The Transformers #76
Marvel (March, 1991)“Still Life!” WRITER: Simon Furman PENCILER: Andrew Wildman INKER: Steven Baskerville COLORIST: Nel Yomtov LETTERER: Rick Parker EDITOR: Rob Tokar
Kept barely alive by the Matrix’s energy, Optimus gives Prowl a message to give to Grimlock, that even Decepticons are living beings and that Autobots only kill as a last resort. This is something he will have to remember now that he’s leader of the Autobots. After an argument with Prowl, Grimlock takes the Dinobots in search of the Ark, stolen by Shockwave and Starscream, but someone else found them first. Instead, the Dinobots find Hi-Q and a bunch of monsters who want to reclaim what they say is their home before the Transformers. (As far as I remember this was never resolved in a US comic.) Locked up from the Nucleon side effect, Grimlock can’t help his comrades until Hi-Q is somehow able to speed up the Nucleon’s effect. Grimlock is more powerful than ever now, but at the price of his ability to transform. Hi-Q stops Grimlock from outright murdering one of the monsters, reminding him that it’s still life and the Autobots are sworn to protect it. This stays Grimlock’s hand and Slag notes Hi-Q sounded just like Optimus. By speeding up the Nucleon process, he also sped up his “evolution”…and now Hi-Q IS Optimus Prime!
What they got right: Okay, credit where it’s due. The double meaning title was clever.
What they got wrong: Here we go, folks. I hate Furman’s version of Prowl, as a moron/jerk who is full of himself because he’s smart. Prowl is smart, logical but compassionate. That’s not what Furman writes and sadly IDW made it worse. Of course it’s to boost his pet character, Grimlock, who just possibly made it so all the Autobots awakened by Nucleon will no longer be Transformers but the Dinobots don’t seem to care about it. This will not be the last time Grimlock is heralded for screwing up. Instead he becomes Autobot leader, because the Autobots did so well the last time he was in charge. Additionally, this bit about Hi-Q being Optimus is just a way to get rid of the Nebulans in my opinion. By the way, Optimus was part of the Power Master line and Furman seems even more reluctant to use that version here…which is odd considering how little transforming his characters do. Maybe it allows pet character Grimlock to stand out if he’s the only Power Master? Finally, Grimlock going on about the war being about genetics and not personal views on how Transformers should live is just pathetic, especially when you note a character changes sides here and another in Generation Two.
Recommendation: Furman’s idolizing of Grimlock begins here and the comic finds a way to be worse off for it. Just don’t bother with this stuff.