Thunderwing is the name of several fictional characters from the Transformers series. Introduced in 1989, he was a major villain in the Marvel Comics Transformers series. Although Thunderwing was created after the US Transformers television series ended, the character of Black Shadow did appear in the Japanese Transformers series, who was based on the same design as Thunderwing. In later years other characters have carried on the name Thunderwing in the Transformers line, including two Mini-Cons and a mirror-universe version of the original character, who was a law enforcement officer. In 2010 Hasbro released a new Thunderwing toy based on the original character.

Transformers: Generation 1

Thunderwing in Marvel Comics
Sub-group(s) Ultra Pretenders, Deluxe Vehicles
Function Aerial Espionage
Motto "Cover yourself with lies and no one will find you."
Alternate Modes Cybertronian Jet
Series Transformers: Generation 1
Transformers: Generations

Thunderwing is a Decepticon Mega Pretender. He is cruel and power hungry.[1]


Thunderwing was voted the 7th top Transformer who was bad ass in the comics by Topless Robots.[2]

Marvel Comics

Thunderwing had a prominent role in Marvel's Transformers comic book as a Decepticon warlord, first appearing in #60 of the US comic.

Thunderwing had several appearances in the UK comics which predate his appearance in US #60, showing how Thunderwing rose from being a young, promising warlord to leader of the Decepticons. His first chronological appearance was in a text story called "The Magnificent Six", where flashbacks revealed he had once been a lieutenant of the sadistic Decepticon leader Megadeath. At this point, before Prime and Megatron were marooned on Earth, Thunderwing already had his Pretender shell. Later, his trial for leadership, set by a council of Decepticon elders, consisted of hunting down and exterminating several Autobot prisoners released on Earth but due to the intervention of Nightbeat & Siren, Thunderwing was taken offline. He later reactivated and went on a rampage before a Decepticon squad arrived to take him back to Cybertron; he beat the squad into obeying him and then launched a doomed five-man attack on the Ark in revenge for what Nightbeat did to him. While this attack was a failure, the drive and ambition he'd shown impressed the Decepticon elders and they promoted him to Decepticon commander.

In his first US appearance, he was concerned with the Autobot Pretender Classics bringing hope to the Autobot resistance and increasing the number of attacks on Decepticon bases. He sent a team of Decepticon assassins, led by Bludgeon, to crush the Pretenders and the entire resistance cell led by Emirate Xaaron. The assassin group followed the Autobot Pretender Classics down to the center of Cybertron, where they accidentally woke up the god Primus, causing the events that led to the Matrix Quest.

Obsessed with acquiring the power of the Creation Matrix, Thunderwing followed the various Autobot squads, intending to steal the Matrix once they located it for him. During the mission, he was able to capture and severely wound Nightbeat's squad and fought the Classic Pretenders to a standstill before finally reaching the Matrix. However, the Matrix had already begun to become corrupted and wanting to better understand the nature of evil, it bonded with Thunderwing and became far more corrupt. The warlord become possessed by the Matrix, depriving him of his free will and unleashing him on the Ark.

The possessed Thunderwing was defeated by a joint effort between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Still holding the Matrix, he was hurled to an unknown planetoid, where he remained inactive until the corrupted Matrix revived him and used him to attack the dark god Unicron. However, the attack failed, killing Thunderwing and causing Optimus Prime to capture and revert the Matrix to its original state.[3]

Dreamwave Productions

In the 21st century release of new Transformers comics by Dreamwave Productions, it would not be the Armada version of Thunderwing that would appear in the Transformers: Armada comic, but his Generation One counterpart. In this world, the incarnation of Thunderwing was one of the heralds of Unicron, from a different dimension, sent to cause destruction prior to Unicron's arrival alongside his fellow heralds, Scourge, Dirge, Bludgeon and their leader Galvatron (all characters from the Generation 1 universe, though their names are not mentioned and are not the versions from the Generation One Dreamwave comics).

While Galvatron attacked Megatron on Earth the other Heralds attacked the Decepticon base on Cybertron. Activating the Spacebridge links and leaving Bludgeon behind to guard them, Thunderwing, Scourge and Dirge journeyed to the Decepticon base on Earth, unaware they were being watched by the Mini-Cons. Finding and beating the luckless Thrust to a pulp, they then detected anomalies within the Spacebridge network and returned to Cybertron - only to be destroyed on their arrival by a cache of explosives set by Jetfire.

IDW Publishing

Thunderwing made his IDW Publishing debut in their Stormbringer miniseries in 2006. Thunderwing was the first Transformer scientist to realize that the war was killing Cybertron, and that it was too late to stop the deterioration. He tried to find a way of ensuring Transformers could survive it by the invention of the bio-cybernetic grafting technology, where protective outer shells would be created from "bodily tissue" extracted from living Transformers. Showing it to Megatron, the Decepticon leader rejected it as an abomination and stripped Thunderwing of his rank; desperate, Thunderwing tested the grafting process on himself. The result was a disaster. Thunderwing was transformed into a supremely powerful, but completely insane being, and went on a rampage that devastated even more of the planet before facing a combined Autobot-Decepticon force at Thunderhead Pass. This was the final event that saw Cybertron made uninhabitable and forced the Transformers to abandon it, while Thunderwing ended up in the bowels of the planet with his sentience burnt out.

In 2006, Jetfire and the Technobots investigated an energy spike at Thunderhead Pass and discovered a small cult, led by Bludgeon and consisting of several other Decepticons (all of whom were amongst the Pretender toys). Worshiping Thunderwing, they reactivated him with Ultra Energon, hacked into his mind and gave it rudimentary commands to attack & destroy whole planets, believing this to be a form of mass sacrifice that would lead to the rejuvenation of Cybertron. Acting on these commands, Thunderwing launched an attack on Nebulos. By the first page of Stormbringer #3, a large swathe of Nebulos had been destroyed and even the intervention of the local Decepticon garrison couldn't hold him back. With the destruction of the device Bludgeon used to control him, Thunderwing abruptly returned to Cybertron only to be confronted by the Wreckers, a Predacon-led Decepticon party and Optimus Prime himself. After a massive battle Jetfire discovered his weakness: the Ultra Energon used to power Thunderwing burnt itself out quicker the more he exerted himself. A final all-out attack by Prime caused Thunderwing to simply shut down.

Thunderwing's fate was eventually revealed in the Spotlight issue on Galvatron, where it was discovered that Hound's unit had been dispatched to guard his inert corpse. Galvatron arrived and easily defeated them, taking Thunderwing's body back to the Dead Universe. When Cyclonus activated the Nega-Core central to the Expansion, it was revealed that Thunderwing was its guardian, easily driving off Ultra Magnus' Autobots.(Spotlight: Cyclonus)

In this continuity Thunderwing's shell had a much larger secondary "Ultra" robot mode, which involved his wings wrapping around his main Pretender body as an extra layer of armor, his legs extending, and his wing-mounted engines becoming giant clawed arms. This mode was likely highly energy-consumptive, and possibly contributed to Thunderwing's second defeat.

Fun Publications

In the Fun Publications stories Onslaught told Metalhawk the story of how his Elite Guard team captured Thunderwing. Metalhawk then told Onslaught about how his team captured Blue Bacchus.[4]


  • Generation 1 Pretender Thunderwing (1989)
Thunderwing transforms into an jet aircraft. His Pretender shell transforms into an interstellar jet and is able to combine with his vehicle form. Although his tech spec profile is quite generic, describing him as an untrustworthy, yet ambitious spy, his persona in the US & UK Marvel comics drove his toy into meteoric popularity, despite the small number of Thunderwings produced.
This toy was remolded into Black Shadow in Japan.
  • Generations Deluxe Thunderwing (2010)
A new mold announced at BotCon 2010.[5][6][7]

Transformers: Armada

'Universe Thunderwing redeco toy
Japanese name Flame
Sub-group(s) Air Military Team
Partners Gunbarrel, Thunderclash, Ramjet, Fireflight, Firebot, & Terradive
Motto "No one hears the lightning until after it strikes!"
Alternate Modes Stealth Fighter Jet
Series Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Universe

Thunderwing is a member of the Air Military Mini-Con Team. He is very serious and business minded. He is the quietest of his unit and a specialist in stealth attacks and surveillance. He is also the weakest of his team.

Animated series

Thunderwing appeared in episode #49, called "Alliance". He is among the Mini-Cons assisting the Autobots and Decepticons evacuating from Cybertron when it was attacked by Unicron.

Dreamwave Productions

Thunderwing had a biography printed in issue #1 of the Armada More Than Meets The Eye series by Dreamwave Productions.[8]

Fun Publications

The first Universe Thunderwing appears as one of the Mini-Con partners of Ramjet.[9]


  • Armada Mini-Con Thunderwing
Armada Thunderwing was repainted into Armada Seeker, Twirl and Cybertron Razorclaw.
  • Universe Mini-Con Thunderwing
Thunderwing had two toys in Universe. The first was part of a "Spring Value Pack", a Toys R Us exclusive which included the Air Military Mini-Con Team, Ramjet (repainted from Armada Skywarp) and his Mini-Con Thunderclash. The pack was criticised by many, especially the Mini-Cons for having a similar color scheme to their original releases.
  • Universe Mini-Con Thunderwing
Armada Thunderwing was recolored again for the Transformers: Universe line and packaged with Fireflight and Firebot.

Transformers: Classics

'Classic Thunderwing toy
Sub-group(s) Mini-Con
Function Aerial Warrior
Partners Nightscream & Steel Wind
Alternate Modes F-14 Tomcat
Series Transformers: Classics

One of the new Mini-Con Molds released for the Transformers Classics line, Thunderwing is an Autobot allied Mini-Con who turns into a F-14 Tomcat jet fighter. He is a member of the Clear Skies Team along with Nightscream and Steel Wind.

The toy of Classic Thunderwing is identical to that of Cybertron's Nightscream (packaged with Cybertron/Primus as an end-of-series bonus).

Thunderwing enjoys aerial combat and is hyperactive.[10]

Fun Publications

Thunderwing appeared in the story The New World.[11]


  • Classic Mini-Con Thunderwing
This toy was later redecoed as a Takara exclusive Mini-Con Noise Effect.

Transformers: Timelines

'Shattered Glass Thunderwing
Sub-group(s) Elite Guard
Alternate Modes XB-70 Valkyrie
Series Transformers: Timelines

This Thunderwing is an mirror universe version of the Generation 1 character. He is a law officer from before the Great War. He is a stickler for "by the book" procedure. His only concern is violations of Cybertronian law within his jurisdiction, and will let major crimes go unpunished if they are not in his realm of enforcement, while pursuing minor infractions vorns old to get his mech.

According to the author Thunderwing's personality is based on that of Joe Friday, but he comments that RoboCop and Judge Dredd also seem to fit Thunderwing.[12]

Fun Publications

Thunderwing first appears and is spotlighted in the story Blitzwing Bop by Fun Publications where he is traveling in space in pursuit the criminal known as Beta. He intercepts a radio signal from Earth which mentions the Decepticon Soundwave. Finding Soundwave is wanted for a minor offense from long ago he heads to Earth. He finds Soundwave involved in a battle the Autobot Blaster for the possession of the malfunctinging Decepticon Blitzwing. Although not interested in the dispute, Soundwave convinces Thunderwing that Soundwave cannot leave Earth for trial on Cybertron until his commanding officer can be notified, and the only way to get Starscream online it to rescue Blitzwing. Thunderwing is still unwilling to takes sides in the battle against Blaster, merely following the Decepticon, but Soundwave tricks Blaster into mentioning a crime he committed on Cybertron while Thunderwing is in nearby. Thunderwing immediately goes into arrest mode and tries to capture Blaster, but Blaster escapes in a malfunctioning Stellar Spanner. With Starscream back online Soundwave confesses to his minor crimes and Thunderwing passes a sentence of community service on him.

"Unit designate Soundwave. By order of Decepticon law, you are under arrest. Scrapped or online, you’re coming with me.”" - Thunderwing always gets his mech.


No toy exists for this version of Thunderwing, but his design is based on the Universe Ultra Silverbolt toy with Generation 1 Thunderwing color and Pretender head design.

Transformers: Prime

Function Unicron's Herald
Alternate Modes None.
Series Transformers: Prime

Thunderwing is a massive being consisting mostly of Dark Energon, who serves Unicron, and is tasked with destroying the Matrix of Leadership. He does not appear to be a full Cybertrionian as he does not support an alternate mode in the game, nor does his character model in the bonus menu. This Thunderwing is by far the largest in size.

Video games

Thunderwing appears in Transformers: Prime – The Game as the primary antagonist. He traveled to Earth in a meteor made completely of dark energon, which Megatron wanted to harvest, but when the Autobots intervened, Thunderwing awoke and the meteor broke apart, falling to Earth. He fights Optimus when they crash together, but the battle ends when the Decepticons arrive to claim Thunderwing as a servant. At first, Thunderwing refuses to serve due to his loyalty to Unicron, who gave him the task to destroy the Matrix of Leadership. Starscream captures Ratchet in order for a proper repair of Thunderwing, holding Miko and Raf hostage, while Dreadwing and Megatron go to retrieve missing pieces of Thunderwing. Thunderwing is later repaired by Starscream when Ratchet escapes, and he leaves the Decepticons to carry out his mission. But the Autobots discover a major flaw in Thunderwing's design, that he runs only on dark energon. After Optimus defeats Megatron at a volcano site, Thunderwing interferes and blasts Megatron, apparently killing him, and then battles Optimus at the volcano. But this is really a distraction, while Ratchet builds a device that will weaken Thunderwing. Arcee and Jack put the device inside Thunderwing's spark chamber, so Optimus is able to kill him by knocking him into the lava.


  • Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc.. p. 43. ISBN 1405304618. 
  2. 10 Transformers That Were Only Badass in the Comics By Rob Bricken, Apr. 14 2009 By Kevin J. Guhl
  3. Marvel graphic novels and related publications: an annotated guide to comics By Robert G. Weiner page 93
  4. Jesse Wittenrich & Pete Sinclair (w), Dan Khanna (p), Frank Milkovich (i), Thomas Deer (col), Jesse Wittenrich (let), Pete Sinclair (ed). "The Coming Storm: Part 3" The Transformers Collectors Club 33 (June/July 2010), Fun Publications
  5. - BotCon 2010 Hasbro Designers Panel
  9. Forest Lee and Dan Khanna (w), Forest Lee (p). Transformers: Cybertron: Balancing Act 1 (April 2007), IDW Publishing
  10. "The Classicverse Mini-Cons". Transformers Collectors Club magazine (Fun Publications): p. 6. December/January, 2008. 
  11. Greg Sepelak and S. Trent Troop (2007). The New World. Fun Publications. 

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