Monday, February 03, 2014

The Transformers Thunderous Thirty #27 - Ravage

Some soldiers need constant supervision. They are either inept enough or untrustworthy enough that if you don't watch what they're doing, they're sure to mess things up for you in the long run. Ravage is the absolute antithesis of this soldier. Ravage needs no supervision. In fact, it's best if you just leave him alone to do what you need him to do. You can rest assured that he will not rest until he's completed the task to your satisfaction.

Provided, of course, that you're the rightful Decepticon leader. If you're not, Ravage could easily end up your worst enemy.

Possibly the most well-known of the Decepticon cassettes, Ravage has been reinvented more times than perhaps any first-year Decepticon with the exceptions of Megatron (about whom more later) and Starscream. He has appeared in nearly every Generation One-related form of media and toyline, and has even been seen in forms not strictly related to his original panther and cassette alt-modes.

Ravage's characterization is a bit difficult to pin down. In the comics, he was able to talk, while in the cartoon, he was almost strictly an animalistic character. The thread that almost always connects these disparate versions is his ability to procure information through covert means. A creature of the shadows, Ravage is seldom seen until it is too late. Another near-constant is Ravage's sense of loyalty, which is perhaps rare among the Decepticon ranks. Whereas most other Decepticons can be seen to be working on their own agenda at some time or another, this is not the case with Ravage. He follows Megatron alone, does whatever Megatron needs him to do, and that's it.*

Ravage's popularity among Transformers fans was such that he was a rare example of a Generation One Decepticon that played an active part in the Beast Wars cartoon, attempting to serve his absent master one last time. Although that attempt ended in Ravage's own death, that hasn't stopped fans from looking for Ravage in other iterations of the Transformers franchise since.


*I'm aware of at least two exceptions, whereby Ravage is seen to follow a Decepticon leader other than Megatron. In the first example, Shockwave had just beaten Megatron to a pulp, and demanded an oath of fealty from all other Decepticons. While Ravage might be legitimately said to take part in that oath, he's not really seen to be acting again until after Megatron is off the table entirely (if temporarily), and he immediately rejoined Megatron (against Shockwave) at the earliest opportunity. In the second example, Megatron was believed to be dead, and Ravage's (limited) actions in what became known as the "Decepticon Civil War" might well be justified as the kind of thing Megatron might have wanted him to do, were Megatron available to tell him so.

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