Who Was Galvatron?
This article discusses the Galvatron who appeared in the G1 Marvel Comics of the 1980's. It focuses mainly on the UK comics in which the character featured heavily but it also covers the Galvatron who appeared at the end of the US series.
So, Who was Galvatron? This might seem to be a simple question. I'm sure that I don't have to tell anyone the plot of the Movie, which saw a badly damaged Megatron being cast out into space by Starscream, and then reformatted into Galvatron by Unicron. So the answer to who was Galvatron must be Megatron mustn't it? Well maybe.
In the UK continuity Galvatron time travels back to 1986 on two main occasions. The first is in issue 78 and is detailed in the story Target: 2006, the second begins in issue 101, Fallen Angel and continues all the way through to issue 205 when he is destroyed at the end of Time Wars.
Let's first examine the Galvatron who appeared in Target: 2006. He is very faithful to the Movie version, cool, cunning and above all rational. He has a very definite plan in mind, the destruction of Unicron, and while he is prone to occasional outbursts of rage, these are no worse than other Decepticon leaders, such as Megatron. When it appears that his plan has failed, he reasonably decides to abandon his plan and return to his own time.
Upon his return in Fallen Angel, we get a very different character. This Galvatron is displaying clear signs of madness. He fights blindly and is hallucinating. He is consumed by rage. Granted he has just experienced great trauma by being thrown out of Unicron by Rodimus Prime and then falling through the Earth's atmosphere after the time jump, but although his madness does decrease in later issues, he is never again the cold calculating being who appeared in Target: 2006.
One possible explanation for this is that the events at the end of the Movie and his violent crash landing on Earth broke the mind of a being that was, because of Unicron's influence and, maybe, because of the remnants of Megatron's personality always on the edge of madness.
However I intend to put forward another theory, that the Galvatron that appears in Fallen Angel onwards was not in fact the same Galvatron that appeared in Target: 2006. Nor for that matter was he even Megatron.
This theory hinges on time travel, which by its very nature is a highly dangerous activity, especially when it involves visiting your own past. It is my belief that when Galvatron time jumped in Target: 2006 he set in motion a chain reaction of events that not only led to his own destruction but ultimately to the very destruction of the ‘Movie Timeline' itself.
Let's start by going back to Target: 2006 and the repercussions of that story. As a result of Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge time jumping, three Autobots, Optimus Prime, Prowl and Ratchet are displaced to a holding dimension. They play no part in the drama that follows. It soon become obvious that the Autobots are helpless without their leader, being humiliated by Galvatron when they confront him. As a result they forge an alliance with Megatron against Galvatron. After Galvatron is defeated and has returned to his own time, Optimus Prime is shocked that his Autobots allied with Megatron in his absence. Determined to test their ability to survive without him in the future he plans to fake his own death and observe how the cope in the story Prey (UK issue 96).
The plan however goes wrong thanks to the interference of Megatron and the Predacons. Prime and Megatron both end up on Cybertron. This is the first consequence of Target: 2006. Both Prime and Megatron return to Cybertron. Without Galvatron's time jump it is unlikely that this would have happened, as Prime would have no reason to test the Autobots' ability to cope without him.
Now comes the key moment that shapes future events. On Cybertron, Megatron comes into conflict with the remains of Straxus, the Decepticon leader that Blaster threw off the spacebridge in US issue 18. Surviving as a disembodied head, Straxus wants a new body for himself and he attempts to take control of Megatron's.
The attempt apparently fails, although Megatron showed signs of mental instability afterwards. Both Prime and Megatron eventually return to Earth. Shortly after Shockwave uses the Predacons to try and kill Megatron, who is still acting oddly. The plan works and Megatron is blown up on the spacebridge.
This is where it starts to get complicated. Megatron soon turns up again in the sewers under London. However it is revealed much later in the UK continuity that this Megatron is not the real Megatron. In the story Two Megatron's (UK issue 244) it is revealed that Straxus had a backup plan. He had created a clone body of Megatron and when he failed to take over the real Megatron's body he transferred his mind into the copy instead.
This body was then hidden in the sewers on Earth (for reasons never adequately explained) until the process was completed. Unfortunately this process was interrupted by the early discovery of the body by Action Force (GI Joe) in Ancient Relics (UK issue. 125).
It would appear that the process used to attempt the mind transfer also allowed parts of Megatron's personality to enter into the clone, because he believes himself to be the real Megatron all the way through until the Two Megatrons story.
The same story also reveals that the real Megatron was blown to Cybertron where he lost his memories (as revealed in US issue 57). Meanwhile the Straxus-Megatron is on Earth being pitted against and then eventually allying with Galvatron (UK 1989 Annual and UK issue 199). During this period it is repeatedly implied that Galvatron is the future version of this Straxus-Megatron.
So, maybe he is. Lets suppose for a moment that after Target: 2006, Galvatron had stayed in the future. The Straxus-Megatron would have had no need to be used by Shockwave as a weapon against Galvatron.
It is therefore conceivable that this Straxus-Megatron could have regained his senses, taken control of the Decepticons and conquered Cybertron. Somewhere along the line he would probably have come up against the Real-Megatron. Being in a powerful position it is more realistic that he may have defeated and killed him. He could then have been thrown out of Astrotrain by Starscream following the attack on Autobot City ready to be turned into Galvatron by Unicron.
This is where we hit a problem though. As I said earlier the Galvatron from Target: 2006 is probably one created from the Real-Megatron. His behaviour all points to him having a more stable personality than the Galvatron from the Straxus-Megatron.
It is therefore my opinion that the Straxus-Galvatron never traveled back to take part in Target: 2006. The Real-Galvatron had altered history to such an extent that he had in fact wiped himself from the timeline.
However after Straxus-Galvatron's defeat at the hands of Rodimus Prime he did flee to the past, arriving as the Galvatron seen in Fallen Angel.
Because of the unstable nature of the Straxus-Megatron mind, this Galvatron has become mentally unbalanced to the point of utter insanity. He does show occasional flashes of sanity (possibly Megatron's real personality becoming temporarily dominant) but they are few and far between.
It is at this point that Galvatron's alteration of history becomes really extreme. As theorised above, his presence prevents the Straxus-Megatron from gaining control of the Decepticons and therefore of becoming Straxus-Galvatron. He has in effect invalidated his own existence.
By the Time Wars, history has become so corrupted that Straxus-Galvatron is remembering events (through the Straxus-Megatron) differently to what is actually happening. The Time Storm is also focused most strongly on Straxus-Galvatron, rather than Cyclonus and Scourge. Galvatron is an anomaly; he should no longer exist because his interference has altered his own future.
Following Straxus-Galvatron's destruction at the end of Time Wars, the Straxus-Megatron attempts to fulfil his destiny and become the Decepticon leader, who conquers Cybertron, but it is too late, the timeline is corrupted beyond repair. The Real-Megatron had been given more time to recover and as a result is able to defeat the Straxus-Megatron.
The Movie timeline is now doomed. The Real-Megatron launched his scheme to resurrect Starscream as a Pretender, accidentally reactivating Grimlock, Jazz and Bumblebee in the process (as told in US issues 56-59).
It was while these three were attempting to return to Earth that they awoke Primus and alerted Unicron to his presence. As a result Unicron attacked Cybertron thirteen years early (in US issue 75).
The movie timeline had been erased and a new ‘future history' had been created. A part of this future history was glimpsed in the Aspects of Evil story (UK Issue 223-227), when Rodimus Prime and the other future Autobots returned to find yet another Galvatron, this time one who had conquered Cybertron.
There has been some debate in fan circles that this Galvatron is the same one that appears in Rhythms of Darkness (US issue 67). This issue shows a future in which Galvatron has served Unicron faithfully and has been given Earth as a reward. The Autobot ranks have been decimated and Rodimus Prime is dead.
However this Rhythms-Galvatron cannot be the same one that appears in Aspects of Evil because in US issue 69 when confronting Unicron the Rhythms-Galvatron states that Unicron destroyed Cybertron. In Aspect of Evil Cybertron survived.
So we now have two more Galvatrons, The Rhythms-Galvatron and the Aspects-Galvatron. Where do they fit into the overall scheme of things? Unfortunately this question cannot be easily answered.
US issue 78 contains a flashback that clearly states that the Rhythms-Galvatron was created from the remains of Megatron who fell in battle with Optimus Prime. It may be suggested therefore that maybe this Galvatron comes from a reality very similar to the original movie timeline, except that in this reality Galvatron chose to serve Unicron rather than attempt to overthrow him.
One possibility could be that the Rhythms-Galvatron was created from a post Time Wars Straxus-Megatron. As detailed above, following the Time Wars Straxus-Megatron returned to Cybertron and took power. He was eventually overpowered by the Real-Megatron. If Straxus-Megatron had won this battle however it is possible that he could have gone on to lead the Decepticons and eventually be turned into the Rhythms-Galvatron. Using his foreknowledge he may have felt it better to co-operate with Unicron than try and defy him. This however is pure speculation and there is no real evidence to support this idea. Nor is there any point at which time could have diverted to allow this timeline. The Real-Megatron defeated the Straxus-Megatron without any Galvatron (or other timetraveller) affecting the result. It may therefore be best to simply treat the Rhythms-Galvatron as an anomaly from an alternative dimension.
The Aspects-Galvatron does offer some more scope for theorising however. We are given very little information about him other than the fact that when Rodimus and the others returned to their time they found that history had rewritten itself, resulting in Cybertron having being conquered by Aspects-Galvatron.
There is nothing to say that this Aspects-Galvatron was born from the remains of Megatron however. The only statement on this subject is that Galvatron had "as before been created by Unicron" (UK issue 224).
So who else could this Galvatron have been created from? Well let us consider for a moment where this ‘future' could fit in the timeline. Rodimus and co. return there after Time Wars as though it was the reality they left. If the events of Time Wars created the current ‘present' in which Unicron arrives at Cybertron in US issue 75 then it could be argued that the Aspects-Galvatron was created as part of that timeline.
I believe that Unicron would have created this Galvatron during the attack on Cybertron that takes place in US issue 75. But Unicron's act of bringing back in time the Rhythms-Galvatron alters that future. Unicron had in effect been the author of his own downfall.
By taking Galvatron out of time he altered the timeline, as the Rhythms-Galvatron actively worked against him. The Rhythms-Galvatron's attack on Unicron inspired the Transformers to continue fighting. What might have happened had he not been there? The Aspects reality?
Let us now consider who this Galvatron may have been. As mentioned above there is no evidence to support the idea that this Galvatron was Megatron in any incarnation. At the time of Unicron's attack Megatron was aboard the Ark in a CR Chamber.
If we assume that this Galvatron was created around the same time as the attack on Cybertron we have a number of possibilities. The current Decepticon Leader Scorponok is the first candidate. However at the time of the attack Scorponok was on Cybertron's surface and not easily accessible. Not only that but much of his personality seemed to have been consumed by that of his Headmaster companion Lord Zarak. He had rediscovered a sense of honour and courage. He would be an unlikely choice for Galvatron under those circumstances.
Another possibility would be Bludgeon who after Scorponok's death took control of the Decepticons. He has the ruthlessness, but again he was on Cybertron's surface and why would Unicron take any of the Transformers on the ground as his new servant.
The third possibility I offer is Thunderwing, the ex-Decepticon leader, who obsessively sought the Autobot Creation Matrix. He has a lot more going for him. At the time of Unicron's attack he had been taken over by the corrupted Matrix and was floating helplessly in space.
It would I think have made perfect sense for Unicron, on seeing the approach of Thunderwing under the control of the Matrix, to not only consume the corrupted Autobot Lifeforce but take advantage of Thunderwing by turning him into Galvatron.
As mentioned above the Rhythms-Galvatron launches an attack on Unicron that inspires the defenders to renew their fight. Rhythms-Galvatron does little actual harm to Unicron but I suggest that the transformers boosted morale might have been enough to delay Unicron noticing Thunderwing until it was too late. Allowing Optimus Prime to reclaim the Matrix and cleanse it of corruption.
There is one final Galvatron that we must consider. This is an unexplained appearance by Galvatron in the UK strip Perchance to Dream (UK issue 255-260). At this point in the history of the comic the UK continuity was in something of a mess, Simon Furman was writing both the UK and US strip simultaneously but the UK stories seemed to exist in their own little bubble.
It is my belief that had both comics continued he would have gotten to a point where the UK stories fitted back into the overall continuity. I think that they are set slightly in the future of the US strip.
As a result it is possible that the Perchance-Galvatron was the same as the Rhythms of Darkness Galvatron, who had simply survived the crashing of the Ark (US issue 78) and his battle with Fortress Maximus. The only problem with this theory is that in Perchance to Dream the Ark was seen to be once again flying. So for this to be the Rhythms-Galvatron it must be set sometime after US issue 78 when presumably the Ark has been repaired again.
It is commonly believed by many fans that the UK ‘Earthforce' stories (featuring many of the classic characters that Perchance-Galvatron had awakened in Perchance to Dream) were set slightly in the future from the main US strip, and in these stories the Ark was indeed flying once again. This gives strength to the theory that he was simply the Rhythems-Galvatron.
If this is indeed the Rhythms-Galvatron then his fate remains largely unknown. He was placed in a CR pod by the Autobots at the end of Perchance to Dream. Presumably he remained there to eventually be killed when the Ark was destroyed in the Generation 2 comic.
So at the end of all that, it becomes clear that the answer to the question "Who Was Galvatron?" is not as straightforward as it may at first appear. Unless Simon Furman one day takes up the story again we will never know for sure and at best all we can do is speculate.