Transformers Annual 1986 (State
"You seem tired." A bright
observation about the Overlord
of Cybertron... who's always tired.
Unknown. Though I'd assume it's some sort
of data-cassette like Ravage.
Nightstalker was the partner of Ravage, both were ancient bodyguards of the Overlords of
Cybertron. Nightstalker seemed older than Ravage to me, however there's nothing
to really support this.
Nightstalker, like the Overlord was pretty much a hi-then-die character. He was described as being an ebony feline, and seeing as he was paired with Ravage it's a safe bet he pretty much looked like Ravage. However this is uncertain because there's no actual pictures of Nightstalker in the annual.
Ravage, Nightstalker proves to be very loyal to his Overlord. Loyal to the
point where he is willing to die for him. Ravage was not willing to die for
the Overlord. Which means he was probably smarter than Nightstalker. 4 million
years later Ravage was still alive while Nightstalker was dead. Dead as a
doornail. (Which are apparently very dead indeed.)
There is another side to the Nightstalker story, however. In issue 4 of the Transformers UK comic a competition was created, called the 'Design a Decepticon' competition. Readers were to design a Decepticon, and the winners would, presumably, win something. They also had their winning entries published in issue 9 of the comic. One of the winning entries was a black, clearly Ravage-based character named Night Stalker. It's possible that the character in the Annual story is based on none other than this contest winner.
That said, it is consistently stated in the story that Nightstalker is feline, while Night Stalker is clearly a canine, probably a wolf or a fox. Nightstalker is referred to as Ravage's twin, while Night Stalker clearly isn't. Nightstalker has no space in his name, while Night Stalker does. Still, I've decided to include the picture of Night Stalker on this page for reference. Bear in mind, it's very probably not the same character.
Nightstalker was one of the bodyguards of the Overlords of Cybertron and had been for generations. He was an ancient robot, but unlike the Overlord, hadn't decayed with age. He was partnered with the later-to-be-Decepticon Ravage. Together they appeared to be the Overlord's only guards. Perhaps this was a sign of the times the three of them came from. Much more peaceful than the times that would follow.
When a war broke out between the city-states of Vos and Tarn, Nightstalker (along with Ravage,
Optimus and Megatron) tried to take his old master to Iacon (the Overlord had
been in Tarn at the time). They were forced to
fight through the battlefields to get to Iacon, and Nightstalker guarded the
Overlord all the way, seeing that he got a constant supply of energon and
constant re-fuelling breaks.
Their way was stopped when a bridge collapsed on the way to Iacon. Optimus Prime
proposed finding a way around, but Nightstalker said no. The Overlord was too
far-gone to move him any further.
Optimus leapt the ravine, to go get help from Iacon, while Nightstalker, Ravage
and Megatron stayed behind. The patrols of Tarn surrounded them, attacking, and
they did their best to fight back, but were being overcome by sheer weight of
Nightstalker saw no other course of action. To protect his master, and his
comrades, he self-destructed, destroying the Tarn soldiers, and allowing
Megatron, Ravage and the Overlord to escape. Sadly for the legacy of
Nightstalker, Megatron and Ravage abandoned the Overlord and left him to die.
You know Ravage's tech specs? Pretty
much all the abilities, powers and stats from there, I would expect. He appears
to be Ravage with a slightly different personality, and a different name.
Again, the similarity to Ravage makes me think that if you put an Autobot insignia on a Ravage toy you'd have a Nightstalker kitbash. On an original Ravage toy, that is, not the Beast Wars Ravage toy.
But then again, maybe that's not even quite accurate. Nightstalker was (like
Ravage) a servant of the Overlord. It's entirely possible that they had
completely different sigils, which denoted their loyalty to the Overlord alone.
Nightstalker isn't a sparkling creation. He
was there, then gone. The fact that he was essentially described as a good guy
Ravage makes him even less interesting. Still, he's part of a strong story,
especially considering it's a UK annual text story. Most UK annual text stories
aren't even worth the paper they're printed on. This story not only gives us a
very neat peek into Transformers history, but it also supplies us with insights
into many old and familiar characters.
The most interesting thing of note about Nightstalker is, without a doubt, his relationship to Ravage. The fact that he seems to be Ravage's twin, or at least similar to Ravage in many was is striking. The heritage of Ravage and Nightstalker shows rather explicitly that in the comics the tapes are not intrinsically entwined with Soundwave, or with each other. This is something I personally like, it means that each of the tapes are strong characters unto themselves. (In the cartoon they seem to be little more than Soundwave's lackeys, and some, like Ravage, Laserbeak, Ratbat, etc. get no characterisation whatsoever.)
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