Cold-blooded and obsessed with efficiency, Ratbat's primary concern is looking out for himself. He treats his responsibilities, whether as a fuel auditor or as leader of Decepticons, as a business. In his book, everything comes down to profit and loss.
In his role as fuel scout, Ratbat carries sensors that allow him to detect and evaluate the quality of fuels of various types, from primitive hydrocarbons to energon. He can process any number of these different fuels to power himself.
Although obsessed with efficiency, like any good CEO, Ratbat allows himself a small indulgence: He enjoys sinking his fangs into the fuel tanks of Terran automobiles, the more expensive the better. He enjoys nothing more than savoring high-test gasoline siphoned from a hapless yuppie's Mercedes or BMW.
- Hungarian name: Féreg ("Worm")
- Italian name: Stridek
- French name (Canada): Vampiro
- Russian name: Kriusak (Крысак, "Ratter")
Madman Transformers comic
Ratbat was one of several tapes that accompanied Soundwave when they were spying on the construction of Autobot City. Soundwave had managed to record a meeting between Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus where the two Autobots leaders discussed hiding the Autobot Matrix of Leadership in a bunker at the building site. Ratbat was deployed along with Overkill, Slugfest, Beastbox and Squawktalk to oversee the retrieval of the powerful Autobot artifact. As Ratbat happily reported the minimal usage of fuel in the successful operation, the Autobot Hot Rod rammed Squawkbox and Slugfest, scaring the crap out of the bat.
Generation One cartoon
Ratbat was among several cassettes deployed by Soundwave during the Battle of Autobot City in an effort to stop Blaster from broadcasting a distress signal to Optimus Prime. After successfully destroying the transmitter, the cassettes broke into the glass dome of the communications tower and attacked Perceptor until Blaster deployed his own cassette squad. Ratbat was then attacked by Ramhorn.
While the Decepticons were searching space for isodryte to repair their weaponry, Soundwave ejected Ratbat to hunt for the mineral in an asteroid field. Although the scout was successful in his mission, the isodryte deposit he discovered was already being mined by the Autobots, leading to the inevitable conflict.
When Galvatron hired the Skuxxoid and Slizardo to attack the Autobots with anti-electrons, the spying Ratbat recorded their failure and raced back to Chaar to inform Galvatron, replaying his footage of the Autobots' recovery for the two would-be saboteurs to see.
During a battle on Earth's Moon, Ratbat was among several "primitive" Transformers called away by a mysterious being known as Primacron's assistant to do battle with Primacron's creation, Tornedron. As the primitives made their escape from the seemingly unstoppable creature, Ratbat was grabbed by Tornedron's tiger form and eaten. He got better, though, and was later around to overhear the Autobots' conversation with Jessica Morgan about the discovery of the lifeless body of Optimus Prime. However, this resulted in most of the Decepticons being infected with the Hate Plague. Some days, a bat can't win.
Japanese cartoon continuity
Detecting some strange electromagnetic emanations coming from a mountain range, Megatron had Soundwave deploy Ratbat, Ravage and Laserbeak to investigate. When they met resistance from Blaster and his own cassette warriors, it became apparent that the mountain concealed an Autobot operation. While Ravage and Laserbeak occupied Ramhorn and Steeljaw, Ratbat was able to evade laser fire from Blaster and penetrated the mountain, discovering that it housed the construction site for the Autobots' Scramble City.
The Headmasters cartoon
In the year 2011, as Vector Sigma was in the process of destabilizing, Soundwave and his cassettes invaded Autobot City in an attempt to learn what the Autobots' strategy for resolving the situation was. While listening in on the Autobots' discussion, which involved locating the missing Matrix of Leadership, Ratbat was detected by Blaster, leading to a battle between the two communications officers. Soundwave and his troops fled, but the battle was renewed soon after in the Arctic, where both combatants ultimately destroyed each other. Ratbat, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw gathered up the broken fragments of Soundwave's body and made an airborne escape. Subsequently, the information Ratbat had gathered on the Autobots' search was replayed for Galvatron.
Thanks to the super-science of planet Master, Decepticon Headmaster leader Scorponok was able to use the fragments of Soundwave's body Ratbat and the others had recovered to restore him to life as Soundblaster. He was joyfully received by Ratbat and the other cassettes, who soon found themselves again battling Blaster - likewise reborn as Twincast - and his cassettes while Soundblaster attacked Cybertron with the Decepticons' new Madmachine.
When a shadowy figure began blackmailing different nations around the world, Ratbat snuck into Autobot City to observe the Autobots' response. He was, however, spotted by Trainbot leader Shouki in the reflection in his glass of energon, and fled.
Marvel Comics continuity
Ratbat was one of the many Decepticons left on Cybertron, where he rose to the critical post of fuel auditor. With a drive towards extreme efficiency, he would rarely countenance unnecessary risks. He was one of the key figures in Lord Straxus' court, and so when Straxus' attempted possession of Megatron saw Straxus dead and Megatron mentally unstable, Ratbat was able to exploit it. He got the troops to follow him and had Megatron, Optimus and Ultra Magnus sent to Earth , and Ratbat emerged as the most powerful Decepticon in Polyhex.
Ratbat grew increasingly dissatisfied with the inefficient use of fuel by the Decepticons based on Earth under the command of Shockwave and developed schemes to improve the planet's output. He dispatched hypnotizing machines with the hope of taking over the minds of many humans and using them to deliver fuel at minimum cost to the Decepticons, but this plan was disrupted by the intervention of the Autobots' ally Buster Witwicky.
Ratbat allied with the Earthbound Decepticons but remained dissatisfied with the leadership of Shockwave. When the Earthbound Autobots briefly left the planet in the Ark, Ratbat was at the forefront of a new Decepticon reign of terror and kidnapped Buster Witwicky, taking him to the Decepticons' island base.
When the Autobot Targetmasters besieged the base, the Decepticons were forced to flee by deploying its rocket facility. In the process of departure, Shockwave was shot down in space and seen heading towards Earth, apparently dying, and Ratbat declared it would be inefficient to rescue him and so, instead seized command of the Decepticons for himself.
Of all the leaders of the Decepticons on Earth few came closer to outright victory than Ratbat. He followed the Autobots under Fortress Maximus when they set out to unite with those under Grimlock and launched an all-out attack that resulted in huge casualties and the Autobots being briefly stranded on the Moon.
Later, Ratbat promoted the newly recovered Starscream to the position of second-in-command and set out to learn the truth about the legendary Underbase, which could seemingly make a Transformer supremely powerful. Ratbat was determined to attain its power for himself but this ambition was shared by Starscream. The latter lured the separate Decepticon faction led by Scorponok to a meeting with Ratbat's forces, which soon resulted in conflict between the two, allowing Starscream to seek the Underbase for himself. Both Decepticon factions allied with the Autobots in fighting against Starscream, suffering huge casualties in the process. However, both Ratbat and Scorponok independently suspected that the Autobot leader Optimus Prime had plans to seize the power of the Underbase for himself, and they set out to stop them. Seconds later, Ratbat was dead, shot in the back by Scorponok.
Transformers in 3-D
Ratbat was a sentient entity capable of talking, but pretended to be an obedient mute animal in order to get out of doing any real work. He ended up as the mentally unstable Galvatron's witless pet and sole confidant. This embarrasses him, but better that than work!
Cyclonus worried about Galvatron's unhealthy attachment to Ratbat. When Searchlight foiled Ratbat's search for mysterious energon-producing aliens by causing Galvatron to step on him accidentally using Scorponok, Galvatron stopped fighting to rush to Ratbat's side, distraught over his actions.
For reasons known only to Ratbat, he was later showing off his sentience and joining in on Decepticon raids. It's almost as if he was being written inconsistently...
Dreamwave comics continuity
Millions of years ago, before the Transformers crash-landed on Earth, Ratbat was the leader of a sub-faction of Decepticons called the Ultracons during the time when Megatron had disappeared. During the Dark Ages, Ratbat made several efforts to secure the Tagan Heights, which held forty percent of Cybertron's industrial capability. However, his efforts were constantly thwarted by Springer and the Wreckers.
Eventually, he became so frustrated that he openly violated the Crisis Intervention Accords and managed to sway the Constructicons over to the Ultracons, unleashing Devastator on the Heights. However, the Protectobots arrived and formed Defensor. Their duel resulted in the destruction of a good deal of the Tagan Heights, and Ratbat was forced to retreat. Megatron's return saw the Ultracons reintegrated into the Decepticons. At this point in time, Ratbat possessed his original Cybertronian form, able to transform from robot mode to jet. However, at a later date, after the Great Shutdown, when Shockwave established control of the planet, many Transformers, including Ratbat, had their bodies reformatted into Earth-themed modes, leading to Ratbat's bat/tape body. It was noted that he was not pleased with its unimposing nature compared to his original structure.
When next we saw Ratbat, he had been freed by Starscream from imprisonment and was given to Soundwave as a servant/gift, implying a past connection for which Soundwave would want recompense. It is entirely possible that Shockwave may have viewed Ratbat as a threat to his control of the planet and deliberately gave him a weak body and imprisoned him to keep him out of the way.
G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers
Ratbat was one of the many Transformers recovered from the crashed Ark by Cobra. He was repaired and retrofitted by Doctor Mindbender, who proudly displayed him, Soundwave, and his fellow Mini-Cassettes to Destro. Ratbat was released by Soundwave, along with Laserbeak, Frenzy, Rumble, and Ravage, during an attack on the SPS Center. Ratbat was felled by the combined fire of Rock'n'Roll, Roadblock, and Bazooka. His body was taken into custody by G.I. Joe.
IDW comics continuity
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Millions of years ago, before the war, Ratbat was a member of the Senate and possessed a fairly impressive humanoid form with wing-like capes and a bat head-like helmet. His professed role was "the application of wisdom through judgment," whatever that means, but, in practicality, he simply monitored news feeds and manipulated events (including stoking conflicts) to create the most profit for himself. He was responsible for the automation of Cybertron's Energon mines, a move which prompted the miner known as Megatron to rebel and flee underground.
Interested by Megatron's early gladiatorial exploits, he sent his servant Soundwave to offer Megatron a wide variety of advanced weaponry. He was either trying to get in on the fight racket and increase the violence for profit, or was deliberately trying to create greater instability (also for profit).
When Megatron's forces bloomed from underground fightclub to planet-destabilizing army, Ratbat realized that he'd made a mistake and Megatron was going too far.
After Megatron decisively won his first battle against Sentinel Prime and the Decepticons were established, Ratbat decided to view this as a job opportunity and simply transfer himself (and all of Kaon's city funding and government data) to Iacon and a more lucrative position. Unfortunately for him, he was betrayed by Soundwave, who thought Ratbat would be a "valuable resource" for the Decepticons. His Spark was removed and transferred into a smaller, compact form.
Millions of years later, in the present day, Ratbat appears to have come WAY down in the world and serves as a scout for the Decepticons. Now on Earth, he appears to change into some sort of consumer electronic device of the portable CD player variety.
- Ratbat / Frenzy (Cassette 2-pack, 1986)
- Ratbat transforms from a robot bat into a microcassette that can fit in the chest compartment of the Soundwave and Blaster molds. He was released in a two-pack with Frenzy in 1986 in the US and European markets. The toy had either gold or silver weapons and painted or sticker cassette detail. It is unknown if the color of the weapons corresponded the the detailing types.
- It is worth noting that Ratbat's tiny "ears" are among the more easily lost parts in the original Generation One line.
- Ratbat (Cassettron, 1986/1987)
- Japanese ID number: D-61, D-107
- Accessories: 2 thrusters
- In Japan, Ratbat was released as an individual toy. He came with a clear-plastic cassette storage case, like all other Japanese releases of the cassettes. It is unknown what weapon/tape-detail variants were available in Japan.
- Standoff Beneath the Streets (Voyager Deluxe Comic 2-Pack, 2008)
- Accessories: Left & right wing-swords, Cyber key
- A Target exclusive redeco of Cybertron Sideways, Ratbat is a purple, alien spacefighter with Cyber Planet Key-activated faction-switching ability (switching from Decepticon to Ultracon) and pop-out blades built into his battle shield.
- This mold was also used to make the Noisemaze Mass-Production Version.
- Despite being a redeco of a Cybertron mold, Universe Ratbat is a remarkable homage to his Dark Ages robot mode and altmode. This is further enhanced by packaging him with Springer, with whom Ratbat had a rivalry in the story. See above.
- While Ratbat in the original cartoon was a voiceless beast who was ordered around by Soundwave, in the Marvel Comics stories, Ratbat was an independent, intelligent character who could speak and held a prestigious rank, even commanding the Earthbound Decepticons for a period, despite transforming into a tiny audio cassette. Both of the "postmodern" continuities established by Dreamwave Productions and IDW Publishing have tried to harmonize these two disparate roles by portraying Ratbat as a previously-important individual who was humbled and forced into a lowly form. Remember, kids, if you're not humanoid, you can't possibly have held a real rank. There must be some explanation.
- "Rat-bat" is a Caribbean dialect term for a bat, because the term "bat" is sometimes applied to butterflies, or, more frequently, moths. Considering what flying mammals of the order Chiroptera look like, "rat-bat" is an excellent term for the cute li'l fellers.
- In the third season of the cartoon, Ratbat seems replace Laserbeak's position as the scout.