Dirge is the name of several different fictional characters from the Transformers series. He was first introduced in 1985 as a villain in the Transformers series, appearing in the comic book by Marvel Comics and voiced by Bud Davis in the animated television series. Since then the name Dirge was also used by several other Transformers characters. In 2007 a limited edition Dirge toy was sold at the Transformers convention Botcon.
Dirge was first introduced in 1985. He, Ramjet, and Thrust are part of a team dubbed by Transformers fans as the "Coneheads" for the way their character models were drawn to make them visually distinct from the original Decepticon jets Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp despite their toys being modifications of the same mold used to create that original trio. The toys themselves use the nosecone of the jet to become the head of the robot, but on the original jets the nosecone points back, forming a seemingly normal head. To make the three newer jets distinctive, the character model creators illustrated them with the nosecones pointing up in robot mode - despite the fact that this is not how their toy instructions or box art depict them. (Ironically, when the hinge holding the toy's fuselage/torso and head/nosecone in robot mode wears down, pointing the nosecone upward is the only way to keep the cockpit/midsection from leaning backward, away from the die-cast metal portion of the Seekers' chests.)
Dirge was described as a mournful, morose, and silent warrior reliant on – and consumed by – fear. An expert at inflicting fear on others, his behavior gives even close comrades like Ramjet "the creeps". However, Dirge was also prone to succumbing to fear, and effectiveness as a warrior evaporated under situations where he feels he is not in control.
In jet mode, Dirge had the ability to induce fear in other robots through the sound of his engines. The engines apparently emitted certain frequencies that caused disorientation and provoked fear in the Transformers' equivalent of the central nervous system. He also carried two air-to-air concussion missiles and two automatic machine guns.
Although he would not appear personally in the Transformers comic until issue #17, Dirge's vehicle mode, along with Ramjet and Thrust's were being mass-produced under slave labor when Shockwave assumed control of Blackrock Aircraft Assembly Plant #1 (issues #8-12; the planes seen in issues #11-12). This suggests that the planes were either F-15s redesigned by Shockwave for use as Decepticons or that they were already made from blueprints produced (on Earth) by the Blackrock company. This implies that this is how the three Seekers gained their Earth modes when they eventually came to Earth. (In issue #17, Dirge is seen using a vehicle mode similar in design to his future Earthly mode.)
Dirge first appeared in issue 17 of the US Marvel Transformers comics as a bodyguard for Straxus. He had a much larger role in the Marvel UK storyline Target: 2006, where he was portrayed as one of the Decepticons' deadliest killers, and one that needed to be taken out by the Autobot commando group the Wreckers to signal a mass-Autobot uprising on Cybertron. The Decepticons had prepared a major offensive to wipe the Autobots out and capture Emirate Xaaron, unaware this was part of the Autobot trap. Megatron's summoning the Insecticons to Earth scuppered both sides plans. Dirge seems to be in a major command position overseeing the whole offensive, indicating a much higher rank than previously thought.
His first appearance in the US Transformers storyline was in issue #17. He was next seen entering Earth via the Spacebridge, alongside Thrust and Ramjet around the same time as the Aerialbots were being created (issue #21). Dirge was seen using the power of the engines against Silverbolt, causing the acrophobic Autobot to lose control during flight. They were eventually forced to flee when the Aerialbots formed Superion.
Dirge would also appear as the Decepticon liaison to Cobra in Marvel's G.I. Joe and the Transformers crossover, where he was betrayed and destroyed by Serpentor. Dirge would not be seen in US comics for some time. (While G.I. Joe stories using the same continuity, but written by Devil's Due—after 2001—omit any contact with the 1980s' Transformers, Marvel Transformers and G.I. Joe stories printed between 1986 and 1995 never make any attempt to retcon Dirge's fate.)
Dirge would serve as part of the Earthbound forces under first Shockwave, then Ratbat, battling both the Autobots and Scorponok's Decepticon faction. He also assisted Soundwave in sending a signal to Cybertron. (For his return to be shown, perhaps since he was destroyed in proximity to the Ark, his wreckage was kept in "cold storage" similar to Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Buzzsaw, Frenzy, and Rumble, then liberated and repaired when the Constructicons looted an unguarded Ark in issue #41.) When Starscream seized the power of the Underbase, Thrust and Ramjet were part of the forces sent against him. Although they were not shown to be deactivated by the villain, they were not seen again in the main continuity, although they would be seen in the UK. Earthforce tales under the command of Megatron and Shockwave.
Dirge would appear again in Marvel's Generation 2 comic, possibly revived by Nucleon. He was part of the Decepticon forces under Bludgeon, and was seemingly restored to prominence in the Decepticon hierarchy after Megatron's return. He died while fighting the Swarm. Dirge, along with Autobot Nightbeat detonated the coils of the cannon batteries they were operating, hoping to damage the Swarm.
Dirge's first appearance in Transformers was in the second season of the cartoon in episode #35, "Auto Berserk". How he came to Earth was not shown.
Dirge made regular appearances in the second season, and played prominent roles in episodes such as "The Gambler" (episode #47), where he and Ramjet have been sent to the planet of Monacus to discuss 'business' with a citizen, and "The Girl Who Loved Powerglide" (episode #51), where he almost destroys Powerglide. Dirge, however, was never shown using his fear-inducing engines. The closest example to his use of fear as a weapon is in "Megatron's Master Plan, Part 2". Along with Thrust and Ramjet, he is shown flying low over a human city. The populace seemed to be in utter panic. It is not clear if this was an intended demonstration of his fear-inducing abilities, because the defenseless townspeople were already terrorized by the sight of the Decepticons, having earlier sentenced the Autobots to an unknown fate in space. In "Triple Takeover" (episode #52) Dirge is seen flying with the other Decepticon planes. In "Hoist Goes Hollywood" (episode #54), Dirge is seen flying with device until he falls into a movie swamp and can't transform.
In The Transformers: The Movie, Dirge was briefly shown during the Decepticons' attack on Autobot City. A scene involving Dirge was edited, in which he among other Decepticons, were assaulted by Optimus Prime on his way to challenge Megatron. In the removed portion, Dirge returns to jump Optimus (facing Megatron) from behind, only to be slammed into the ground. Prime then rises to continue his dialogue with Megatron. Dirge appeared again later in the movie, being the first at Starscream's coronation to spot the incoming Galvatron and Cyclonus. He appeared towards the end of the movie, attempting to escape from Unicron as Cybertron was being torn apart. Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet appeared to be consumed by Unicron at this time, but they subsequently appeared in later episodes.
Dirge still made sporadic appearances in the third season. In an early episode of the season (episode #66, "Five Faces of Darkness, Part 1") he was shown to have been destroyed by Ultra Magnus, but Dirge can be seen in episode #71, "The Killing Jar", amongst other later episodes. In one of those later episodes, "Ghost in the Machine", Dirge, Thrust, and Battlechargers Runamuck and Runabout are being punished by Galvatron for failing to stop a demoralizing assault by Starscream — now a ghost possessing the bodies of other Decepticons. Just before he and the other offenders are to be hunted down, Trypticon, the Decepticon city is possessed, trapping Dirge, Thrust, Runamuck and Runabout inside. Dirge liberates Trypticon from Starscream's control, just before the traitorous ghost was about to aid Unicron in claiming Cybertron as his new body.
Dirge appeared in episode 1 and 15 of the Japanese exclusive Headmasters series.
Dirge appeared in the 1986 story and coloring book The Lost Treasure of Cybertron by Marvel Books.
Dirge was recruited as a Decepticon under the leadership of Megatron in his war against the Autobots on the planet Cybertron. Dirge became a member of the elite Seekers under Aerospace Commander Starscream. He often worked with fellow Seekers Ramjet and Thrust.
When Shockwave led the Decepticon attack on the Autobot capitol of Iacon 8.2 million years ago, Dirge was amongst his troops along with Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Bludgeon, Brawl, Chopshop, Dirge, Frenzy, Octane, Onslaught, Ramjet, Tantrum, Venom and Vortex.
After Megatron and Autobot leader Optimus Prime were lost in an accident with a space bridge, the Decepticon forces splintered. Dirge joined the Predacons under the command of Starscream, but later rejoined the Decepticons after Megatron's reappearance.
After the Great Shutdown ended, Dirge was reformatted in the form of an Earth-style jet, and became one of Shockwave's elite bodyguards. After the war between the Autobots and Decepticons ended on Cybertron, Ultra Magnus led a mission to Earth to arrest the Autobots on Earth for continuing their violent ways. Dirge was among the troops under Ultra Magnus.
Defeated by the Autobots on Cybertron, Shockwave was forced to set up a new secret headquarters in the wastelands of Cybertron, with Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Dirge, Ramjet and Thrust following him. Shockwave completed work on his new warrior, Sixshot. Megatron returned to Cybertron with three clone warriors and the Predacons and was able to defeat Shockwave. Shockwave was kept alive, but restrained. All Shockwave's warriors except Blitzwing, who was destroyed, joined up with Megatron in his plan to invade the Earth.
Dirge would not only appear in the Generation One Dreamwave comic but also in its sister comic Transformers: Armada. In this world, the incarnation of Dirge 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, Thunderwing, Bludgeon and their leader Galvatron (all characters from the G1 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, Dirge, Scourge and Thunderwing 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.
In the first G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers crossover from Devil's Due Publishing a cone-headed Transformer that transformed into a jet with Dirge's color scheme is among the Transformers being used by Cobra. Whether this jet is the actual Dirge or another coneheaded Seeker is unknown, but it was killed by a malfunctioning satellite weapons system.
Dirge would appear again in the second crossover (presumably it was not him in the first arc) with Thrust, Ramjet, Scourge, and Cyclonus, acting as bodyguards for Shockwave. When the Dinobots returned from different a time period they routed Shockwave's troops. Dirge was presumably killed either during this event, or when Cobra Commander detonated a store of explosives inside Starscream, killing everyone present. In this story, Dirge had not received an Earth mode and transformed into a Cybertronian jet.
Dirge appeared under the command of Bugbite in the Transformers: Timelines tale "Games of Deception". This takes place in the Marvel continuity, but follows a different continuity to Generation 2 or the Marvel UK tales. He serves Bugbite loyally, shooting Starscream with a cerebro shell. In the final three-way battle between Ultra Magnus' Autobots, Megatron's forces, and Bugbite's crew, Dirge is damaged by Grimlock.
Dirge appears in "At Fight's End".
Dirge also made an unusual cameo in "Wreckers: Finale Part II". In the story the Quintessons invaded the recently reformatted technorganic Cybertron. Several mechs claiming to be former Decepticons whose sparks were liberated when Optimus Primal reformatted Cybertron lived in one of the few technological cites. These mechs defended the city from the Quintesson Overseer Rexian and his troops. Several of these mechs claimed to formerly be the Decepticon warrior Thundercracker, now in a new body. In order to settle their dispute they decided that the one of them that destroyed the most Sharkticons could claim to be Thundercracker, the runner up could be Dirge.
Dirge was briefly seen in issue 7 of All Hail Megatron, going through a space bridge to Cybertron ahead of the captured Autobots, where the Autobots were supposed to be fed to the Swarm. When Optimus Prime sealed the opening, Dirge and Decepticon scientist Deluge were trapped along with the Autobots. Issue 3 of Robots in Disguise revealed that Dirge and Deluge were beaten up by the Autobots and left to fend for themselves on Cybertron. Deluge was implied to have been eaten by the swarm, but Dirge survived to the present day where the Autobots and Decepticons had reached a tentative truce. Dirge was embittered at both sides for abandoning him to die, but later calmed down after having a friendly discussion with the Autobot Barrel Roll. When explosions began to happen on the planet (later discovered to be from excess energy), Barrel Roll was killed and Dirge was nearly executed by Barrel Roll's commander Silverbolt who blamed Dirge for the death, when Wheeljack intervened. Dirge was disgusted by the Autobot's actions, and left to recuperate in the Medical bay from injuries sustained from the explosion. In the next issue, Dirge, and several other Decepticons have been given jobs in waste disposal, thanks to Starscream's role in the new government. Dirge became annoyed at Swindle's constant talking, and went off on his own only to discover Skydive (A Decepticon Predator) murdered with a Decepticon flag protruding from his chest. He turns to find the killer, but is taken out by a mind control device called a cerebro-shell, attached to his neck, causing him to say that he hadn't seen anything, over and over again. Autobot enforcers found him, and Prowl (the one in charge of all investigations) had Wheeljack hook up a machine to the mind control device, and used it to lead him to Bombshell (the apparent murderer). Bombshell, who had become insane, ordered Dirge, and a mind controlled Sunstorm, to attack Prowl, and his agent Arcee. Dirge was subdued and Sunstorm was callously killed, with Bombshell escaping. Prowl pursued Bombshell through the waste lanes, dragged Dirge along with him, and executed Bombshell when Bombshell refused to talk. With Bombshell dead Dirge was freed from the control, and Prowl tried to shoot him because he witnessed Bombshell's murder. At the last moment, Prowl was hit with trash from a nearby chute, throwing his aim off and hitting Dirge on the shoulder. Dirge ran away, cursing his luck at the whole ordeal, and panicking at the fact that more Autobots were trying to murder him. He ran into Arcee, and told her that he didn't want to get involved in any of this, and doesn't care about what they're doing, merely wanting to move on past the war. Arcee lets him go for unknown reasons, and he flies off into the night.
The name 'Dirge' was revived for used by a Predacon in the Beast Wars Second toy line, a Japanese-exclusive series.
Dirge, along with his partner Thrust, are jokesters. After swearing allegiance to Gigastorm, Dirge was rebuilt as Dirgegun. Though he still retains his comedic personality, Dirgegun is a much more powerful warrior who can no longer be taken lightly by any member of the Maximal Army. In mecha beast mode Dirgegun becomes a cybernetic wasp. He can use his spear gun to infect Maximals with a computer virus that briefly destabilizes them. His other weapon of choice is his "Blast Leader" which is a powerful sonic attack that burst's the audio receptors of whoever is in range to here it. Though a stronger warrior, Dirgegun still has all the character defects of his Dirge form. Dirgegun is last seen among the Predacons escaping the exploding planet Nemesis. dirgegun does not reappear in the sequel series Beast Wars Neo leaving his current status unknown.
In "The Maximal Brainwashing Project" Starscream and BB were able to capture Diver and the Tasmanian Kid, brainwashing them into serving the Predacons. Meanwhile, Leo Prime, Apache and Scuba were able to capture Dirge and Thrust. The shock of being damaged in capture had the side effect of making the Predacons think they were Maximals. Diver and the Kid were able to ambush the Maximals, allowing Galvatron to gain the upper hand on Lio Convoy, but the Maximals were aided by Dirge and Thrust. Furious that Lio had seemingly stolen his brainwashing idea Starscream had BB attacked the Maximals. Megastorm found the whole turn of events amusing and planned to use his main cannon to destroy all the Maximals and Predacons in the conflict, becoming the leader of the Predacons. His attack took so long to charge Diver was able to ruin it with a water geyser. The explosion was enough to shock the brainwashed Maximals back to their senses. Galvatron and the Predacons retreated with Dirge and Thrust in tow.
Dirge appeared as a minion of Cryotek in the animated special made for Botcon called "Theft of the Golden Disk" and was voiced by American voice actor Frank Todaro. Dirge, Cryotek, and the other criminals are arrested by the Cybertronian police thnks to th machinations of Cryotek's right hand man Megatron.
The opening sequence of Beast Wars: The Ascending features Magmatron, trapped in a temporal limbo, watching a fight between Dirgegun, Saberback, Killerpunch, Guiledart and Halfshell just before the planet Cybertron is destroyed by Shokaract and Unicron.
Dirge had a biography printed in the Beast Wars Sourcebook by IDW Publishing.
The character of Armada Thrust got a redeco of Powerlynx Thrust in the series. This deco was a homage to Generation 1 Dirge.
In the BotCon exclusive Transformers: Timelines storyline, Dirge was the name of an Insecticon commander serving under Deathsaurus. This Dirge should not be confused with the 2007 Timelines Dirge, a homage to the Generation 1 character.
The accompanying comic revealed that in a possible future he was one of only two surviving Insecticons, alongside Buzzclaw, having lost their innate ability to create clones. He was recruited by Deathsaurus in aseries of experiments to unlock their cloning ability to create an instantaneous army to resurrect the Decepticon empire. Dirge then led a squad of his clones to ambush the Autobot force sent to investigate. However the revelation that Ricochet had infected the Insecticons with a virus that would ultimately kill the clones, and the arrival of more Autobots meant that Deathsaurus' plans were defeated. Dirge's final fate is unknown.
Dirge was one of the supporting characters to appear in Fun Publications fiction "Gone Too Far", a text-based story set on Transtech Cybertron. He was a follower of Gutcruncher.
A version of Dirge appeared in the 2008 April Fools comic by Fun Publications. He was a Pretender member of the Mayhem Suppression Squad commanded by Colonel Deathsaurus. His engines can generate a vibration which cause uncontrollable crippling laughter in his targets. It rapidly loses interest if things become boring and predictable.
He appeared as a redeco of the Games Of Deception Dirge in yellow (referencing the colors of BW2 Thrust), inside a Pretender shell resembling Descent Into Evil Dirge colored in white and teal (referencing the colors of Descent Into Evil Chromia).
Dirge's biography was printed in issue #26 of the Transformers Collectors Club Magazine.
Dirge appears in the 2008 April Fool's comic "Shattered Expectations" by Fun Publications. He is part of the Mayhem Suppression Squad that responds to the Razorclaw's call for help against the Autobots Goldbug, Jazz, and Grimlock.
Dirge appears in the fiction "Dungeons & Dinobots", a text based story. He defends the Arch-Ayr fuel dump from an Autobot attack. He uses his laughter inducing powers on the evil Arcee.
Dirge named appears in the comic arc Reunification by Fun Publications. This character is one of Megatron's heroic Decepticons, but secretly loyal to Alpha Trion. He helps take Breakaway, Landquake, Skyfall, and Topspin prisoner at the order of Alpha Trion, but Landquake uses his energon-shaping abilities to escape, shooting Dirge in the foot in the process.
No toy for this version of Dirge has been made yet, although it seems to be a redeco of the mold originally used for Classic Ramjet. The colors are a homage to the Beast Wars Second Predacon Thrust.
Dirge is a toy-only character in Transformers Animated. He is a clone of Starscream who represents the Decepticon's greed. Dirge was designed as a clone of Starscream by Derrick J. Wyatt, the main artist for Transformers Animated, though he did not end up being used in the cartoon. However, the design was used for the Activators toy.
This Dirge is a homage to the Generation 1 character.
Dirge is a playable character exclusive in the Nintendo DS version of the 2010 video game Transformers.