- The Transformers Pop-Up Book is a UK storybook set in Generation One continuity.
The Transformers Pop-up Book is a unique piece of Transformers merchandise. It's a story-book with no ending, is filled with unique pop-up features, is basically its own self-contained continuity, and is written in very explicit and violent prose.
Writer/Paper Engineering: Vic Duppa-Whyte and Damian Johnston
Illustrator: Terry Pastor/Aircraft (Look, that's what it lists. Who knows who "Aircraft" is?)
Pagecount: 11 pp (5 double-page spreads and the back cover.)
The Autobots launch a shuttle attack on Castle Decepticon. Ultra Magnus's shuttle is shot down, and after killing a giant serpent, he finds himself fighting for his life against Starscream.
The Decepticons were in Castle Decepticon, plotting the final destruction of the heroic Autobots. The castle was guarded by various cunning devices and Megatron's newest ally, a malevolent giant serpent. Suddenly, the warning alarms went off—the Autobots had found Castle Decepticon!
Megatron sent his most loyal Decepticons to intercept the Autobots, and a massive battle soon erupted between Decepticon interceptors and Autobot shuttles. The lead shuttle was shot down by Starscream, but an escape pod was launched from it, saving the pilot.
The pod contained Ultra Magnus, who escaped from the pod only to find himself attacked by the giant serpent. Ultra Magnus shot into the serpent's open mouth and roasted his head from the inside. No, seriously, he totally did:
|“||This time, Ultra Magnus aimed a massive stream of energy into its cavernous throat. Unprotected, the serpent's vulnerable interior began to vaporize, and soon all that remained of its head and neck was a husk.||”|
Meanwhile, automated robots from Castle Decepticon had been repairing Ultra Magnus' shuttle, mistaking it for one of their own. A ray of hope for Magnus, then, right? No! Because at that moment Starscream found him...
And so the two deadly foes were facing each other on the landing strip, so very close to the shuttle.... Could Magnus make it to the shuttle? Who would triumph?
And that's where the game kicks in.
The exact conclusion of the pop-up book is undetermined; it can go one of five ways, depending on the outcome of the game.
The game is basically a 50-50 thing. First you toss a coin to determine whether the shuttle is an Autobot shuttle or a Decepticon shuttle. Then you use spinners to determine whether Starscream can blast Magnus or Magnus can blast Starscream.
The five outcomes are as follows:
- The shuttle is still programmed for Autobots, and Magnus manages to escape in it.
- The shuttle is still programmed for Autobots, but Starscream manages to vaporize Magnus before he can get to it.
- The shuttle is still programmed for Autobots, but Magnus gets winged by Starscream. This forces Magnus to stop and blow the Decepticon out the sky before taking off in the shuttle.(Arguably the 'best' ending if you're on Magnus' side.)
- The shuttle is Decepticon and Magnus can't fly it, so he tries to fight his way out against Starscream and gets vaporized.
- The shuttle is Decepticon and Magnus can't fly it, so he tries to fight his way out and manages to blow Starscream away.
ContinuityThe pop-up book doesn't seem to place itself in any specific continuity. It takes most of its cues from the comic continuity, using things like Castle Decepticon. However, this is definitely not the same Castle Decepticon from the first issue of the Marvel comics.
The art is explicitly toy-based, and the characters are shown with their Earth-based alt-modes, suggesting the story took place after the crash-landing on Earth. However the story offers no clues as to an actual location of the battle except that it takes place in a far northern wilderness.
Then there's the matter of Jetfire's allegiance in the story. He has a Decepticon insignia and is not mentioned explicitly as an Autobot anywhere in the story. Could this be a continuity in which Jetfire actually stayed a Decepticon? Nah. It's probably just an error.
- Starscream is identified among Megatron's "most loyal Decepticons" in the story.
- During the flying battle, the Autobots are explicitly described as wearing "jetpacks", while all the Decepticons appear in flight modes. The only Decepticon without a flight mode in the battle is a transforming Ravage, who appears to eject from Starscream's cockpit. Despite this depiction, Ravage is described as "waiting to pounce" in the text.
- The shuttles that appear in this story appear to be completely unique to the pop-up book, as is the escape pod and the construction robots who rebuild the shuttle.
- Ultra Magnus's escape pod has a fusion cannon, but it was damaged in the crash, and he couldn't use it to kill the giant serpent.
- The serpent is truly massive. The pop-up of castle Decepticon gives the impression of a beast almost as big as the castle itself. Even in the more close-quartered shots of him with Ultra Magnus, the beast is ENORMOUS. Too bad it wasn't tougher.
- It should be noted that it's not just the serpent. Scale is simply all over the place in this book. Ultra Magnus' escape pod is depicted several times as almost as big as the shuttle it ejected from. However the first time it appears it's tiny. The Autobots and Decepticons in the air battle are all the same size as the shuttles, yet there are supposed to be Autobots and escape pods inside them. Serpents, Starscreams and most other figures or objects in the book change size from page to page. Distance is also difficult to judge in the book, things often appear closer together than they really are, making them seem out of scale.
- Play features of the book include a pop-up Castle Decepticon with a striking giant serpent, an opening iris for the escape pod, crashing shuttles, Transformers on strings who can be moved throughout the battle, Ultra Magnus leaping behind a boulder and more.
- The book also includes a pop-up cut-out of Starscream's robot mode and his jet mode. The cut-outs are used as representative tokens in the battle game at the end of the story.
- Incidentally, if you DO play the game and find out if Ultra Magnus survives it still doesn't provide a conclusion for the story. How did the attack on Castle Decepticon go? Did the Autobots succeed? We'll never know.