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Transformers Universe is a four-issue limited series published by Marvel Comics in 1986 featuring expanded bios for the Transformers that had appeared thus far in the comic and toy lines. The entries were organized alphabetically, with the exception that characters who first appeared in The Transformers: The Movie were held until Issue 4. Each character had a lengthy write-up, divided into three sections: Profile, Abilities, and Weaknesses. A header section gave the character's name, allegiance, function, and the issue number of their first Marvel Comics appearance, for those who had appeared in the book (which included the bulk of the entries.)
These write-ups were the original full-length profiles written by Bob Budiansky for the characters; they were significantly truncated for their inclusion on Hasbro toy packaging.
Entries for characters from Transformers: The Movie differ greatly in style from the rest, sometimes omitting sections entirely. The writing style for these characters suggests that their profiles are actually pre-production notes from very early in the characters' development, before their character models had actually been designed; Cyclonus, for example, is described as a "multi-engine, and perhaps multi-wing" spacecraft, with weapons such as "an incendiary bomb rack" which are clearly not present on his character model.
- Cover: red background; Bumblebee on the front; Bruticus on the back.
- Cover: yellow background; Optimus Prime on the front, firing at Megatron on the back cover, who returns fire.
- Hot Spot
- Jazz (includes art of his "Cybertron mode" from the cartoon)
- Long Haul
- Omega Supreme
- Optimus Prime
- Cover: blue background; dino-mode Sludge, Snarl and Slag on the front; Shockwave on the back (perhaps a nod to their clashes in issue #4.)
- Cover: black background; Arcee and Ultra Magnus on the front; Unicron on the back.
- Twin Twist
- Hot Rod
- Rodimus Prime
- Quintessons, with artwork of a Judge, a "Gatekeeper", and a guard.
- Ultra Magnus
- Wreck-Gar, including robot-mode art for "Junkion 1" and "Junkion 2"
Errors and omissionsEdit
- Marvel had misplaced the model sheet for the front of Optimus Prime's vehicle mode, explaining why it is shown from behind.
- While Hasbro named the character Bluestreak, Marvel Comics consistently parsed it as two words (Blue Streak).
- Cassette-mode Buzzsaw is colored almost entirely red.
- Divebomb's eagle mode is not shown at all.
- Hot Spot's name is parsed as "Hotspot".
- Huffer's art features a rounded hood behind his head, out of keeping with his toy, alternate mode, and usual character model.
- The lower half of Kickback's face is colored the same blue-black as his body, as if he had a faceplate instead of a standard mouth.
- Megatron's art is based on his pre-animation model, including the differently-shaped head and a trigger on his fusion cannon. His pistol mode is mostly colored blue-black.
- Metroplex's entry includes no individual art for Scamper, Six Gun and Slammer.
- Roller and the Combat Deck are likewise not shown in Optimus Prime's entry.
- Perceptor's face gets the same colored-lower-half treatment as Kickback.
- Perceptor's third "artillery piece" mode is mentioned but not shown.
- The faces of Shrapnel, Sideswipe, Skywarp, Snarl and Slag are colored the same blue-black as their heads. Most should be white or light gray.
- Sideswipe is missing his shoulder missile launcher.
- Sky Lynx's combined bird-lynx mode is omitted.
- Soundwave is drawn as though he has a mouth. He's colored purple instead of blue, but this is consistent with his appearance in the Marvel comics.
- Sunstreaker's entry notes his disdain for his brother Sideswipe's rear-mounted engine... even though Sunstreaker is the one with said engine.
- Tracks' flying car mode is omitted.
- Trailbreaker's back-mounted weapons are missing.
- Like Metroplex, Trypticon's entry contains no artwork for Brunt and Full-Tilt (or even Wipe-Out), perhaps because models for them did not exist.
- Scourge's alternate mode is shown in the earlier (less toy-like) version which features his head poking out of the top, though his eyes have been replaced with some kind of scanner reading panel.
- The Movie characters' write-ups are incomplete. Arblus, Arcee, the Quintessons, and the Sharkticon are missing the "Abilities" section; Blurr, Cyclonus, Galvatron, Kup, Springer, Ultra Magnus, Wheelie and Wreck-Gar have no "Weaknesses" section.
- Marvel Comics was provided with early versions of the animation models that were later revised by the animation studios. As a result, characters like Cyclonus are drawn differently in Marvel Comics than they appeared in most animated episodes.
- The "base" modes for the four Scramble City combiner team leaders are neither mentioned nor portrayed (probably because animation models for them were never devised).
- Roadbuster and Whirl are completely absent as are the Deluxe Insecticons.
- Ramhorn's cassette mode is depicted with a golden Decepticon insignia on it.
- The series was later republished in a single volume although a handful of character profiles, such as Eject, Rewind, Inferno, Steeljaw, Sandstorm, Tailgate, Top Spin, Twin Twist and Pipes were left out (though their pictures appeared on the cover).
- Although cleaned up by artists Ian Akin and Brian Garvey, all the character artwork was based upon character models for the animated series.
- Issue 4 includes the Transformers: The Movie characters, including several non-toy characters.
- With issue #47 of the Marvel Comic, new post-1986 character entries under the Transformers Universe heading began appearing on a semi-regular basis, ending in issue #79. In these cases, the artwork was based upon the character models used in the US toy commercials. Many 1987 and 1988 characters never received such profiles, however.
- The profiles were also used as part of the UK comic’s "Transformers A-Z" feature.
- Scans of the series frequently appear on the Internet.
- Though the title on the cover is Transformers Universe, the title in the indicia is The Transformers Universe.