Tuesday, 13 November 2012

#56: Rippersnapper (1987)

Rippersnapper, like the Terrorcons, suffered from "Too Late in the Franchise" syndrome. Because both they and the Technobots arrived on the scene in 1987, then they weren't privy to the vast amounts of fiction as say, the Combaticons or the Aerialbots were. And they weren't quite so lucky as the Predacons, who didn't really have much competition in their era (and probably weren't as cool, let's be honest). So Rippersnapper had to make do with only two episodes of any worth (if you don't count the Japanese episodes he was in during the Headmasters series. All they really did was smash seven bells out of each other anyway.)

Firstly came Grimlock's New Brain, which introduced both the Terrorcons and Technobots, by way of Grimlock creating the Technobots. I always had a problem with this, because Vector Sigma wasn't involved. Or the Creation Matrix. And it seemed to screw Grimlock royally out of being his comic book self in the cartoon. Regardless, the Terrorcons did quite well out of the episode, but sadly not individually. They kind of came as a package, or not at all.

In the next episode they were in, they were being mind controlled by the Quintessons. Yep, the bloody Quints. It really doesn't say much for Decepticon superiority when a bunch of badly rendered faces on a squid body can subdue you, right? Good episode though, if only for the fact that the Transformers' universe equivalent of Han Solo was in it.

In the comics, Rippersnapper aided his compadres during the Headmasters conflict, and then relocated to Earth just in time for the Decepticon Civil War. Then, like all of his team (and lots of other toys being made way for 1988's cavalcade of characters), he was brutally finished off by the Underbase-Powered Starscream. Shame.

In IDW, the Terrorcons haven't really made their mark yet, having only been in one story featuring Sixshot and the Reapers. Hopefully, Rippersnapper will get some face time at some point, because I really do think that a self-hating, bullying character like his is worth a look. The fact that he's a bully and a nasty piece of work is basically the culmination of years of self-loathing is a fascinating concept, and worthy of a good character study. I live in hope.

Rippersnapper transforms into a bipedal shark...thing. Which is awesome. No, really, it is. All the Terrorcon alt-modes are cool, but his is the coolest, because it's so odd. Like the shark from Jaws growing arms and legs, then coming out of the sea to menace Chief Brody. Admittedly, the robot mode is a bit rubbish, but all of the Scramble City robot modes are suspect, if we're being honest. The limb, and the alt-mode are always key, here. And in Rippersnapper's case, they both work wonderfully.

Rippersnapper joins the legions of late-era Transformers who didn't get any fiction due to lack of time and effort, and the fact that newer toys were being brought out all the time, so some toys got left by the wayside. Now that's not a consideration anymore, can someone give the Terrorcons and Technobots some decent fiction please? They're kinda awesome, and the definitely deserve it.

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