Sledge and Hammer... er, no, I mean, Rack and Ruin!



UK Transformers

#82 (Target: 2006, part 4: Wreck and Rule)

#83 (Target: 2006, part 5: The Devil You Know..., in a story-recap, coloured purple.)


#98 (The Harder They Die...)


#166 + 167 (Legion of the Lost, parts 1 + 2)

#168 + 169 (Meltdown, parts 1 + 2)


#172 + 173 (Wrecking Havoc, parts 1 and 2)


#200 (While Rack 'n' Ruin didn't appear in this issue, they were mentioned in a booklet called The Facts that came with this issue.)


#202 to 204 (Time Wars, parts 4, 5 + 6, though it must be noted his appearance in part 4 is nearly unnoticeable, amounting to two tiny pictures in two panels.)


  Rack. That's right, just one of them, by himself! Woo!


Rack: "You know what they say, Galvatron..."

Ruin: "...Two heads are better than one!"




None. When they were separate beings Rack and Ruin transformed into Cybertronian mini-jets. Since they were bonded together they cannot Transform.




Before I go in too far, I'll start by telling you that in their first appearance Rack and Ruin are referred to as "Rack and Ruin". In all subsequent appearances they're referred to as "Rack 'n' Ruin". This is important, because it tells you a lot about them as characters. While they are technically two characters, they are never referred to separately, and never really get any individualistic traits or dialogue. The change to the "Rack 'n' Ruin" moniker really reflects the fact that they are effectively a single character. Sad but true.


Because their name is almost always rendered as "Rack 'n' Ruin", I will only be using "Rack and Ruin" in this profile when referring to the characters as separate entities. If it gets confusing, just ignore it.


For the sake of argument I'm using the tried and true left-to-right name assumption. So Rack is the guy with the anvil, and Ruin is the guy with the sledge hammer.


So why, you'll be asking about  now, do Rack 'n' Ruin have almost no character development when they've appeared in so many issues? Heck, they've appeared in more issues than a lot of characters not classified as obscures by this site. The answer is simple. They were filler.


Rack 'n' Ruin were created to pad out the ranks of the now relatively well-known team 'The Wreckers'. As members of the Wreckers they appeared in basically all the Wreckers' stories, and about a third of the issues featuring the Wreckers. They were background characters who got very little dialogue (even compared to the other Wreckers...), and no development whatsoever.


However, Rack 'n' Ruin still attract attention. Kids would regularly write into the comic asking for details about who they were, how they got conjoined at the shoulder, and... well... basically what the heck was the deal with them? While answers were few and far between, more information about Rack 'n' Ruin's origins came from the UK comics letters columns and a booklet called The Facts than ever came up through stories.



"Ow, why you hit me?" "Shut up and take your licks, boy."



NOTE: It would be useless to try and chart Rack 'n' Ruin's history without charting the history of the Wreckers. This biography will include details of plot and story which occurred in issues where the Wreckers appeared, but in which Rack 'n' Ruin didn't appear. Basically, if the Wreckers were there one must assume that Rack 'n' Ruin were too. That said, we'll start with what little we know of Rack 'n' Ruin's origins.


Some time ago, during the great war, two Autobot warriors were injured in battle. Autobot medics, working frantically to keep the two robots alive, joined them together to create a conjoined Autobot. It's unknown if Rack and Ruin were their original names, or if they took these names after being joined as one. What is known is that the two require each other to live, meaning that their joining is far more complex than it first appears.


Rack 'n' Ruin were members of the elite Autobot attack squad, The Wreckers. (Again, it's unknown if they were members of the Wreckers before they were joined.) The Wreckers didn't come into prominence until after the Ark (containing many of the greatest Autobot and Decepticon warriors)  crashed into the Earth. Several thousand years after that event The Wreckers are known to have killed the Decepticon warlord known as Trannis when he was overlord of Cybertron.

Millions of years later, after contact had been reestablished with the Transformers on Earth, and after the apparent death of Lord Straxus, the Wreckers were involved in a major plan for an Autobot uprising called Operation: Volcano. This is the first point where it is known for certain that Rack 'n' Ruin were members of the Wreckers.

No, that's not REALLY Thrust, but it is an amazing simulation.Operation: Volcano hinged on the mighty Autobot warrior Ultra Magnus. He was to fight a holding action while the Wreckers killed 9 of the Decepticons' most powerful warriors (the Insecticons, Triplechangers and Coneheads). During practice for Operation: Volcano Rack 'n' Ruin targeted the Decepticon Thrust. They used what Wrecker leader Impactor described as "their unique style of hand-to-hand combat" to destroy a facsimile construct of Thrust.


However, just as the operation was getting underway (Roadbuster had baited the trap at the expense of an Autobot traitor's life), Ultra Magnus was forced to go to Earth to look for Optimus Prime, the holder of the sacred Creation Matrix. With Magnus gone, the Wreckers didn't think that the operation would succeed.


While Rack 'n' Ruin were the only Wreckers not to voice their dissatisfaction with the operation to Impactor, they did not object when the team pulled out. Of course, in a matter of hours, the Wreckers had unanimously decided that they couldn't shirk their responsibility. Even without Magnus they would be involved. Rack 'n' Ruin were right there with the others, volunteering to rejoin Volcano.


Emirate Xaaron, leader of the Autobot resistance on Cybertron, brought in the Autobot Triplechangers (Springer, Broadside and Sandstorm) to join the Wreckers in Operation: Volcano and to take Ultra Magnus' place. Unlike Magnus, the Triplechangers were to join the team as fully-fledged members.


Despite this bolstering of their power, Operation: Volcano was still to fall through, due to their Decepticon targets being called to Earth by Megatron. Despite this, the Decepticon warrior Macabre attacked Emirate Xaaron, forcing Impactor to sacrifice himself to save the Autobot leader. Before he died, Impactor named Springer leader of the Wreckers. (All through this, Rack 'n' Ruin were quite in the background, as all good warriors should be.)


It was some time later that Rack 'n' Ruin and the Wreckers came into prominence again. When Optimus Prime arrived accidentally (don't ask) back on Cybertron, Megatron leaked information to the Autobots, making them think Prime was a fake. When Prime tried to enter Iacon he met up with a decidedly pissed-off Rack 'n' Ruin. The small Autobots (compared to Prime) smacked Optimus in the side of the head, then directed a Guardian unit in beating down the Autobot leader.


Note the hydraulic mechanism in Rack's back.Minutes later, when he regained consciousness, Prime found him trussed up against a wall, about to be executed by Ultra Magnus and the Wreckers.


When Outback showed up, freeing Prime with an electronic turtle (I'm not making this shit up!), the Wreckers (and we assume especially Rack 'n' Ruin, as they caught Prime in the first place) were chomping at the bit to catch the supposed imposter again. However, Ultra Magnus pleaded for a chance, and took a few Guardian units to help him find Prime and bring him back to 'justice'.


Magnus, indecisive milksop that he can be sometimes, was unable to do the job properly, so it fell to the Wreckers. They tracked down Prime and were about to kill him when Magnus and Xaaron intervened. They'd heard Prime make one of his famous speeches about freedom and decided he must not be an imposter after all.


Optimus Prime spent the rest of his time on Cybertron stealing fuel from the Decepticons and preparing to destroy Megatron. In the end, all that happened was he, Magnus and Megatron were sent back to Earth via the Space Bridge.


Some time after this the Autobot resistance moved their headquarters from Iacon to the City-State of Kalis. This is where Rack 'n' Ruin and the Wreckers got involved in the story of the rogue Autobot scientist Flame.


Flame was attempting to bring to life Megatron's dream of turning Cybertron into a massive star-ship. A misfiring of his nuclear reactor alerted the Autobots to something being wrong. In response Flame sent an army of Zombies up to he surface to destroy the Autobots and drag Emirate Xaaron, Rack 'n' Ruin and the other Wreckers down to meet him. The Wreckers might have had a chance, but among one of the corpses was the former Wrecker leader Impactor, and Springer couldn't fight back against him.


Rack 'n' Ruin and the Wreckers were taken to Flame's headquarters and locked up with Zombie-Impactor guarding them. Inhibitor Bands were also placed around the Autobots to prevent them from transforming (presumably this would have been pointless for Rack 'n' Ruin, but as he's not pictured until the next issue, we have no idea whether or not he was given inhibitor bands too). Springer was able to escape (using his leaping ability), taking the Zombie with him.


With no guard left on their cell Rack 'n' Ruin and the others were able to escape. Xaaron headed off to confront Flame, while the Wreckers armed themselves, so they could decimate the zombie legions Flame had at his command. Rack 'n' Ruin didn't acquire guns, and probably didn't need them, as they were hand-to-hand specialists. (Actually, artist Robin Smith takes great pains to have Rack 'n' Ruin in the background, so he doesn't have to show the poor guy holding a gun.)


The Wreckers (who were soon supported by Flywheels, Trypticon, Ultra Magnus and the Sparkabots) fought their way to Flame's control centre, but were only in time to clear the way for Emirate Xaaron to escape. Their Zombiefied leader killed Flame, and stopped the reactor he was building from going up and blowing up half the planet.


The Wreckers' next mission was to attack Galvatron on Earth. However when they materialised on Earth they were in the middle of a human city. That's bad news. Scourge and Cyclonus were there too. That's worse news.


The Wreckers did their best. Rack 'n' Ruin, despite being called the "most laughable" of the Wreckers by Galvatron, was the only one to injure him, damaging his chest armour. Of course, then Galvatron hit Rack 'n' Ruin with Broadside.


I think this is the point when you realise that Rack 'n' Ruin are destined to die sometime in the near future...


Springer brought the battle to an abrupt end when he led Cyclonus and Scourge away from the fracas (err, that's not meant to be a pun), allowing Galvatron to escape. Scourge and Cyclonus quickly retreated as well when they were confronted with fighting the whole Wreckers team by their lonesome.


The final adventure of Rack 'n' Ruin came during the Time Wars. The Wreckers teamed up with Inferno and the Mayhem Attack Squad to attack Galvatron, Megatron, Scourge and Ravage on Earth. Their initial battle went terribly. The Mayhem Attack squad was decimated and Inferno was injured, so Springer ordered a retreat.


They retreated back to the spaceship they'd come in. Springer sent Roadbuster to take Inferno inside to safety and Rack 'n' Ruin inside to fetch heavier weapons to fight Galvatron with. They came out with the Decepticons' experimental Pathblaster. The weapon worked okay, it blew off half of Galvatron's face, but then it overloaded, killing Roadbuster and throwing Rack 'n' Ruin away from the ship.


This battle, part of the Time Wars, was really the end of the Wreckers. Impactor had died some time ago, and now Sandstorm, Roadbuster and Topspin had fallen in the fight against Galvatron and Megatron. It wasn't long after Roadbuster's fall that Twin Twist had his head ripped off while Rack 'n' Ruin were blown to oblivion by Galvatron.


In truth the blast that destroyed Rack and Ruin primarily hit Ruin, exploding his body and blowing his head clean off. But considering their conjoined nature, if one was dead, so was the other. That is, as they say, all she wrote.



Tech Specs/TFU:  

Dude's a Wrecker. Dude's a specialist in hand to hand combat. Yet the dude managed to blow a hole in Galvatron. Nice.


I'd give him high firepower (when he's using weapons), high strength and of course high skill. We know nothing of his intelligence, speed (seeing as he has no alt mode, one would assume it would be low, like those who have static alt modes, such as Soundwave), or endurance. On assumption I'd rate his endurance high, simply because he's a Wrecker, and a hand-to-hand specialist.


Of note; Rack 'n' Ruin seem to have boot-jets allowing them to fly, which might jack up their speed a little. Also, while they never got a Tech Specs, or TFU, they did have a little write-up in the Q&A section of the booklet The Facts which came with Transformers UK issue #200. The write-up is as follows:

Q. Does Rack 'n' Ruin transform. If so, into what?

A. When Rack and Ruin were two separate Transformers, both transformed into Cybertronian mini-jets.

But since the operation to save their lives bonded them together, they can no longer transform.


  Is Ruin holding his sledge hammer with a fist? Does he have a real hand? Uncertain, but it's possible.


They can't transform. We'll get that out of the way immediately. Rack 'n' Ruin are the first Transformers to appear who specifically can not transform. Even Emirate Xaaron, who in theory can't transform because of his old age does have an alt mode. So they're effectively an Action Master. But what an Action Master! Rack 'n' Ruin are, in the words of Obsequiosity, "Siamese Twin Commandos," and that is too cool for (in the words of my 8th grade English teacher) "school."


See? Rack's got two forearms, one a gun, the other his anvil. Crazy, huh?Interestingly enough, while it appears on the surface that Rack 'n' Ruin are pretty useless outside of hand-to-hand combat, that isn't so. On several occasions Ruin's sledge-hammer looks as if it is held in a fist, rather than being hinged at his 'wrist'. This is perfectly possible. The Wrecker Leader Impactor has interchangeable hands, why not Rack 'n' Ruin?


In fact we know for certain that Rack 'n' Ruin can add additional forearms. In Wrecking Havoc Rack has a cannon powerful enough to put a hole in Galvatron's chest armour attached at his elbow. Interestingly enough, while the gun hinges at his elbow, and looks like a new arm, his anvil is also present. Basically, it seems like Rack can attach additional forearms, while Ruin may be able to use a real fist. Cool.


Those sort of accessory features would lend itself well to a very neat little toy, even if it is effectively an Action Master.



Over All:  

Rack 'n' Ruin are probably one of the most interesting looking obscure characters ever. (And yes, I mangled that sentence on purpose, shut up, Monzo.)


They're conjoined twins, with an anvil and a sledge-hammer for hands. They fact that they're Wreckers as well adds to their cred no end. These guys kick butt. Not only that, they've appeared on an issue cover. Cool.


Before I finish this profile let me add a few comments about the Wreckers in general. The Wreckers were  a UK-only team of Autobots who were described as so tough they struck fear into the hearts of the Decepticons. They were cool. In recent years their legacy of coolness has been carried forward into modern media.


New teams of Wreckers have cropped up in both the Botcon/OTFCC comics and in the Dreamwave comics. But don't be fooled: while some of the members are the same, and the battle cries are the same, these are not the same teams.


The Botcon/OTFCC Wreckers are a continuation of the Gen1 team, the legacy of that team passed on to a new Generation. The Dreamwave team is a kind of 'reprisal' of the original team, deleting Impactor, Rack and Ruin from the team completely.


The original Wreckers team consisted of Impactor (as leader), Roadbuster, Whirl, Rack 'n' Ruin, Topspin and Twin Twist. This team was probably together in this form for thousands of years before we first see them in the comics. During Operation: Volcano the Autobot Triplechangers, Springer, Broadside and  Sandstorm are added to the Wreckers' ranks, then Springer becomes the team leader. This then is the team's lineup (Springer, Broadside, Sandstorm, Roadbuster, Whirl, Rack 'n' Ruin, Topspin and Twin Twist) until their utter destruction in the Time Wars.


Pow! Sorry Rack 'n' Ruin, you're dead.


Ultra Magnus was never a member of the Wreckers. Emirate Xaaron was never a member of the Wreckers. Inferno was never a member of the Wreckers. These three helped the Wreckers at different points during their careers, and Xaaron was their overall commanders, but none of the three were members of the team.


I like the Wreckers, and I really like Rack 'n' Ruin and Impactor's place in the team. However, it's kinda hard for Dreamwave or OTFCC to revive the Wreckers as they were. In fact, it would be pointless to do so. Let's face it, the operative thing here is that this was the Wreckers as they were. Rack 'n' Ruin just don't have a place in the Wreckers of the future.




Comic Covers

Transformers UK issue #82


UK Issue #82

Rack 'n' Ruin.  Rack 'n' Ruin smash a facsimile construct of Thrust.  It's the good men's backs.  Rack 'n' Ruin, front on, in all their glory.  "All those in favour?" "AYE!" (Okay, that wasn't the dialogue at all, but who cares?)  Rack 'n' Ruin in flight! A little confusing as the shot is drawn from behind and bellow.  Rack 'n' Ruin prepare to fight!


UK Issue #98

Optimus Prime's head hurt, but Rack 'n' Ruin don't care.  Rack, all by him lonesome self!


UK Issue #173

Two forearms... TWO forearms... TWO FOREARMS, DAMMIT!!  Galvatron go boom.  Rack 'n' Ruin get broadsided. Okay, ouch, I know, bad. But I had to say it.


UK Issue #204

Since he was killing everyone else anyway, Galvatron takes some time out to kill Rack 'n' Ruin.  A closeup of Rack 'n' Ruin's death. Note that Ruin takes most of the blast.