While adhering to an art style meant to evoke the original Generation 1 Transformers cartoons and based on a line of toys aimed expressly at older fans of the classic-era characters, Machinima's new Transformers web series, Combiner Wars, has been promising to also take the long-running (and highly complicated) franchise's mythology in a bold new direction. And while the first Prelude short focused on nostalgia by catching fans up with original hero Optimus Prime, the newly-dropped second installment makes it clear that Combiner Wars is setting out to do something very different as well.
The new short sees the animated debut of Victorion, the first all-female Combiner and seemingly one of the key figures in the new series' mythos.
Created based on recommendations from an online vote by fans, the Victorion has already been released as part of the Combiner Wars toyline and got an origin story as a featured player in IDW's Transformers comics. There, she is created by the power of a mysterious and highly sought-after artifact called The Enigma of Combination, and proves herself a match for Autobot and Decepticon alike. Like other Scramble City Combiners, she is comprised of six other Transformers, all of whom are also female: Pyra Magna (a Rosenbauer Panther 6x6 fire truck), Dust-Up (a Ferrari 458 Italia), Jumpstream (a Lamborghini Diablo), Rust Dust (a motorcycle) and twins Stormclash & Skyburst (a pair of Aerospatiale Dauphin-style helicopters).
Combiner Wars' storyline takes place in an alternate future timeline inspired by the original G1 animated series, where Optimus Prime defeated Megatron and ended the Great Earth Wars; the Autobot and Decepticon alignments has long since been disbanded among Transformers - though a new threat has risen in their place. In Victorion's introductory short, we learn a handful of new details about this unusual new take on the Transformers scenario, including The Enigma of Combination will play a key role in the series and Victorion considers herself to have been born of a spiritual force long forgotten by the other Transformers - with a destiny to become their new "savior." Her self-narrated introduction includes the following dialogue:
"The universe needed something greater than the leaders of the past. So what better choice for a savior than a Combiner? Do we not represent the missing unity of our people? Combiners stand as the manifestation of harmony and singularity. But I was not just born to lead an army. I am here so that we can believe again. Our people have lost their faith in peace.
I shall return it to them. I will unite us all. I am Victorion. And I am here to save the galaxy."
Victorion was created based on fan votes on key questions of design, including which vehicles and molds to use, gender, names, color-scheme and special powers. Despite this, the character is receiving a measure of backlash similar to the Ghostbusters reboot controversy from some fans, who've already swept into the short's YouTube comments to decry what they see as Machinima "feminizing" the Transformers and criticizing her as a "Mary Sue" character - accusations that were also leveled at Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Victorion's inclusion in the story is another sign that Combiner Wars is making it a point to spotlight the growing number of female-identified Transformer characters, with fellow newcomer Windblade set to play a major role with her own Prelude short hitting on July 19.
The main Combiner Wars series will debut next month, at which point both fans and detractors should have a much clearer idea of whether Victorion will be the kind of important new Transformers character that Hasbro and Machinima are clearly hoping for her to become. No indication has yet been made as to whether she has been targeted for inclusion in any of the planned future Michael Bay-produced Transformers live-action movies or broadcast television animated series.
The Transformers: Combiner Wars full series arrives on August 2nd, 2016.