While the Autobots and Decepticons fight a crucial battle on Earth, something threatens the very existence of Cybertron.
In deep space, the planet Lithone is under attack from the planet-eater, Unicron. As the world is devoured, only one Lithonian, Kranix, manages to escape. Unicron now turns his sights on Cybertron. The year is 2005, and although the Decepticons still rule Cybertron, the Autobots are preparing to retake the planet. But all is not yet ready. Optimus Prime sends a group of Autobots on a mission to Autobot City on Earth. Unfortunately, plans for this mission are overheard by Laserbeak, who reports the findings to Megatron. Megatron leads a group of Decepticons to intercept the Earth-bound shuttle, murder its crew, and attempt to invade Autobot City using the Autobots' own ship.
The Autobots are given the most minimal of advance warnings when Hot Rod, playing with Spike Witwicky's son Daniel outside Autobot City, notices something wrong with the ship. The Autobots scramble to prepare their base for battle, but being unprepared for this head-on assault, they are soon overwhelmed.
Optimus Prime arrives to join the battle, and knows that the only way the battle can be won is to face Megatron directly in mortal combat. Both leaders battle, and sustain heavy injuries. Although Optimus Prime is fatally wounded, he has turned the tide of the battle, and the Decepticons retreat using Astrotrain as transport. Before Prime dies, he passes the Autobot Matrix of Leadership to his choice for Autobot leader, Ultra Magnus.
As the embattled Decepticons journey through space, Astrotrain informs them that they must jettison dead weight or they'll never make it back to Cybertron. Starscream sees an opportunity. All of the most wounded Decepticons are tossed out into deep space, including Megatron.
The wounded Decepticons float through space, and are gathered toward Unicron. Unicron offers Megatron a deal: destroy the Autobot Matrix of Leadership in exchange for a new body and troops. Megatron resists at first, but ultimately agrees. Unicron reshapes some of the fallen Decepticon warriors into Cyclonus, Scourge, and the Sweeps. Megatron himself is reformed into the powerful Galvatron!
Continued in Judgment Day!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
As the scene with the Insecticons was cut, it is never revealed how Hot Rod and Daniel got back inside Autobot City, unless they just toughed it out outside the whole time.
Because lines were cut here and there, Megatron's response of "No, you don't own me!" seems a little strange when Unicron offers him a new body and new troops to command.
Differences Between the Film and Comic
Major changes include:
- As per the script: Unicron devours things with the aid of a strange corrosive mist. The Lithonians also have the ability to transform.
- Spike doesn't have an exo-suit. Rather he's wearing an orange red space suit.
- Also from the script, Laserbeak is first seen popping out of a cassette deck in Autobot headquarters after the shuttle launch rather than sneaking in, and perching onto the window.
- When the Decepticons attack the Autobot shuttle, Brawn is blasted in two, another detail from an early draft of the movie script that did not make it to the screen. Ironhide and Ratchet are not melted together though.
- The shuttle actually lands at Autobot City before Daniel sees the hole in the side.
- Kup and Blurr are pretty much omitted from this issue, despite Kup being on the cover. They can be seen vaguely during Optimus Prime's death scene. Also missing are Blaster, Jazz and Cliffjumper, and most of the Transformers that had small appearances. Many more generic Transformers abound.
- Autobot City is called Fortress Maximus.
- Blitzwing's attack on Hot Rod, Starscream’s chase down the corridor, the Insecticons eating the door, the cassette fight, and Springer’s attack with the launcher have all been cut.
- Megatron orders the Constructicons to merge almost immediately, and Prime arrives not too long after.
- Hot Rod doesn’t interfere with the Prime/Megatron fight.
- The Matrix looks much different, basically like a green gem.
- No one fights inside Astrotrain.
- There is no mention of Cyclonus’ armada. He is described as “The warrior that will become Megatron’s ship”. The larger ship has been omitted, though there was no ship in the screenplay either.
- Like in the movie, Snarl is absent from the comic adaptation, though this may also be due to the screenplay which omits him. Curiously enough, in this first issue Swoop is missing as well — though in the next issue he's there with the other Dinobots on Quintesson, with absolutely no explanation.