On balance, is the IDW lineage of Primes before Optimus really more evil than good?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by mirage4lifeyo, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. mirage4lifeyo

    mirage4lifeyo Well-Known Member

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    With "Autocracy" winding down I was in some ways glad to see a plausible reason given as to why Optimus became more of a "good" Prime than his predecessors. Because when you stop to really look over the Prime legacy that's been given so far in IDW's run, well....

    Nova Prime: Okay so his main descent into true evil occurred after he went over to the Dead Universe and became Nemesis Prime with the Dark Matrix and all. But even in the earliest known depictions of Nova Prime, i.e. the ones in Furman's "Spotlight: Optimus Prime", we hear that Nova Prime's explorations were based on his belief that the transformers were superior to other races in the galaxy and needed to "expand" and master the universe. Basically drawing parallels to Hitler's "master race" ideology and need for Germany to "expand" in order to have more "living space." OK, so if the best real life analogy for Nova's character depiction is Hitler, I think you'd have to put him on the flat out evil side of the ledger.

    Sentinel Prime: Arguably the least misguided of the three Primes prior to Optimus that have been thoroughly depicted by IDW, that doesn't excuse the fact that he was also a prick to his own soldiers and the populace, and seemed very much more focused on control and show of force than on upholding any abstract concepts like justice and freedom. Sentinel was present when Optimus ranted against the Senate's corruption and rather than make any sort of moral stand alongside Optimus at that point, he instead went along with the Senate and had his men escort Optimus out. He was basically complicit with the Senate's corruption in that sense. That said, he's harder to paint as having done anything that really was flat out evil in itself. But he was never part of the "solution" for Cybertronian society, so that pretty much made him part of the problem.

    Zeta Prime: His characterization to me is sort of a cross between Sentinal and Nova. He wants to use force to keep things orderly and put down rebellions like Sentinel did, but he openly admits to his belief in doing so to accumlate power and asserting his own superiority over others. He is a ruthless backstabber who will apparently kill anyone, including plan the assassination of his own officers, in order to increase his own personal power and control. Hard to get much more onto the "evil" side of the ledger than that.

    So my question is, what exactly is the big deal on Cybertron about becoming a "Prime" when the whole lineage we've seen was one of prickery and flat out evil? I think having just one wayward Prime/fallen angel type of guy would have been fine in the continuity and interesting...but it seems like they've taken it so far with so many Primes doing bad things that you could almost plausibly continue to "root" for Megatron even well after he becomes a sadistic mass murderer because hey, lets face it, he's just getting revenge against generations worth of oppression and evil leadership. Maybe that's the point, though more likely it seems to me that you had three different writers telling the backstories of three different Primes and each wanted to create drama by making that Prime "darker" than Optimus...but the net result just gets kinda messy.
     
  2. SuperboyPrime

    SuperboyPrime Well-Known Member

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    Hell, it doesn't even stop there. There was another Prime, before Sentinel, who was a corrupt asshole.

    His name was Nominus Prime, who was basically responsible for the way the Cybertrons society worked back then. The body you were built in determind what you role in life was and nothing more, and the elite would rule them, forever. He went into hiding after a suicide bomber attack on his life. Apparently, the attack was ordered by the Senate and Sentinel, who was the head of security back then, was appointed to be the next Prime so that the Senate has a Prime under their own control.

    The Senate really were a giant pile of assholes, weren't they?
     
  3. mirage4lifeyo

    mirage4lifeyo Well-Known Member

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    Great point, forgot about Nominus but that's some serious prickery and oppressive moves on his part as well.

    The Senate is definitely a big pile of assholes, but I'd kinda be OK with that as the sort of "here's how politics goes in real life" sort of statement. But its even more surprising that basically ALL the Primes themselves are in the same boat as the Senate. Like I say, no matter if people like or dislike the Autocracy series, the main development that shifts Optimus into a more noble, wiser, better leader is pretty crucial to the whole IDW universe at this point...because if anything, just having him become a "Prime" rather than be regular old Orian Pax would otherwise seem like a negative move downward for him given the lineage of prickery, oppression, corruption and flat out evil that not one, not two, not three, but count 'em FOUR Primes before him had stockpiled. You'd almost want to avoid the "Prime" status like the plague by time it was Orion Pax's turn, but for the change in the way he took the title and new developments that happened to him that didn't happen with those other Primes.
     
  4. Kakashi

    Kakashi Well-Known Member

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    There were probably better Primes beforehand. But each of these seems in some way or another to be cast as Optimus Prime's opposite.

    Nova believes Transformers to be superior.
    Nominus believes in function over freedom.
    Zeta believes HIMSELF superior.
    And Sentinel is just cast as a Prime-in-name-only Lawbot who has forgotten what his title means.
     
  5. Maverick Hunter Christian

    Maverick Hunter Christian Choke on that, causality!

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    Kinda renders the backbone of Spotlight: Optimus Prime pointless, now. At the time, suspecting Nova Prime might still be alive, Optimus began having doubts about whether the lineage of Primes was as altruistic as he'd been led to believe.

    ...to the point where we are now, where he has personally fought against a pretty shitty Prime. Seems up until Optimus, all the Primes have been slothful, arrogant, power-hungry prongs. Title of Prime kinda loses some of its luster on reflection.
     
  6. Torque

    Torque The WORDSMITH

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    I still need to read a few things (waiting for Autocracy in Trade Paperback) so i dont know how right/wrong i am, but something I've noticed is that the Primes have had a tendency to pick something to focus on and puts it above all else. From what I know and what you said,

    Nova focuses on their race
    Nominus focused on making sure their civilization continued the way things were
    Zeta focused on himself
    Sentinel focused on the Law
    Optimus focused on Freedom

    All of which, in certain ways, seem somewhat noble, but only Optimus's spreads out to protect other species outside cybertronians. Again, im not up to date, but that is something I couldnt help but notice
     
  7. Prime Noble

    Prime Noble Well-Known Member

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    I want to see Prowl as a Prime. He seems to share some of the others' characteristics. They could use Checkpoint as the model for his Prime self.

    I also want to see Rodimus and Thunderwing return with a Matrix affinity.
     
  8. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    That's true, at least for the Primes we're aware of. There were Primes before Nova in the IDWverse, right? Maybe that's where the belief in the lineage of Primes as altruistic came from, with the corruption of the line only much more recent as the society itself started to falter.

    That's a good point actually...they all become consumed by some theme during their time as Prime.
     
  9. Torque

    Torque The WORDSMITH

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    Mhmm. I don't see them as evil persay, simply they all had their faults and weren't "Perfect" leaders.
     
  10. Knightdramon

    Knightdramon Hasbro LIES to the US

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    Nova pretty much had the same goal Megatron admitted in ongoing, namely the Cybertronians being treated as the ultimate race and everything be a subject to their demands\needs. The things that were done under his name [or by Jhiaxus, whichever you prefer] weren't that nice or noble either.

    Nominus is the least explored so far, but it seems that the entire situation in chaos theory and Megatron: Origins is his fault. He hasn't even gotten a line (yet) so I'm reserving any comments\judgement.

    As time goes by, Sentinel does appear to be the most stand up guy of them all. During his reign he openly admitted to Prowl that he does not care for the Senate and he's rather tired to answering to them. Of the four Primes before Optimus, he's the only who ever showed sentiments towards his men [Bumper, Fastback, Hound]. Also, during Megatron's uprising, he was defending the populace instead of using them as fodder for weapons.

    Zeta was really painted to look evil in Autocracy. He's supposed to be killed differently than what was shown [supposed to be a sniper head shot from Megatron, even drawn halfway there in a more than meets the eye issue], but even his Autocracy "Fate" was acceptable. If anything, he was written to be too over the edge as an antithesis to the "pure" Optimus after him.

    Lastly, the Prime lineage in IDW's era officially ended with Rodimus Prime, right? Not Optimus.
     
  11. Abrogate

    Abrogate Nondescript Former Poster

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    it was also implied, in a tiny flashback in MTMTE, that Sentinel was part of a conspiracy to get rid of Nominus and put the Matrix in the hands of the Senate
     
  12. CVprowl

    CVprowl FREEDOM FIGHTER

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    id really love a universe that looks like it has a long history/future that was planned out beforehand. i dont get that feeling around anything transformers...
     
  13. Torque

    Torque The WORDSMITH

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    well its been the same universe since IDW took over a long time ago, so i doubt that'll change anytime soon
     
  14. Shatterpoint

    Shatterpoint Neato

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    Wouldn't it be some shit if Megatronus was the only legitimatly GOOD Prime before he became Unicron's minion and before Optimus came around?
     
  15. Abrogate

    Abrogate Nondescript Former Poster

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    I assume he means a universe where the writer has everything planned out from the start. IDW sort of had that at the beginning when they were letting Furman do his thing, but now all these other writers keep swooping in and muddling up the backstory since Furman isn't on watch anymore
     
  16. Star Saber

    Star Saber Cybertron 5th Commander

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    With the way they've been going on with the corrupt Primes/Autobot command in several continuities, they'll probably stick to it. I figure, much like in Autocracy and in TF: Prime, the Matrix Chosen Ones before him will be the noble ones, and not just Primes in name/ Matrix-bearers.
     
  17. RatTrap1985

    RatTrap1985 Under your rolls of fat

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    I agree completely, but I think it makes Optimus far more special than his predacessors.
     
  18. YoungPrime

    YoungPrime Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm....What about Megatronus aka The Fallen?

    Where does he fit in?
     
  19. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    Every leader believes himself and his lineage to be a good thing, overlooking it´s flaws.
     
  20. Torque

    Torque The WORDSMITH

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    I wasn't counting him, as he was one of the original, not part of the "lineage" of Primes, as Megatronus didn't bear the Matrix, only Prima, who then passed it down. I think.

    Though, if you wanna go there, he focused on... Unicron =P

    I like to compare Primes to world leaders. Sure, Henry the VIII was a decent king. but there was his wives. George Washington had a temper behind closed doors (i remember reading that somewhere) and so on and so forth. Nixon. Clinton. we learn dirty secrets about politicians all the time. Some leaders start off pretty good, then run things into the ground.People voted Bush and Obama in, yet rallied for them to get out soon enough.

    The thing is, Optimus Prime is different. His dirty little secret is his selflessness. I think, without a doubt, Optimus is considered the best of the Primes. I mean, there's even a mental condition where people try to be like him. The others didnt have that. Imagine if the next President was perfect. dragged us out of debt, perfect employment rate, and he saved the life of one of his own Secret Service guys. We'd all be blown away. There was nothing too bad with our past Presidents, but this new guy-BAM. The best.


    Here's the difference: the other Primes, while not as virtuous as we would have liked, still were considered on the side of good. they did sneaky, underhanded things, but they, overall, led the good fight. Nova Prime tried to combine thew entire Universe with a place of death and destruction. He's a whole new brand of bad.

    To go along with my President thing, imagine if we learned that Abe Lincoln planned to end war by nuking the planet. Not only that, but he was still alive, had the codes ready to go, was undead, and intended to start things off by killing the Awesome President I mentioned earlier. Sure, Nixon, and Clinton still had their things, but nothing would be as bad as that thing with Lincoln. President Epic looked back at the presidents and said "Wow. All those decent Presidents, and we had LINCOLN in there too. Oi Vey!"
     

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