As Transformers: Cybertron is winding down, it brings to a close a single storyline that's been running for years, now. It started as Armada, then was relaunched as Energon before switching one final time to Cybertron. And as goes the cartoon, so goes the toy line. Of course, it's not gone yet, and we're getting some real oddities mixed in here at the end of the run. Oddities like Unicron.
You're familiar with Unicron, right? The planet-sized behemoth, the destroyer of worlds, the evil counterpart of Primus in both body and soul? Yeah, that guy. Well, during the course of the Unicron Trilogy (the unofficial fan name for Armada/Energon/Cybertron), his body was detroyed, eventually feeding a black hole. It's a long, confusing story. Like all the rest of A/E/C. Anyway, his spark can't be extinguished, so while his globey corpse may have gone the way of all flesh, he's not dead yet.
This Unicron, in robot form, 6" tall, but we all know how little actual size means in the world of Transformers - the camera was the same size as the semi-truck, for cryin' out loud! He could be the same size he always was.
A lot of the classic design elements have been carried over, so this is still recognizbly Unicron, despite his small size. The shoulderpads and forearms are the same shape, as are his feet. We get hints of the wings and planet-kibble, and the same kind of gun even pops out of his chest.
But despite all that, this could be any random transformer, if not for one thing: the head. That is unmistakably Unicron. He's got the horns, the helmet and the double-pronged chin. Taking a cue from the battle-scarred head orbiting Cybertron, his face is skeletal, suggesting that he's got to rebuild himself.
Imagine Unicron's spirit, trapped in that black hole, is finally set free. Maybe Soundwave used Nemesis Prime's Dead Matrix to do it. It shoots out into space, possessing the first body it can find; some random 'bot, whose name we've never known. The spark is downloaded, overwriting the original inhabitant, and begins reformatting the body into one more suitable for Unicron. Eventually he'll be the planet-eater that's feared in every alternate universe, but for now he still looks like the body he took over. It's like those old ads where some dinky little kid boasted about how he was drinking milk, and one day he'd be big. Hopefully Unicron isn't lactose intolerant.
When the prototype pictures first surfaced, Transfans were livid. They complained that Unicron looked like a bug, that the alternate form didn't suit him. Blah, blah, blah, bitch, bitch, bitch. It's not like he's always been a planet - as detailed in our Cybertron Primus review, he originally had human (or at least humanoid) form. Now the big guy's vehicle is some kind of crazy space tank or something. It's got wheels in the back and tank treads in the front, but the general shape of it looks like a UFO. Basically, it's another vehicle "disguise" that stands out even more than a giant walking robot would. It's not the greatest thing ever conceived, but it's decent.
As far as the Unicron detailing goes, he's got the big pincers and the jagged mouth, but they're not grouped together now. The parts that would previously have transformed into his ring are now frame-mounted blades. His head flips back to become a radar dish, and there's a cannon on either side of that. The wheels roll freely, and the tank is a hollow mess when viewed from beneath, but it's still fun to picture this as a space ship rather than a ground vehicle.
Like all the Cybertron figures, Mini-Unicron has a key-activated battle feature. Insert the included key in the back of the ship, and the "jaws" open to allow a triple-barreled cannon to emerge. It's a spring-loaded feature, so if you don't lock it in place, you can pretend the main gun is recoiling as it fires.
So, despite all the fanboy whining, Cybertron Unicron is a good figure. He looks nice in both modes, and transforms well. The only real hurdle to enjoying him is your own imagination - if you're locked into the idea that he must be a planet, then yes, big-time disappointment. But if you can come up with a reason that he'd look like this, then act fast before he's evolves to a more expensive price point.
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