Bristleback hates being a Pretender. He was forced into undergoing the process when he discovered, to his great dismay, that his steel skin was somehow inferior to other Transformers', corroding and rusting upon contact with Earth's atmosphere. Worse yet, his bulky and cumbersome Pretender shell has transformed him from a once-quick-footed fighter to one of the slowest movers in the Decepticon ranks. A ceaselessly foul-mouthed, bullying malcontent before these indignities, Bristleback has only become meaner since. His Pretender shell's one redeeming feature is the spikes on its back, which secrete a powerful corrosive acid upon contact. Bristleback dreams of being assigned to space missions, where his rust condition will no longer be an issue.
- French-Canadian name: Épinox
- Italian name: Spettro
Marvel Comics continuity.
In an alternate future where the Decepticons had conquered much of Earth, Bristleback and his fellow Pretender Monsters were led by Galvatron to the remains of New York City in an attempt to root out the last remaining vestiges of Autobot and human resistance. All they managed to find, however, was a human-made booby trap that buried Icepick under tons of debris.
Not long later, he and the others rejoined the Decepticons to defend the Decepticon Powerbase against an Autobot attack.
Devil's Due G.I. Joe vs. Transformers comics continuity
Bristleback was among a group of Decepticons who made a deal with Cobra-La, receiving power-enhancing organic shells in exchange for defending Cobra-La's underground kingdom. They attacked a trio of Autobots aboard the submerged Arc II, then as Monstructor, defended the kingdom against surface attack by GI Joe.
Long millennia ago, Monstructor was the first gestalt, constructed out of the individual Pretender Monsters. Created by Jhiaxus under the direction of Nova Prime, they were intended to be the ultimate fusion of mind and body, a vast amount of intellect combined with unparalleled strength. Unfortunately, they were driven into insanity by the merging process and became monsters. After Nova Prime departed Cybertron in the Ark, Omega Supreme locked them in a dimensionally displaced prison to live out the rest of their horrid existence. Eventually, they escaped and tracked down and attacked Omega Supreme, but were defeated by Optimus Prime and split apart into their individual bodies. Despite Omega Supreme's protestations about the dangers of gestalt technology falling into Decepticon hands, Prime had them taken into custody in an attempt to repair their shattered minds.
(Thus far in IDW's universe, Bristleback, et al. are not actually Pretenders.)
- Bristleback (Pretender Monster, 1989)
Bristleback's Pretender shell is a monstrous, turtle-like creature. Similarly, his inner robot is a four-legged beast, possibly with wings. He folds up to become one of Monstructor's arms. His simple transformation to beast mode is similar to that of Birdbrain. He comes with his shell, shell plate, a gun, and a fist for Monstructor.
He is one of the G1 toys most susceptible to Gold Plastic Syndrome.