- 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 has positioned himself comfortably and irreplaceably in Megatron's upper command structure, and stands at the Decepticon leader's side as confidant. Though Communications Officer, he is comparable to Starscream and Shockwave in rank, and the only one of the three that has consistently displayed loyalty to Megatron. Soundwave guards his place in the hierarchy fiercely. Though loyal to Megatron, the other Decepticons see him as a two-faced snake. As Communications Officer, Soundwave sees and hears all, and will not 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 also has all the personality of a stump (as evidenced in his computer-style speech). He also has no imagination, sending the aforementioned cassettes on operations with mundane names.
- Italian name: Memor, Vizar (as Soundblaster)
- RTM dub name: New Soundwave (as Soundblaster)
- French-Canadian name: Radar, Sonore (as Action Master)
- Hungarian name: Fülelő (meaning Listener)
Marvel Comics continuity
(Note: Events from the UK-only comic stories are in italics.)
After the Transformers' awakening on Earth, Soundwave served quietly under Megatron, before he 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. Soundwave assumed leadership of the Decepticons a short time later and led them against the Autobots during the "Dinobot Hunt," during a brief period when both Megatron and Shockwave were missing in action.
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, 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, without the other's knowledge. When Shockwave learned that the human
When the Robot-Master hoax the Decepticons were perpetrating was threatened by the investigate 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 Decepticon's mobile island base, found himself attacked and subdued by the time-travelling 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 remotely 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 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 joind 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 to save their own hides.
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 he had given them, Megatron came to suspect the presence of a traitor in his ranks, but ironically assigned Soundwave to identify them. To keep his own duplicity a secret, he sets up Wildrider to take the fall, and Megatron destroys 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 take control.Subsequently, Soundwave led an all-out attack on the Earthforce base as a diversion, while Starscream attempts to plunder an oil tanker. Starscream meets with failure, however, leading Soundwave to withdraw his forces, and wonder if he should not take leadership for himself alone. Starscream is aware of Soundwave's goals, and when he is attacked by a group of alien assassins, suspects that he has ordered the hit and strikes back at him. Soundwave is able to convince him he is not responsible - in actuality, it was the work of Megatron and Soundwave.
Learning that human reporter Irwin Spoon had secured an interview with the Autobots that could potentially resolve public view of the Transformer war. Seeking to prevent this, he has the Stunticons captured the journalist, and although the Autobots are able to rescue him, a carefully planted cerebro-shell ensures that the story Irwin writes is anything but accurate.
Prior to his arrival on Earth, Soundwave had the questionably useful altmode of a space-age lamp-post. 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 was to happen many times to the seemingly tape-deck addicted citizens of Earth.
Later, he used his mind-reading talents to acquire an antimatter formula for the Decepticons from the brain of Chip Chase. 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, beginning 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 after being left for dead at the Battle of Autobot City in 2005. But while Soundwave was loyal, he was far from stupid, and kept his mouth shut when Megatron was subsequently ejected into space, and although he did suggest himself as a replacement leader, he again loyally served Megatron when he 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 Eurhythma, 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 Eurhythmans countered the harmony with white noise, and was again pulled into a confrontation with Blaster, who erased his recordings.
Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformer 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, lead by Bumblebee and Kenji to track them down. He was ultimately defeated when Bumblebee got the drop on him with his patented "Bumble-Kick" and shattered his chest, making it impossible for his cassette forces to return to him, leaving them to be captured as well.
The manga maintained something resembling continuity: during his appearance in the third issue of the book, Soundwave was shown to have bandages over his chest. Adorable.
Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformer story pages
In the second "Anime Theater" story page, titled Sick em, Hound!, the Autobots decided to keep themselves in shape by having a friendly race. Soundwave learned of the race and set up a trap within a narrow canyon. He walled the Autobots up within the canyon and began shooting them all. Luckily, Hound arrived on the scene and delivered a powerful punch to his chest, shattering his tape door. Soundwave immediately fled.
Shortly after the arrival of the Headmasters, Soundwave and Blaster engaged in their final clash in the Arctic circle as the Autobots and Decepticons were in the process of searching for the missing Autobot Matrix of Leadership. The two opponents inflicted fatal damage on each other, and Soundwave's body exploded even as Blaster collapsed, but his fragments were recovered by his cassettes. Using reconstructive technology from the planet Master, the leader of the Decepticon Headmasters, Scorponok successfully rebuilt and resurrected Soundwave as Soundblaster - essentially identical to his former self, except for his predominantly black color scheme. As Soundblaster, Soundwave served the same role as he had previously under the leadership of Galvatron and later Scorponok, frequently embarking on spying missions with Ratbat.
After the Decepticons had been vanquished from Earth, Mega Zarak ordered Soundblaster to remain on Earth in secret to act as a spy for the Decepticons. Soundblaster made his presence and intentions known almost instantly (not a very good spy) by kicking Wheelie square in the face and taking the Witwicky family hostage. Strangely enough, the Autobots considered these acts to be hostile. 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. 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 him, as he readily joins up with Starscream when the Seeker decides to return to Earth and take over. Though Soundwave feigned subservience to Starscream, it is 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
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 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 where Megatron attempted to kill Senator Decimus, a raid by the Autobots under Sentinel Prime resulted in the partcipants being arrested. Soundwave, however, was freed under Senate directive, something which greatly angered the Prime.
Centuries later, Soundwave was working for Megatron directly (or at least, Megatron believed he was). After Shockwave disappeared, Megatron assigned Bludgeon to delve into his research and relay all the information back to him. As the Decepticon leader did not fully trust Bludgeon, he 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 he 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. He remains sitting in the window to this day.
- Soundwave (Decepticon, 1984/1985, 2003)
- 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 to not 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.
- 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 who 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- (It is interesting to note that while the actual product uses the Soundblaster mold, the package photos show Soundwave with the single-tape door mold used for Takara's TFC-10 reissue.)
- 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.
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 upwards to 2 GB. Uses 1 AAA battery. An optional accessory, sold separately, feature 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.
- As of this writing, SanDisk has not indicated any plans to release tie-in miniSD cards named Ravage or Laserbeak. It's sure to only be a matter of time, though.
- 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 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.
- Soundwave's computer model was used for one of the generic transformers in Beast Machines seen in Nightscream's flashback being cornered by Vehicon drones just before Nightscream fled 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". What this says about his relationship with them is unknown, but it does give new meaning to the phrase "Big Brother is watching over you".