. After Soundwave was destroyed by Optimus Prime, Issac witnesses Powel's defeat as his sales backfired on him due to that the Soundwave toys were all destroyed from the cancellation of Soundwave's frequency over them. Revenge has never been so sweet...
- Voice actor: Marty Isenberg (English)
Despite having a cold, Pr. Sumdac was in an unusually good mood and "remembered to wear pants" the morning he showed Sari, Bumblebee, and Optimus his new Bi-directional Unified Transit Terminal, but no doubt lost his good mood when his BUTT backfired with such power that it flung Sari, Bumblebee, and Optimus into Axiom Nexus.
- It is probably no coincidence that "Sumdac" is 'Cadmus' spelled backwards. However, story editor Marty Isenberg at BotCon 2008 said he had no idea why it is not a coincidence, as it was in the show development before he signed on.
- A non-finalized character model of Isaac Sumdac was featured in Cartoon Network's Transformers Animated press kit. Compared to the final model, his body's proportions are entirely different, as is his hair. He also had some kind of stylized "S" emblem on his lab jacket, where the finalized Sumdac has a name badge. The "S" appears to be in his hair now.
- He used Megatron's hand as a chair. Bearings of steel on this one. Until it ultimately backfired on him. (And will haunt him for the rest of his life.)
- Despite the obvious manipulation going on, Sumdac's "working relationship" with Megatron had become surprisingly casual just prior to the intergalactic despot dropping the charade and raining destruction upon Detroit.
- This isn't the first time that a central human character's father was taken captive and forced to help the Decepticons.
- He has an Indian accent in the English language version and a Chinese accent in the German dub.
- For unknown reasons, he appears to be wearing the uniform of the Galactic Empire.
- It was revealed that Sumdac got the "S" streak of hair when touching Sari's protoform.
- Despite Sari now revealed as starting out as a Cybertronian protoform, Sumdac is still technically her biological father due to his DNA being the thing that brings her 'online'.
- He started a company that doubled, maybe even tripled, the unemployment rate not only in Detroit, but maybe even in the rest of the country. Way to go, Professor.
- He is credited as "Sumdac" instead of Isaac Sumdac, or Professor Sumdac.