The mysterious obelisk known only as "the Talisman" is an object of great power and even greater mystery. Its vast power ties it to Prysmos, Cybertron, the Dire Wraiths and Microspace. According to Merklynn, it is an object of great mystical power, and has shown to be destructive to Transformers. However, it has also been responsible for technological advancements of the IRON Troopers and the temporal displacement of Sgt. Savage. Befitting any artifact of cosmic power, it is sought after by a myriad of international criminals.
The Talisman was created ten million years ago on the planet Antilla. With the natives unable to match the destructive power of the Cybertronian invaders, a scientist created a doomsday weapon that would sterilize all life on the planet while refashioning the world into an ultimate weapon of retribution against the Cybertronian race, Unicron. When the device was activated however, its energy proved uncontrollable. The energy cascading across space/time, it collapsed Antilla's star into a black hole, destroyed the planet Prysmos while absorbing and corrupting the world's magical energies to give birth to the Dire Wraiths. Onyx Prime eventually returned to the Antilla where he uncovered the doomsday device and dubbed it the "Talisman". Some 20,000 years ago, Onyx sent the Axalon to Earth, ostensibly so they retrieve the Enigma of Combination for him, but in reality needing them to complete an ontological paradox and needing someone to ferry the Talisman to the organic world.
The ship arrived on Earth to restock on Energon where Shockwave shot it down in an attempt to protect his experiment. The Talisman scrambled the crew's memories on impact and after reprogramming them to conduct an experiment, Shockwave proceeded to study the Talisman noting with interest its spontaneous creation of a drone force from the Axalon's hull. After a brief period of this, he went off to conduct his experiments and fell into stasis lock, the Talisman becoming buried in ice and snow before it vanished into history. As the false memories of the Eukarians wore off, they attempted to find the relic.
During World War II, Sgt. Savage and Garrison Kreiger encountered Centurion, last of the Axalon crew who told them about the Talisman. The three travelled to the ship but were forced to contend with an army of IRON Troopers. After the trio breached the ship's hull, Kreiger noticed the indent on the bridge where the Talisman had once been, giving it the codename it would come to be known be and correctly deducing it to be magical artifact. The Troopers then linked together to puppeteer the corpse of Domitius Major. Flying into a rage at the desecration of his friend's body, Centurion attacked with a fury and dismembered Domitius, destroying the IRON Troopers in the process. The residual Talisman energy within the craft activated and teleported the Axalon, and Savage away. Kreiger was mesmerized by the Talisman's power, believing it could hold the key to restoring his lost homeworld of Prysmos and manipulated Centurion into aiding him in his hunt for it. Over the decades, Kreiger and Centurion scoured the Earth for the artifact. The two found several scraps of Talisman created technology which Kreiger used to create facsimile Talismans.
One way or another, the Talisman wound up buried in the Tomb of Amtoltec in Dashur, Egypt. Somehow during the intervening years it had come into contact with Dire Wraith DNA, gaining Wraith tendrils surrounding its front emblem. When Kreiger found it in the 1980s, he was followed by the Adventure Team and Soundwave tracking the signal for the mysterious drones. The priceless pyramid surrounding the Talisman proved little obstacle to Soundwave who rammed through layer after layer of stone until he found Kreiger who sent the IRON Troopers on the Decepticon. Soundwave defeated them with ease but one of Atomic Man's arms was damaged in the crossfire who touched the Talisman and received an upgraded model with the ability to project forcefields. While intrigued by the relic's power, Soundwave decided it was more trouble than it was worth due to the Troopers and organics and simply flew off to complete his mission. The Talisman then fell into government custody.
Nonetheless Kreiger was allowed to study the device under government supervision. 1994, Kreiger had Power make contact with the Talisman which had the unexpected effect of pulling Sgt. Savage and the Axalon from the timestream.Atomic Man approached Kreiger about his constant desire to improve himself via Talisman technology. Eventually however, Power had replaced so much of his body with Talisman technology that he declared himself "the Talisman made flesh". In
The Talisman was moved to Mount St. Helens in the early 2000s into an abandoned Decepticon facility where the Talisman was exposed to Ore-13. To reactive the relic, Kreiger and Colton lured Sgt. Savage to the base where Centurion hurled the Sergeant into the Talisman reactivating it. The resulting surge of energy sent Savage further into the future as well as (graphically) destroying the Decepticon guinea pig Bugly proving to Colton that it could be used as an anti-Cybertronian weapon.
Cybertronian activity on Earth increased over the decades to the point that Colton became convinced that Cybertron would destroy Earth and decided to use the Talisman to destroy Cybertron and end the Cybertronian species once and for all. After being appointed as the new director of the Earth Defense Command, he attempted to go throw official channels to enact his plan but found the military was infested with Dire Wraiths. The Wraiths attacked with one of them assuming Colton's likeness but Colton managed to avoid being fully assimilated by amputating his hand and went underground. Making his way to Kreiger to remove the Dire Wraith bio-matter, Colton realized he would have to act outside the law to complete his goal. Assuming the identity of "Baron Ironblood", he set out to recruit a cabal of supervillains to aid him. Kreiger had already been working on this goal, testing out the energies of the Talisman on Blitzwing.
After recruiting Doctor X, Colton use the Wraith DNA within the Talisman to upgrade her Red Shadows granting them Wraith-like biology. Gale used her connections in the British government to have the Talisman placed in a secure bunker in Verenya.
The Talisman's existence was discovered by Garrison Blackrock who believed it could restore his memories. He somehow accessed the Wraith DNA within which turned the people above into Wraith mutates. After some initial confusion on the heroes' part, the Talisman was teleported away by the Oktober Guard, to a Cobra moonbase where Baron Ironblood and Mercy Gale tried to jumpstart it using Ore-13. Action Man had been caught in the teleport and when he was rescued, the villains were forced to leave the relic behind where upon it was piloted back to Earth by Larissa.
The Talisman was taken to the Onyx tower in Buenos Aires along with the Dire Wraith mutates in the hopes a cure could be found. Kreiger still had both his facsimile Talisman, and Mike Power to access Talisman energy and carry out his plans. Power had been exposed to so much Talisman energy and technology over the course of his life that upon his suicide, his mind survived in infraspace.
The Revolutionaries managed to halt his plans at every step on the way however and brought him back to the tower to wait for a G.I. Joe squad to collect both him and the relic. Blackrock passed his time by studying the Talisman only for the building to be infiltrated by Doctor X and Storm Shadow while Centurion deactivated its defences allowing Ironblood's cabal to teleport in to try and retrieve the relic.
After being stabbed through the chest by Storm Shadow, Blackrock's mind was transported to the realm of infraspace where he encountered Onyx Prime who revealed that the Talisman was inoculation against a coming threat...a threat Blackrock would not be around to see. The spectre of Mike Power saved Blackrock from the Prime before the two returned to the living plane leaving an enraged Onyx Prime behind. In the material world, Blackrock used his connection to the Talisman and Storm Shadow's Human/Wraith DNA to engineer a curative pulse to counter the effects of the earlier mutagenic wave. Summoning Metrotitan, he was able to transmit the cure on a wide scale via the Titan's Spacebridge. The curative wave had the unexpected side effect of releasing the consciousness of Mike Power into Centurion, creating a composite being.
Reading the cards, the villains teleported away with the relic, the energies of the M.A.S.S. Device causing the Talisman to send out another mutagenic wave. The new Centurion threw himself in the path of the wave seemingly dying before returning to life and explaining the circumstances of his resurrection. With the device secure within the Iron Castle, Colton announced it was time to take the fight to Cybertron.
During Earth's official induction ceremony into the Council of Worlds, Colton brought the relic to Cybertron intending for Lady Shazraella to enerchange the artifact with Cybertron's core to have it poison all the energon on the planet and end the Cybertronian race. Kreiger warned, however, that if the Talisman was not properly merged with the core, Cybertron might fight off the Talisman's energies completely.
The villains encountered heavy resistance however forcing Kreiger to forego merging the device with Cybertron's core and activate it prematurely via a magical incantation, revealing his true identify as the Prysmosian wizard Merklynn. The Talisman used nearly half of Cybertron's energon to create New Prysmos within the metallic planet's underground. The Talisman's activation caused Cybertron to "scream". A scream that Unicron heard.
After creating the city, the Talisman buried itself six meters in Cybertronian rock. Wheeljack and Breakdown were sent to investigate the device but before they even entered New Prysmos, Talisman energy caused Breakdown's arm to wither and disintegrate. Wheeljack's further scans on the Talisman's resonant energy signature showed its energy was leaking outwards from New Prysmos and transforming the surrounding caverns into copies of Prysmosian stone while the device itself was continuing to borrow directly to Vector Sigma. Cindarr reached the same conclusion much to Virulina's delight.
Further analysis by Wheeljack revealed that he could cancel out the effects of magic via a frequency that neutralized the baseline gamma radiation. From this knowledge, Wheeljack created a powerful counter-wave that, if detonated at Vector Sigma, would theoretically immunize the supercomputer against magic while rendering the Talisman inert.
As the Talisman neared Vector Sigma, its energies began ripping Ironhide apart before Galadria applied a healing spell to him. This spell somehow mediated the energies of the Talisman and Wheeljack's anti-Talisman bomb allowing Cybertron to remain as it was, minus a tiny portion of land for New Prysmos which was now raised to the planet's surface.
When its energies had meet with Galadria's magic and Wheeljack's bomb however, the Talisman sent out a summons to Unicron.
When the Chaos Bringer arrived atop Cybertron, Windblade beseeched Leoric to use the Talisman's magic to teleport the Cybertronian race to safety. The Talisman joined them for the trip, rematerializing on Earth with the Cybertronians. As a result however, Unicron was able to survive Cybertron's destruction and followed them to Earth. Though Shockwave attempted to have the Maximals retrieve the device and use it to destroy Unicron, they had turned on him and pledged loyalty to Unicron. After Starscream had sacrificed himself to activate the device, Optimus Prime and Arcee followed the Talisman as it burned its way to the core of Unicron. When they arrived, the Talsiman disappeared into the black hole at the Chaos Bringer's core, Optimus following without hesitation. Finding himself in infraspace, Optimus was confronted by Unicron's creator, facing off against the Antillan until the Talisman rebooted and began destroying the landscape. When Optimus finally managed to make peace with the Antillan, he allowed himself to pass, his death causing Unicron to collapse in on himself, subsequently destroying any remnant of the Talisman.
- Despite its ostensibly magical nature, the Talisman has been the source for several character with cybernetic enhancements. Mike Power, Storm Shadow and her Red Shadows, and Joe Colton/Baron Ironblood all have cybernetics derived from the Talisman, or Talisman-based technology. Considering the alliance between characters like Kreiger and Miles Mayhem, it's possible that Bruno Sheppard's cybernetics may also be Talisman-derived.
- Considering the false Ironhide's head can be seen in Revolutionaries #3 outside the Tomb of Amtoltec, it is possible he was the one who brought the Talisman to the Tomb.
- The final story arc of the original Visionaries comic book featured the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords competing to secure four objects called "talismans." These talismans were small jewels and bear no resemblance to the IDW artifact, but we'd be remiss not to tell you.
- Optimus Prime #10 features the Talisman cameoing among "Onyx Prime's" possessions. Later revelations about the artifact would turn this into an error.