Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A to Z Challenge: Jetfire vs Jhiaxus



It’s time to talk about my absolute favorite Transformer: Jetfire! Jetfire has sort of a weird history as he’s known as both Jetfire and Skyfire. The original Jetfire toy is based on a Macross/Robotech Veritech fighter. Because of this, in the TV show and comic book they had to redraw him as a different high-tech jet plane. The TV show used the name Skyfire while the comic book still called him Jetfire.
Jetfire

One of the happiest moments of my childhood was getting Jetfire for Xmas. That was my Red Ryder BB gun—and I didn’t shoot my eye out! I still have that Jetfire on a shelf, though he’s much worse for wear now. He was kind of fragile as he had metal hinges on his shoulders that could easily pop out. He came with red battle armor that you snapped on his back, arms, and legs though I’ve lost most of that or the connectors broke. At a convention in 1996 I bought one almost mint in the box, but I sold that last year for really not as much as I’d have liked.
Skyfire

Skyfire was introduced in the TV episode “Fire From the Sky” which was one of the better episodes. The backstory for the character is that he and Starscream were exploring deep space and Skyfire crashed in the Arctic Circle. Like Captain America he was thawed out, only millions of years later when the Decepticons were trying to drain Earth’s core. Starscream convinces Skyfire to join the Decepticons, but when he’s asked to kill, Skyfire switches sides. He appeared sporadically after that; like Astrotrain he was mostly used for his cargo capacity and ability to fly into space. When Omega Supreme and Cosmos came along in the second season he kind of got squeezed out. He didn’t appear in the 1986 movie or the third season of the TV show.

In the comics he was introduced in issue #11. He looked the same as the TV version but as I said he was called Jetfire. Like the TV show he at first was a Decepticon and then switched sides. He didn’t appear much in the US comic after that.

There have been several other version of Jetfire in toy form. There was a small Generation 2 toy that was kind of cool. It looked sort of like a Veritech and you could even put it in the in-between plane/robot Guardian mode. Later series also had different versions of Jetfire and I think once or twice Hasbro even used the name for a bad guy.  Some of those were more like Skyfire than Jetfire, though they would be named Jetfire.  It's kind of weird.

Besides that he’s a Veritech fighter, what I liked about Jetfire was that like Grapple he wasn’t really a warrior. He’s a scientist who believes that through technology we can solve all of our problems. And in many ways I think that’s true, though advancing technology usually causes other problems, but I digress.

Unfortunately Jetfire appeared in the shitty 2009 live action movie Revenge of the Fallen. It was an unforgivable sin that they took one of the most awesome Transformers and made him some doddering old codger who gets killed and his parts donated to Optimus Prime. To make it worse they designed him like one of my favorite real aircraft: the SR-71 Blackbird. So he had a cool name and cool vehicle mode, but otherwise he was shit. It was a large part why I’ve never watched another of those movies in the theater.

Jetfire has appeared in the IDW comics but he doesn’t usually do a lot. In the prequel miniseries Monstrosity he leads a scientific expedition to Cybertron’s core, uncovering a slumbering Trypticon.
Since Jetfire is my favorite he featured into all of my Transformers fanfics. The first was the fanfic novel Xenophobia. The war is over and the Autobots have won and on Cybertron he and a female Transformer (who’s actually a double-agent) have figured out how to reproduce Transformer “sparks.” They create a “daughter” and then later Jetfire goes off in search of her and stumbles across a wormhole that takes him to source of unbelievable power. Meanwhile on Earth the humans are making copies of Jetfire to be piloted by humans—like the Veritech fighers in Robotech, get it?

Then there was The Skyfire Adventures, a whole series that involved Jetfire/Skyfire. Taking place long after the original TV series, Jetfire has become a “Maximal” named Skyfire, who turns into a bald eagle instead of a jet. He winds up on a planet that’s populated by demonic creatures from the Doom video games. He defeats these with the help of some humanoids and in the process discovers a crashed Autobot ship with some of his old comrades on it.

In other stories Skyfire and crew find a weird substance that lets Skyfire turn into Jetfire when he wants to. In a trilogy of stories, they find another planet of ancient Transformers and Jetfire falls in love with the planet’s leader, who eventually accompanies him and his crew on their journey. Ultimately Jetfire and his love interest are killed battling a reborn Unicron, though they probably wouldn’t have stayed dead if I’d wanted to write more stories.

So yeah I’m pretty obsessed with Jetfire, so what?

***

Jhiaxus was like Arcee and Elita-1 in that he didn’t have a toy made of him for a long time. He first appeared in the Generation 2 comic book as a warlord who had been out conquering space during the Cybertronian wars. He eventually returns to reclaim Cybertron, which brings together Optimus Prime and Megatron to oppose him.

In the later IDW comics, Jhiaxus is more of a mad scientist. Along with Galvatron, Tailpipe, and Nova Prime, he’s trapped in the “dead universe” for millions of years. He was the creator of Arcee, the first female Transformer, though she wasn’t all that appreciative of his experiments on her.
Jhiaxus is the one on the right who looks like Igor

There have been a couple of toys of him that were just recolors of other toys, not really based on the comic book version.

3 comments:

  1. ha ha...I knew both of today's yesterday.

    The most recent Jetfire toy was really cool...even had the red armor again (now with chrome accents!). And you're right, that little Gen 2 one was neat since he could have that gerwalk mode even though I doubt that was intended. I would love to see a Masterpiece Jetfire, although the price would be like $300 or something :( I was very disappointed in how they handled Jetfire in the live action movies...total waste of a character. It would have been cool to bring back some of that history between him and Starscream..but since they really didn't care about the robots other than Bumblebee and OP it figures they would overlook a potential cool plot point.

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  2. Here from the A-Z and both of them look quite deadly! Can't get my tongue around the second name though, too many consonants :)

    All the best for the challenge,
    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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  3. I'm kinda partial to Optimus prime myself. If you like transformations you might like people who have made remarkable transformations.
    http://theglobaldig.blogspot.com/2017/04/j-is-for-jaunty-dance-books.html

    @trincarl

    @trincarl

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