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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

Transformers character
Generation 1 Thunderwing box art
Name Thunderwing
Series Transformers: Generation 1
Transformers: Generations
Alternate modes Cybertronian Jet
Function Aerial Espionage
Gender Male
Motto "Cover yourself with lies and no one will find you."
Sub-group Ultra Pretenders, Deluxe Vehicles

Thunderwing is a Decepticon Mega Pretender.[1]

Fictional biography

Biography: Thunderwing is a driven mechanoid who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. When it suits him, he uses his talent for treachery, subtlety and deceit to achieve his plans. When those do not suffice, Thunderwing uses his other valuable commodity, raw power. Beneath his veneer of sophistication and control is a power-hungry core of cruelty and rage. Interestingly, Thunderwing values those who serve him loyally but even they fear him when he locks onto some obsessive mission or quest.

Weapons/ Abilities: Possesses great strength, endurance and intelligence. His densely armored outer Pretender shell magnifies his formidable strength considerably. the shell itself is a veritable armory of weapons, including electrostatic rifles in the shoulder gun ports, a corrosive laser in the forehead and hoses in his chest that emit damaging gasses. IN interstellar jet mode, the shell can still make use of the electrostatic guns and gas ports, in addition to a full of explosive plasma-charged bombs and two wing-mounted cyclone cannons (also useable in robot mode). The outer shell has a series of back-up power supplies. Including neutron power pack that enhances all of his firepower by 50 percent. Subject's inner robot transforms into a space shuttle armed with a laser cannon. The cannon is also usable in his robot mode. The inner robot's jet mode can also combine with the outer shell to form a super jet.

Weaknesses: Thunderwing's obsessive tendencies threaten to override his logic in key situations.


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


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.

Fun Publications

In the Fun Publications story "The Coming Storm" Onslaught told Metalhawk the story of how his Elite Guard team captured Thunderwing.[3]

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.

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.[4]


  • Hasbro Transformers Ultra 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]
This toy was remolded and recolored into Generations Sky Shadow and Timelines Metalhawk.
  • Reprolabels Generation 1 Thunderwing
A set of labels meant to replace and enhance the labels on Generation 1 Thunderwing.[8]
  • Reprolabels Classics Thunderwing (2011)
A set of labels meant to enhance the Generations Thunderwing toy.[9]

  • Hasbro Transformers: Generations Titans Return Siege on Cybertron(2017)
  • Distant Thunder Projects Group TSD-Alpha Thunder Shadow Drone (not released yet)
An unlicensed figure meant to replace the drone on the Generations Thunderwing mold. This toy transforms from missile/drone to a robot that resembles Generation 1 Thunderwing's inner robot. Set to be released in colors matching Thunderwing as well as the Sky Shadow and Metalhawk recolors of the mold. The robot's hands can hold 3mm weapons. Carries a gun.[10]

Note: According to an interview with Rik Alvarez there were plans for the first or second BotCon to use the mold for Beast Wars II Galvatron to make a Thunderwing toy, but they were unable to locate the mold in storage.[11]

Transformers: Armada

Transformers character
Armada Thunderwing toy
Name Thunderwing
Japanese name Flame
Series Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Universe
Alternate modes Stealth Fighter Jet
Gender Male
Motto "No one hears the lightning until after it strikes!"
Partner Gunbarrel, Thunderclash, Ramjet, Fireflight, Firebot, & Terradive
Sub-group Air Military Team

Thunderwing is a member of the Air Military Mini-Con Team.

Fictional biography

The business­ minded Thunderwing fully enjoys Gunbarrel's highly disciplined style of leadership. Thunderwing wants to be the best there is, and he's fully willing to work to achieve this goal. Stealth attacks have become his specialty--he works tirelessly to upgrade his anti­detection equipment and tactics, as well as his first-strike capabilities. Thanks to this, he's earned a fearsome reputation as a competent, silent spy and a formidable combatant. Thunderwing's most powerful weapon is his ability to strike when an opponent least expects it.

Weapons and Abilities: Subject is the quietest in flight of the unit. He is skilled in reconnaissance, scouting, and stealth attacks.

Weaknesses: Subject is physically the most vulnerable of the 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.[12]

Fun Publications

Ramjet and his Mini-Cons in Balancing Act

The first Universe Thunderwing appears as one of the Mini-Con partners of Ramjet.[13]


  • Armada Mini-Con Thunderwing (2003)
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 Fireflight with Firebot and Thunderwing (2004)
Armada Thunderwing was recolored again for the Transformers: Universe line and packaged with Fireflight and Firebot.


Transformers: Classic

Transformers character
Classic Thunderwing toy
First appearance

The New World by Fun Publications
Created by

Species Transformer


Alternate mode

F-14 Tomcat

Aerial Warrior

"We fly free."

Nightscream, Steel Wind

Transformers: Classic

Clear Skies Team
Tech specs

ST07 IN06 SP10 EN08

RN04 CO08 FB06 SK05

One of the new Mini-Cons released for the Classic 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.

Fictional biography

These three Mini-con robots are as different as any three individuals can be, except for one thing: their love for soaring through the crisp, blue skies of a living world. Across the Universe, countless worlds are infested with Decepticon mining crews stripping resources to fuel their engines, and spewing smoke and filth into the skies. Wherever this happens, you can expect to find the Clear Skies team, waging a private war to destroy the Decepticons and save the skies they love.
Thunderwing isn't interested in flying just for flying's sake. He wants action! An aerial dogfight against seemingly-impossible odds is his idea of a good time. He carries a full compliment of target-drones to run combat simulations with it if there there are no Decepticons to shoot down on whatever planet the Clear Skies Team visits. Occasionally he'll even buzz his teammates for laughs, though they don't really appreciate his enthusiasm. Nightscream in particular finds him to be a "hyperactive little guttersnipe." He tends to shoot first without thinking, and becomes bored far too easily for his own good.

Fun Publications

Thunderwing appeared in the story The New World. He is one of the Mini-Cons created on Cybertron by the Last Autobot to repair that world. The Clear Skies Team sided with Hacksaw in opposing Broadside's rebellion.[15]


  • Classic Mini-Con Clear Skies Team (2007)
Includes Nightscream, Steel Wind and Thunderwing.
Thunderwing was recolored as Universe Boltflash and as a Takara exclusive Mini-Con Noise Effect.
Thunderwing is identical to Cybertron' Nightscream (packaged with Cybertron/Primus as an end-of-series bonus).

Shattered Glass

Transformers character
Name Thunderwing
Series Transformers: Timelines
Alternate modes XB-70 Valkyrie
Gender Male
Sub-group Elite Guard

This Thunderwing is a 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.[16]

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.


  2. 10 Transformers That Were Only Badass in the Comics By Rob Bricken, Apr. 14 2009 By Kevin J. Guhl
  3. 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
  4. Marvel graphic novels and related publications: an annotated guide to comics by Robert G. Weiner page 93
  5. - BotCon 2010 Hasbro Designers Panel
  13. Forest Lee and Dan Khanna (w), Forest Lee (p). Transformers: Cybertron: Balancing Act 1 (April 2007), IDW Publishing
  14. "The Classicverse Mini-Cons". Transformers Collectors Club magazine (Fun Publications) (18): p. 6. December/January, 2008. 
  15. Greg Sepelak and S. Trent Troop (2007). The New World. Fun Publications. 

External links