Friday, April 7, 2017

A to Z Challenge: Fortress Maximus vs Frenzy



Fortress Maximus was the largest Transformers toy ever at over two feet tall and yet bizarrely in the comic books he’s always shown as much smaller and used as a punching bag more often than not. Even in the “Rebirth” miniseries of the cartoon show he was depicted as the same size as the Decepticon Scorponok, despite that Fort Max’s toy is twice the size of Scorponok.

In the US comic he made his first appearance in the Headmaster miniseries, where he ripped off his head for…reasons. He was initially bonded to a Nebulon named Galen, though after Galen died in battle, he was joined with Spike Witwicky. In an early issue of the Generation 2 comic book, he takes on the reborn Megatron and gets his ass kicked, finally blowing up the Ark to try to kill Megatron. It was a fight that made no sense since the Generation 2 Megatron was about as big as one of Fort Max’s legs. Fort Max could literally have drop-kicked Megatron if the comic book used the correct sizes.
Weak sauce

In the IDW comic, Fortress Maximus is even smaller, about the same size as Ultra Magnus. He ran an Autobot prison until the psychotic Overlord took it over and tortured Fort Max for three years until help arrived. He joined the Lost Light crew for a little while, suffering from PTSD that prompted him to take the ship’s psychiatrist hostage. Later he became the guardian of Cybertron’s lost moon.
I get no respect...

In the Elseworlds series Transformers vs. GI JOE (the IDW version) Fortress Maximus is being used as a prison and devouring anything in his path. A team of JOEs discovers that the evil BlackArachnia has been controlling his mind. Under his own power, Fort Max tries to fight the giant Trypticon (again the toy of which is maybe half his toy’s size) and gets his head torn off. He literally crawls away, though later he joins the final battle.

You see a pattern here? I guess with an Autobot twice the size of any other toy it would have been easy to use him as a deus ex machina, so instead the comic book writers overcompensated by making him a wimp. There’s probably a writing lesson in there for you. Personally I think it’s pretty silly.

Christopher Dilloway scrimped and saved back in the 80s and finally got Fortress Maximus the toy, who retailed around $100 back then, which in today’s money is probably like $250. Thank goodness they had layaway for more than Xmas back then! He was pretty huge, with a head that turned into a more normal-sized robot. That robot in turn had a head that came off to become Spike Witwicky, making Fort Max the only double Headmaster. He was reissued a couple of years ago. A ComicCon version came with a giant sword that would have been pretty cool.


***

Frenzy was one of the little tape robots you could buy to fit in the Decepticon Soundwave, who was a tape recorder. The toy of Frenzy was blue while his twin Rumble was red-and-black. In the TV show, though, Rumble was purple and Frenzy (in a rare appearance) was red-and-black. He really only showed up a couple of times and never did a whole lot.

He gained more prominence in the 2007 movie. In that instead of a tape he turned into a variety of tiny objects like a boom box on Air Force One and later Megan Fox’s cell phone. He was a weird little robot who spoke in a lot of gibberish because I guess he didn’t study Earth TV like the Autobots. Even after he had his head blown off he remained alive to continue spying on Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.

So there you go: from the biggest Transformer to one of the smallest.

5 comments:

  1. Still have Max, too. :) I hate that he was always a puss in the comics..but then again the Marvel comics pretty much sucked and I haven't read most of the IDW ones; Dreamwave folded before they could get too deep into the roster of characters. Got the retail version of the new Max...but that sword would've been cool lol.

    It was weird that the animators messed up the Frenzy-Rumble thing...or maybe it was Hasbro...who knows lol. I always thought that in the movie, Frenzy and most of the other Decepticons knew human languages, but they didn't care about humans so they didn't bother talking human language.

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  2. That's really awesome that Christopher made some money on Max. My mom bought a bunch of Madame Alexander dolls back in the 80's because she loved dolls AND (more importantly) she thought they'd be an investment. With her death, I've been going through some of her things and tried to sell a mint condition Romeo and Juliet on eBay. Highest bid was $15 lousy bucks, which is lower than what mom bought them for. Her whole collection is that way...essentially worthless. I was talking to a professional doll collector and I guess a big scam back in the 80's was riding this "collectible doll craze" and Madame Alexander and a bunch of other companies saw that their stuff made in the 1950's was worth a lot of money and so they flooded the market to eager collectors who wanted to snap them up. Anyway, there were thousands upon thousands of collectors who held onto those dolls and now the market for thirty year old dolls is completely flooded because there's too much supply. It's basically the same thing that happened to comic books in the 80's. People saw a good thing, bought into a craze, stowed them away for years, and today they're worthless because there's millions of them on the market.

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    1. You could probably sell those dolls to my mom. πŸ˜‰

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  3. My kids used to have some beanie babies that I later heard were worth a lot of money. However, I gave those all away to a charity a long time ago. Not too swift of me.

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    1. the bubble on beanies burst a long time ago...despite what people try to sell them for on ebay, most really are worthless

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