Personality & Character
Before the Great War broke out on Cybertron, Optimus Prime was a Transformer of note, displaying his skills in the Infraformers Sharp-shooting Competition. Subsequently, when the war began, Optimus quickly made a name for himself as a combat leader. On a mission with the Triggerbots to stop Megatron from claiming the Underbase, Optimus was forced to jettison the massive databank into space to prevent anyone acquiring its power, but with this action, proved his wisdom and skill to the Autobot Council of Elders.
Four million years ago, Cybertron - shaken from its orbit and drifting through space - came under threat when it floated into the path of a massive asteroid swarm that could potentially devastate the planet. Optimus led a group of his most powerful Autobot warriors on the Autobot starship, the Ark, on a mission to destroy the asteroids, and although successful, in the aftermath of this mission the Ark was attacked by Decepticons, hoping to overcome their weakened foes. Intent on keeping the secrets of the Ark's computer, Auntie, from the Decepticons, Optimus set the craft on a suicide course, crashing it into the prehistoric planet Earth.
In 1984 A. D., a volcanic eruption reactivated Auntie, which in turn brought the Transformers back on-line. Optimus led the Autobots in their opening battles to prevent the Decepticons from plundering Earth's resources, but following their initial victory, the Autobots were all deactivated by Shockwave. Optimus was decapitated by Shockwave, who planned on using the energy of the Creation Matrix to give life to his evil creations. Before Shockwave could give life to his first Decepticon, Optimus managed to transfer the Matrix energy into the mind of Buster Witwicky. Enough residual energy existed to allow Shockwave to bring his Constructicons to life , but he realized something was wrong when Optimus failed to give life to his next creation, Jetfire. Deducing what had happened, Shockwave sent Jetfire (who was still little more than a drone) out to capture Buster. The human turned the tables on Shockwave, however, and used the Matrix energy to turn Jetfire on Shockwave, allowing Optimus to reclaim his body and retake leadership of the Autobots, giving Jetfire life as a reward.
After a period of effective leadership, Optimus engaged Megatron in a video game duel for possession of a super fuel. Optimus was victorious, but Megatron implemented a cheat, allowing him to re-enter the game. Optimus was able to defeat him yet again, but in doing so, also destroyed several of the game sprites, and refused to accept his victory, as he had performed an action that compromised his beliefs about the preservation of life, which he would never have done, had the duel been real. In accordance with the rules of the game, Optimus's body exploded and he died, leaving the Autobots without a leader to fight against Megatron and his Decepticons. Autobot surgeon Ratchet's subsequent efforts to restore him were unsuccessful, and his body was launched into space. The funeral barge eventually crashed on a giant moon where it lay for untold time. At one stage, an alien ship crashed near the barge. The dying alien reached out toward the Matrix, with the Matrix choosing to revive the being as Death Bringer. Much later, the Matrix would revive a small predatory animal which would prove instrumental to the conclusion of the Matrix Quest.
Optimus's personality had been copied onto a floppy disk by the technician running the game, Ethan Zachary, who employed him in various video game scenarios he developed. Optimus's damaged mind led him to believe that he himself was a video game character, even after he was reunited with his fellow Autobots. In an attempt to bring him back to life, Goldbug, Joyride, Slapdash, and Getaway took the disk to the planet Nebulos, where a new body was constructed for Optimus. They built a new body for Optimus Optimus, and even upgraded it with the ability to combine with the trailer to form a larger robot. In an effort to keep Transformers off their planet, however, the Nebulans had poisoned their fuel, and the sensation of dying convinced Optimus that he was truly alive, and not a game character. To save his life, the Nebulan scientist Hi-Q bonded with him, creating Powermaster Optimus Prime (Note: not the same character from the Japanese continuity God Ginrai).
Optimus quickly proved himself to be a fool, for he dared to ignore Rorza, the Rocket-cycle Racer from Rigel III.
Powermaster Optimus and his Autobots later battled Deathbringer.
But with the subsequent threat of Unicron looming, priorities quickly changed and Optimus began a quest to locate his old body and the physical Matrix object within it. When the Matrix was successfully reacquired, Optimus sacrificed his life one more time to destroy Unicron by plunging the Matrix into his maw. However, the Powermaster process had been working to fully bond Optimus and Hi-Q, and with Optimus now destroyed, the process completed itself in Hi-Q's body, and the two minds and souls became one. Hi-Q's biomechanical body was stripped down and reconstructed by the Last Autobot, creating a brand new Optimus Prime.
As time passed, with the Decepticons in supposed exile, the Autobots functionally disbanded. They scattered across the galaxies, with many retiring in peace while others continued to fight for peace among other civilizations they came across. The time came when Optimus Prime was called back into the skirmish, alongside his honor guard of Kup and Hot Rod, when Grimlock and his combat unit discovered a greater Cybertronian Empire that had somehow sprouted up without their noticing it. These next generation Decepticons, led by the Liege Centuro Jhiaxus, would conquer world after world using terraforming and exo-structuring processes to remake raw materials into a new Cybertron for their use. Optimus Prime, Grimlock and their "Dirty Dozen" of Autobots began a small resistance movement against Jhiaxus and his people, but realized they were out of their depth. As the call went out to reassemble the Autobot army en masse, Optimus worried that they were still missing some greater threat -- he had begun experiencing visions of an unknown peril that was heading their way, and wasn't sure if even the united Autobots would be enough to deal with it.
Until he could identify this secondary threat, Optimus ordered the Autobots to remain inactive at an Autobase built into a small asteroid belt. Unfortunately, Grimlock was having none of that. He grabbed a percentage of their displaced warriors who had already arrived and headed out after Jhiaxus and his flagship, Twilight. Naturally, they got in over their heads. Optimus grabbed some of his personal soldiers (Hot Rod, Kup, Prowl, Hound) and hijacked a strike ship to get close enough to Twilight for a rescue mission. Once Grimlock and his men were sent out on a prison vessel, Optimus blasted the ship just enough to cause chaos, and give Grimlock enough time to overtake the crew.
Surprisingly enough, he gave Grimlock no rebuke once they met up again -- in fact, Optimus put the Dinobot commander in charge of the entire army! In order to fully understand the visions of impending doom he was receiving, Optimus Prime decided he needed to return to Cybertron itself, to help "cut through the static" that was garbling whatever message the Matrix was trying to send him. Engaging in a quasi-mystical ritual to expand his psychic boundaries, Optimus cast himself mentally back through time to witness the birth of the first Transformers, Prima, as he rose from the living structure of Cybertron itself. What he saw next, however, was astonishing -- Cybertronians birthing new Cybertronians themselves, causing living metal to burst forth from them in a bio-morphic reproduction process called "budding". Primus had apparently allowed this only up till a point, allowing the race to evolve in stages before discontinuing the ability and the memory of it from his progeny. Jhiaxus and his new Cybertronians, however, were the end result of some Decepticons somehow relearning the budding process. They were stronger, yes, and perhaps more evolved physically, but their souls, their sparks, were distilled too many times over. Optimus Prime awoke from his trance, believing he had come to understand the threat he sensed: the fractioning of his species. Little did he know that the threat was far less philosophical, and far more tangible, than he realized.
When word reached Optimus that Megatron had resurfaced on Earth, he jumped at the idea of joining forces with the original Decepticons to face off against the Cybertronian Empire. Traveling to Earth alone, Optimus approached Megatron with the intent to talk. Instead, Megatron blasted him from behind, beat him to a pulp, ionized his every circuit, and then ripped out his chest and siphoned away the power of the Matrix. So no, the talking didn't go too well. Optimus only survived due to Grimlock's talent for insubordination, as the Dinobot leader brought a massive strike team down to save their fallen leader before Megatron finished him off. Still, as the Autobots dragged Optimus away to receive repair treatment, he knew Megatron would be back -- Optimus had stuttered out enough information about "new Decepticons" to pique his old foe's interest, and once Megatron went after them and bit off more than he could chew, they'd meet again.
In this, at least, Optimus Prime knew Megatron all too well. Only days later a heavily battered and bruised Megatron wandered into Autobase: Earth, looking for that alliance Optimus had offered. Perceptor's science team completed their analysis of the genocide -- it was their fault. More specifically, some by-product of the Cybertronian race had been formed by the budding process which created Jhiaxus and the Cybertronian Empire, an animate entity that scoured the cosmos of its own design. Before more data and analysis could be had, however, Jhiaxus and his troops arrived on Earth seeking to end their ancestors once and for all.With new allies, things were looking up for Optimus until the unthinkable happened. His visions of death and apocalypse finally came true as the Autobots came across a devastated world looking almost identical to the images he had been experiencing. Optimus now realized his visions were not metaphorical in nature, and almost drew the conclusion himself before
Once again seeking compromise, Optimus Prime took Megatron in an attempt to reacquire the Decepticon Warworld and use it to force Jhiaxus to see reason, that they faced a common and perhaps unbeatable foe in this "Swarm". His efforts were more than a little delayed, however, by the ever-treacherous Starscream. That Decepticon schemer had sold them out to Jhiaxus in the first place, but then came aboard Warworld and merged with it and the power of the Creation Matrix Megatron had been housing there. Still, Optimus Prime managed to reach a communications console, and begged Jhiaxus for an audience to discuss the impending threat which was bearing down on them all. As badly as Optimus's last attempt to "just talk" with an enemy went, this time it went much worse, as Jhiaxus responded by ordering the orbital bombardment and destruction of the human city of San Francisco. Millions of lives wiped out in an instant. And before Optimus could even attempt to respond or try again, the Swarm itself arrived in orbit.
As bad as things were, a silver lining did develop -- Starscream proved too much of a "pedestrian villain" to actually corrupt the Matrix as had happened in the past. Instead, it was actually turning him more heroic, giving him selfless and self-sacrificing urges! Not wanting to be a hero, much less a dead hero, Starscream willingly relinquished the Matrix to Optimus Prime. In yet another effort at unity and compromise, Optimus took a skysled over to Jhiaxus's flagship, Twilight, in order to talk the Liege Centuro into working with the Autobots and Decepticons to commune with the Swarm.
Instead, Jhiaxus tore off his face.
The formerly icy Cybertronian had been driven completely off his rocker by the extended conflict with his ancestors, and was now little more than a mad dog pounding away at Optimus Prime. The brutality only ended when the Swarm entered Twilight and consumed Jhiaxus utterly. At this point, Optimus had reasoned that the Swarm was merely a void, searching for something to complete the emptiness inside it. With desperate reasoning, Optimus allowed the Swarm to assail him, hoping that he (and the Matrix inside him) would prove to BE what it was searching for. His body ravaged to the point of total discorporation, Optimus Prime still managed to make mental contact with the Swarm as it consumed him, and expose it to the will of Primus. In the end, Optimus Prime successfully purified the Swarm, and was reborn in a new, more powerful body. In the aftermath, Optimus suggested they all move on to a new era of enlightenment.
Notes & Trivia