Prowl is not a verbose Maximal, preferring instead to listen. He gathers information, analyzes it, and instantly suggests an appropriate course of action. His logical mind is without match among his Maximal brethren, who rank him among their best military strategists. Prowl feels that he fulfilled that same role in a previous life.
Origins and complications
Due to the fact that The Transformers: The Movie (1986) was not released in Japan until 1990, the production staff of the assorted Japanese-exclusive series were not entirely aware of the fact that several characters died during the film. As a result, these deceased characters continued to appear in subsequent Japanese series—Prowl in The Headmasters, Wheeljack in Victory. Prowl was an especially erroneous instance, because he had been specifically name-checked as being among the deceased in the Japanese dub of "Dark Awakening" (not to mention that the asteroid crypt carrying his body was destroyed in the same episode), and yet... here he was, with a speaking line and everything.
The story accompanying Binaltech (2003-2008) introduced the Genetronic Translink System, a mechanism which allowed Transformers to simultaneously operate multiple bodies. This served as a possible explanation for the survival of many of these characters, but it did not explain how Prowl could still be around, since he had specifically been stated to be dead. Enter "Prowl 2", an identical clone (sort of) with Prowl's memories that seemingly retconned the appearances in The Headmasters into being "Prowl 2", rather than Prowl.
This continuity patch-job failed to stick, however—eighteen chapters in, the events of the Binaltech storyline were branched off into a parallel dimension, leaving the appearances of Prowl in The Headmasters as an anomaly once more.
The anomaly continued in early 2008, when IDW's Beast Wars Sourcebook profiled the Transmetal 2 Beast Warrior Prowl. Originally released in 1998, this Prowl's bio noted that he believed himself "to have been a great military strategist in a former life," a reference to the original Prowl. As the Sourcebook had already chosen to represent the Magnaboss component also known as Prowl as an upgraded version of the original character, Transmetal 2 Prowl—here given the moniker of "Prowl II"—was established to be an upgraded version of the semi-clone from Binaltech.
This, however, doesn't make sense. The IDW Beast Wars storyline occurs simultaneously with the Beast Wars cartoon, and the events of the branched-off Binaltech timeline do not line up with the Beast Wars show (specifically, in the Generation One-era of the Beast Wars universe, Galvatron is known to have killed Starscream, but in the Binaltech timeline, Megatron never even becomes Galvatron). Additionally, a few months after the publication of the Sourcebook, the Binaltech story chapter included with Bluestreak firmly stamped out any possibility of this idea working by restoring Prowl to life and putting Chip back in his own body.
Japanese cartoon continuity
Offered a glimpse of the fast-approaching future by the time-travelling Decepticon Ravage, Wheeljack was witness to the death of Prowl and various other Autobots in the year 2005. In an attempt to alter the course of these events, he began Project Bodyshop, developing new Binaltech bodies for his comrades that they would be able to control via the GT System. A body was developed to be used a secondary unit by Prowl, and designated "Prowl 2."
When Prowl came under attack from Decepticons on a mission in the vicinity of Saturn, Wheeljack made a desperate attempt to preserve Prowl's life by attempting a long-range transfer of his spark into his new body via sub-space. Unfortunately, the process malfunctioned and Prowl's spark was lost. The body, however, had already been programmed with Prowl's datatrax, and Chip Chase, recalling the time years before when he had taken control of Prowl's body, volunteered to have his own mind transferred into the shell, bringing it to true life as the new Prowl.
The Headmasters cartoon
Prowl was stationed at Autobot City on Earth in 2011 when he and many other troops were summoned to Cybertron to help repel a Decepticon invasion. On the way to the space bridge, the Autobots were attacked by a Decepticon attack force led by Sixshot, but the arrival of the Trainbots allowed them to break away and continue their progress. The Decepticons pursued them, and Prowl joined with Sideswipe in lending Ultra Magnus supporting fire until the Decepticon offensive broke. Prowl commented that they had showed their foes, and the team headed on to Cybertron.
Later, Prowl attended a briefing at Metroplex, where Ultra Magnus assigned several Autobot units to run interference with the Decepticons for Hot Rod, as the young Autobot searched for the missing Matrix of Leadership. Prowl accompanied Ultra Magnus's unit, but did not appear again.
Prowl II appears to have lost all specific memories of his prior existence. He remains convinced that he was a great military strategist in a previous life.
IDW Beast Wars comics
Prowl was one of the protoforms left behind by the crew of the Axalon on prehistoric Earth. He was activated and put in chronal phase by Razorbeast at Magmatron's request, but was protected from Magmatron's Predacon shell-program by Razorbeast's viral code.
Accompanied by Night Glider, Sonar, and Air Hammer, Prowl sped to meet up with Razorbeast. These fliers and a phalanx of other Maximals finally reached Razorbeast's team just in time to fight off an army of Predacons. In the battle that ensued, Prowl battled Sky Shadow.
Prowl air-lifted Snarl (who cloaked them both) in an effort to put a chronal displacement device on Shokaract. However, when Snarl jumped off, Prowl was visible once again and was blasted out of the sky. Fortunately his sacrifice was not in vain.
- Prowl (Deluxe Transmetal 2, 1999)
- Prowl is a Transmetal 2 bio-mechanical Hunter owl with a flip-around-reveal spark crystal in his owl-skull. In beast mode, he has a spring-gear-activated spinning-wing attack gimmick. Oddly, the advertised robot mode for this figure has limited range of motion, since its wings would prevent its arms from moving forward. However, box art suggests folding the wings over the shoulders, rather than sticking out sideways from the chest.
- His toy was released in two color schemes. The first one is white, turquoise, and red. The second is black, blue, and red, and was done as a "running change" variation under the same individual DCPI number rather than as a completely new release. The black version came in the same assortment as the running-change white Dinobot 2.
- Prowl (Binaltech, 2005)
- Japanese ID number: BT-15
- Accessories: Engine/gun, traffic direction baton
- Prowl II transforms into a fully-licensed 1:24-scale Acura RSX with opening doors, hood and trunk. His engine becomes a (non-firing) gun, while a clear-plastic nightstick is hidden under his car-mode rear section. For his standard Japanese Binaltech release, Prowl received a vehicle mode deco based on a real Japanese police car (the Hasbro Prowl's deco being based more on the original Generation One toy), a different spoiler mold, different rims, right-side steering, a Japanese police cherry blossom emblem instead of an Acura logo, and gray plastic instead of stony-blue. He was also labeled as a "Honda Integra Type-R", the model's make in Japan.
- Prowl Vivid Blue Pearl Edition (Binaltech, 2005)
- Japanese ID number: BT-15
- Accessories: Engine/gun, traffic direction baton
- Like Jazz, Prowl got two different Binaltech decos released in equal numbers. The second version, known as "Vivid Blue Pearl", is a civilian version with no police lights, a mostly blue interior, a Honda logo (instead of the cherry blossom emblem) on the grill, and a solid blue car-shell. His robot-mode parts remained mostly the same color, however.
- This mold (the Japanese blue Prowl variant, combined with parts from American police Prowl) was used to make Alternators Camshaft.
- There is another "Prowl 2" toy out there, the Spy Changer from the Robots in Disguise line. No release of the toy included a bio, and consequently, just exactly who this figure represents can be debated. But this was the first official use of the term "Prowl 2," so when the Binaltech storyline later called Prowl's Binaltech body "Prowl 2," it was likely an intentional reference. In fact, it may have been more than a mere reference, since Car Robots (the original Japanese version of Robots in Disguise) is part of the Generation One cartoon universe in Japanese continuity. There is not enough evidence to declare the matter one way or the other.