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Circuit Breaker (Transformers)

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Circuit Breaker
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceTransformers #6 (July 1985) (as Josie Beller); Transformers #9 (October 1985) (as Circuit Breaker)
Created byBob Budiansky
In-story information
Alter egoJosephine "Josie" Beller
SpeciesHuman, Anti-Robot
Team affiliationsNeo-Knights
Rapid Anti-Robot Attack Team
G.B. Blackrock
Notable aliasesEmulator, "Sephie"
AbilitiesHer suit allows her to disrupt a robot's circuitry, causing it to malfunction and break down.[1]

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Circuit Breaker (also known as Circuit-Smasher and the Emulator) is a fictional comic book character originally from the 1980s Marvel Comics Transformers series.

Publication history[edit]

Josie Beller, introduced in issue #6 (July 1985) as a prodigy working for G.B. Blackrock, invented a kind of bodysuit with imbedded circuits that allowed her to move her body after a spinal cord injury following a Decepticon attack on one of Blackrock's industry plants. The suit disrupts the circuits of electronic devices and Transformers and allows her fly using anti-gravity technology. During Marvel's Secret Wars II miniseries, the Beyonder encounters Circuit Breaker.[2] She introduces herself to him and would want to become a servant of his, but he refused accept her offer. This appearance of Circuit Breaker was published so Marvel Comics could claim ownership to the character. She would later appear in the Transformers series in issue #9 (October 1985) using the suit.

In issue #68, a superhero team called the Neo-Knights, managed by Blackrock, was introduced, with Circuit Breaker joining the team. Unlike the other three members, and Blackrock, Circuit Breaker does not distinguish between Autobots and Decepticons but instead treats all robots as her enemies. This issue was the only issue in the entire series drawn by Dwayne Turner, whose dark-shaded drawing style was noticeably different from other artists in the comic.[3]

At the end of issue #73, Blackrock and the Neo-Knights were accidentally transported to Cybertron along with the Transformers when Primus sought to unite all his children against the dark god Unicron. Upon first contact with Unicron, Circuit Breaker fainted because of his sheer size and complexity, and Dynamo was unable to fight because Cybertron's nature was too unlike Earth. However, Rapture did manage to briefly convince Unicron that he had succeeded in destroying the universe.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Note: Stories published by Fun Publications are in italics.

After being severely injured in a raid for Earth oil by the Decepticon Shockwave,[4] computer genius Josie Beller was left paralyzed in both legs and one arm.[5] She developed cybernetic implants and an outfit[6] that allowed her to not only move, but disrupt a robot's circuitry, causing it to malfunction and break down.[7]

Beachcomber, Blaster, Cosmos, Perceptor, Powerglide, Seaspray and Warpath were part of an Autobot team on Cybertron in the Earth year 1986. They battled the Decepticons led by Straxus over the Space Bridge and the Autobots were stranded on Earth.[8] They were then captured by Circuit Breaker and her Rapid Anti-Robot Attack Team, taken to her lab and then dissected.[9]

Circuit Breaker then captured Autobots Air Raid, Fireflight, Silverbolt, Skids, Skydive and Slingshot. Using the parts from all the captured Autobots she created a giant Autobot with herself in control, striking a deal with them that if they would co-operate she would let them go. She had been injured in an earlier battle with the Decepticons and was too weak to fight them again by herself. Circuit Breaker then used them to oppose the Decepticon Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck who were attacking the Statue of Liberty. After defeating the Decepticons with Circuit Breaker the Autobots were released.[10] Despite defeating the Decepticon threat, by releasing the Autobots she held captive, she went against R.A.A.T.'s directives and was fired as a result.

Circuit Breaker reemerged when news reports came out about a creature called Skullgrin, an entity believed to be a Yeti-Sasquatch-like being who was in fact a Pretender Decepticon (a Decepticon who wears an outer shell making him appear to be a member of another species). Skullgrin, in order to gain oil for the Decepticons, agreed to allow a film producer to use him in a production, in return for oil as payment. Circuit Breaker suspected Skullgrin to be a Cybertronian, going to California to investigate him. She had a glimpse of Skullgrin at a press conference held by the producer, but could not be certain if Skullgrin was a Transformer or not. However, she did run into Carissa Carr, who was to appear in the film with Skullgrin. Circuit Breaker, whom Carr believed to be a harmless physically challenged person, discovered that the filming with Skullgrin would commence in a couple of days at the Grand Canyon. During the making of the film at the Grand Canyon, Skullgrin took off his Pretender shell. Seeing this from nearby, Circuit Breaker finally had irrefutable proof that Skullgrin was a Transformer, and jumped into combat. She took control of Skullgrin's Pretender shell and attacked him with it. During the skirmish between Circuit Breaker and Skullgrin, Carissa Carr was caught on a crumbling cliff, but Skullgrin selflessly rescued her, though it gave Circuit Breaker the chance to press her attack. Before she could totally destroy Skullgrin, the Hollywood producer who had been dealing with Skullgrin called out to Circuit Breaker. He informed her that his workers taped her battle with Skullgrin, and that he would pay her a fortune to slay Skullgrin in front of the camera. Circuit Breaker, disgusted at the producer's greed destroyed the camera and left.[11]

She later joined the Neo-Knights. G. B. Blackrock and the Neo-Knights were accidentally transported to Cybertron along with the Transformers when Primus sought to unite all his children against the chaos bringer Unicron. Upon arriving on the planet, Circuit Breaker fell into a catatonic state as her phobia of a planet full of robots overwhelmed her human mind. However, she did awake as Unicron descended, and attacked him with her own power, weakening and distracting the chaos bringer long enough for Optimus Prime to destroy him with the Matrix of Leadership. She returned to her catatonic state shortly afterwards, and over the course of the "Unicron" and the "Autobot/Decepticon Truce" arcs, she would remain in this state as the title folded.

When Megatron ravaged Earth with nuclear fire in 1994, Josie recovered enough to join the final, already-too-late battle against him. She died but her legacy lived on: Blackrock was able to use her neural-cybernetic innovations and merge it with Headmaster tech to turn a paralysed Spike Witwicky into Circuit-Smasher!

Other versions[edit]

Shattered Glass[edit]

An alternate version of Circuit Breaker appears in the Shattered Glass storyline as Josephine "Sephie" Beller, Professor Arkeville's teaching assistant. Dark-haired and unrelentingly cheerful, she's an unabashed technophile. This version of Circuit Breaker is called the Emulator.

In "Eye in the Sky", Sephie joined Arkeville and her co-interns Will and Rick as they investigated what they believed was a recent meteorite crash in the Arizona desert. Upon discovering that the impact had caused a huge mountain avalanche, the four started digging, until Rick noticed an unmanned missile truck and Cold Slither van approaching the site. Before they could decide what to do, they were suddenly greeted by a large metal cat laughing at them. The four panicked and ran away as the cat bounded after them. The cat chased Will and Rick, but Sephie and Arkeville bumped into the calmer Frenzy as they ran instead, who explained why he, the feline Ravage, the "van" Soundwave, and the "missile truck" Heatwave were on the planet, and that the "meteorite" was really their crashed ship, the Nemesis. Sephie ended up staring in raptured awe at the marvel of the giant mechanical beings surrounding her.

The humans and Decepticons all boarded the Nemesis, met up with Starscream and Cliffjumper, and explained their current situations to each other. Sephie was hopeful that even more Decepticons might come to Earth, only to have her hopes dashed by Starscream's explanation. Still, she and the others were eager to help in whatever way they could, and Sephie was ecstatic that the Decepticons would be staying on Earth for a long time. She, Will, and Rick then went along to help the Decepticons start recovering the stasis pods of the rest of their crew members who had escaped the Nemesis before it crashed. She was even happier to learn that Crasher was one of the Female Transformers. Eventually their quest was cut short by hearing Rodimus' broadcast about holding the Earth hostage with the Global Orbital Defense Satellite he had hijacked, so they all headed back to the ship.

While everyone discussed what to do about the situation, Sephie was busy petting her newfound buddy Ravage, who was content to curl up and purr at her attentions in a moment of uncharacteristic quiet. She recognized that Rodimus was in a military base from his transmission, and when Arkeville realized they could find out which base had been hijacked by using the internet, offered up her oPod for the purpose (fascinated by Heatwave's ability to "talk" to machines). She then volunteered to help the Decepticons infiltrate the base, and Cliffjumper paired her with Ravage. The two were able to sneak into the base while riding in Soundwave, with the help of a cover story from Will and Rick. They then all split up, with Sephie and Ravage heading towards the control room. Before they could get there, however, they ran into Wheeljack. Sephie tried to get Ravage to hide, but Ravage preferred to wave and say that it was just "crazy old Wheeljack", which made the Autobot start frothing and ranting that he wasn't crazy. Sephie sarcastically noted that of course he wasn't, with Ravage naively pointing out that yes he was. When that provoked Wheeljack into starting to pound the walls, Sephie and Ravage took off running. They eventually managed to lose Wheeljack, but by that point Heatwave had already managed to talk the base's transmitter into evacuating the base in preparation for destroying it with the GODS, so Sephie and Ravage opted for getting out of there themselves.

In "Blitzwing Bop", when the Decepticons' emergency comm systems were being overloaded by Blitzwing's "bop", Sephie and their other human friends volunteered to watch over the Transformers as they entered emergency stasis lock long enough for Soundwave to find a solution. Sephie took the responsibility very seriously, staring intently at the surveillance monitors as they waited for word from Soundwave. That didn't stop her from checking her e-mail, though... at least when a message from Jetstorm chirped on the console. Before she could respond, however, the Nemesis was assaulted by the evil Beachcomber, who was too crazy to be affected by the comm problems. Sephie and the others kept him busy, until the Decepticons were reactivated and chased the lone loon away.

In "Transhuman", Sephie managed to score a job with R.J. Blackrock, working in research and development. She was put to work on Project Shieldbreaker, but it was not long before Blackrock called her to his office to ask her to invite the Decepticons to the unveiling of the company's new Mega-Rig. They came, but so did the Autobots. Sephie tried to herd the humans present to safety, but when she was threatened by Seaspray, the newly arrived Shockwave protected her from the missiles, taking a large amount of damage in the process. Sephie blamed herself for Shockwave's injuries and, determined to find a way to protect herself better, arranged a meeting with Stormbringer99.

Her secret contact turned out to be a neutral Cybertronian, Jetstorm, who gave her a suit made from Cybertronian tech. Using it, she protected Franklin Burns High School from an attack by Butch Witwicky and Tailgate, though the amount of power involved destroyed Jetstorm's gift. Resolving not to give up, Sephie gathered medical supplied from the Nemesis and had Jetstorm augment her further. The Decepticons and Sephie's friends were aghast at what she'd done to herself, and Starscream confined her to base until he and Professor Arkeville could try and remove her cybernetic implants. Sephie was upset, and when Blackrock rang her to ask for the Decepticons' help in setting an ambush for the Autobots, she decided to go herself.

She managed to take out both Groove and Elita One, using her inbuilt ability to duplicate their power chip rectifiers. At the same time, she decided her superhero name would be Emulator. By the time she reached Arizona Bay, Rick caught up with her and tried to talk her out of attacking the Autobots. Unfortunately they were interrupted by the Autobots, and Wheeljack used a microwave emitter to knock her out. She was shackled to a table so Wheeljack and Ratchet could vivisect her. Before that could happen, the Decepticons arrived, though they were overwhelmed by the Autobot forces, and then Blackrock turned up piloting the Centurion mech his company had been working on. While the Autobots were distracted fighting the newcomer, Rick freed Sephie. She, in turn, released Cliffjumper, knowing that he would be compelled to help the Decepticons while she was free to attack Blackrock. She used Groove's fuel evaporating power on the Centurion, which had the side effect of sending it into a meltdown, and Sephie was forced to fly the mech high into the air so its explosion wouldn't kill her friends. She herself survived the explosion thanks to Elita-One's time bubble power, though she was shocked when Blackrock announced that she was fired.

The Decepticons offered her a position on their team, but to their disappointment Sephie turned them down in favor of striking out on her own, but not before she had surreptitiously duplicated Soundwave's ability. She returned to Jetstorm to have her blood replaced with mech fluid, and wondered aloud what she would do next.

Collected editions[edit]

  • Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc. p. 40. ISBN 1-4053-0461-8. Search this book on


  1. Transformers #9 (October 1985).
  2. Secret Wars II #3
  3. "Transformers On-Line Encyclopedia: Neo-Knights". Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2009-10-25. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. Transformers #6 (July 1985).
  5. Transformers #7 (August 1985).
  6. Transformers #8 (September 1985).
  7. Transformers #9 (October 1985).
  8. Transformers #18
  9. Transformers #21-22
  10. Transformers #23
  11. Transformers #45

External links[edit]

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