As a driver, Wheeljack is the most accomplished of the Autobots, and never hesitates to boast this in various stunts. His shoulder cannons can fire blasts that throw his enemies off balance, making them easier targets for his teammates. Wheeljack is also one of the rare non-plane Autobots that possess the ability of flight, though it is for a maximum distance of 800 miles, using solid-fuel rockets that are stored in his arms. Wheeljack's vehicle mode is a Lancia Stratos Turbo.
Major Story Arcs
Marvel Comics Continuity (US run)
He performs the same function as in the cartoons, but was more of a background character. He got his first important role in issue #9 of the series when he and Jazz go to negotiate a fuel deal with industrialist G.B. Blackrock, and end up saving him from the Decepticons Starscream and Frenzy; he, in turn, keeps them from getting killed by Circuit Breaker, his former employee-turned-super-powered vigilante with an extreme hatred for robotic life. Later in issue #32, he completes a geothermal generator to create Energon cubes by tapping into the geothermal heat of the Earth's core. He believed this would impress Dinobot commander Grimlock (who had been given command of the Autobots in issue #27), but Grimlock still believed they should take what they need from the humans. In issue #36, when Grimlock planned to boot a quartet of human children who had befriended Blaster (who had left the Autobots because of Grimlock's command) from the Ark, Wheeljack secretly called in his old friend Sky Lynx to rescue the children. In issue #41, Wheeljack is among the Autobots severely injured in a massive battle against the Decepticons on Earth's moon. He and many others were out of action until issue #75, where Grimlock revived them with the untested fuel source known as Nucleon, in time to help in the battle against the chaos-bringer Unicron (which he advised against doing, especially in their recently-revived state). He then appears in the last four issues of the series as one of Grimlock and Prowl's trusted confidants. He nearly meets his end in the final issue (#80), but is revived in that same issue by the legendary Last Autobot. He would then appear sporadically in the Generation 2 comic series.
Marvel Comics Continuity (UK run)
In the Marvel U.K. comics, he was one of five injured Autobots who were accidentally reactivated by Galvatron when he probed their dreams looking for possible troops; it was revealed that soon after Jetfire was given life by the Creation Matrix, Wheeljack almost betrayed him to the Decepticons in return for technology and felt shame over this. He and Prowl were able to sucker-punch Galvatron, whom Wheeljack despised for his massacres during the Time Wars.
He later noted, along with Prowl, about how he missed the old days of non-gimmick based Transformer battles and that he was feeling outdated. Unfortunately he would soon get more than he bargained for as he and the other Earthforce members encountered Megatron, Shockwave and their "original" Decepticons as members of the Autobot Earthforce unit. Wheeljack worked as Earthforce's engineer, creating a powerful defensive system - unfortunately, it could only be turned off from the inside and he'd taken everyone outside to show it to them! Apart from that mistake, he worked well. He was responsible for thwarting Mindwipe's plot to brainwash humanity via nightlights, and repairing Tracks.
Wheeljack was severely damaged by the Quintessons in the six-part future arc Space Pirates.
Dreamwave Productions Continuity
In Transformers: The War Within--The Dark Ages, Wheeljack was a scientist turned soldier on Cybertron at the dawn of the Autobot and Decepticon civil war. He was under Grimlock's command during the disastrous battle of Altihex and once again in a mission to rescue Optimus Prime in Cybertron's depths. When Megatron and Optimus disappeared in an accident with a space bridge, the Autobot and Decepticon forces splintered into smaller factions, and Wheeljack joined Grimlock's command once more in the Lighting Strike Coalition.
Wheeljack was among the Autobots commanded by Optimus Prime in the Ark mission, crashing deactivated on Earth and reawakening in Earth forms in 1984. Following initial Decepticon defeat and the explosion of the Ark II, the Autobots were deactivated and lost in the ocean. Wheeljack was among those reactivated by Optimus in 2002 and was part of a small task force led by Jazz assigned to stop the spread of Megatron’s deadly metal virus in the Canadian Northwest territories. Wheeljack was temporarily deactivated once more, using all his power to neutralize the virus.
When a Cybertronian task force came to arrest the Earth-bound Transformers in 2003, Wheeljack was once more placed under Jazz's command and was one of the few Autobots left on Earth to guard the Ark. Later in the year, Starscream and the Combaticons (in their combined form of Bruticus) launched a vicious assault on the Ark that left Wheeljack deactivated. He was retrieved and repaired by the Earth Defense Command, and later rejoined the other Autobots to be shown the site of construction for the new Autobot City.
Devil's Due Productions Continuity
In this crossover series with G.I. Joe, the Ark, along with the Autobots and Decepticons within, is discovered by the Cobra organization, who turn both factions into robotic drones to do their bidding. Wheeljack and Bumblebee managed to escape discovery, and are awakened when Cobra seals the ship. The two of them hide out in plain sight, until they managed to get in the middle of a battle between Transformer-augmented Cobra forces and G.I. Joe, the elite combat unit recently formed to battle Cobra. Throwing their lot in with the Joes, Wheeljack gained access to an emergency signal that had been released into the net by Optimus Prime, and was able to not only track down Cobra's hidden island base, but also awaken all the Transformers, both Autobot and Decepticon, and free them from Cobra's control.
With the situation on Cobra island quickly turning into a three-way battle, Wheeljack and Bumblebee planned to join the Joes to assault the island, rendezvous with the other Autobots, and together take down both Cobra and the Decepticons. However, a group of US generals had other plans: the Joes were to disable Wheeljack and Bumblebee and take them to Area 51 in New Mexico for study, while the island would be destroyed by nuclear weapons. G.I. Joe commander Hawk reluctantly complied, hitting them with an EMP device, but Wheeljack was able to maintain consciousness long enough to warn the Joes that a nuclear explosion would have a cataclysmic reaction with the Energon Cobra sought to synthesize. With the fate of the world at stake, the Joes disobeyed their orders and went with their original plan. On the island, Wheeljack, with the help of Bumblebee and a large force of Joes, managed to take down the mighty Decepticon Devastator, and helped Mainframe and a coerced Doctor Mindbender stop the nuclear missiles from destroying the island, and a good portion of the earth as well.
He would later make background appearances in the next two G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover mini-series.
IDW Comics Continuity
In IDW's new Transformers: Infiltration mini-series, Wheeljack is part of an infiltration unit consisting of Ratchet, Ironhide, Jazz, Bumblebee, and Sunstreaker, led by Prowl. He has not played a major role thus far, other than to accompany the other Autobots to the Decepticon base to watch the duel between Megatron and a super-powered Starscream.
In the Escalation mini-series, when Sunstreaker is presumed destroyed by the secret organization Machination, Wheeljack and Jazz tracked them to their base, only to be temporarily disabled by the Machination's advanced weaponry. After this he accompanied Optimus Prime to Brasnya to hunt down Megatron and his human facsimile, only to wind up in battle with Skywarp and the triple-changer Blitzwing. He and Jazz put Skywarp to flight, but the Decepticon promised to return with reinforcements. They then confronted Megatron, who had nearly killed Optimus Prime. On Prime's orders, they focused fire on Megatron long enough for Prime to recover and drive off the Decepticon leader, although they were prevented from dealing a killing blow by the appearance of Skywarp and Thundercracker.
In the Devastation mini-series, both Wheeljack and the newly-arrived Hot Rod were given the assignment of stopping a wounded Ironhide from being pneumatically compacted at a junkyard in Warsaw. While both Autobots were en route to save their comrade, they were intercepted by multiple Headmaster versions of Sunstreaker created by the Machination.
In the 2011 company-wide crossover Infestation, Optimus Prime leads Bumblebee, Drift, Kup, Prowl, Ratchet and Wheeljack in Las Vegas when a Cybertronian ship crashes containing Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge and an infestation of zombies from another universe. Galvatron attempts to take command of the Autobots, and after fighting them explains his mission to stop an undead infestation. Wheeljack sets up an energy shield around the city to keep the infestation contained, but it will only last for 24 hours. Kup recognizes a Decepticon named Bayonet in Galvatron's command as not being right, and she is revealed to be the extra-dimensional vampire Britt.
The Transformers (1984)
Wheeljack (voiced by Chris Latta, who also played Starscream, among others) is notably the first Autobot ever shown in the G1 cartoon series. He is also the "mad scientist" of the group and responsible for the creation of many of the weapons, gizmos, gadgets and sometimes even new Autobots (most famously the Dinobots, who strangely have no particular affinity towards him) with the assistance of Ratchet as needed. Wheeljack is always turning out something new for the Autobots to use; however, these inventions usually backfire, creating undesirable effects, unknown and dangerous factors, or sometimes even being hijacked by the Decepticons and used against them. His usual scientist duties were later in season 2 of the cartoon taken on by Perceptor.
He makes an anomalous appearance as one of the three Autobots (along with Perceptor and Minerva) who rebuild God Ginrai into Victory Leo.
Wheeljack appears in a non-speaking cameo role a few times in season three of the show. His head design is modeled after Jamie Hyneman from the TV show Mythbusters.
Wheeljack (voiced by James Horan) is one of the roughest Autobots around and a former member of the Wreckers. He is friends with Bulkhead who was also a Wrecker during the War.
Transformers: The Movie
He is one of the casualties in the Decepticon assault on Autobot City.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Wheeljack was intended to be in the film but in a later draft his name was changed to Que (as a homage to James Bond's inventor, Q). Que's Dark of the Moon toy will be named Wheeljack. He also resembles Albert Einstein.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Wheeljack appears as one of the five DLC multiplayer characters in the Havok pack for the Autobot side. His alternate form is a Cybertronian car.