Thunderwing strikes a delicate balance between calm composure and explosive rage. This rage is backed by an immensely powerful form, and he will not flinch at using this raw power when simple deceit and treachery fail him. His power is amplified further by his impressive Pretender shell, which is a virtually indestructible arsenal of weaponry.
Despite his position within the Decepticon ranks, Thunderwing wants to be admired and respected by his subordinates, but all too often he can be caught in a consuming obsession that leads him down the irreversible path of darkness. This capacity for obsession is both his strength and weakness, and his blindness to this fault both propels him to greatness and to tragedy. If he becomes at all aware of what horrors he's done, it's usually too late, and he's brought everything he holds dear to the brink of destruction.
- French name (Canada): Aérofoudre (Aerolightning)
Marvel Comics continuity
A handful of Transformers are born with a natural affinity to the Creation Matrix. Though these special few are usually Autobots, Thunderwing was an exception. Thunderwing felt that the Matrix called to him, and believed that he would become the first Decepticon to possess it.
Thunderwing was a driven Decepticon who rose quickly from relative obscurity to a command position in the ranks. He made a bid for full leadership of the Decepticons to the High Council, and they decided to test him with a hunting mission: Three Autobot prisoners were released on Earth, and Thunderwing was charged with chasing down and executing them on his own. While Playback and Horsepower did fall before his cyclone cannon, the last runner, Hosehead, was saved by his fellow Autobots Nightbeat and Siren. The Headmasters exploded the fuel core in Playback's corpse at close range to Thunderwing, nearly cooking him alive inside his own impenetrable Pretender shell. Shrieking in agony, Thunderwing plunged into the nearby surf.
Thunderwing eventually rose from the waters, his still-cooling shell juxtaposed with the growing intensity of his rage at being beaten. Thunderwing lashed out at everything around him and very nearly destroyed a ship of his fellow Decepticons who had been sent to find him. As a duly appointed officer of the Decepticon High Council, Ruckus was sent to inform Thunderwing that his bid for leadership was not being rejected outright, but was still under review, and the Councilors had asked that he return to Cybertron. Instead, Thunderwing violently conscripted Ruckus and his team into joining him for an assault on the Ark in order to get revenge on Hosehead and his ilk. Thunderwing single-handedly blasted his way into the Ark and confronted Optimus Prime directly before Ruckus convinced him to save the fight for another day. Returning to Cybertron, Thunderwing was surprised to learn that the Decepticon High Council was impressed by his initiative and the strength of his vendetta, and so granted him full leadership of the Decepticons of Cybertron.
One of Thunderwing's first actions on taking over Decepticon leadership was to abolish neutral territories, making places such as Maccadam's Old Oil House Decepticon-only establishments. Despite these movements, Lord Thunderwing became displeased with the growing success of the newly-rebuilt Jazz, Grimlock, and Bumblebee and their raiding of Decepticon fuel depositories. Fearing the Autobot resistance movement was gaining momentum, he ordered Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold, the Mayhem Attack Squad, to find and kill the Autobot Pretenders.
When the Mayhem Attack Squad failed, Thunderwing became curious when teams of Autobots were subsequently ordered to search an area of space. Trailing a team on Pz-zazz which included (again) Nightbeat, Hosehead, and Siren, he waited until the right moment to blast and capture them. As Thunderwing's Decepticons began trailing another team of Autobots on Cheyenne (Backstreet, Dogfight, and Override), he subjected the captured first group to his Mind Leech machine. He learned from these torture sessions that the Autobots were scouring the universe for the lost Creation Matrix. Unfortunately, the second group was no closer to finding the Matrix either, and he left them to their own devices. His obsession with finding the Creation Matrix caused some concerns for the Decepticons under his command, and he even began attacking his own troops when accused of taking his personal quest too far. These outbursts began coming to a head when he found traces of Matrix energy in a sea monster on Pequod. Ruckus made the mistake of questioning his leader's growing obsession, and Thunderwing backhanded him into some equipment (unknowingly shorting out the Mind Leech which held their captive Autobots immobile). While his troops battled the Autobots searching there, he used his affinity for the Matrix to mind-link with the sea monster. Discovering that the Matrix was on Cameron's third moon, VsQs, he abandoned the battle, much to the growing frustration of his troops.
As it happened, between the revival of the Kludd and the arrival of Thunderwing, the Creation Matrix had become warped. Thunderwing fought intensely with Bumblebee, Jazz, and Grimlock on VsQs, and they were overwhelmed not only by his vastly superior might, but by the strength of his desire to possess the Matrix. However, he and his troops were subdued by a Matrix Spawn, a darkly-evolved creature contaminated by the Matrix, allowing Bumblebee and the other Autobots to grab the Matrix and head for their ship. But when the Autobot shuttlecraft later arrived within the Ark, it was Thunderwing who emerged, in full possession of the Creation Matrix, enshrouded in its energies.
On board the Ark, Thunderwing savagely beat Optimus Prime, the latter of whom was afraid to return the violence in kind, in fear that the Matrix would be destroyed and their race would be doomed against Unicron. Waves of Autobots stormed against Thunderwing, ending in Landmine and others being killed or critically wounded. Quickly, the increasingly-evil Matrix took over Thunderwing, overpowering his thoughts and controlling his actions. After turning his power on his own troops, he had one final moment of clarity at what he had become, but it was too late. He was consumed. Nightbeat, Siren, and Hosehead, who Thunderwing had captured earlier, had escaped their constraints, and after releasing the bay doors, Thunderwing was harpooned to the shuttlecraft. The shuttle self-destructed and Thunderwing and the Creation Matrix were seemingly lost.
The Matrix, however, was made of sterner stuff, and after some time reactivated alongside Thunderwing's body and the Autobot shuttlecraft on Earth's Moon. As time passed, and though only the "barest spark remained," it healed Thunderwing's body, eventually allowing it to transform and escape the Moon. It (they) now hungered for revenge!
Thunderwing, completely controlled by the Creation Matrix, arrived on Cybertron just as Unicron had attacked. Through Thunderwing, the Matrix continued to manifest as a frightening demon, which blasted Unicron and buried its tendrils within him. Though Unicron was momentarily stunned, once the Matrix revealed that it was now attempting to be a force of Evil, Unicron ripped the manifestation apart. Unicron has no equal in the arena of evil. Thunderwing's body fell in tatters, and the Matrix casing dropped to the planet below.
Dreamwave Armada comics continuity
Versions of Thunderwing, Scourge, Bludgeon, Dirge, and Galvatron from various devoured universes were sent by their master, Unicron, to prepare another universe for his coming. Porting into Decepticon Command Headquarters on Cybertron, Galvatron left Thunderwing and the others on Cybertron to accomplish their task. Though they destroyed of all of the Decepticons in their headquarters and established a network of space bridge portals, this universe's Megatron was not amongst their victims.
Traveling to Earth's Decepticon headquarters (but leaving Bludgeon behind on Cybertron to guard the portal), they found it momentarily abandoned, so Thunderwing suggested they hunt down this universe's Thrust to learn Megatron's location. However, Thrust knew nothing, and they quickly returned to Decepticon Earth headquarters when Thunderwing detected that their space bridge nexus on Cybertron had been breached. Ultimately, Thunderwing and the other servants of Unicron were destroyed when this universe's Jetfire detonated a bomb in Cybertron's Decepticon Command Headquarters, incinerating them all.
IDW comics continuity
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Seven hundred years ago, during the height of the Autobot-Decepticon war on Cybertron, Thunderwing was a Decepticon scientist who alerted both sides to the damage that the ongoing conflict was doing to their planet and the resultant danger of an impending catastrophic event. According to Bludgeon, his warnings were ignored, even by Jetfire.
Subsequently, Thunderwing took action on his own, subjecting himself to a "polydermal grafting" process of his own design, one that had previously been summarily rejected by Megatron as "unnatural" and "ill-conceived". This process of grafting tissue culled from living subjects onto a Transformer to create an armored symbiotic carapace somehow also appears to have made him the avatar of the very apocalypse he had warned against. The process drove Thunderwing insane but made him invulnerable; even the combined might of the Autobots and Decepticons couldn't stop him. In the end, he was swallowed whole by Cybertron itself, leaving the planet completely uninhabitable.
When Shockwave went missing, Megatron assigned Bludgeon to dig into his research and find out what he'd been doing. An indeterminate time later, Thunderwing's resting place was discovered by a group of Decepticons led by Bludgeon, who planned to continue where Thunderwing left off. The project was completed in the present day, using a combination of "Ultra-Energon" (culled from Shockwave's research) and a set of imprinted commands. Thunderwing was thus resurrected and immediately departed for Nebulos, following Bludgeon's plans to sacrifice that world to restore Cybertron somehow. There, Thunderwing was engaged by the Decepticon Infiltration team in place, which did not want to see Nebulos completely destroyed. After Thunderwing totaled Crankcase, Ruckus, and Roadgrabber, the survivors, Dreadwind, Darkwing, and Thrust, abandoned the planet, leaving Thunderwing alone. However, after the destruction of Bludgeon's control harness, Thunderwing changed course—back towards Cybertron.
There, he was attacked by Optimus Prime, the Wreckers, the Predacons, and reprogrammed Centurion drones. Jetfire revealed that enough punishment would eventually cause Thunderwing to drain most of his Energon reserves. However, Thunderwing revealed a third "Ultra" robot configuration. Thanks to the Wreckers, the Decepticons, the instability of Ultra Energon, and a speech/salvo combination from Optimus Prime, he was stopped dead in his tracks. His inanimate form was taken into custody by the Autobots.
Galvatron would later steal Thunderwing's body from Hound's detail of Autobots, in service of his master in the Dead Universe. Since the Dead Universe Transformers can only spend a limited amount of time in the land of the living, they programmed Thunderwing to guard the cave entrance to the Nega-Core on planet Corata-Vaz. He easily batted away Hound's crew and Ultra Magnus, but did not pursue them, as his programming seems to keep him on a leash that only includes the cave entrance. It did, however, allow Cyclonus the time he needed to escape.
The Wreckers later attempted to penetrate Thunderwing's defenses and reach the Nega-Core, but apparently had no more success than Ultra Magnus and company.
- Thunderwing (Mega Pretender, 1989)
- Accessories: Pretender shell, 2 large laser guns, small laser gun
- Thunderwing's inner robot transforms into a rather simple Cybertronic shuttlecraft. His Pretender shell also transforms into a starship mode of its own. The inner vehicle can be attached underneath the nose of the larger vehicle to create a combined starship mode. The inner robot is relatively generic in appearance (as with most Pretenders) while his outer Pretender shell resembles an alien warrior with Japanese Oni influences. The inner robot carries a small laser, while the shell is armed with two large blasters. All three of his guns can be mounted on his shell's vehicle mode. The large laser cannons can be mounted on the jet two different ways, either perpendicular or parallel to the wing undersides.
- Unlike fellow Mega Pretenders Crossblades or Vroom, parts do not need to be removed and rearranged in order for Thunderwing to achieve any of his modes.
- Thunderwing (Deluxe Class, 2010)
- Accessories: 2 launching missiles, recon drone
- Transformation Level: 2-Easy
- Strength: 9
- Intelligence: 6
- Speed: 8
- Endurance: 8
- Rank: 5
- Courage: 7
- Fireblast: 10
- Skill: 5
- Thunderwing's new configuation for the Generations line features a more detailed configuration that transforms into a stealth jet and comes with two missle launchers and a recon drone. He is incredibly G1 accurate in terms of appearance, but he doesn't come with a Pretender Shell system. He is described as a single-minded and powerful Decepticon; even Megatron hesitates to get in his way on a mission (which is normally to wipe out an entire planet).
- Thunderwing only transformed out of his humanoid shell mode once in the entire United States run of the Marvel Comics series. Even then, it was into his non-combined shell-only jet mode, leaving no hint that he had a inner robot mode at all. The only time we see his inner robot mode is in his first appearance, the Marvel United Kingdom story, "The Big Shutdown!".
- Thunderwing's Marvel Comics appearances give him a four-barreled hand weapon that's completely fabricated, as it's not based on any of the toy's three guns. As with the melee weapons Bludgeon, Stranglehold, and Octopunch use in the comic, his four-barreled cannon likely originated from his unpublished character model.
- A phenomenon seen often in the Marvel United States material, Thunderwing suffered from color scheme shift. At first, he appears in colors as approximate to his toy's layout as the printing process allowed, but by the time he makes his biggest, most memorable appearances, much of his blacks, grays, and blues had been substituted for light greens.
- Hasbro photography of Thunderwing shows some plastic color differences from the final product. His shell's arms are the same purple as his guns instead of gray, and his inner robot's thighs are that purple as well, instead of the final toy's black. Black paint is applied to the shell's thighs differently, and the inner robot's forearms seem to be painted light gray. Additionally, the smaller robot is incapable of toting either of the larger guns in jet mode, as the peghole isn't large enough.
- Speaking of pegholes, both of Thunderwing's large guns have Powerlinxable pegs which can store Mini-Cons, if one so desires.