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|Specifics: Fictional appearances|
Kickback is one of the most charming, likable beings you're ever likely to meet. He collects friends the way others do energon cubes. Scratch the surface, though, and you find a manipulative blackmailer that loves digging up dirt on his new "pals" to force them to work for him. Humans are particularly likely to fall prey to his honeyed words. In insect mode his super-charged legs allow him to jump great distances and kick through solid steel, though he's vulnerable in that mode when attempting to fly through high winds.
- Italian name: Atrox
- French name (Canada): La Raude
- Portuguese name (Portugal cartoon): Violento
- Portuguese name (Portugal comic): Maquia
- Portuguese name (Brazil comic): Pula-Pula
- Russian TV dub name: Прыгун ("Jumper")
Kickback, Bombshell and Shrapnel landed on Earth in their own space pod before the Ark crashed to Earth. (It is unclear whether this pod was launched from the Nemesis or not, as the dialogue seems to suggest maybe it was, but the Insecticons and Megatron's Decepticons do not seem to know each other.) Their pod crashed into the region that would become known as "Demon Swamp" and their computers adapted them to transform into insects and eat organic food to survive. The "Insecticons" apparently lived in the swamp for millions of years until discovered by Megatron's Decepticons. They form an uneasy alliance with Megatron, never coming fully under his command but working with the Decepticons when they could be convinced there was something (usually food) in it for them. The Insecticons were able to create vast clone armies of themselves at will, a formidable ability that may have been the reason they were able to maintain their autonomy from Megatron.
On one occasion, the Insecticons were chowing down on redwoods in a national forest when Hound, Beachcomber and Bumblebee arrived on the scene and attempted to stop them. Despite the equal odds, the Insecticons managed to overpower their Autobot opponents and send them into retreat after launching a massive fallen tree trunk at the heroes (naturally, Kickback used his legs to push the tree instead of his arms like the others). Megatron then arrived and offered a deal: if he led the Insecticons to a fresh new source of energy, they would aid him in acquiring some useful data from the heavily-guarded Iron Mountain installation. Agreeing, the Insecticons accompany the Decepticons to the Nova Power Core, an energy source of considerable power. Consuming it, the Insecticons find themselves more than doubling in size and strength.
Naturally, both groups of 'Cons are planning to eliminate each other at the most opportune opportunity, but the Insecticons get the upper hand first by secretly placing Soundwave under the control of Bombshell's cerebro-shells. Before the mission at Iron Mountain is completed, the rest of the Decepticons sans Megatron are also under Insecticon control. Kickback and the others plan to use Soundwave to acquire Iron Mountain's data for themselves, but little do they know that the Nova Power in their systems is explosively unstable. With the help of the Autobots, Megatron manages to administer the antidote to the Insecticons (reversing their invincibility and self-destruct cycles) and reclaim his soldiers. Because Shrapnel was critically wounded in the final battle, Kickback and Bombshell quickly repair him and them flee to fight another day.
When the Decepticons invade Autobot City on Earth in 2005, a keen-eyed Hot Rod spots their hijacked shuttle before they are able to penetrate the city's defenses. As a result, the Autobots had time to activate the base's heavily-armored transformation sequence, and the Decepticons are forced to physically breach the defenses. Kickback and his fellow Insecticons attempt to eat their way into the city, but keep their eyes on their stomachs and are caught off guard by the returning Hot Rod and Kup. Kup uses Kickback's head as a ramp to jump his way into the closing city, flattening the Insecticon's head in the process.
Heavily damaged, Kickback was carried back aboard Astrotrain by Long Haul as the Decepticons fled , hours later, he proved too weak to resist when the 'Cons tossed him and four other weakened warriors, including Megatron out of the shuttle to "make room". His corpse is soon used by Unicron as raw materials, and is reformatted into a Sweeps drone to serve under Scourge, the Tracker. Somehow he still appears later on in the movie and in Season 3 episodes.
Marvel Comics continuity
Kickback was one of Lord Straxus's warriors operating out of Polyhex and, without realizing it, barely escaped being killed by the Wreckers in Operation: Volcano . He was later summoned to Earth by Megatron, and became an Insecticon alongside his partners Shrapnel and Bombshell.
Soon after, Kickback was assigned, along with Dirge, to stand guard for Soundwave as he used a radio transmitter to contact their allies on Cybertron. The pair ended up in battle with Prowl and Trailbreaker. When Jetfire arrived on the scene, Kickback avoided his attack by transforming into his insect mode and shrinking to miniscule size.
Kickback continued to see occasional action under Shockwave and Ratbat, hijacking an empty tanker , standing around doing nothing while Fortress Maximus' Autobots attacked their base and taking part in the attack on the Autobots massed on the moon. He wasn't seen after the Underbase Saga so was presumably deactivated.
Kickback and the Insecticons worked under Megatron's command during the Decepticon Civil War. At the Enclave, he was seen talking to Long Haul before the fighting broke out. Later, he joined his fellow Insecticons in infiltrating Shockwave's base to spy on their activities. They ate their way through the wall next to the war room, and planned to pick a nice, cozy spot for eavesdropping, but Starscream caught the little pests in a rustbug hoop. He then fed them false information to lead Megatron and Shockwave into a confrontation with each other, giving him a chance to consolidate control over the Decepticons. After the coup, Kickback was part of the attack on Autobot Earthbase led by Soundwave.
Dreamwave comics continuity
Seen in his pre-Earth dragster mode, Kickback and the pre-Insecticons joined Soundwave and Ravage in making an assassination attempt on the recently-risen Optimus Prime, hoping to extract the power of the Matrix from the green Autobot leader. Instead, they learned a valuable lesson about underestimating any newborn Prime whose name isn't "Rodimus".
At some point after the disappearance of the Ark and Nemesis, Shockwave managed to track the ships to the planet Earth, and dispatched Kickback, Shrapnel, and Bombshell to the planet as part of some longterm machinations which were never made clear. Shortly after landing, they were confronted by the Dynobots who followed them to the planet, but somehow managed to give them the slip.
The Insecticons were supposed to remain in hiding on Earth until an unknown time, and managed to keep their presence on the planet secret even after the Autobot and Decepticon spaceship crews awoke and began regularly battling it out on Earth. However, Bombshell began instituting plans of his own, mutilating cattle, kidnapping fleshlings, and growing techno-organic "Insecticlones", among other things. Kickback noticed a minor power struggle between Shrapnel and Bombshell, and enjoyed stirring things up between his partners. Bombshell's antics drew the attention of the Autobots and Earth Defense Command, and the Insecticons were forced into the spotlight to do battle. Kickback was personally taken down in combat with Sunstreaker.
The Insecticons were taken into custody by Jazz and his Autobots after the encounter.
IDW comics continuity
Kickback is very briefly seen among the newly-formed Decepticons as they leave Kaon's jail and began laying waste to the city-state.
IDW Hearts of Steel continuity
Kickback, Bombshell, and Shrapnel rob a train carrying cash and bullion from the Denver Mint, on Starscream's orders. They deliver the stolen property to Starscream and Tobias Muldoon the following morning.
Kickback forms one end of the "Insectrain" (as it is called in the concept art); the front end, in its one appearance. He has piledrivers mounted to force other trains off the tracks.
- Kickback (Insecticon, 1985)
- Japanese ID number: 40
- Accessories: "Electrothermic Blast Tube"
- Kickback transforms into a robotic grasshopper/locust. He doesn't do a whole lot more than that.
- The mold has gone through a few variations, primarily in the chromed-silver wings. Original versions only had a single rubsign indent, on the outer right-robot-mode wing. Later versions not only added indents to all four faces of the wings (for symmetry, apparently), but shortened the wings as well.
- In Japan, Kickback and the other Insecticons were "re-released" as mail-order items from 1987 through 1988. They each cost 880 yen (their normal retail price) and two robot points.
- This mold was used to make the Shothole drones.
- Insectrons (Transformers Collection multi-pack, 2004)
- Japanese ID number: 16 (full set)
- Kickback was re-released as part of the Japanese "Transformers Collection" series in a set with Bombshell and Shrapnel. This set also included three energon cube accessories that fit inside their chest compartments.
- The Kickback in this set has another change to the wings; this time, the "safety circles" at the wing-tips added by Hasbro back in the day are no longer present, giving them pointed tips. The wings also go back to having a single rubsign indent.
- Kickback (Decoy, 1987)
- Kickback was one of the Decepticon Decoys packed in with smaller carded Transformers toys. While the normal purple version could come on any Decepticon toy, the rarer red version was available only on Throttlebot cards and only for a short while before the switch to purple.
- Destron Hero Collection-22 Set (Decoy multi-pack, 1987)
- The entire run of twenty-two Decepticon Decoys were sold as a single boxed set in Japan, only in purple.
- Ironhide vs. Kickback (2008)
- Kickback, like the other Insecticons, was originally a Diaclone "Waruder Battas" evil alien piloted mech in different colors... which were eventually used when the trio were redecoed for e-Hobby release. This is also the genesis of those opening chest compartments.