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Insecticons is the name given to a sub-group of fictional characters in the Transformers Universes, referred to as Insectrons in the Japanese version. The name was also used for two fictional characters in the Transformers Universes.

Transformers - Generation 1 (1985)

The three original Insecticon toys were based on Diaclone toys made by Takara in 1984.

Insecticon Members

Basic Insecticons

Each of the basic Insecticons had a way to control other robots.
  • Shrapnel: Stag Beetle
    • Abilities: Shrapnel can control other robots (as well as almost any electrically run device) by remote with his antennas. In robot mode, his antennae can, in the proper weather conditions, attract massive bolts of lightning from the sky to augment his own electrical generating capacity, and then release that power through his hands. In insect mode, Shrapnel can use his twin antennae to generate an electric burst of up to 40,000 volts.
    • Weapons: Grenade launcher
  • Bombshell: Japanese rhinoceros beetle
    • Abilities: Mind control (see Cerebro-shells below)
    • Weapons: Cerebro-shells (humans) - In his insect form, Bombshell uses his stinger to inject a micro-circuited device into a human’s head. It travels through the blood until it reaches the brain, whereupon it opens up and releases tens of thousands of connecting wires. The wires coil around nearby neural dendrites until the brain’s conscious functions are effectively rerouted through the cerebro-shell, which puts the mind of the victim under the remote control of Bombshell.
    • Weapons: Cerebro-shells (Transformers) - Bombshell’s stinger is used in much the same way against other robots’ high-function mental circuitry. The major difference is that once the stinger is pressed against the metal casing of the victim’s head, the small laser torches on the sides of the stinger rotate rapidly to carve a small hole in the casing, allowing the stinger to inject a cerebro-shell.
    • Weapons: Head-mounted mortar cannon
  • Kickback: Grasshopper
    • Abilities: Kickback is adept at controlling others through blackmail. In his insect mode, Kickback can use his legs to leap up to heights of 40 feet and over distances of a tenth of a mile. Although small in this form, he can punch a hole in a one-quarter-inch steel plate with a single kick.
    • Weapons: Submachine gun

Deluxe Insecticons

The Deluxe Insecticons were built by Bandai as part of a short-lived toyline called Beetras, and imported to Americamarker via Hasbro. Due to an arrangement with Takara (the Japanese toy company who built the toys originally intended to be Transformers), they never appeared on TV in anything more than animated commercials. They first appeared in print in the Marvel UK comics then later in Dreamwave comics. In the Marvel comics, they were part of the Decepticon Mayhem Attack Squad, counterpart to the Autobot Wreckers. They were sent to Earth to stop the time-travelling Galvatron, forming an uneasy alliance with their rivals. However, they faced not only Galvatron, but a clone of Megatron (at the time believed to be the real thing). Both elite squads were decimated, with at least Venom and Chop Shop being killed. In Dreamwave's The War Within series, Venom and Chop Shop participated in Shockwave's attack on Iacon. They and the other Deluxe Insecticons were members of Ratbat's Ultracons faction, and would also be the primary antagonists of the Micromasters miniseries.

Ratbat and his Ultracons Chopshop and Venom.

Insecticon Clones

In 2004, the Japanese company eHobby released the original Insecticons molds together in their original Diaclone colors as Insecticon clones. Each set of 3 came with 3 Energon Cubes.

  • Shothole - Clone of Kickback.
  • Salvo - Clone of Bombshell.
  • Zaptrap - Clone of Shrapnel.

Animated series

Originally, the Insecticons were three Decepticons that Megatron had left onboard his ship, the Nemesis, which was pursuing the Ark, as back-up. When the Nemesis crashed on Earth, the trio evacuated in an escape pod, which crashed in an Indonesian swamp. In order to survive, they scanned the forms of the surrounding area's insects. The insect forms they adopted enabled them to extract energon from organic life and metals, though they still ingest fossil fuels and energy-based matter (electricity, energon cubes, etc.) as well. Because they took on the forms of insects the size of Transformers, the three Insecticons caused terror for any humans living nearby. They even developed the ability to make clones of themselves out of any metal.

They were eventually found by Megatron centuries later and were re-recruited back to the Decepticons. But they became more independent as a result of their long absence, making them loose cannons: their relationship with the Decepticons proper was one of betrayals and counter-betrayals. Originally appearing in "A Plague of Insecticons", they were discovered raiding human crops. They quickly joined up with the main Decepticons: unfortunately, the Insecticons swiftly decided this wasn't to their advantage and devoured Megatron's store of Energon instead, resulting in a battle breaking out between the two sides. After this, the Insecticons entered into a free-lancing relationship with the Decepticons, helping Megatron if they had something to gain from it. They were tricked by Mirage into attacking the Decepticons, later using Bombshell's cerebro-shells to control him and lure the Autobots into a trap. Another deal, with Decepticons and Insecticons working together to raid a military power plant, went awry when they overheard Megatron planning to betray them. Munching on a nova power core, they grew in size and strength. They then controlled all the Decepticons bar Megatron with cerebro-shells, forcing the Decepticon leader to team up with the Autobots to stop his mind-controlled troops. Using Megatron in gun mode, Optimus fired the antidote needed to restore the Insecticons size and prevent the nova core they ingested from overloading. However, even the Insecticons' rebellious streak was overlooked by Megatron, as the Insecticons could create clones of themselves, thus creating an instant army.

The Insecticons took part in the Battle of Autobot City in 2005, but were badly damaged, and were tossed out into space along with the injured Megatron, Skywarp, and Thundercracker. These discarded Insecticons, along with Skywarp and Thundercracker, were used by Unicron to create new Decepticon troops for Galvatron, with Bombshell possibly becoming Cyclonus (although the issue of whether Cyclonus was a recreated Bombshell or Skywarp is unclear), and with Shrapnel and Kickback becoming Sweeps. Later in the film, the clone question comes into play when Shrapnel harasses Daniel Witwicky alongside Scavenger. In the third season of Transformers, the Insecticons were still displayed in marginal roles (although their third season appearances are usually dismissed as animation errors).

Marvel Comics

In the various Marvel comics series the Insecticons could shrink down to real insect size in beast mode. However, they did not exhibit the cartoon Insecticons' ability to create clones. They first appeared in Issues 17 and 18 in a story set primarily on Cybertron, acting as bodyguards to Straxus. The comic Insecticons' appearances would be limited, and most often would involve Bombshell and his cerebro-shells. Their only major appearance would be in Issues 21 and 22 of the US comic. In those issues, the Insecticons have recently arrived on Earth; Bombshell, at Megatron's request, uses one of his cerebro-shells to mind-control a human worker at a dam as part of a plot to take it over. The human uses Megatron in gun-mode to threaten the Aerialbots, but the human's daughter is able to help him overcome the Decepticon control. In this arc, one of Bombshell's cerebro-shells is also used on Optimus Prime. Although it is not able to control Optimus, Megatron is able to leech the energies of the Matrix to create the Stunticons and Combaticons as the Autobots create the Aerialbots and Protectobots. Bombshell also appears (without the other Insecticons) in the four-issue limited series G.I. Joe and The Transformers, which is concurrent with Issues 23-27 of the US Transformers comic.

The Insecticons appeared prior to this in the Target: 2006 arc of the UK Marvel Transformers. In this they are among the Decepticons' most feared killers, and are earmarked for elimination by the Wreckers before a mass Autobot uprising. However, Megatron calling the Insecticons to Earth scuppered the plans of both Autobots and Decepticons. They also appeared as part of Megatron's and Shockwave's forces during the Earthforce strips.

Beast Wars

Shrapnel would go on to receive an extremely unusual reference in Beast Wars. When Rhinox (turned into a Predacon by a shell program), attempted to seize leadership of the Predacons from Megatron, he set about dispatching those loyal to Megatron. One of his first acts was to crush Waspinator beneath a crate. The Predacon survived, but began referring to himself as Shrapnel and talking with Shrapnel's familiar speech impediment ("Destroy all Autobots-bot-bot-bots!" "Waspinator negative-negative-negative! I am Shrapnel, Decepticon hero-o-o-o!"). This lasted until an annoyed Cheetor blew him out of the air during an attempt to rescue Rhinox (which also led to a deactivating Waspinator quoting the Transformers tagline, "More than meets the eye").

Dreamwave Productions

The Insecticons would also appear in Dreamwave's re-imagining of the Transformers mythos. They originally appeared in The War Within miniseries as an elite group hunting Optimus Prime alongside Soundwave and Ravage. They failed, forcing Megatron to personally deal with the new Autobot commander. They were most likely not called "Insecticons" at this point, as their alternate modes were not insects. Shrapnel's alternate mode was a jet and although the other two Insecticons didn't transform in the series, Bombshell appeared to have a tank alt-mode, while Kickback's was a dragster. In addition, the Deluxe Insecticons had cameos with alternate modes as jets, or in Chopshop's case, a wheeled tank-like vehicle. In the second volume of the War Within when the Autobots and Decepticons had split into several sub-factions following the disappearance of their leaders, Kickback, Bombshell and Shrapnel remained with the Decepticons under Shockwave, while the Deluxe Insecticons would join Ratbat's Ultracons.

Eons later, after the disappearance of the Ark, the Insecticons were dispatched to Earth to find out what had happened, and they encountered the Dinobots on a similar mission. The two teams battled, knocking each other into stasis lock. Unlike the Dinobots, it is unclear whether they were revived after the reawakening of the Transformers in the Ark. In Issues 7 and 8 of volume 3 of the comic the Insecticons appeared, attacking a team of Autobots led by Jazz. The original Insecticons appeared to be working for Shockwave and had created a huge number of clones. Their plans to control the population of a town was defeated by Jazz's Autobots. The Insecticon clones seemed unable to transform and were possibly techno-organic, as the clones were developed in larvae.

Devil's Due Publishing

The Insecticons would make their first Devil's Due appearance in the second G.I Joe/Transformers crossover. When a team of G.I Joes trying to fix a space-time tear arrived in a nightmare future where Shockwave had conquered Earth, they were almost immediately attacked by a swarm of Insecticon clones.

Both the Insecticons and the Deluxe Insecticons would also make a brief appearance in the third crossover between G.I Joe and the Transformers. They were seen trying to hold back the combined Autobot/G.I Joe rescue force trying to recover Optimus Prime.

IDW Publishing

The first in-continuity appearance of the Insecticons was in the The Transformers: Spotlight issue on Blaster. Probing the seeming traitor Beachcomber on his motivations, Beachcomber told how, at Soundwave's behest, he had been implanted with a cerebro shell by the shrunken Bombshell. Kickback and Bombshell were also seen among Megatron's troops in The Transformers: Megatron Origin.

The Insecticons also appeared in the alternate reality mini-series Evolutions: Hearts of Steel with a combined mode of a large battle-train. They are seen stealing a bullion train on Starscream's orders in the second issue. They were presumably destroyed with the rest of the Decepticon train convoy when John Henry and Bumblebee sabotaged the track to fall into a chasm.

Transformers: Timelines (2005)

The character of Dirge, a repaint of Beast Wars Fuzor Buzzclaw was sold as an Insecticon. In the accompanying comic, Descent into Evil, the Insecticons played a major role. In a possible future where the Autobots and Maximals had won the war, the Decepticon Deathsaurus planned to use the two last remaining Decepticons - Buzzclaw and Dirge - to restore the Decepticon Empire by unlocking their old ability to make armies of clones. The scheme was uncovered by a team of Autobots led by Ironhide and Ratchet. Although Deathsaurus defeated them the Autobot agent Ricochet, under orders from Bumblebee, had seeded the two Insecticons with a virus that would degenerate their clones, leaving the Insecticons defeated again.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

In the movie, Insecticons are small robots used for reconnaissance. One crawls in through a hole in the wall into the building where Sam and Mikaela are hiding in Egypt and Sam kills it by ripping off its head. Its death apparently alerts the other Decepticons to their presence.

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