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Fortress Maximus is the name of several fictional characters from the Transformers series. Fortress Maximus appeared in the season 4 finale of the US Transformers animated series voiced by Stephen Keener. He was one of the stars of the Japanese Transformers: Headmasters animated series, voiced by Ikuya Sawaki.
- 1 Transformers: Generation 1
- 2 Transformers: Robots in Disguise
- 3 Transformers Animated
- 4 Other uses of Fortress Maximus
- 5 References
- 6 External links
- 7 Bibliography
Transformers: Generation 1
Fortress Maximus was voted the 8th top Transformer who was bad ass in the comics by Topless Robots.
Profile: Valiant, courageous, powerful beyond measure, Fortress Maximus is a warrior without compare, but one whose most fervent wish is never to have to fight again. All his early life, Fortress Maximus trained as an architect, becoming the creator of many of Cybertron's proudest monuments. With his ability to transform into vast construction bases, many of his creations were crafted by his own hand. So Fortress Maximus learned to build, not destroy. When war came, he did not hesitate to turn his gifts to the ways of combat, adapting one construction base into a repair bay, the other into a battle station. But as the war spread and he saw his constructions tumble and wall with countless lives lost in the process, he began to see how pointless and counter-productive battle was. He began to fight with only one aim in mind - to bring an end to the senseless conflict. He would fight, but only out of necessity, only to save other lives. Drawing inspiration from Optimus Prime, Fortress Maximus carried on his noble work after Optimus disappeared, assuming Prime's mantle of Autobot leader. But as the war dragged on, so Fortress Maximus's ideals dulled, his purpose lost in one battle after another. Realizing he was losing his very self, Fortress Maximus and a group of Autobots left Cybertron, bound for the planet Nebulos, a world where they could live in peace. But the Decepticons followed, bringing the war with them. To better combat the Decepticons and convince the Nebulans of their honest intent, Fortress Maximus removed his head, letting the Nebulan leader Galen replace it. Galen's body was bio-engineered to combine with an intermediary form and transform into a facsimile of Fortress Maximus's proud visage. Through his mind-link with Galen, Fortress Maximus rediscovered his purpose. The battle would not be won by turning his back on it. So he returned to the war, fighting once more, every battle a small step towards his ultimate goal... the end of all hostilities. When Galen was killed, the human Spike Witwicky took over as Fortress Maximus's binary-bonded partner. Spike, a college student, had no long term plans to continue in this role, and eventually quit. But as he has continued to find out, the binary bonding goes deep indeed and his own courage and commitment will be tested to the full.
In the Earth year 2007, when the Decepticons successfully stole the key to the Plasma Energy Chamber and opened the ancient device, a group of Autobots and humans including Cerebros and Spike were blasted across the galaxy by the energy release, crash-landing on the planet Nebulos. Quickly siding with a group of rebels engaged in a war against the planet's evil rulers, the Hive, they deduced a process by which they could combine the best of their minds and bodies together, becoming Headmasters. Of the Autobots present, only Cerebros refused to go through with the procedure, leaving in hopes of finding some kind of peace.
Such was not to be for Cerebros – while roaming the wilds of Nebulos, he came upon the original city that had been the Hive's base, until they moved their operations underground. Returning to tell his allies of his discovery, the exhausted Autobot collapsed at their feet, even as Spike conceived of an idea to thwart the Decepticons' newest super-robot, Scorponok. Under protest, Cerebros took Spike back to the city, where he was able to manipulate the abandoned construction machines to rebuild the city into a giant Headmaster Transformer, integrating both himself and Cerebros into it. Returning to Cybertron, Spike was successfully able to use the power of Fortress Maximus and his own human ingenuity to stop the Decepticons and their plan to destroy the Earth and Cybertron in a supernova, in the process using the excess solar energy to revitalise Cybertron into a new Golden Age. Trapped in alternate mode without Spike to form his head while this went on, Cerebros then requested that Spike deactivate him so that he could finally escape the conflict – but when Spike became his head once again and he bore witness to the new age that had blossomed around him, Cerebros reconsidered, and was appointed the guardian of Nebulos by Optimus Prime.
Fortress Maximus made his only appearance in the original animated series in its final episode, "The Rebirth," Part 3. He does not exhibit any signs of having his own intelligence, except for perhaps his one line of dialogue – "Decepticons... prepare to face ... Fortress Maximus!" – provided by Stephen Keener. Cerebros was performed by Jared Barclay, while Spike was vocalized, as ever, by Corey Burton.
Transformers: The Headmasters
Whereas "The Rebirth" served as an ending for the cartoon series in the west, in Japan, it was decided to continue producing new episodes. To that end, "The Rebirth" was discarded, and in its stead, a new 35-episode series titled Transformers: The Headmasters was created, along with a new Japanese concept for Headmasters which differed distinctly from their Western counterparts. There would be no Nebulons or humans here – instead, the heads were small Cybertronians, and the bodies were lifeless constructs called "Transtectors" to which these small robots connected themselves, and which they controlled. Although the Japanese toyline, like the West, gave the Headmaster components different names to the larger Transtectors – Spike (no longer that character) was renamed "Cerebros" – the animated series used only one name for both the head and the Transtector; for Fortress Maximus, there was no Spike, and no Cerebros – there was simply Fortress.
Four million years ago, Fortress was the leader of one of the many groups of Autobots who fled Cybertron to escape the wars. Things took a turn for the worse, however, when their spaceship crashed on the planet Master, the harsh environments of which killed many members of the crew. In order to survive the dangers inherent to life on Master, the Autobots created the lifeless bodies known as Transtectors, and underwent rigorous training to master the transformation technique and merge with them. Their training also allowed them to develop considerable mental powers such as telepathy and telekinesis.
However, a member of the group known as Zarak chafed under Fortress's leadership, and he and three of the Headmasters loyal to him turned on him, only to be defeated and forced off of Master. Zarak subsequently teamed up with Decepticon leader Galvatron, and when they attacked Cybertron in the year 2011, Fortress and his men – Chromedome, Brainstorm, Hardhead and Highbrow – returned to their home planet aboard Fortress's battleship, Maximus, and joined the war once more.
When Zarak succeeded in decimating Cybertron in a colossal explosion, Rodimus Prime elected to search for a new world that the Transformers could live on. In his absence, he appointed Fortress the new commander of the Autobots, and it was not long before he was forced to reveal his greatest transformation secret: Battleship Maximus itself was, in fact, a gargantuan Transtector, to which Fortress connected, forming Fortress Maximus and defending San Francisco against a Decepticon attack.
In order to transform into Fortress Maximus, Fortress must draw the blade known as the Master Sword from his command console, which can only be done when his physical and mental energies are in perfect synchronisation. Fortress then enlarges as he transforms into head mode, and Fortress Maximus wields a larger version of the Master Sword in battle. Composed of G Metal, the hardest substance in the known galaxy, use of the sword's power to become Fortress Maximus leaves Fortress considerably weakened after each use – a factor that prevented him from stopping Zarak, now combined with his own giant Transtector as Scorponok, from destroying Mars.
Subsequently, Battleship Maximus carried Fortress and the Autobots in pursuit of the Decepticons across the galaxy as they ransacked planets for their energy, with Fortress often becoming Fortress Maximus and forcing the Decepticons to retreat, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Upon both forces' return to Earth, the Autobots discovered Scorponok's weak spot, and Fortress Maximus used the Master Sword to strike it, critically wounding Scorponok, who fled Earth and returned to planet Master, where he mined for G Metal to create a shield that could counter the Master Sword. In the ensuing confrontation, his newly-created Zarak Shield deflected the Master Sword, and Fortress Maximus was defeated. The Decepticons then returned to Earth, and Scorponok began a plan to destroy the planet, which culminated in a battle between the entire Autobot and Decepticon armies at the North Pole. Trapped in a struggle with Scorponok, Fortress Maximus was energised by the power of all his troops, and used the Master Sword to destroy Scorponok's Transtector, hacking it in two. The Decepticons fled into space, and the Autobots left Earth to pursue them.
In Dreamwave Productions' 21st century reimagining of the Generation One universe, Fortress Maximus's appearance was brief, but essentially portrayed the character in the same style as the Marvel Comics. After the disappearance of Optimus Prime, Megatron and their troops four million years ago, Fortress Maximus and Ultra Magnus took fluctuating joint command of the Autobots, but the role did not sit well with Maximus, who sought an end to the war.
Fortress Maximus appeared in as a major character in Dreamwave Productions Micromasters mini-series. In issue #1, "Destined For Nothing", Countdown and Groundshaker return from space to find the Autobot base largely abandoned. The first Autobots they encounter, Topspin and Twin Twist seem surprised to see them, and more surprised that Optimus Prime isn't with them. Countdown and Groundshaker are equally surprised that Optimus has not returned to Cybertron before they did. Countdown confronts Ultra Magnus and Fortress Maximus and informs them that Operation: Containment, an attempt to prevent the Decepticon threat from spreading beyond Cybertron, has failed. Countdown explains that the Decepticon Skystalker and his forces ravaged the peaceful planet, Paradron, and that the Autobots need to mount an intergalactic patrol force to prevent the same fate from befalling other worlds. Ultra Magnus and Fortress Maximus disagree, stating that Autobot forces are already underpowered and spread thin as it is. Groundshaker interrupts, belligerently demanding the Autobot command take action, before he is pulled from the room by Countdown. As Countdown and Groundshaker leave the command center, they overhear Big Daddy and his patrol griping about the day's events, which interests Countdown greatly. Big Daddy and company then confront Magnus and Maximus, upset that Crunch lost his life defending Roadbuster. The argument grows more heated, before Fortress Maximus orders the Hot Rod Patrol to turn in their weapons and dismisses them.
When conflict erupted over the loyalties of the Micromasters, Maximus reached a decision – he might not be able to end the war, but he could end it for himself, by refusing to fight any further.
When the planetwide deactivation known as the "Great Shutdown" struck, Fortress Maximus willingly surrendered to oblivion's bliss to escape the conflict. However, upon reactivating in the present day, he was dismayed to still see war around him. It is apparent that he revived Optimus Prime's original idea upon becoming commander – to abandon Cybertron altogether – but any further details of that plan (which presumably resulted in his, and others', relocation to Nebulos) were never revealed, as Dreamwave's bankruptcy and subsequent closure left any further stories of Fortress Maximus untold. However, Maximus as a Headmaster made a surprise appearance in the first War Within series in Optimus Prime's Matrix related visions of the future.
Fortress Maximus appears in the 2012 BotCon Invasion lithograph by Casey Coller and Josh Perez. "Ask Vector Prime" would also reveal that a version of Fortress Maximus perished alongside Scorponok and was later combined with him to form Zarak Maximus. Additionally, Maximus was apparently responsible in some realities for founding the Maximal faction.
Maximus made his first IDW Publishing appearance in the Spotlight issue on Arcee as commander of an Autobot penal facility housing some of the most dangerous Transformers prisoners, including the Monstructor components and Arcee herself. When the Combaticons attacked, a reluctant Maximus released Arcee to assist his outgunned troops. Despite this, the Combaticons escaped with the Monstructor Transformers and Maximus, persuaded by Jetfire, took the decision to release Arcee to track them down. He also did not appear to be much larger than most other Autobots.
When the Autobots splintered into a series of underground cells following upheavals in the wake of Optimus Prime and Megatron's disappearances, Fortress Maximus (here the size of a large, but normal Transformer, rather than the giant of the animated series) became the leader of a group of Autobots who often found themselves opposed by Decepticons under the command of Scorponok. Tiring of the endless war against the Decepticons, Maximus led his followers away to the peaceful world of Nebulos, but the sudden appearance of the robots threw the planet into chaos. In a show of good faith, Maximus disarmed, but when that did not prove his intention, he gave the Nebulons the most he had to give – his own head, which he tore from his shoulders and threw to the ground. Four of his troops followed suit, and the Nebulon leader, Galen Kord, accepted the gesture and made peace.
Unfortunately, Galen's political rival, Lord Zarak, was not so moved – contacting Cybertron, he asked for help from Scorponok and his Decepticons. When the Decepticons arrived and begun conquering the planet the Nebulons attempted to remote-control the Autobots' bodies in order to fight the Decepticons, but when that failed, Fortress Maximus put forth a suggestion that would truly make the Nebulons masters of the Autobots' bodies. Undergoing a cybernetic enhancement process, the Nebulons were outfitted with exo-suits that allowed them to transform into the Autobots' very heads in a merging of both body and mind; Galen himself became the head of Fortress Maximus. This allowed the Autobots to drive off the Decepticon attackers and to also maintain the fragile peace with the Nebulons. Eventually internal Nebulon politics resulted in Galen being taken prisoner by Zarak. Although corrupted by the sheer power of the Decepticons and by the mind of his Decepticon partner, Zarak managed to free Galen on the condition that both sides would take the fight away from Nebulos and to a distant world in order to save what was left of Nebulos. When the Autobots received a distress call from another group of Autobots, such a world was chosen – Earth. (Zarak's forces learned of Earth through interception of the Autobots' communications some time earlier.)
En route to Earth, the Autobots significantly upgraded Fortress Maximus, boosting his size and power levels far beyond their original specs. Such was his size increase that a separate regular Transformer-sized body was constructed, a drone named Cerebros, who became the new head of Fortress Maximus (who, although now much larger, still did not begin to approach the massive size of the character as depicted in the animated series, appearing of a stature more comparable to Grand Maximus). It was this body that Galen now formed the head of. In the first battle on Earth the upgraded Maximus proved unstoppable against the Decepticons and it was only through circumstance that the battle came down to a fight between Galen and Zarak themselves. Galen gained the upper hand but Zarak tricked him into breaking off the fight in order to save a human from harm. A rockslide killed Galen in the human's place and Fortress Maximus was rendered immobile until Spike Witwicky, the human Galen had saved, was given Galen's helmet, giving him control over Maximus's body. Operational again, Fortress Maximus quickly drove off the Decepticons. Spike subsequently underwent the binary-bonding process and fully took Galen's place as the head of Cerebros and a component of Fotress Maximus, merely so that he would be able to rescue his brother, Buster, from the Decepticons. This task was accomplished amidst the chaos caused by Starscream's plan to acquire the power of the Underbase, and when the villain was defeated, Spike abandoned his role as an Autobot.
This act effectively left Maximus in cold storage while Spike attempted to return to a normal life, but when the Decepticons Snarler and Carnivac tracked him down on Scorponok's orders, it soon became apparent that the Headmaster process had bonded Spike and Maximus in a much more complete way than any had guessed – Maximus's own mind still existed within Spike's, and as Spike realised this, a true unification occurred as he summoned Maximus's body from the Ark and merged with it to defeat the Decepticons.
Even with this discovery, however, Spike still strived to live in normality, and again returned Maximus to the Ark. When the Ark crashed in Canada in 1991, Spike found himself drawn to the crash site, where he recombined with Maximus to battle the deranged Galvatron, even as the two personalities struggled to overcome their own internal conflict. In the end, Maximus defeated Galvatron, sending him toppling into the Arctic waters, from which he never emerged.
Fortress Maximus and Spike finally realized how important each was to the other when the comic was relaunched the following year as Transformers: Generation 2. Megatron restored the Ark, having survived its crash. During a deal between Megatron and Cobra, Spike managed to infiltrate the Ark and restore Maximus to operational levels, as Megatron had inflicted enough damage to disable him. After restoring Maximus' systems, Spike became a reluctant participant in a battle between Maximus and Megatron. He protested the lack of choice, but was also determined to stop Megatron. Spike accepted Maximus' decision to destroy the Ark's matter/anti-matter conversion chamber, causing the entire craft to blow up, taking both their lives along with it but failing to destroy Megatron.
Fortress appeared in the unlicensed mini-comic released for the 2011 TFcon, called "Changes in War". This story is set on the planet Master before the events of Transformers: The Headmasters. Fortress is among the Autobots who try and fail to stop Scorponok and his allies from escaping.
- Generation 1 Fortress Maximus with Cerebros and Spike (1987)
- Standing at 2 feet tall in robot mode, Fortress Maximus was the tallest robot in the Generation 1 toy line, and indeed the largest Transformers toy until the release of Generations Metroplex in 2013. He transformed into a compact "city" mode, and assumed a secondary mode described in the US instruction manual as a "battle station". This mode was rebranded as a starship for the Japanese instructions, and was the toy's "default" mode in the Headmasters anime series. Additionally, the 1987 Hasbro toy catalog featured a mis-transformed Fortress Maximus in a mode referred to as an "impenetrable fortress", essentially consisting of his city mode with the legs splayed outwards.
- In all modes, Maximus had a wide array of pop-out (non-firing) guns and gimmicks. His left leg hid a small prison cell, plus had a swing-out cannon/helipad. His right leg had a small storage compartment. His torso had a gear-activated spinner for the detachable radar array accessory, a "control socket" for Cerebros's "communications tower" mode, and a working elevator that could lift small toys up to its central ramp to be launched in his altmodes. (The crank for this elevator ended up in a very unfortunate position in robot mode.) Each arm had a long ramp on the back with sliding launchers for small vehicles.
- His robot-mode head was formed by Cerebros, who did not actually need Spike to attach to the upper body. He came with both Headmaster units, plus the Gasket and Grommet mini-vehicles.
- The Japanese release of Fortress Maximus came with a pair of swords; a small one for Fortress and a large one for Maximus. It is unknown if the swords were originally planned for the Hasbro version but dropped for price or safety concerns, or if they were a Takara-initiated addition to their release of the toy. The large sword was re-released with the God Fire Convoy gift set in the 2000 Transformers: Car Robots series.
- Based on Spike being about 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and the toy being in scale, Cerebros would stand Template:Convert/and/in tall and Fortress Maximus would stand 185 feet (56.4 m) tall.
- During its time of release, Fortress Maximus retailed at $89.99, making him the most expensive Transformers toy in the U.S. market (a record that wasn't met or broken for nearly two decades, until the release of 20th Anniversary DVD Edition Optimus Prime, Ultimate Bumblebee and Supreme Constructicon Devastator). Maximus was also the third most expensive toy Hasbro produced at the time (behind the USS Flagg and Defiant Space Shuttle Complex from the G.I. Joe series).
- This toy was designed by Kouzin Ohno, and is filed under U.S. patent D305,786.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise
In the parallel universe of Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Fortress Maximus made his return to TV screens in the west for the first time since the end of the original series. The toy itself was not actually released in the West, however, as it was unable to pass American safety tests. Known as Brave Maximus in Japan, his toy was a recolored version of the original Fortress Maximus figure, except he did not come with Gasket, Grommet or his hand-held weapons. His Headmaster component is known simply as The Emissary (Brave in Japan). The Emissary's Headmaster is Cerebros (known as Plasma in Japan), the smallest component of the toy. Interestingly, rather than being portrayed as human/Nebulon-sized in the animated series, Cerebros was the size of a normal Transformer, making Maximus particularly large compared to Generation One Fortress Maximus and the largest Transformer in history.
Fortress Maximus was hidden on Earth in order to protect the planet, slumbering beneath its surface, with the assorted keys to his re-awakening scattered across the globe. These component pieces are known as the O-Parts. They were concealed within ancient structures: the Orb of Sigma within a subterranean pyramid, and Cerebros, the power key of Maximus, within a South American temple. All the was presumably done with the aid of the early civilisations responsible for the constructions. At some undefined point, a group of six Autobots were sent to Earth to reactivate him. Their ship crashed and they joined Maximus in stasis until the emergence of Megatron and Optimus Prime's forces.
Although he kept his agenda secret, Megatron had actually come to Earth in order to reactivate Fortress Maximus. To that end, he kidnapped noted archaeologist Doctor Kenneth Onishi, who had detected energy emanations from Maximus beneath his city, and had mapped the location of the O-Parts. Kept comatose, a resistant Onishi's mind was read by Megatron in hopes of learning the location of the O-Parts. Meanwhile, the Autobots had a microchip gifted to Onishi's son, Koji, to guide them. The first of the O-Parts was located within the Cave of the Dragon, and a second was later found.
Some time later, the hapless Predacon Sky-Byte held a tower of humans hostage. He was able to bluff the Autobots into suggesting their O-Parts as ransom, completely unaware as to what the components truly were. The plan resulted in failure, and soon after, the Autobots discovered Fortress Maximus's body buried beneath the city. They brought it to the surface and hid it from their enemies. With the help of the liberated Doctor Onishi, the remaining five O-Parts were quickly recovered by the Autobots despite Predacon and Decepticon interference. United, the seven O-Parts formed a map that led to the Orb of Sigma, which then merged with the O-Parts to lead the Autobots to Cerebros. Unfortunately, the Decepticons successfully captured Cerebros, and Scourge was able to use the part of his programming that was Optimus Prime's to command him to activate Fortress Maximus. Summoning forth the city's transforming master computer, the Emissary, Cerebros became its head, then it in turn became Maximus's head. However, Transformer immediately began rampaging out of Scourge's control until Koji commanded it to stop, and Maximus once again disappeared beneath the Earth, leaving behind Cerebros in Decepticon hands.
In his assignment as protector of Earth, Maximus had been harmonically keyed to obey commands from human beings. With this information, Scourge used the part of his bio-signature that was human to briefly control Maximus until a mass of human children overrode his control. The Decepticons then kidnapped Koji's friend, Carl, and used him to control Maximus. The plan failed when Scourge then turned Maximus on Galvatron (an upgraded incarnation of Megatron). With Cerebros and the full understanding of Fortress Maximus finally in Autobot hands, the Autobots countered an attack by the Decepticons by activating Maximus. Maximus engaged Galvatron in battle and almost had him defeated, until he used his power-draining abilities to sap Maximus's strength, using it to boost his own. While Omega Prime challenged the empowered Galvatron to a battle at the Earth's core, Koji had children all around the world send their hope and energy to Fortress Maximus. Maximus channelled this energy to Omega Prime in the form of the mighty Matrix Blade (that looked like the Master Sword), with which Prime defeated Galvatron. Maximus, along with Ultra Magnus, subsequently transported Galvatron and his troops away from Earth for imprisonment.
- Car Robots Brave Maximus (2000)
- A blue repaint of G1 Fortress Maximus. This toy was similarly equipped, but lacked the swords of the original G1 release. He was never released in the U.S. along with the Robots in Disguise line, reportedly due to cost issues and concerns over stricter toy safety regulations. A Lucky Draw version was also released that came with the G1 swords in new colors.
In the episode "This is Why I Hate Machines", the Elite Guard's Cybertron base is revealed to be named "Fortress Maximus". It is a tower (resembling the central tower of the G1 version's city mode) that can transform into a cannon.
Other uses of Fortress Maximus
The name Fortress Maximus had been previously considered by Hasbro for the character who eventually became Omega Supreme, and again for Metroplex. The possibility of this name being applied to Metroplex was long enough in consideration that both the storyboards for The Transformers: The Movie and the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film itself refer to the city's transformed state as "Fortress Maximus."
Also, the 2000 Robots In Disguise toy Bruticus was renamed from its original name, Cerberus, to avoid confusion with Cerebros. Interestingly, the Megabolt Megatron toy, designed for Beast Machines, is of comparative size to function as a head unit for the Fortress Maximus toy. Upon carefully removing the head/ship mode's ball-jointed, spider-like legs from their sockets, Megabolt Megatron does fit into the port for Fortress Maximus's head. It should also be noted that Armada Laserbeak in camera mode can also serve as a head for a Maximus robot.
- "10 Transformers That Were Only Badass in the Comics By Rob Bricken, Apr. 14 2009 By Kevin J. Guhl". Toplessrobot.com. 2009-04-14. http://www.toplessrobot.com/2009/04/10_transformers_that_were_only_badass_in_the_comic.php. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- "Transformers: Micromasters #1: "Destined For Nothing"". Seibertron.com. 2004-07-08. http://www.seibertron.com/comics/view.php?comic_id=755. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- Daniel Arseneault ] (w), Alex Milne (p), Josh Perez (col). "Changes in War" ' (July 29th, 2011), TFCon
- Bellomo, Mark (2010). Totally Tubular '80s. Krause Publications. p. 110. ISBN 1440212821.
- 'Transformers' toys hot property amid record-breaking China debut AFP, July, 2007[dead link]
- "U.S. Patent D305,786". Google.com. http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPATD305786. Retrieved 2011-09-23.