Beast Hunters issue 1 is the first installment in the Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters comic series
Cybertron is slowly dying, but Autobots still survive in the ruined, isolated cities of the planet, relying on one 'bot to govern their disputes and protect them from the ever-present threat of the Forged and the Insecticons: Grimlock, duly elected "king" of Cybertron, who gravely hears appeals and delivers judgements from his throne like a Cybertronian Solomon. One such session of appeals is underway when Sludge returns to the Dinobots' city-base after a hunting session, bringing with him a large creature's corpse which he hands off to a guard so its energon can be drained. Entering the throne room, Sludge can see that the grind of governance is steadily wearing on their commander's mind and body, particularly when crushes the arm of his throne and snaps at Slug, who has just been following orders. While Grimlock is inspecting the bodies from a Forged attack on New Kalis, Sludge takes Snarl aside and orders him to bring the proceedings to an end for the day, before Grimlock truly loses control of himself.
To calm his frayed nerves, Sludge goes hunting, quietly wishing to himself for Optimus Prime to return and set everything right. Lost in thought, he is surprised by the sudden appearance of a speeding Autobot, with an Insecticon swarm on her tail. Helping to dispatch her pursuers, Sludge assumes she is from New Kalis and honors her request to see Grimlock. Brought before the Dinobot leader, the new arrival introduces herself as Firestar, and petitions Grimlock for help in defending her home against an unseen enemy that is progressively killing her city's people. A furious Grimlock refuses her request upon discovering that she is not from New Kalis, but Last Spark, an outpost that the Dinobots previously attempted to aid, only to be rebuffed by its leader Airwave. Sludge tries to reason with his leader, but his pleas falls on deaf ears, and he leaves to help Firestar himself. As they are departing, Snarl comes running after the pair, not to apologize on Grimlock's behalf, but simply to make sure Sludge comes back alive.
The trio hikes to Last Spark, with Snarl insisting that the perpetrator of the attacks is likely to just be an Insecticon. As they arrive, Firestar reveals that she has brought them without her leader's permission, and no sooner have they entered the city than Airwave confronts them, having refused to accept help from the Dinobots since he saw them in action during their attack on Shockwave's prison. However, the destitute inhabitants of Last Spark have other ideas and oppose Airwave's ruling, forcing him to allow the two Dinobots to help. Firestar takes Sludge and Snarl to examine the victims' bodies, on which they find wounds that indicate they were the product of weapons, bringing up the possibility of the blade-wielding Insecticon Kickback as a potential culprit. Sludge is unconvinced—especially since the fact that the bodies are completely drained of energon would mean the unlikely prospect that the Insecticons had turned to cannibalism—but agrees to check out Kickback's supposedly-abandoned lair.
The two Dinobots set out, but just after exiting Last Spark, are called back by a representative of the populace, who apologizes for their unfair treatment of the Dinobots and gives them a canister of energon for their journey. Heading off on their way, the trail an easy one to follow, the pair continue to argue about the likelihood of Kickback as the murderer. Their debate is halted when they spot the silhouette of a Forged in the mouth of the Insecticon hive... but after a moment, realise it is but one of many corpses. The Insecticons, it dawns on the pair, must have turned on their allies... and as Kickback and his followers suddenly descend from the shadows, it looks like the two Dinobots will be their next victims!
- Firestar is, of course, based on the Generation 1 female Autobot of the same name, down to an alternate mode with a truck-bed in the back.
- Likewise, Airwave is also based on a Generation 1 character, though his allegiance and, er, height are changed from the Decepticon Micromaster who inspired him.
- Snarl comments that he knew Slug should have finished Kickback off, referring to the events of the Fall of Cybertron video game, in which Slug trampled over the Insecticon.
- Kickback retains his Fall of Cybertron speech quirk of repeating the end of a sentence several times - a trait traditionally associated with Shrapnel in other continuities.
- Sludge's catch at the start of the issue bears more than a passing resemblance to the Dweller.