Captain Carmine Fanzone is the apparent head of the Detroit police department. He hates machines, but in an "I'm old" sort of way rather than being evil or anything. However, despite his oft-repeated mantra of "This is why I hate machines/robots" whenever some device in his vicinity goes on the fritz (often with comedic, embarrassing results), he's pragmatic enough to make use of technology when needed. For example, he's a world champion at yelling at subordinates through megaphones for added effect. And firing heavy weaponry at rampaging robots.
Despite his endless battle with the march of progress and general poor luck, Fanzone is a good cop, dedicated to protecting the people of his city, even if he dislikes certain demographics. He's also not a bad guy to have in a brawl. He doesn't completely trust the Autobots, but he's at least assured that they mean well and, like him, are here to protect and serve the people of Detroit. He just wishes that they'd stop destroying so much of the city in the process.
Along with machines, he also hates lawyers and kids (which would explain why he has none).
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It was the beginning of a bad day when Captain Fanzone got a call for all units to respond to Sumdac Systems down by Lake Erie. (It was in the middle of his lunch break.) Taking command of the assembled emergency units, Fanzone quickly realized that they were in over their heads fighting a rampaging cybernetic bug-slug, and he ordered all humans to fall back and allow the drones to deal with the creature. When he noticed four cars refusing to fall back, he demanded to know who they were...at which point he realized a cop bike had no driver, and his own car was among the group. It got even weirder when it turned out they were alien robots, but some little girl managed to talk the cops down from shooting at the invaders.
Several days later, Fanzone, the Mayor, Isaac Sumdac, and that robot that looks like his car were taken hostage by an evil jet, but were saved by the aforementioned little girl and the cop bike. As the cop bike took him down, Fanzone declared that this is why he hates machines. Thankless primate.
Fanzone was courted by Prometheus Black, who hoped to use the Captain's mistrust of machines in general and Sumdac products in specific to win his company a contract with the Detroit police department. However, once he saw the berserk rage that Colossus Rhodes displayed when smashing up the parking lot of an arena, he decided he didn't much like Black's biotechnology either. Not long after, he presided over a demonstration of new Sumdac models which proved to still have a few bugs in the system. Sumdac mentioned that these models had much better recognition systems, thus avoiding a repeat of "the unfortunate incident with the Captain's wife". However, sabotage courtesy of the newly minted supervillain Meltdown ensured that the new robots were still far from ready for prime-time.
When police responded to the rampage of the Dinobots, Captain Fanzone arrived and asked how bad it was into his megaphone...to an officer who was standing right next to him. The officer pointed at the rampaging robots, as a mechanical triceratops sent a car flying through the air, which hit Fanzone's car, crushing it. Captain Fanzone remained completely unmoved, then grabbed a bazooka from a nearby officer and fired at the triceratops...which promptly ate the projectile. Fanzone again proclaimed his dislike of machines.
Captain Fanzone accompanied a number of DPD officers to a military base where the Decepticons Blitzwing and Lugnut had been sighted. He was quite miffed to find that the two giant alien robots had apparently vanished into thin air, unaware that the two had adopted Earth modes and were hiding in plain sight, and with very odd color schemes.
Captain Fanzone was brought in to lead the investigation regarding Sari Sumdac's disappearance and probable kidnapping. In questioning the Autobots, he was somewhat dubious as to the merits of teaching a little girl "ninja nerve blows." After noticing suspicious behavior from Prowl and Bulkhead, he resolved to follow the two Autobots and pursued them in a (increasingly leaking) submersible. Luckily, Fanzone arrived on the island safely, though his vessel crumbled into pieces. Nature proved almost more hostile to the Captain than technology, ultimately resulting in him getting trapped in quicksand and requiring rescue from the very individuals he was shadowing. Grudgingly going along with them, he uncovered Prometheus Black's plan to genetically alter Sari into a biotechnological shapeshifter. His outrage was brief, however, as the mad scientist dropped him into a gladiatorial arena and sicced his failed experiments on the Captain and Prowl. Forced to team up to survive, the Autobot earned the Captain's respect and trust as they fought their way out of the research facility.
And then that trust was destroyed along with a good portion of Detroit after Megatron's rampage. When an alien ship landed in Detroit, Fanzone told the Autobots to stay away, lest something worse happen. When it turned out to be the Cybertron Elite Guard, Fanzone was resigned to the fact that the Autobots would have to deal with them. While the Autobots aboard the alien ship, he refused Sari Sumdac's plea to go to their aid. Once Optimus Prime stepped out and told them they were Autobots, Fanzone appeared mildly relieved—until a missile carrier and a monster truck rolled right after Prime, with the later vehicle denting Fanzone's car. Why did it have to be robots?
During a press conference with Mayor Edsel and the monster truck named Sentinel Prime, Fanzone received a phone call from what he believed was a woman reporting on Decepticon activity. Heading to old Detroit, Sentinel Prime condescendingly told the humans to stay away. Later, he was on hand to arrest Henry Masterson, only for Porter C. Powell, the new CEO of Sumdac Systems, to arrive and point out that Masterson had committed no real crimes, as robots weren't protected by law, not to mention that the incident occurred on a boat in international waters between the United States and Canada. Reluctantly, Fanzone released Masterson. This is why he hates businessmen.
With the prospect of being recalled to Cybertron, the Autobots had the dilemma of who was going to care for Sari after the mean old businessman put her out on the streets. First on their list of grade-A trustworthy humans was Captain Fanzone. Granted, the list was short and also included Prometheus Black and Nino Sexton. In an effort by the Autobots to get the two humans to bond, Sari discussed with Fanzone the merits of being able to stay up as late as she likes, as well as her need for a very large allowance.
Captain Fanzone breathed a sigh of relief when the Autobots got to stay. Sari said they could still hang out.
The captain was close by when a breakdown in human-robot relations occurred during the Autobots' assistance with a garbage strike. Breaking up the confrontation between a curmudgeonly citizen and the similarly curmudgeonly Ratchet, he advised the veteran Autobot that he needed to work on his people skills. When someone like Fanzone says this, you really ought to worry.
While pursuing some of the racers of Street Demon show, Fanzone managed to arrest two of them who'd been driven off the road by a blue car when the Autobots provided assistance to the drivers. Interrogating one (and serving as both good cop and bad cop), he learned where the next race would be. As he headed downtown, he was surprised when Bumblebee drove up alongside and opened his door, and Sari Sumdac told him to jump into the car—at which point he noticed a fighter jet shooting missiles at him. Fanzone jumped into Bumblebee, where Sari revealed that Master Disaster was controlling the blue car with some sort of remote control. After the aforementioned blue car won a mid-air game of chicken with the jet, Bumblebee removed the two humans, then went to fight the Decepticon. As Master Disaster tried to sneak away, Fanzone placed him under arrest.
After Meltdown was abducted from jail, Fanzone was called in to investigate. While at the scene, Fanzone encountered Porter C. Powell, who immediately blamed Sari and the Autobots for Meltdown's escape, and was shown a recorded conversation they had with Meltdown as proof. Suspicious, Fanzone asked him how he obtained that recording, which was met with an evasive response from Powell. After Powell pompously demanded that he provide him with police protection, Fanzone ignored him and walked off. Later that night, Fanzone received a call from Powell, informing him that a robbery was commited by the Autobots, though the only thing they took was Meltdown's genetic modifier. Turns out that the robbery and Meltdown's escape were caused by their "Spider-Lady Friend" blackmailing the Dinobots and Optimus Prime into helping her and the Autobots returned the genetic modifier back to Powell, albeit melted and damaged beyond repair. An irate Powell demanded that Fanzone arrest the Autobots for endangering his life, but Fanzone, already fed up with Powell at this point, said he's going to get some sleep and walked away, but not before telling Powell to do the same or he'll arrest him for being a public nuisance.
His "virtual" self was tossed out of his "virtual" car by the "virtual" Bumblebee and he got "virtually" angry.
In his own catchphrase episode, He gets sucked into the space bridge causing him to enter Cybertron. However, everyone fears him and wants to step on him.
- According to Marty Isenberg, Captain Fanzone was named after Detroit native Carmen Fanzone, a neighbor of his and a former player for the Chicago Cubs. Due to the relative scarcity of Fanzones in Michigan, the real Fanzone had to sign a waiver before the character could be used. The real Carmen Fanzone also doesn't look or sound anything like the Animated one.
- Fanzone's ability to open his eyes seems to vary from episode to episode. In many episodes (seemingly the ones animated by The Answer Studio) his eyes are permanently closed... which does match the stock character model seen above, granted, but probably isn't how he's supposed to be 24/7.
- Captain Fanzone is so slow to adopt new technology that he has a Wall-e cell phone...and he even has problems with that.
- His car has been crushed several times, yet it continues to show up to be crushed again. He must have good insurance.
- Fanzone's extended family, including his wife and mother-in-law, have been alluded to on a number of occasions, but have yet to make an actual appearance. Given that it's been implied that the other Fanzones are just as susceptible to "unfortunate incidents" with technology as the captain himself is, that's probably just as well.
- His catchphrase "This is why I hate machines!" is usually used when something isn't working right. He also said it when Bumblebee changed the station on his own radio while Fanzone was driving him. (So, why exactly does he hate machines?)
- The only episode where he appears but doesn't speak is in Human Error, Part II.