WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Optimus prime comics by John Barber, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Josh Burcham, Tom B. Long, Kei Zama, Casey W. Coller and Livio Ramondelli, on sale now.
In the Transformers universe, Bumblebee is one of the most beloved robots of all. In fact, when Optimus Prime isn’t available, he’s the Autobot that everyone knows will do the job. However, in 2014, IDW Comics’ “Dark Cybertron” storyline claimed the life of the brave warrior. It was a hard-hitting death, especially since it inspired Megatron to reject his Decepticon ways and officially become an Autobot.
In the recent Optimus prime the comics, however, hinted that “Bee could still be alive, even if the possibility was very low.” To come Optimus prime # 19, when the leader of the Autobots finds himself in a mysterious location after battling the Decepticons, as he wonders if he’s alive or dead, we find out that Bumblebee is indeed living and kicks.
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In the current situation, Shockwave details Cybertron’s dark past, which will eventually give birth to Optimus and Megatron. Shockwave, considered one of the first pillars in the history of the planet, is back with an army, ready to take down Autobot or Decepticon to restore the glory of the planet. His age was a time of ruthless military might, and he wants it again, which means Optimus must die. And so, Shockwave throws Optimus into a black hole, the same punishment he once suffered.
Issue 19 documents Prime in the wake, lost and remembering his past. He was Orion Pax, a leader and hero, fighting alongside Megatronus (a stern warrior), just as Shockwave (then known as Onyx Prime) had told him. For the Decepticons who witnessed the incident – Starscream and Devastator – now is the time to rejoice. As for the Autobots, things seem darker by the second.
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However, John Barber’s story takes an important turn when we find Optimus in some sort of ramshackle town. As he ponders his location, he realizes that he is in Infraspace, a void between life and death. Just as this happens, Bumblebee appears, happy to reunite with his mentor.
This is a pretty important moment, because in these books we have a version of Bumblebee, but as a “ghost” haunting Starscream. ‘Bee came forward as part of a guilt trip to the Decepticon following his brutal death at the hands of Shockwave. When this happened, a chronic reader was damaged and ‘Bee’s friends were forced to flee. This led to the opening of a rift in space and time, and the bee’s body was engulfed by a singularity.
Optimus thought that Shockwave (who was basically suffering from a nervous breakdown) had also been swallowed, but now he realizes that was not the case. The Decepticon escaped, but Bumblebee was still attached to reality, which is why his “ghost” tormented Starscream. Another set of twists and turns begins to happen quickly, however, as’ Bee convinces Optimus to use his Matrix to bring them back to the land of the living. And, as fate would have it, Shockwave is actually trying to bring them back to the other side as well.
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He needs Optimus for some unknown reason and as he tries to extract them, they travel to another mystical realm called Antespace. Here we see why Shockwave wants help; Unicron arrives and the villain realizes that a coalition must be formed to save the universe. And as we all know, there are no better allies than Optimus and ‘Bee, paving the way for a high-tension alliance against the Planet Eater.
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