At Botcon 2007, Hasbro announced that their Transformers Titanium line would be ending due to a lack of retailer support. It's a real shame, too, because they had some really nice prototypes on display that will now never be made. But even worse than that is the fact that we may never even see the ones that are being made: low sales mean low orders, but some of the most-awaited characters are still in the assortments yet to be released. The Fallen, Grimlock, Ultra Magnus... and even the Decepticon leader Megatron.
For years he waited. For years he planned. For years he sat in the shadows of the arena in Kaon
watching as Transformers fought and died. As the taste for destruction grew within those who fought, he sowed the seeds of his own rise to power, and the subjugation of Cybertron. Those who proved themselves worthy through a talent for viciousness or simple, raw power, he recruited. No more would they call themselves Transformers. Now they are Decepticons.
When the time came, his Decepticons rose up all over the planet. In that first lightning strike, thousands ceased functioning. So far, all of his planning has gone perfectly. Before his assaults, the Autobots are helpless, capable of fighting only long enough to barely manage a retreat to the next fallback position. All the while, his plan progresses. The Autobots will be destroyed utterly, Megatron thinks, the universe subjugated beneath my immortal heel, and the history of the my conquest read by the flickering flames of a thousand burning civilizations.
We saw the pre-Earth forms of a handful of Transformers on the old G1 cartoon, but Megatron was not among them -
whenever we had a flashback to Cybertron's distant history, if Meggy appeared, he was always in his robot form. So when Dreamwave Comics took us back there for The War Within, the Decepticon overlord was a blank slate.
While most of the War Within characters were designed by Don Figueroa, Megatron, here, is the work of Pat Lee - which may explain why he's... well, let's just say "a bit less elegant" than the others. But Figueroa was the one who drew him in the books, and the one who designed the toy, so at least Megatron has that going for him.
As a G1 fan, I've never dug the nothion of Megatron as a tank.
He's a gun, dagnabbit, no matter what the US toy laws say. However, The War Within made it work - finally, he had a tank mode that didn't come across as inferior to the original handgun. The toy doesn't quite live up to the comic, sadly, but it still looks pretty good.
In keeping with the trend of the old cartoon,
Megatron appears in his tank form only once in the comic. As in, "one panel." In issue #4, he comes blasting through a wall, tired of being lost. That issue also gives us a glimpse of his transformation, which this figure matches almost exactly. A lot of fans have complained that the transformation is too simplistic, but that's a flaw of the original character design, not the toy. It is very straightforward, though: the only hitch in the system is when you have to pull his shoulders out to the sides and rotate his torso between them.
The detailing is very nice, however. Megatron is just covered with small sculptual elements
that help make him look like a real machine, rather than somthing that was just drawn. The color scheme definitely recalls the G1 Megatron, with the silver body, black legs and red highlights. Technicaly, the Decepticon symbol on his chest should be the War Within version, if you really want to be a stickler for comic-accuracy. But face it, no one would know what that was.
Megatron stands 6" tall - his shoulders come up about ¼" higher than his head - and moves at the elbows, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. Turning the waist can be difficult, because the joint used to tranform the torso moves easier. His upper arms look small, amazingly enough, because the shoulder and elbow joints end up so close together.
One of the neat features of Meggy's design is a strange G1 reference. We all know that the cartoon and comic versions of Megatron's robot form looked nothing at all like the real toy. That famous design was actually based on early concept art for the Microman toy that would become Megatron, which had a decidedly different transformation scheme.
One of the elements dropped from the toy but held in the art was the gun's barrel poking up above the robot's right shoulder - something present on this figure, as one of the tank's three cannons.
So, what of the other two cannons? The one to port is a huge black gun with an odd red cap - it's hinged so it can aim over the robot's shoulder, and it rotates so it's not always pointing at the sky. Plus, it's removable - in the comic, Optimus Prime ripped it off in the middle of their fight. The center cannon and the "nose" of the tank come off as part of the transformation. Again, this is something the fanboys have complained about, but it's straight out of the comic. The cannon becomes...
well, Megatron's arm-cannon, while the piece of tank becomes some kind of shield. There is, however, a problem.
The fusion cannon is obviously designed to fit on the robot's arm, just like it did in G1. However, the sculpt of the piece prevents it from actually fitting properly. Either the peg needs to be twice as long or the cannon's base needs to be a complete block, but the fact is it doesn't fit well. You can have the robot hold the gun in his hand, but that kind of defeats the point, doesn't it? Annoying! The shield can be held in his hand, as well, or fit in a clip on his back. The clip was originally for a sword (seen in the comic) that was dropped before the final product, but it still serves a purpose.
For all of us who wanted Megatron but were cock-blocked by stores' failure to restock, Toys Я Us came through, offering an exclusive War Within two-pack featuring Optimus Prime and Megatron.
Deep within Cybertron, in chambers long lost and longer forgotten, two of the mightiest warriors the universe has ever seen battle for supremacy in a struggle that will forever define the future. One is a leader newly made, a simple archivist infused with the power of the Matrix and pushed unwilling
into greatness. The other is an ancient warrior, washed in the oil of fallen foes, whose plans have been years in the making.
Here, at the very heart of their home world, the power of the Matrix flares into life as none before have witnessed, and both warriors are given a glimpse of what will be. They see themselves, ages hence, locked in a strange echo of their current struggle. They see the wasteland their war will make of their world, and the long chain of Sparkless shells in their wake. They see the shape of things to come and know that what they fight for is not just victory but the future itself.
The figures in the set are unchanged from their normal releases (though they don't include the display stands), so this set might be hard to swallow if you already bought the plentiful Prime. But at $30, it's still cheaper than buying Megatron by himself off eBay, so consider this is a viable option. You even get a free comic (jammed into the bottom of the box) - a variant cover of The War Within #5.
Titanium War Within Megatron has taken a lot of crap from snarky fanboys, but most of his "flaws" come straight from the comics - which, in this case, is the "real" source. As a toy, it's a good representation of the character, and plays well. If you could just get his damn cannon to stick to his arm like it's supposed to, this woould definitely be a recommended buy. As it is, though? Get him if you're into Megatron, Titaniums or The War Within, but not as a random TF.