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The series' overall Big Good and sometime leader of the Autobots. Feeling that postwar Cybertron has no need of him or what he represents, he abdicates leadership of the Autobots and abandons the title of Prime for the duration of Season One. Though idealistic and compassionate, it's not a great idea to make him righteously angry with you.
Hanging Judge: Averted. Optimus goes to great pains to avert this image during Megatron's trial, strictly adhering to due process and making a genuine effort to view the matter objectively. Unfortunately for him, Megatron opts to invoke this and points out the folly in having his archnemesis preside over his trial.
Heroic BSOD: Undergoes a brief but serious one in Dark Cybertron. Rodimus snaps him out of it.
Insistent Terminology: Optimus made a point of stressing his name change, even when he was in the heat of battle.
Only Sane Man: Amongst the commanding Autobots. While Dark Cybertron shows that he too has his issues, they pale in comparison to Rodimus' hotheadedness and narcissism, Bumblebee's fragile self-image, Ultra Magnus' Super OCD, and Prowl's Knight Templar tendencies.
Shoot the Dog: He and Megatron are forced to kill Shockwave to prevent the universe's collapse.
Super Cop: As Orion Pax, he was pretty much the epitome of this trope.
That Man Is Dead: He abandons his identity as Optimus Prime because he realizes that as long as there are Primes, there will be war. Rodimus convinces him otherwise in ''Dark Cybertron, and he takes up his old name again after defeating Nova Prime.
A former scout and leader of the Autobots in Season One. Mellow by nature, he's painfully aware of just how in over his head he is, and his frustration with the whole situation occaisionally boils over into rash anger.
A devious strategist and the head of intelligence. Traditionally icy and removed, his complex personal issues are beginning to get the better of his judgment, allowing an angrier, more violent side to slip through.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Denies whiteout vacuums exist, despite seeing them in the Institute. And despite seeing clear-cut proof the Institute exists and are up to horrific things, he tries to claim ignorance.
By-the-Book Cop: Certainly knows the book inside and out, and will tell you which rules you've broken. These days, though, he'll throw the book away if and when it suits him (and only him, never anyone else).
Hijacked by Ganon: Most of his behaviour between issue four and fifteen is because he's under Bombshell's control.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Sees himself as this to Optimus, despite it not really being true. He definitely was this for Sentinel Prime before the war, though.
Hypocrite: He lashes at Chromedome for the botched and forced memory extraction after he tried to blackmail him, that eventually led to Bombshell hijacking him, because to him it was personal — never mind that Prowl screws around with people all the time, and his actions have led to several deaths, including Rewind's — which he gloated about to boot.
It's All About Me: And gets called out for it by Chromedome and Ultra Magnus, to absolutely no effect.
Jerkass: Has absolutely no problem forcing others to do morally reprehensible things. Now that the war's over, he's gotten even worse: At Megatron's trial, he's utterly determined to reach a death sentence, rules be hanged.
Sherlock Scan: Can track eight-hundred moving objects and figure out their direction of travel, and he can also use this in reverse, tracing them back to their source.
Skewed Priorities: Garrus-9, the best prison the Autobots have, run by one of their best soldiers, and an immense asset to the war effort. Why does Prowl send them in there, after three years of waiting? To get the data on the Aequitas trials.
Crisis of Faith: Put his faith into a vision he saw of the future, where Cyber utopia had finally been achieved. Unfortunately for him, the planet where this happened, Gorlam Prime, was destroyed during Dark Cybertron meaning the vision was false.
The Eeyore: He's downright mopey since the end of Dark Cybertron.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite being something of a dork, he's capable of suicidally brave maneuvers in combat. The ongoing had him defuse a nuclear warhead while riding it in midair, he helped fight Overlord on the Lost Light, and he flew directly into the 70-billion odd Ammonite swarm during Transformers Dark Cybertron.
Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Save Swoop, who is in fact a Pterodactyl. They have this mind-set themselves, since they chose the alt-modes to avoid succumbing to energon overlord, but then they got attached, and never bothered changing back.
Combining Mecha: Used to be, before Scrapper got killed. Later, they become this with Prowl.
Comedic Sociopathy: They're laid back working joes who have no qualms with general murder and mayhem. They can go from fighting Arcee to the death to throwing back some energy with the Dinobots.
Conflicting Loyalty: Played Straight with Long Haul, who was to spy on Starscream and report on Skywarp's assassination. Starscream convinces him to lie and let events play out against Ratbat's plan. After deliberating briefly, Long Haul sides with Starscream. Later on this is averted with their look into Prowl's mind, and the Decepticons fractured, the Constructicons opt to throw their lot in with Prowl.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: They're pretty goofy and fun, but they also have been involved in some of the Decepticons' most brutal offensives, and used live bots as building materials.
Cutting the Knot: When invaded with Microbots, Jetfire devises a complex way to synthesize an aerosol from the Arc's liquid memory core that would bond with the little drones which were eating the ship and short-circuit them. After doing so, loading up and explaining the effects of the ship's now lack of oxygen to DOC, the two leave to spray the microbots, only to find that the Constructicons have gone about the ship finding and crushing the pests (except Bonecrusher who seems to be eating them).
Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Scavenger is seen feeding information to Soundwave, when confronted by this he admits that Prowl told him to so they could trick the Decepticons into being a distraction.
Badass: Extremely. In his back story he fought his way through and exterminated the headmasters. The final one impaled him with a spear, so Galvatron grabs him and impales him on the other end, and when his head transformers to attack, Galvatron rips him in half. Then, with the wound through the torso, he charges in to save Nova major, and fights with him and Alpha Trion against an army of beast-formers. After that they go on a three month adventure to find the leader of the beasts, Onyx Primal, and when Galvatron shows up at his fortress, he still has the spear wound.
In between exterminating the Headmasters and saving Nova, Galvatron also managed to kill Nexus Prime, one of the Thirteen Original Primes that predated Nova, and leader of the Headmasters, something that was thought impossible since "only a Prime can kill a Prime".
Badass Boast: In the distant past, he makes a pretty good one to Nexus Prime just before Galvatron kills him.
Nexus Prime: Your place is to serve your masters.
Galvatron: I told you, I serve no master. Moreover... I BELIEVE IN NO PRIME!
Badass Grandpa: Galvatron is at least ten million years old, and even by Cybertronian standards that's old. He's even referred to as an "old man" by several characters, but he's still just as powerful and hotheaded a warrior now as he was during the first Cybertronian Civil War.
Barbarian Hero: Not a hero by any means but otherwise he's a perfect fit (and has even been called a barbarian by others). He's an ancient warrior from the dawn of Cybertron's history known as "Galvatron of the Darklands". He also used a battleaxe as his primary weapon during this period and shows a great deal of disdain for the current generation of Cybertronians for failing to live up to his and Nova Prime's legacy.
Big Bad: In the post-Dark Cybertron comics after he becomes the new leader of the Decepticons.
Proud Warrior Race Guy: Galvatron's an old Cybertronian warrior, proud of battle and heritage. When he murders General Witwicky he mistakes the man's last words involving his son, as sun, and tells the dead man that he hopes the sun shines in his afterlife wherever it may be.
Spanner in the Works: To Nova Prime and Jhiaxus' attempts to create a combiner. It seems that Galvatron took possession of Nexus Prime's Engima of Combination, the artifact that makes true combination possible, after he killed the Prime and all of his Headmaster warriors because of the way Nexus used it to bond beasts to actual Cybertronians diluted the purity of their race, and kept this hidden from Nova and the others. When Alpha Trion began to suspect that the Engima was in his possession, Galvatron fired it into space, where, by either accident or design, it crashed into Earth at the dawn of man. As a result, Jhiaxus' attempt at creating a combiner was...less than successful and it wouldn't be until millions of years later that the first truly successful combiner, Devastator, would be created by the Decepticons.
You Are in Command Now: While Megatron is imprisoned, Starscream the leader of the Neutrals, Shockwave rogue, and Big Bad Wannabe Ratbat dead, Soundwave is briefly left as the new leader of the remnants of the Decepticon forces.
Click here to see Pre-war Senator Ratbat.
Big Bad Wannabe: He tried to take control of the Decepticons but was killed by Arcee.
Create Your Own Villains: He was the one who ordered Cybertron's energon mines to be automated which let the miner Megatron escape to become a gladiator, he also gave a homeless bot called Soundwave a job working for him, later he sent Soundwave to offer Megatron funding and weapons technology, seeking to foster political instability for his own profit, which led to Soundwave joining Megatron's cause and Megatron turning his gladiator team into a planet-destabilizing army which would become the Decepticons. Which means Ratbat unintentionly kick-started the Autobot-Decepticon war. Good one, Ratbat.
Fantastic Racism: He looked down on non-humanoid Cybertronians and treated them as little more than beasts.
Gone Horribly Wrong: Interested by Megatron's early gladiatorial exploits, he sent Soundwave to offer the gladiator a wide variety of advanced weaponry. He was either trying to get in on the fight racket and increase the violence for profit, or was deliberately trying to create greater instability (also for profit). But Megatron used the weaponry to turn his gladiator team from members of a underground fightclub to planet-destabilizing army.
How the Mighty Have Fallen: He was a member of the Senate Cybertron's elite after he was transferred into a smaller, compact bat form he became a mere Decepticon Mook.
Laser-Guided Karma: Soundwave had Ratbat's spark and brain module were removed and transferred into a smaller, compact bat form meant to serve Soundwave, a punishment for the Senator's support of discrimination through functionism, along with Ratbat looking down on non-humanoid robot modes and treated them as little more than beasts.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He was responsible for the automation of Cybertron's energon mines, a move which gave the recently-disillusioned Megatron the freedom to preach his anti-Senate philosophy to the masses and form the Decepticons.
Depending on the Artist: An intentional example. Horri-bull was colored as his toy's silver in The Death Of Optimus Prime, and mustard yellow in the series proper. This was deliberate on part of the colorist who went with the color scheme to have Horri-bull stand out more.
Ascended Extra: He was a fairly unimportant Con, seen with Razorclaw's offensive and the Decepticon group stranded on a meteor. Here he's grown in prominence to having as big a role as the Triple Changers.
The Brute: Both Astrotrain and Blitzwing come off as this.
The Chew Toy: Astrotrain, going blind, hit by a shrapnel grenade, the anti-life wave, had Galvatron's wrath turned on him, and the Decepticon's ship was blown up with him still inside.
Game-Breaking Injury: Skywarp's stabbed mid teleportation by Arcee. Since then his powers have been going awol, and he's barely able to keep himself together. When they've stabilized him (by integrating him into the ship), he's still in bad shape.
Agent Peacock: Starscream is vain and at times quite flamboyant, but he's definitelynotsomeone you want to underestimate.
The Neidermeyer: Back in The Transformers IDW he managed to run the Decepticons into the ground in only a few years. He himself points this out in Robots in Disguise and that he has learned from it.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In More Than Meets the Eye. He gives a speech, which he believes is the last nail in Megatron's coffin at the latter's trial. Instead, it makes Megatron want to live instead, out of pure spite.
Hypocrite: The beginning of issue #7 best exemplifies this. When Prowl tells Bumblebee that his security team is ready to open fire on a Decepticon landing party, Metalhawk angrily protests that everyone deserves a chance to make it on Cybertron. When the arriving 'cons turn out to be led by Turmoil, who led a campaign that killed dozens of soldiers in Metalhawk's unit, he says to "kill him where he stands".
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He has faith in Starscream and is easily tricked, but he does not see Starscream as the Messiah, rather the destroyer, and has been spreading rumors around to usurp him.
Face-Heel Turn: After Dark Cybertron he seems to have defected to the Decepticons.
Retired Badass: He doesn't want to be involved in any fighting any longer, and tries to remain neutral to the conflict between Autobots and Decepticons on Earth. He did reluctantly agree to be used as bait by Marissa Fairborne, but abandoned the EDC when he discovered their army of Ramjet and Thrust drones.
Stylistic Suck: He's taken writing hilariously awful screenplays, filled with Purple Prose and characters with names like "Josh Boyfriend."
Adaptational Villainy: While not an outright bad guy (so far), this version of Trion is not the clear-cut good mentor he's been in previous series, shown in the past to be arrogant, manipulative, and uncaring of others. He also endorsed Nova Major's ascension to Prime and the ensuing age of Cybertronian imperialism and functionism, and brushes Optimus off when Optimus get mad about that while downplaying his own culpability in the events that followed because of this. His treatment is more like RID's take on Rattrap, where while he may not be evil, he's still not a good person.
Barefisted Monk: Already a trait he demonstrated back in Spotlight: Orion Pax, but here we see that Alpha Trion gave Nova Major quite the beatdown during their first meeting.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He's a bit kooky to say the least, we have no idea how much of that is just show though.
In the Hood: Is fond of wearing a tattered and ragged cloak and cowl that helps hide his appearance.
Jerkass: While certainly toned down from his appearances in the Ironhide mini-series, he still comes across as arrogant and not particularly fond of organics (though considering what the EDC was doing to him, he might not be entirely unjustified in that belief). He's certainly civil, and even pleasant to Optimus, but that probably has to do with Optimus' status as Prime which makes them equals.
Last of His Kind: He's the only one of the original 13 Primes to still be active in Cybertronian civilization, the others having disappeared or died millennia ago.
Never My Fault: Yeah, he actually participated in the Prime Wars and gleefully encouraged Galvatron and Nova Prime to start a new "golden" age while he washed his hands on the consequences of said decisions.
Pals with Jesus: Being one of the Thirteen, he's pretty much a direct descendant of Primus, he's also good buddies with the Titans.
The Obi-Wan: To Optimus Prime, and to Nova Prime in the past.
Once a right-hearted member of the Cybertronian Senate and student of Jhiaxus, Shockwave was physically and emotionally mutilated for daring to stand against the corrupt system. Cold and entirely devoted to logic, he is Decepticon follower solely for the purpose of furthering his own mysterious goals. The main antagonist of Transformers Dark Cybertron.
Alas, Poor Villain: Even though Optimus and Megatron manage to restore his old personality, it's too late to stop his plan from being carried out, and Shockwave allows himself to be killed to prevent the chronal drive from destroying the universe.
Evil Plan: His ultimate endgame is to harness the energy stolen from the Dead Universe at the time of its creation, and use it in conjunction with his Regenesis Ores to take control of all aspects of reality, turning Cybertron into a single, self-replenishing point of existence in the universe unaffected by time or entropy.
Pet the Dog: A rather twisted example in the Issue #17 flashback when he blasts Dai Atlas's legs apart. This leaves him unable to attend the Senate meeting the next day and spares him from the ensuing massacre.
Adaptive Armor: His body can shift to the forms of enemies to ensure he is at least physically matched in combat.
Adaptational Wimp: Downplayed, the original Jhiaxus was a powerful overlord who led his own faction, here he's much smarter and let's his creations fight for him. He's proven less than adept in actual combat, but develops an Adaptive Armor to grant him greater combat abilities.
Gone Horribly Wrong: Jhiaxus had a very poor track record when it came to his experiments. The end result of his attempt to introduce gender to a genderless species, Arcee, became a psychotic and violent mass-murderer obsessed with tracking him down and murdering him as slowly and painfully as possible; and Monstructor, his effort at producing a gestalt, is a nigh-indestructible and vicious killing machine. About the only one that didn't go wrong is his space bridge invention.
Actually subverted on Monstructor's insanity. According to RID issue 7, Jhiaxus doesn't consider it a weakness.
Uncertain Doom: Last seen lying on the ground in Shockwave's lair after Pax & Crew pull a Big Damn Heroes. It's entirely possible he survived the encounter, given his status as a nigh-unstoppable Juggernaut, but it's equally likely he was killed by the black hole created by the collapsing chronal drive.
Bigger Bad: Up until Dark Cybertron, the Dead Universe tends to be the cause for a lot of everyone's woes.
Continuity Snarl: What exactly the Dead Universe is changes depending on the writer. Either it's a host to an eldritch abomination that's an Evil Counterpart to the Matrix, or an Eldritch Abomination that wants to spread. Turns out it's both, which you can thank Shockwave for.
Evil Costume Switch: Averted, his original tenure as a villain had him invert his color scheme and change his name to Nemesis Prime, but that was back under the control of the darkness. Here he keeps his color scheme and name, showing he's back in full control of his actions. He's still evil, just a different kind of evil.
Hannibal Lecture: Delivers a hell of a one to Orion, exploiting his guilt over his role in the tainted legacy of the Primes. It would have worked, too if not for Rodimus.
Killed Off for Real: After a long history of false starts: Falling into the Benzuli Expanse, Galvatron shooting him in the back (and the darkness leaving him), getting blown apart by Galvatron and his army when D-Void brought him back Optimus finally kills him in their confrontation. Word of God confirms that the Dead Universe and Nova Prime have been concluded permanently.
Last of His Kind: After Orion Pax abandons his identity as Optimus Prime, he becomes the last Prime.
Legacy Character: One of the Primes, succeeded by Nominus Prime, Sentinel Prime, Zeta Prime, and Optimus Prime.