Fortress Maximus




G1 Cartoon

Cerebros and Fortress Maximus were introduced in the 3 part finale to the G1 Cartoon series called “The Rebirth”.  Cerebros was a very analytical Autobot who abhored violence.  Cerebros did fight and shouldn’t be considered a pacifist.  He is introduced living on Cybertron with the Autobots who would become Headmasters and Targetmasters.  As well as Spike Witwicky and Daniel Witwicky.  When the Decepticons attack Cybertron to gain control of the Plasma Energy Chamber, Cerebros is part of the Autobot team who tries to stop them.  When the Autobots reach the Plasma Energy Chamber in their shuttle, Cerebros attempts to decipher the ancient Cybertronian writings of the controls.  Cerebros is able to close the chamber, but the Autobot shuttle gets hit by a plasma strike.  Cerebros, Spike, Daniel, and several other Autobots are shot across the universe to a planet called Nebulos.  Their ship is destroyed, and the Autobots search the planet for a way to return to Cybertron.  The Autobots are attacked by a group of Nebulan rebels, who think that the Autobots were weapons sent by The Hive to destroy them.  The rebels restrain the Autobots and bring them back to their base of operations.  The rebels attach magnetic bombs on the Autobots.  As the rebels are about to activate the explosives, the Decepticons arrive.  Through very little effort, Spike is able to convince the rebels that the Autobots can help them.  The rebel leader sets the Autobots loose to battle the Decepticons.  The Autobots win the brief skirmish, but six Autobots are taken hostage and Daniel Witwicky is severely injured by Snapdragon.  The leader of the rebels, a Nebulan named Gort, tells the Autobots about Nebulos and the Hive.  The Hive is made up of a small group of evil Nebulans who rule the planet with an iron fist.  They use machines to enslave the population for their whims.  Hardhead, Brainstorm, Highbrow, and Chromedome binary bond with four of the Nebulan Rebels to become Headmasters.  Arcee becomes a headmaster too, but only to save Daniel.  Cerebros declines so he can stay away from the violence.

While the Autobot Headmasters and Arcee are freeing the captive Autobots, Cerebros explores Nebulos.  He finds an abandoned city free of the Hive’s control.  Cerebros is damaged in his journey, but Spike repairs him.  When Arcee and Daniel are captured by Scorponok, Spike realizes that the Autobots need their own Titan to combat Scorponok.  Cerebros and Spike stay on Nebulos and transform an abandoned Nebulan city into Fortress Maximus.  Spike convinces Cerebros to fight again by telling him that the Decepticons have Daniel.    Spike and Cerebros use Fortress Maximus to travel to Cybertron (which was moved to be in Earth’s orbit).  Cerebros still doesn’t want to fight, but Spike tells him that this will be his final battle.  Cerebros becomes a Headmaster with Spike as his head, and Cerebros becomes the head of Fortress Maximus.  Spike commands Fortress Maximus to transform into battle station mode.  Fort Max attacks, and damages, many Decepticons while Spike and Cerebros attack Scorponok to save the Autobots and Daniel  Fortress Maximus and Scorponok both fire on each other in their stationary modes.  Scorponok then transforms into it’s scorpion mode and attacks Fort Max.  Scorponok uses his tail to fire on Cerebros causing Fortress Maximus to fire a volley of missiles at Scorponok.  Scorponok transforms into robot mode, and Spike controls Fortress Maximus to do the same.  The two titans circle each other and Scorponok attacks first.  Scorponok punches Fort Max, making him stagger back.  Scorponok then fires two missiles at Maximus, making him fall to the ground.  Scorponok gets on top of Fortress Maximus and starts slashing at him with his claws.  He is about to crush Fortress Maximus’ head with a building, but Zarak starts monologuing and taunting (come on, he’s an 80’s bad guy, of course he is going to monologue) Spike and Fort Max.  The Autobot takes advantage of the moment and attacks Scorponok.  He gets up and continues to punch Scorponok over and over.  Scorponok transforms back into city mode and Fortress Maximus transforms as well.  Cerebros and Spike storm the Decepticon City and save their captive friends and Daniel.  Fortress Maximus continues to fire on Galvatron and the rest of the Decepticons, preventing them from leaving Cybertron.  While still attached to Cerebros, Optimus Prime orders Spike to close the Plasma Energy Chamber since the energy doesn’t hurt organic beings.  Spike refuses to do so until after he and Cerebros save Daniel and Arcee.   The Plasma Energy Chamber opens and starts to cause Earth’s sun to go supernova.  Spike and the Nebulans rewire the afterburners on Cybertron to suck the energy into Vector Sigma, which breathes life back into Cybertron.  Cerebros wants to be deactivated, but Spike shows him that Cybertron is a living planet again.  Cerebros and Spike then move to Nebulos to live in peace with several other Autobots.  They plan to take the planet back from the Hive and give freedom to all Nebulans.  

Marvel G1 Comic

Fortress Maximus was another character in the comic book that was drastically different from his cartoon counterpart.  First he was a lot smaller, only slightly larger than the typical Autobot, and he a brave and talented leader, but he was no Optimus Prime.

He stayed on Cybertron when Optimus Prime left millions of years ago, and he became a leader of a talented group of warriors.  After a successful battle, Hot Rod congratulates Fortress Maximus, but he is tired of fighting.  He sees no end of the war and after hundreds of thousands of years of fighting, he decides to take whichever Autobots want to join him, and leave Cybertron to find a new, peaceful home.  This new home was the planet Nebulos.  Many Autobots join Fortress Maximus in his desire to leave, and as a group, they leave Cybertron to live on Nebulos. Upon arriving on Nebulos, Fortress Maximus sends a message to the ruling government of the planet that he wants to discuss terms of The Autobots living in harmony with the Nebulans.  The leaders are already apprehensive though, a citizen named Gort was injured when he first met an Autobot.  One of the leaders, Galen, suggests that the Nebulans should have an open mind, especially since Gort wasn’t injured badly and it was obviously an accident.  Fortress Maximus sends Blurr as a diplomatic envoy to meet with the Nebulans, but Blurr is manipulated by Lord Zarak into making it look like he was attacking the Nebulans.  Between this false attack and Gort getting injured, the Nebulans are very distrusting of the Autobots.  A nameless Autobot suggests that they fight back, and Fortress Maximus tells his allies that no matter what, the Nebulans are not to be harmed.  This ideal is short lived when the full force of The Nebulan army attacks The Autobots.  Many Autobots are actually killed in the battle.  Maximus orders the Autobots to retreat instead of harming any of the Nebulans.  Kup disobeys and Maximus tells Kup to retreat or he will have to fight with Maximus.  The Autobots retreat and Fortress Maximus provides cover fire, intentionally not hitting any of the Nebulans, just attempting to scare them.  When the Autobots reassemble their forces in hiding, Maximus realizes that a lot of his soldiers are severely damaged, and that he needs to do something drastic to make peace with the Nebulans.  Fortress Maximus and several other Autobots march together to the Nebulan capital and he personally tries to negotiate for peace.  The Army is ordered to fire on the Autobots, but Galen cancels the order, giving Fortress Maximus another chance for diplomacy.  He and the rest of the Autobots throw down their weapons.  This is thought to be a trick, to lure the Nebulans into a sense of security, so Maximus does the last thing he can think of doing, he pulls off his head and gives it to the leaders of the Nebulan government.  This gives them some headway, but the Nebulans still aren’t totally convinced.  Four other Autobots, Brainstorm, Hardhead, Highbrow, and Chromedome follow Maximus’s example and remove their heads as well in the name of peace.  This inspires Galen and he orders that there will be no more fighting.

The presence of Fortress Maximus and the rest of the Autobots did exactly what Maximus didn’t want to do; he created conflict where there was peace.  The planet of Nebulos was filled with anti Autobot protests and strife among all of the population.   Maximus is reactivated by Galen who explains to him what has happened on his planet since the Autobots arrived.  The two leaders try to figure out a way to make peace, not only between Autobot and Nebulan, but for all Nebulans.  Maximus tells the story of the Transformers to Galen and Galen goes to the Senate to try to negotiate peace for his planet and coexistence for the Autobots.

After Scorponok and the Decepticons attack, Galen goes back to Fortress Maximus to ask for a plan.  One of the Nebulan leaders suggests that they give the heads of the Autobots to Scorponok, both Galen and Maximus agree that Scorponok can’t be trusted and he will continue his attack even if the Autobots are surrendered.  Galen suggests that they operate the headless Autobots by remote control, but that doesn’t work.  A doctor named Arcana has an idea, he has created the process called Binary Bonding which allows a Nebulan to become the head of an Autobot, giving them some control over their new protectors.  Fortress Maximus is bonded with Galen and they are the first Headmasters.

Almost immediately, the Decepticons attack the hangar where The new headmasters were born and Fortress Maximus and Galen lead them to their first victory.  Fortress Maximus and the other Headmasters go to the Nebulan capital to show them again that the Autobots are there for peace.  The Nebulans feel that they traded one slave master for another, and Fortress Maximus, along with the other Autobot Headmasters, reveal that they are joined with several Nebulan leaders and they are motivated for peace.

After a series of Autobot victories, the Nebulans start to accept the Autobots.  One day, Lord Zarak’s daughter Llyra brings Galen and Fort Max a video made by Lord Zarak.  The video begs for help from the Autobots because Zarak has been kidnapped.  Maximus commands the Autobot Headmasters to roll out and rescue Zarak.  Llyra insists that she joins.  This is all a trap, when the Autobots arrive at the Decepticon Base, they are met by a cadre of headless Decepticons, including Scorponok  They reveal themselves as Headmasters.  The Decepticon Headmaster attack Fortress Maximus and the other Autobot Headmasters, and they are more powerful than the Autobots.  A hovercraft filled with Nebulan leaders and Llyra watches the battle and soon crashes.  Mindwipe hypnotizes the Nebulans to follow the Decepticons into their base.  Llyra is stuck in an anti-gravity bubble and Fortress Maximus saves her from being killed, along with the other Nebulan leaders.  This gives the Decepticon Headmasters the opportunity to fire on the Autobot Headmasters, disabling them. With The Autobot Headmasters defeated, The Decepticons are able to take over Nebulos.

After being a prisoner for a while of the Decepticons, the Nebulan components of the Autobot Headmasters are actually freed by Zarak, who starts to regret joining the Decepticons.  Fortress Maximus is back and ready to lead his Autobots again.  They first encounter the Decepticon Targetmasters, but then the rest of the Decepticons.  Fortress Maximus keeps his morals and orders the Autobots to keep the citizens of Nebulos safe above the safety of the Autobots.  The capital city is starting to show a lot of damage from the battle.  Fortress Maximus orders that the Autobot Headmasters retreat to the commune in the wilderness.  The Decepticons don’t follow.  Hot Rod tells Maximus about a transmission he received from Earth and all of Fortress Maximus’ forces depart a war torn Nebulos for Earth, saddened by the lack of peace.

On the journey to Earth, Brainstorm upgrades Fortress Maximus, increasing his size and firepower.  Maximus still isn't city sized though.  He stands about twice the size of a typical transformer, and now his head is able to transform into a mindless robot named Cerebros which is completely controlled by Galen.  Maximus’s first stop when getting to Earth is to investigate the message sent by Buster Witwicky looking for help.  Maximus is joined by the rest of the Autobot Headmasters.  They go to The Ark which has been abandoned and encounter Spike Witwicky who was also looking for his brother Buster.  Spike asks for help, but Fortress Maximus refuses to help, saying he needs to find the other Autobots first.  Soon after Fort Max leaves the Ark, Scorponok arrives on Earth and goes to The Ark.  He attacks Spike, but before Spike could be hurt, Fort Max comes back and saves him.  Both teams of Headmasters start to fight on the Ark.  Maximus’ upgrades give the Autobots a huge advantage during the battle and Scorponok sneaks off.  Fort Max follows and finds Scorponok attacking Spike.  Fortress Maximus’ size increase turns out to be a detriment in the battle.  He is too big to fit into the cave where Scorponok is attacking Spike, so he disengages his head and transforms it into Cerebros who battles Scorponok.  Both leaders then eject their heads and Galen fights Lord Zarak in hand to hand combat.  Galen has the upper hand but winds up sacrificing himself to save Spike.  Zarak and Scorponok go back to the main battle, and Galen passes on his Headmaster armor to Spike who becomes the new head for Cerebros and Fortress Maximus.  With Spike in control, Fortress Maximus helps the Autobots defeat the Decepticon Headmasters.  After the battle, the Autobot Headmasters welcome Spike into the fold as the new component of their leader.

After Spike is fully Binary Bonded with Fortress Maximus, he visits his father who is still looking for Buster.  Sparkplug is told that the Decepticons have him and Spike vows to save Buster.  He reveals that he has become part of Fortress Maximus and reveals the Autobot Targetmasters to his father.  Fortress Maximus and Spike promise Sparkplug that they will save Buster and disembark to the Decepticon base aboard an Autobot shuttle.  When they arrive at the Decepticon Island Base, Kup demands that Fortress Maximus stays back to provide cover for the Autobots.  Kup says that due to Spike being bonded with Maximus, his judgment could be clouded by emotion.  Fort Max reluctantly agrees.  When the Targetmasters retreat, Maximus starts a solo assault on the Island Base which has now transformed into a spacecraft.  He grabs onto the hull and rides it into space.  Shockwave fires a missile at Maximus, impaling him with it.  Severely damaged, Fort Max transforms into Cerebros to continue the fight.  Shockwave decides to take matters into his own gun shaped hand and personally attacks Cerebros.  With one blast from Shockwave in blaster mode, Cerebros is defeated.  Spike disengages and tries again to save Buster, but he can’t.  Shockwave moves in for the kill and Spike mentally controls Maximus’s guns to attack Shockwave, causing him to burn up in re-entry.  He rejoins the rest of the Headmasters and Targetmasters aboard his spaceship which gets the name of Steelhaven.

Brainstorm starts repairing Maximus and he also builds Goldbug a new body.  Spike intercepts a phone call made by Ethan Zachary to his father and finds out that Ethan Zachary has the mind of Optimus Prime.  He sends Goldbug to investigate.  Through a really convoluted situation, a computer avatar of Optimus Prime finds out that Scorponok has created The Decepticon Pretenders.  Maximus reacts by creating Pretenders of his own who battle the Decepticon Pretenders at a genetics lab.  Goldbug returns to the ship with Optimus Prime’s mind on a computer disc.

With the acquisition of Optimus Prime’s mind, Fortress Maximus wants to resurrect Optimus Prime, but it turns out to be impossible, they just don’t have the resources to do it.  Hot Rod notifies Maximus that he found The Ark and Maximus contacts The Ark asking to combine both Autobot forces.  Grimlock grants an audience with Fortress Maximus and the two leaders meet.  Maximus (diplomatically) proposes that they use the resources of The Ark to bring back Optimus Prime.  Grimlock refuses saying Optimus was weak and cared too much about humans.  Maximus reveals that he is a Headmaster to Grimlock, and that Spike, a human, is a big part of who he is.  When Grimlock asks how they found The Ark, Fortress Maximus reveals that Goldbug helped.  Grimlock still considers Goldbug a traitor and demands Fort Max hands over Goldbug to him.  Maximus refuses, saying Goldbug is under his protection.  Grimlock then challenges Fort Max to battle for full leadership of The Autobots, siting ancient Cybertronian Law.  After considering the options, Fort Max reluctantly agrees to the battle, knowing he can’t win due because he hasn’t fully recovered from the injuries from the battle with Shockwave.  Grimlock tells him that another Autobot has decided to fight for Fortress Maximus, the Autobot prisoner Blaster.  The Steelhaven Autobots go to the moon to watch the battle.  Blaster and Grimlock battle, but before they can finish their fight, the Decepticons attack!  The Autobots take heavy casualties and the Ark is heavily damaged.  Fortress Maximus sends Goldbug away on Steelhaven  to Nebulos with the mission of restoring Optimus Prime.  Maximus is temporarily stuck on Earth’s moon with the rest of the Autobots.  He is eventually saved after Optimus Prime is rebuilt.  

One day, while watching Earth TV, Fortress Maximus sees a commercial for Club Con, a tropical resort run by the Decepticons.  Fortress Maximus notices that Buster is in the commercial and is alive!.  He wants to attack the island to recover Buster, but Optimus Prime decides to send Blaster there to covertly investigate.  Blaster returns without Buster, and Optimus takes Blaster and Fortress Maximus to where Club Con was to further investigate.  When they arrive, they find that Club Con is no longer there. Optimus orders a search for The Decepticons Spike reminds them that he only bonded with Fortress Maximus to save Buster and he won’t allow the Autobots to do nothing until Buster is dead.  Optimus promises that Buster will be saved.

Almost right away, Buster is saved in the arctic and is suffering from hypothermia.  Fortress Maximus saves Buster by making a heated pod inside of him and putting Buster in it.  The Autobots are then ambushed by the combined forces of Scorponok and Ratbat’s Decepticons.  Maximus falls back, not fully engaging the Decepticons to keep Buster safe.  He is attacked by Apeface and Snapdragon, but is saved by Blaster.  After Blaster fends off the two Decepticons, Maximus is then attacked by the Decepticon commander, Ratbat.  When Buster emerges from Fort Max, Ratbat realizes that both forces were manipulated into fighting each other and calls for a cease-fire.  The Autobots join with the Decepticons in hunting down Starscream in space.  They find Starscream but only after he has absorbed a significant amount of Underbase energy.  Starscream destroys the Decepticon ship and Fort Max saves Buster again by putting Buster inside of him.  Aboard the Ark, the new alliance heads back to Earth to stop Starscream.  Fortress Maximus and Spike leave Buster in Optimus’ protection while Fort Max leads a team in Buenos Aires with Soundwave.  The first attack wave in Buenos Aires is quickly defeated as Fort Max watches in horror.  Fort Max soon lands the Autobot shuttle and sends the Technobots to attack Starscream, they are killed as quickly as the previous wave was.  Fortress Maximus starts to directly attack Starscream, but Starscream is too powerful.  Fortress Maximus is defeated but not killed.  Before Starscream can kill him, Omega Supreme saves him.  Omega Supreme is killed by Starscream and Maximus radios Optimus Prime for help.  This reminds Starscream that the biggest goal, Optimus Prime’s death, is a possibility for him to achieve.  Optimus wind up defeating Starscream ending the Autobot/Decepticon alliance.

Now that Buster is safe, Spike gives up being part of Fortress Maximus, but no one is replacing him. Spike tries to live a normal life but has nightmares of his time being bonded with Fort Max.  Fortress Maximus, at this point, is basically deactivated.  Spike is tracked by the two Decepticon Pretender Beasts to a ski resort.  They want him because he was Fortress Maximus.  After trying to escape from the pair of Decepticons, he telepathically contacts Fort Max’s body to come to him and defeats the Pretender Beasts.  He doesn’t return being Fortress Maximus, but he accepts that they are a part of each other and becomes open to the idea of helping if needed.


Years later, the Ark crashes to Earth again, but this time, instead of being inhabited by Autobots, it is inhabited by Megatron, Starscream, and Galvatron.  Spike goes to the crash site in Canada and is called out to by Fortress Maximus.  Galvatron is killing a lot of humans and Spike knows he has to become Fortress Maximus again.  Spike and Fortress Maximus are fully integrated now.  Maximus seeks out Galvatron and quickly finds him.  While Galvatron is descending into his madness, Fortress Maximus shoots Galvatron in the back to try to get his attention.  Fortress Maximus tries to peacefully end the conflict and gives Galvatron the opportunity to surrender.  Galvatron leaps onto Fort Max, savagely attacking him.  Fortress Maximus fights back, more powerful now than ever.  He uses all of the weapons in his arsenal to defend himself and defeat Galvatron.

For years, Spike and Fortress Maximus stay apart from one another.  Spike lives his life and Fort Max’s dormant body stayed on the Ark.  When Megatron returned, he planned to use the Ark to become a scourge to the universe again.  Spike sneaked on board and reactivated Fort Max to fight Megatron.  Unknown to Fort Max and Spike, there was another Autobot on the Ark, Skydive.  Maximus tries to sneak up on Megatron, but Fortress Maximus is too big for stealth attacks.  Megatron fires at Fort Max before Maximus could get a shot off.  Megatron was successful in severely damaging Fort Max with his first shot, shooting a hole in his torso.  Megatron then starts beating Maximus with his fists.  This doesn’t matter to Fort Max, he knew he couldn’t defeat Megatron, but wanted Skydive to have the opportunity to save Megatron’s hostage, Dr. Biggles-Jones.  Megatron punches THROUGH Fort Max, making start to deactivate.  Skydive fires on Megatron, giving Fortress Maximus the opportunity to go to the engine room of the Ark.  He sacrifices himself to breach the Anti-Matter engine of the Ark, causing it to explode.  Fortress Maximus dies and Megatron is trapped on Earth.

IDW Re-Generation One

Fortress Maximus was the sole Autobot on Earth when Megatron reawakened and conquered Earth.  He was destroyed in a battle and Spike became one of the leaders of the Human Resistance.  His body was brought back to Nebulos where the Nebulans work to restore Fort Max to functioning, but not as a Headmaster.  While being repaired, Maximus is in stasis lock.  A strange black ooze-like creature enters Fortress Maximus’ body.  

The Nebulans are successful in restoring Fortress Maximus, but in the moment he is reactivated, he goes mad, screaming in pain.  He quickly recovers and tells the Nebulan Scientists that everything is fine.

When Optimus Prime activates the Space Bridge on Earth so Human refugees can move to Nebulos, Fort Max emerges from the portal.  He promptly attacks Optimus Prime without reason, severely damaging him.  Maximus grabs Spike to bring him into the portal, but Optimus tries to stop him.  He swats Optimus away like a fly, and tries to crush him.  Fort Max takes Spike through the portal and leaves Optimus wounded and defeated.  Fortress Maximus brings Spike to Nebulos and remains there until Galvatron arrives on Nebulos.  Galvatron starts ravaging the peaceful planet until he is stopped by Ultra Magnus and an Autobot team.  After Magnus kills Galvatron, Fortress Maximus attacks Ultra Magnus but is then defeated by the rest of the Autobots.


IDW Transformers

In IDW, Fort Max is unique in comparison to the G1 comic and the G1 cartoon.  He wasn’t a leader or a city, he was a warden of a jail for Transformers.

Fortress Maximus is the warden of the Garrus-Nine penitentiary .  In the prison, many inmates are housed, but not in their bodies, their sparks are removed from their body.  Maximus checks in with Jetfire, who is in charge of the rehabilitation and spark removal.  At that moment, the Decepticons attack Garrus-Nine from orbit.  The Decepticons use cannons from their spaceship which is in orbit and the Decepticons deploy drop ships filled with soldiers.  As the defenses fall, Fortress Maximus knows he needs backup.  He restores Arcee’s spark to her body.  Arcee battles the Decepticons and Combaticons.  As Fortress Maximus joins the battle, the invaders teleport away.  Fortress Maximus plans to incarcerate Arcee again.  She tells him that she wants to go into space to track down the Decepticons.
On Garrus-9, Prowl briefs Optimus Prime, Fortress Maximus, and Jetfire on some escaped prisoners, the Decepticons who make up Monstructor.  Prowl tells the group that they found out that one Transformer survived the crash, but someone decapitated the survivor.  Optimus leaves Fortress Maximus in charge.

Optimus Prime is still on Garrus-Nine.  Fortress Maximus alerts him that Nova Prime is attacking.  Optimus Prime tells Maximus to call back the Autobots so he can meet with Nova Prime alone without anyone else getting hurt or killed.

Sideswipe, Hound, and Fortress Maximus head to China to stop Grindcore and Straxus from harvesting Energon.  Sideswipe focuses on Grindcore.   Hound and Fort Max rush to help Sideswipe, but Sideswipe tells them to secure the space bridge. Ultra Magnus supervises the mission from Earth’s Orbit.

During the assault of Garrus-9, Fortress Maximus makes his staff hold the prison and not give up.  Rumors are spreading that the Decepticons are attacking many Autobot outposts, and Fortress Maximus refuses to let Garrus-9 be one of them.  He tells Kick-Off that he is the only one with the security codes.  Overlord attacks Fortress Maximus and defeats him in battle.  He takes Fortress Maximus’ beaten body and throws it to the Decepticons so they can get their revenge



In the cartoon, Fortress Maximus was one of the largest, if not the largest Autobot. He was able to transform into a space cruiser for inter-planetary travel.

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