|Specifics: Appearances in fiction|
- Soundwave is a Decepticon in the Generation 1 continuity family. In the Japanese series, he later took the name Soundblaster.
Soundwave is one of Megatron's most reliable troops, and he has positioned himself comfortably and irreplaceably in Megatron's upper command structure. He stands at the Decepticon leader's side as a confidant. Though "only" Communications Officer, he is comparable to Starscream and Shockwave in rank and is the only one of the three to display consistent loyalty to Megatron. Soundwave guards his place in the hierarchy fiercely. Other Decepticons (except Megatron) see him as a two-faced snake, since, as Communications Officer, Soundwave hears all and doesn't hesitate to use blackmail to keep himself high in Megatron's esteem. The other Decepticons wouldn't mind abandoning him on the battlefield—if they thought Megatron would let them get away with it.
Soundwave commands a legion of cassette troops to carry out tasks big and small. He has a symbiotic relationship with them, providing them transportation and a cheap, if cramped, place to live in his chest. Sometimes he lets them all out to watch impromptu gladiator games or takes them to discotheques. In return, they perform spy and recon missions for him and make sure no one calls him "unchrasimatic".
He usually has all the personality of a stump (as evidenced by his computer-style speech). He also has no imagination, sending the aforementioned cassettes on operations with mundane names.
- Hungarian name: Fülelő ("Listener")
- Italian name: Memor, Vizar (as Soundblaster)
- RTM dub name: New Soundwave (as Soundblaster)
- French-Canadian name: Radar, Sonore (as Action Master)
- Polish name: Dźwiękofalowiec (The Transformers: The Movie only - this is not official. The movie was never played in Polish cinemas, therefore it has no official translation. Whoever decided to translate the name Soundwave did it almost literally; it would translte back as Soundwaver. Rather stupid thing to do, really.)
Marvel Comics continuity
After the Transformers' awakening on Earth, Soundwave served quietly under Megatron before Megatron was overthrown by Shockwave. Under Shockwave's command, Soundwave attacked the Blackrock Aerospace Plant and secured it for Decepticon use. The plant's facilities were used to create the Constructicons, who built a massive radio dish that Soundwave used to beam a message back to Cybertron. A short time later, during a brief period when both Megatron and Shockwave were missing in action, Soundwave assumed leadership of the Decepticons and led them against the Autobots during the "Dinobot Hunt".
When Megatron resurfaced, rendered immobile in a Wyoming coal mine due to lack of fuel, Soundwave sped to his rescue, re-energizing him. Buster Witwicky had begun to suffer Matrix-induced visions of the next leap in Transformer evolution, Soundwave reported this to Megatron, prompting him to battle Shockwave for leadership. The Decepticons' human ally, Robot Master, televised the battle, much to Soundwave's distaste, and in order to prevent the Decepticons from looking like fools, he interrupted the duel and insisted that they agree to a joint leadership.Using the splintered state of the Decepticon forces to his advantage, Soundwave worked both sides of the field, reporting to both Megatron and the returned Shockwave, each without the other's knowledge. When Shockwave learned that the human
When the Robot-Master hoax the Decepticons were perpetrating was threatened by the investigative work of Joy Meadows, Soundwave was instrumental in ending the conflict that ensued between the Decepticons and the Dinobots by holding the reporter hostage and destroying her footage. Not long thereafter, when the deranged future Decepticon, Galvatron, traveled back in time, Soundwave was intrigued by the fact that he was unable to scan his mind to discern the truth of his identity. Siding with Megatron when conflict erupted, Soundwave and his leader were buried under an avalanche by Galvatron and then rescued by the Autobots in the name of forming an alliance to defeat their common enemy.
It would be some time before Soundwave came back to the fore, and his return to the spotlight was an ignominious one. With Megatron having apparently died, Soundwave was now once again under Shockwave's command, and, while patrolling on the Decepticons' mobile island base, he found himself attacked and subdued by the time-traveling freelance peace-keeping agent, Death's Head, and tricked into giving up information on the whereabouts of Galvatron. Although Death's Head's attempts to track down the Decepticon met with failure, Galvatron was ultimately entombed in lava, where he was later discovered by Susan Hoffman. Soundwave observed a televised broadcast of her discovery, and he and the Combaticons attempted to destroy Galvatron with explosives planted around the volcano in question. After a battle with the Throttlebots, Soundwave found that he was unable to remote-detonate the explosives planted around the volcano thanks to Blaster jamming his signal.
When Shockwave was removed from power, Soundwave smoothly transitioned to serving under the new Decepticon leader, Ratbat, and helped to operate his Realvision playback system to decode data from Autobot tapes Grand Slam and Raindance. The tapes, it was discovered, contained information on the Underbase, the power of which was soon claimed by Starscream, who immediately targeted the Earth. Soundwave co-led the defense of New York alongside Fortress Maximus, but was deactivated by a blast of cosmic power from Starscream.
It would be some time before Soundwave was operational again, but he was back on his feet by the time that Starscream, now a Pretender, was busy doubting his self-worth. He continued to operate under the command of the new Decepticon Earth commander, Scorponok.
In 2007, in the alternate future world of Earth-120185, Soundwave was second-in-command of the Decepticon forces under Shockwave and succeeded him after Death's Head assassinated him on the orders of Unicron. In 2008, Soundwave entered into an alliance with the Quintessons, arranging to attack the Autobots as part of a larger plan. He was, however, unaware of the aliens' true plans to take control of Cybertron and found himself double-crossed when the Quintessons ambushed the Decepticons en route to their attack on the Autobots. The Autobots, led by Ultra Magnus, saved Soundwave's forces from the Quintessons, and they joined forces to repel the Quintesson invasion. Finally, in 2009, Soundwave led the Terrorcons back in time to 1989, where they briefly participated in the "Time Wars" before returning to their own time in the midst of the conflict in order to save their own hides.
Marvel Comics Generation 2
After Megatron reassumed control of the Decepticons, Soundwave served under him in a high-ranking position. He was in command of the Warworld while Megatron was on Earth. When the Cybertronian Empire boarded the ship (thanks to Starscream's treachery) he and his bridge crew fled to Earth in escape pods.
In the tangent timeline that is home to the Autobot Earthforce team, Soundwave nominally served on Megatron's side during the Decepticon Civil War, but, once again, was not above exploiting the conflict for his own ends. When an energon shipment was hijacked by Shockwave's forces thanks to information Soundwave had given them, Megatron came to suspect the presence of a traitor in his ranks, but ironically assigned Soundwave to identify the culprit. To keep his own duplicity a secret, Soundwave set up Wildrider to take the fall, and Megatron destroyed the Stunticon.
Approached by Starscream with a plan to make them both Decepticon leaders, Soundwave joined forces with the schemer and lured Megatron and Shockwave to an airport, tipping off the Autobots to their location. With the two leaders thus occupied, Soundwave and Starscream took control.Subsequently, Soundwave led an all-out attack on the Earthforce base as a diversion, while Starscream attempted to plunder an oil tanker. Starscream met with failure, however, leading Soundwave to withdraw his forces and consider taking leadership for himself alone. Starscream was aware of Soundwave's goals, and when he was attacked by a group of alien assassins, he suspected that Soundwave had ordered the hit and struck back at him. Soundwave was able to convince Starscream he was not responsible and that in actuality, it was the work of Megatron and Shockwave.
Soon afterward, Soundwave learned that human reporter Irwin Spoon had secured an interview with the Autobots that could potentially resolve the public view of the Transformer war. Seeking to prevent this, he had the Stunticons capture the journalist. Although the Autobots were able to rescue him, a carefully planted cerebro-shell ensured that the story Irwin wrote was anything but accurate.
American cartoon continuity
Generation 1 cartoon
Prior to his arrival on Earth, Soundwave had the questionably useful altmode of a space-age lamp-post [although it is possible he could have been a communications tower, which seems more apropriate]. This allowed him to get as close to Autobot headquarters as the street leading into Iacon, but thankfully, his chest-dwelling minion Laserbeak could snoop even closer. The loyal Laserbeak overheard talk of the Autobot mission to seek new energy sources off Cybertron, which prompted the fateful Decepticon interception mission that eventually landed both teams on Earth.
Immediately after the Transformers awakened on Earth in 1984, Soundwave played an essential role in the generation of energon cubes and the formation of plans for a new space cruiser to return the Decepticons to Cybertron. He sounded really cool when he talked about these, too. Soundwave was reformatted as a portable cassette player, which allowed him to dupe a grabby and none-too-questioning Spike Witwicky into carrying his shrunken form into the Ark headquarters. This sort of thing was to happen many times to the seemingly tape-deck-addicted citizens of Earth.
One of Soundwave's most notable misadventures came in in 1985, when, operating a plan conceived by Starscream, he brainwashed humans with ultrasonic vibrations inside the Decepticon-built night club Dancitron in New York City, leading to a confrontation with his Autobot Communications Officer counterpart, Blaster. This began a lasting rivalry between the two.
Soundwave rarely displayed much emotion and only infrequently exhibited any cunning and self-serving traits. He came across as extremely loyal to Megatron, even going so far as to recover the mortally wounded leader, who'd been left for dead at the Battle of Autobot City in 2005. But while Soundwave was loyal, he was far from stupid, and he kept his mouth shut when Megatron was subsequently ejected into space. Although he did suggest himself as a replacement leader, he again loyally served Megatron when that being returned as Galvatron.
In the year 2006, although operating in a less prominent capacity for most of the time, Soundwave played a prominent role in Galvatron's attempt to learn the secret of a sonic weapon on the planet Eurythma, where sound and music were the way of life, leaving Soundwave entranced by the planet's perfect melodies. Recording each piece of the harmony that formed the devastating sonic effect, Soundwave was defeated when the Eurythmans countered the harmony with white noise, and he was again pulled into a confrontation with Blaster, who erased his recordings.
Japanese cartoon continuity
Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers manga
While Megatron and the Decepticons engaged the Autobots in battle in Arizona, Soundwave and his cassettes were dispatched to do something unspecified (but likely evil) in Tokyo. Optimus Prime dispatched a unit of Autobots led by Bumblebee and Kenji to track them down. He was ultimately defeated when Bumblebee got the drop on him with a patented "Bumble-Kick" and shattered his chest. This made it impossible for his cassette forces to return to him, leaving them to be captured as well. When he next appeared, Soundwave hadn't quite got over his injuries, and was seen with bandages stuck to his chest-window.
Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers story pages
When Soundwave learned that the Autobots were keeping themselves in shape by having a friendly race, he set up a trap within a narrow canyon, walling the Autobots in and opening fire on them. Luckily, Hound arrived on the scene and delivered a powerful punch to Soundwave's chest, shattering his tape door once again. Soundwave immediately fled.
The Headmasters anime
In 2011, the Decepticons were offered a chance to regain control of Cybertron when Vector Sigma began to destabilize due to the release of the energy of the Matrix. To discover the Autobots' plan of action, Soundwave and his cassettes infiltrated Autobot City. Although discovered by Blaster and his own cassettes, they escaped with the knowledge that the Matrix was currently missing, and that the Autobots were preparing to search Earth for it. Blaster and Hot Rod subsequently embarked on a search mission to the Arctic, where Soundwave and his cassettes attacked them. Blaster allowed Hot Rod to escape, and he and Soundwave engaged in a one-on-one battle, with shattered chests and severed limbs aplenty. The two combatants ultimately inflicted fatal damge to one another, and Soundwave's body exploded even as Blaster collapsed.
Soundwave's cassettes were able to recover fragments of his body, allowing Decepticon Headmaster leader Scorponok to reconstruct him using the planet Master's super-technology. Soundwave was thusly reborn as Soundblaster, and immediately set to work using his broadcasting powers to direct the Decepticons' latest creation, the Madmachine, in another attack on Cybertron. The science of Master had also restored Blaster to life, however, and as "Twincast," he destroyed Soundblaster's sonic control and foiled the Decepticons' plot.
Soundblaster continued to serve in his role as a spy for the Decepticons, and he and his cassettes would regularly snoop on the Autobots on Cybertron, Earth and Athenia. Soundblaster and his team were responsible for discovering the Vector Sigma was in the process of creating Cybertonuron, but they didn't take kindly to the arrival of the new intelligence officer, Counterpunch, who seemed able to dig up information that they couldn't (because he was actually the Autobot double-agent, Punch).
Although rarely doing little more than standing guard and relaying information over large distances (save for one daring instance where he and Ratbat actually amanged to sneak board Battleship Maximus), Soundblaster was a regulary battlefield presence, and accompanied the Decepticon army on interplanetary energy raids, voyaged to planet Master, and was present on Earth during the final battle at the North Pole.
The Headmasters manga
After their defeat at the North Pole, the Decepticons were preparing to retreat from Earth entirely when Scorponok instructed Soundblaster to remain on the planet in secret to act as a spy for the Decepticons. Soundblaster proved that he wasn't up to the challenge by making his presence and intentions known almost instantly when he kicked Wheelie square in the face and took the Witwicky family hostage. Chromedome was left powerless to do anything but surrender, as Slugfest and Overkill brutalized Spike and threatened Carly. Daniel finally snapped and beat the living crap out of the two Cassette dinosaurs, leaving Soundblaster open to Chromedome's poorly named "Master-Chrome Hurricane Throw to the End of Hell!" Chromedome chucked Soundblaster over the horizon, where he landed near the rogue Decepticon Sixshot.
Kid Stuff Talking Story Books continuity
- Voice actor: Unknown
Dreamwave Generation 1 continuity
Soundwave was chosen by Megatron to lead his second assassination team against the new Autobot supreme Commander, Optimus Prime. With the aid of his cassette troops, most notably Ravage, as well as Shrapnel, Bombshell, and Kickback, it was assumed he would have no problem with a young, peace-loving Autobot. Soundwave, like many others, underestimated Prime's resolve and was quickly incapacitated. He recovered quickly enough to rescue Megatron after the latter's own battle with Prime.
In the present day, Soundwave was among the Decepticons who quickly joined Shockwave's forces upon returning to Cybertron. It seems clear, however, that Soundwave had little loyalty to Shockwave, as he readily joined up with Starscream when the Seeker decided to return to Earth and take over. Though Soundwave feigned subservience to Starscream, it was later revealed that he had been serving Megatron the entire time in secret.
Devil's Due G.I.Joe vs. Transformers comics
IDW comics continuity
|This section covers fiction that is ongoing. It will be added to as the story progresses. If it isn't current, you can help by updating it.|
Long before the war began, Soundwave was the personal assistant to Senator Ratbat. When Megatron caught Ratbat's eye as a champion of the illegal underground gladiatorial matches, Ratbat sent Soundwave to offer Megatron funding and weapons technology. When two Autobots were discovered listening in on their conversation, Soundwave dispatched Ravage, Buzzsaw, and Laserbeak to capture them. Some time later, Soundwave was assigned to find a warrior with flight capabilities. He found the Seekers: Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker. During a recruitment rally in which Megatron attempted to kill Senator Decimus, a raid by the Autobots under Sentinel Prime resulted in the participants being arrested. Soundwave, however, was freed under Senate directive, something which greatly angered the Prime. Soundwave had apparently switched loyalties at this time, becoming one of Megatron's own in not only helping Starscream exterminate Kaon senators but also to the extent that he destroyed Ratbat's original body, placing his spark into a relatively weak cassette form and thus forcing him into the Decepticons.
Centuries later, after Shockwave disappeared, Megatron assigned Bludgeon to delve into Shockwave's research and relay all the information back to him. As the Decepticon leader did not fully trust Bludgeon, Megatron also assigned Soundwave to spy on him. Soundwave followed Bludgeon and his team as they left for Earth in 1984 and established a base within Mt. St. Helens, eventually discovering that they intended to resurrect Thunderwing. Though Soundwave tried to stop them, Iguanus used an experimental cannon from Shockwave's arsenal to lock him in his alt mode while they instigated a volcanic eruption. He was eventually recovered by a team of unwitting humans who sold him to a pawn shop.
Soundwave was purchased by a teen and taken to his home. When Ravage and Laserbeak were reprogrammed by Skywatch to find the other Transformers, Skywatch's control signal was blocked by a signal emanating from a functioning Soundwave, still in cassette-player mode.
- Soundwave (Decepticon, 1984/1985, 2003, 2007)
- Japanese ID number: 17, TFC-10
- Soundwave transforms into a realistically sized microcassette recorder of indeterminate manufacture and includes weapons that turn into imitation batteries to power his nonexistent circuitry. Takara's release of Soundwave in the Transformers line was nearly identical to the Microchange "MC-10 Cassette Man" toy on which he was based. This meant that along with being packaged with Rumble (previously a red "MC-01 Micross"), he came with a set of non-functioning headphones that allowed you not to listen to the silence not recorded on his non-functioning tapes with the non-functioning microphone. Hasbro packaged Soundwave with Buzzsaw rather than Rumble and omitted the other non-functioning accessories.
- Soundwave was included in the VS-Y versus pack along with Rumble and Grimlock.
- For 2003, Soundwave was reissued as part of Takara's Transformers Collection "book-box" series. This iteration of Soundwave came packaged with Laserbeak.
- Another reissue of Soundwave and Laserbeak was seen in 2007 with Takara's Transformers Encore series.
- Soundblaster (Decepticon, 1987, 2005)
- Japanese ID number: D-101, TFC-18
- As part of the Japanese Headmasters series, Soundwave was redecoed and retooled so that he could hold two Cassettes in his chest at once. Soundblaster's tape door was cast in transparent red plastic to allow the information on the "readout" decal, unique to the Headmasters decos of the cassettes, to be seen, functioning in the same manner as the Tech Specs decoders. The readouts of the Decepticon cassettes showed the "weak points" of Fortress Maximus. Soundblaster came packaged with Buzzsaw.
- Soundblaster saw reissue in the Transformers Collection series in 2005, packaged together with Buzzsaw and Ravage.
- Soundwave with Wingthing (Action Master, 1990)
- Action Master Soundwave is a non-transforming action figure which combines elements of his cartoon model and original toy. He is compatible with any other Action Master weapon or vehicle. He came packaged with his new partner, Wingthing.
- Soundwave (Go-Bot, 1995)
- A redeco of the Go-Bot Gearhead, Soundwave transforms into a Ford Thunderbird stock car with precision wheels and wire axles, compatible with "Hot Wheels" and "Matchbox" playsets and tracks (which he was properly sized to fit).
- Notably, his color scheme is very loud, being bright shades of fluorescent yellow, pink and blue. This is one time fans can actually get away with describing a toy's color scheme as neon.
- Soundwave (Mega, 1997)
- Machine Wars Soundwave was a redeco of the Predator Stalker minus Stalker's handgun and its missiles and with the sighting gimmick having been removed from the missile. In this incarnation, Soundwave transforms into tracked missile carrier.
- Soundwave and Ravage (2003)
- Like all of the Smallest Transformers, this version of Soundwave is a tiny replica of his G1 form. He came with Smallest Transformers Ravage, who is probably the smallest Transformer ever.
- Soundwave & Space Case (Ultra, 2004)
- The Machine Wars version of Soundwave was redecoed for release in the Universe line in an Ultra-level two-pack with Space Case. Due to the lack of fiction, it is possible that this incarnation is in fact an alternate-universe version of Soundwave, or possibly a new character altogether.
- Soundwave (6" Cybertron Heroes, 2006)
- A new representation of his G1 form, this Soundwave transforms into a slightly redesigned version of his original microcassette player mode. He also comes with a VERY tiny Laserbeak that transforms into a black rectangle vaguely resembling a microcassette and is almost (but not quite) as small as Smallest TF Ravage. He can also fit inside of Soundwave's chest. Both of Soundwave's guns resemble batteries and fit into the battery compartment on his back. Some fans have complained that oddly-shaped crotch area makes it look like Soundwave is wearing a diaper. Reprolabels.com took advantage of this realization with a custom sticker set.
- This mold was to be redecoed as Soundblaster with a new Ravage tape partner, but was not released due to the cancellation of the line.
- Soundwave (Commemorative Edition, 2007)
- Despite having packaging that claims Classics Soundwave is "identical to the original toy," this version is actually a redeco of the Transformers Collection Soundblaster reissue in Soundwave's original colors. This is presumably due to reported mold degradation on the cassette door of the Soundwave mold. While later releases such as the Transformers Encore edition would feature a single-cassette bay, it is noteworthy that this release featured the much more rarely used Cassetteman version of the door mold. Like the Soundblaster reissue, Classics Soundwave is packaged with "Battle" Ravage, as well as Laserbeak, recolored from Soundblaster's Buzzsaw. In a move rare for a US release of this toy, the set included two Takara clear-plastic cassette cases. Exclusive to Toys 'R' Us stores, Soundwave had been intended for the Commemorative Series, but after the cancellation of that line, he was added to Classics, although the phrase "Commemorative Edition" is prominently displayed on the front and sides of the box.
- Soundwave Playing Audio Player (2007)
- Released by TakaraTomy's Music Label (which also puts out a not-half-as-cool Convoy iPod stand), Soundwave is an MP3 player which takes a miniSD card. The box says it can take up to 1 GB, but many claims have shown it can support up to 2 GB. The player uses 1 AAA battery. An optional accessory, sold separately, features headphones that transform into Frenzy and Rumble. The player also features a transformation almost entirely accurate to his G1 appearance. He also comes with two sets of hands, his shoulder cannon, and a sidearm.
- Soundwave (Booster, 2007)
- In Generation 2, a redeco of the Laser Cycle Road Pig was planned as Soundwave, but ultimately never released, one of many planned redecos that never made it. Some packaged samples do exist.
- According to an interview in the magazine Otaku USA (issue 3, pg. 102-3), the original Microchange toy and the accompanying cassettes were at least partially designed by famed mecha designer and anime director Shinji Aramaki. He did not come up with the transformation scheme, but designed most of the outward appearance and details. He also worked on the toys that became the deluxe Insecticons, Reflector, and Perceptor.
- Including the Microchange "Cassette Man" version, the original Soundwave mold has sported at least four different tape doors:
- The original MC-10 version had a cassette door that had "Cassette Man" emblazoned on it and featured a hinge that was internal to the robot's body.
- For the initial Transformers release by Hasbro, the "Cassette Man" text was removed.
- When Takara's Soundwave was released, the hinge was remolded so the bottom of the door attached to the outside of the robot, on either side of the "buttons", which had also been remolded.
- The Soundblaster version had a door that retained the external hinge and added the capacity for holding a second cassette.
- Though Soundwave's toy is a microcassette recorder, his fictional appearances depict him as a stereo cassette deck or Walkman. (Likewise, his microcassette tapes are depicted as regular audio cassettes.)
- Animation from early Transformers commercials featured a Soundwave model colored in very light blue, versus the dark blue used later. Also, instead of the cassettes ejecting themselves from his chest, he reached into his chest compartment with his own fingers and threw the (tiny) tapes into the air.
- Soundwave's distinctive voice proved to be one of G1's most memorable aspects. The highly processed voice began with Frank Welker basically doing his Dr. Claw voice. Whether due to variations in the performance or the processing, the final result varied quite a bit across Soundwave's three seasons on the show. Occasionally, as in the episodes "Roll For It" and "Webworld", the processing was left out and Welker's actual voice can be heard.
- The Marvel US comics chose a purple scheme for Soundwave. This could have been an error, an early look for him that was dropped in other media, or perhaps an attempt to distinguish him from the other Decepticons, who were mostly blue (especially since blacks also ended up as blues in the industry's then-limited color palette). The Marvel UK comics colored him blue like everywhere else (partially due to using a more sophisticated colouring system). He was also sometimes shown without a faceplate.
- Soundwave's computer model was used for one of the generic transformers in Beast Machines. It is seen in Nightscream's flashback being cornered by Vehicon drones just before Nightscream flees into the lower levels of Cybertron. Though the model was recolored, it was still really 'Soundwavey,' causing much confusion among fans.
- Later, Soundwave's character model showed up numerous times in various color schemes as a generic background character in Armada.
- Sideways listened to music using a tape deck resembling Soundwave in the Cybertron cartoon. Later, after a new Planet X was found, Cybertron Soundwave held tape deck Soundwave in his arms.
- In the Japanese dub of the Generation 1 cartoon as well as the manga, all of Soundwave's cassette forces which could talk referred to him as "big brother". It should probably be noted, though, that this is a fairly common way to refer to others you admire and such in Japanese. It's also a term that gang members use toward older, more experienced members who aren't actual gang bosses. Take it as you will. Whatever it says about his relationship with them, it does give new meaning to the phrase "Big Brother is watching over you".