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Transformers character
Generation 1 Bristleback toy
Release number

Species Transformer


Alternate mode


Ground Assault

"You can't tell a Decepticon by its cover."

Transformers: Generation 1

Pretender Monsters
Tech specs

ST07 IN05 SP02 EN08

RN05 CO09 FB06 SK07

Bristleback is a fictional character from the Transformers series.

Generation 1

Fictional biography

A bad-tempered, foul-mouthed malcontent made meaner by his decision to become a Pretender. While entering Earth's atmosphere, he discovered that his armor was corrosive to rust! This forced him to don the monstrous outer shell, causing him to lose his quickness. The spikes on the back of his outer shell secrete corrosive acid on contact. Enclosed creature/robot is armed with rapid-fire, electrostatic pulse rifle.


Devil's Due Publishing

The Monster Pretenders appeared again in the fourth G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers crossover from Devil's Due Publishing. Coming to Earth with Bludgeon to take it for themselves, they were shot down and made a deal with the serpent cult Cobra-La to save their own lives, receiving their shells in the process. Cobra-La used them to attack the ship containing the Autobots on Earth, slipping past their defenses because of their shells and disabling Prowl, Skids and Sideswipe. Recalled to Tibet to deal with a G.I. Joe incursion, the team formed Monstructor, beating the Joes back because of its life-draining field. However, having battled Decepticons before, the Joes were able to call on the Laser squad, who destroyed Monstructor by focusing fire on his head. The Monster Pretenders were last seen plummeting into the snow unconscious. With the eventual defeat of Cobra-La and Unicron their fate beyond this is unknown.[1]

IDW Publishing

The Monster Pretenders made their debut in IDW Publishing's The Transformers: Spotlight issue featuring Optimus Prime. The story explains that they are the first combiner, an experiment of Jhiaxus from the distant past. The combination process was flawed however, and turned the group evil. When Nova Prime and Jhiaxus disappeared, Omega Supreme put them in a dimensionally displaced prison. They eventually escaped and sought revenge against Omega. As Monstructor, they nearly destroyed him, along with Optimus Prime until Prime took advantage of a weak connection point, separating Monstructor and knocking the group out. Prime put the group in the care of Jetfire to try and cure their condition.[2]

In the follow-up Spotlight issue on Arcee Jetfire's efforts to rehabilitate them had proven unsuccessful. The penal facility in which they were imprisoned was then attacked by the Combaticons, acting on behalf of Banzai-Tron, who successfully took the six Monstructor components for the Decepticons. Banzai-Tron did not have long to enjoy his success, as his facility was attacked by the forces of the Dead Universe, who freed Monstructor. His creator then installed a neural implant which made him little more than a drone, defending the Nega-Core on Rotan. He was last seen being attacked by Banzai-Tron's forces shortly before Arcee severed his control (The Transformers: Revelation).

His fate is unknown, but in The Transformers: All Hail Megatron, set a year after the events of Revelation, the Constructicons are able to combine into Devastator, implying that the Monstructor Six again fell into Decepticon hands and were studied in order to reproduce the combiner technology.

Marvel Comics

The Monster Pretenders made their only Marvel Comics appearance in issue #67 of the US comic, appearing as soldiers of Galvatron in a nightmare alternate future where Unicron had destroyed Cybertron and Galvatron had conquered Earth. While they believed the ranting Galvatron was insane, they were unwilling to confront his power. While searching the ruins of New York City for surviving Autobots, Icepick was destroyed by a human booby trap. They did not appear again in the main storyline.[3]


  • Generation 1 Monster Pretender Bristleback (1989)
Bristleback was recolored and given a new shell as Generation 1 Gairyu.

External links


  1. G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers: Black Horizon #1-2 by Devil's Due Publishing
  2. Transformers Spotlight: Optimus Prime by IDW Publishing
  3. The Transformers #67 by Marvel Comics (June 1990)