In today's Combaticon Awareness Week article we look at Bruticus Reimagined! The first new attempt to recapture the `80s Combaticon combiner magic was in 2004, at the tail end of Transformers Energon. Ancient guardian of the Super Energon coveted by Megatron, Bruticus Maximus featured interchangeable limbs... two matching pairs of them. Read on for more!
Bruticus Maximus' components are known as the Destruction Team, which fits neatly in with the overall presentation of the poorly-translated Transformers: Energon cartoon. He's composed of:
Blackout and Stormcloud, Basic-class helicopters
Blight and Kickback, Basic-class tanks
And Barricade, the Deluxe-class missile tank leader of the team and downright excellent action figure in his own right.
Bruticus Maximus benefited from being the last of the three Energon combiners to be designed and released. Larger than his G1 counterpart (but still being pretty small since he was a Deluxe with Basic limbs), Barricade was the best and most solid-looking of the trio.
The problem many people (myself included) did run into was that the second helicopter/tank pair were somewhat difficult to come by, not hitting stores until months to a year after Barricade and the first set. If you were dedicated to getting all four at once or none (ahem), there was a very good chance the earlier releases were long gone by the time you saw the other two. On top of which, Barricade was offered on a Transformers Universe card at stores like Big Lots with zero indication he was a combiner - so there are a lot more Barricades out there than limb sets, most likely.
There's also the fact that you were buying recolors to put on the same combiner, a trait all three Energon Maximuses shared. The recolors were nice, and there's something to be said for symmetry, but after the variety of their G1 inspiration the duplicate limbs were kind of a letdown. Also, the proto-HandFootGun pieces were mostly gun, and not very good at hand or foot.
Bruticus Maximus (voiced by Trevor Devall) was one of four guardians tasked with guarding the Super Energon, a superpowered fuel believed to be Cybertron's hope for the future.
If you guessed this is something Megatron would want, you'd be entirely correct.
After breaking into the Super Energon Temple and destroying Superion Maximus' twin brother, Megatron demanded the loyalty of all three remaining Maximus combiners. Successfully surviving a swim in Super Energon and emerging as Galvatron (the second of his three times adopting that name in the Unicron Trilogy), he earned the allegiance of the two Decepticon combiners, Bruticus and Constructicon Maximus. Superion Maximus refused to join Megatron and his fellow guardians turned on him. He barely escaped, and joined forces with the Autobots.
Bruticus Maximus fought alongside Galvatron for another ten episodes until the final battle with Superion. After Construction Maximus was dispatched, Bruticus Maximus gained the upper hand against Superion Maximus - until the ghost of Superion's identical twin brother shot it off. That gave Superion the opening he needed to kill the Destruction Team with Constructicon Maximus' borrowed limbs.
Shortly afterwards the Super Energon became a sun, which then became the plot-driving Unicron Singularity at the center of Transformers: Cybertron. And everyone got very tired of typing the word Maximus.
The Bruticus Maximus molds were sold together at retail two more times. ...okay, technically one time. The figure was repackaged in 2008 as a Transformers Universe figure intended to represent the original G1 Combaticons: Onslaught, Blast Off, Vortex, Swindle, and Brawl. However, US stores never saw the Universe packaging, instead ending up with more relevant Revenge of the Fallen packaging as a Black Friday Target exclusive. Technically this is an entirely new Bruticus Maximus for the Movie universe, making this recolor one of the subset of Transformers toys that can technically be two different guys. Or technically ten, I guess!
The Destruction Team molds were also used for Collector's Club exclusive figure Nexus Prime along with the Superion Maximus jet limbs. Hooray, four distinct limb molds!
The next time we saw a Bruticus, he too was made of distinct molds and was also much more G1-flavored. We'll cover that in the next article!
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