Transformers Annual 1986 (State Games)
"Your energy. . I need some of your energy." A plea to Megatron and Ravage. Well done, dorko.
The Overlord was a strange character. He was a kind of ambiguous figure who was portrayed as an incredibly old Transformer. Interestingly this old Transformer showed signs of his age. He was in constant need of re-energising, and spent most of the time wired up to an energy-feeder, larger than himself, to keep him alive.
One wonders how a Transformer could age, considering it's just a machine (well, not JUST a machine). Is it because of the fact that they're living beings, with life supplied by rather mystical sources? Is it because the Overlord himself wouldn't allow people to replace his old parts with new ones, only maintain them? Is it that technology speeds past the old designs and they no longer produce the parts to maintain them? Who knows?
Though this is the first story to show a Transformer aging, it's not the last. In the story Aspects of Evil, Rodimus Prime is shown as having aged incredibly since we last saw him. However his aging is due mostly to the fact that he was trying to contain the power of Unicron inside him. Alpha Trion, in the cartoons, is also shown to have aged. We see him at a 'younger' stage in the flashback story Forever is a Long Time Coming.
The Overlord also represented something else! He reveals that before the Transformers broke into city states they had an autocratic government, ruled by successive "Overlords".
I've heard of this Overlord referred to as "Sentinel Prime" but that doesn't seem right. There are a couple of reasons. Partly because I've seen a picture of Sentinel Prime passing on the Matrix, I've even scanned it for my site, and he looks nothing like the Overlord. But there's something else. No where in the story does it mention the Overlord possessing or passing on the Matrix, and in fact he's dead before he can pass it on. If he were Sentinel Prime, or a Matrix holder at all, he would have passed the Matrix on before he died. He didn't. In fact, his role as a 'leader' seems to be completely different and removed from the idea of the Primes.
The Overlord was the last in the line of Cybertron's autocratic rulers, the Overlords. He was an ancient Autobot protected by two bodyguards, Nightstalker and Ravage (yes, THE Ravage).
When we meet him he's no longer leader of Cybertron. Instead Cybertron had broken into many tiny city-states, each scrabbling and grappling for Cybertron's meagre resources.
To placate rivalries between the City-States and hopefully forestall a war, the Overlord set up, and oversaw, inter-state gladiatorial combats called the 'State Games'. Unfortunately the move backfired and the games became another source of bitter rivalry between City States.
The Overlord was in Tarn when the situation got completely out of hand. Several Autobots from the City of Vos, including Tornado sabotaged and destroyed the power-station of Tarn, starting an inter-city war between the two cities.
Two athletes, Optimus Prime and Megatron, decided to help the Overlord get out of Tarn and into Iacon, the largest of the city states. Along with the Overlord's bodyguards, the two athletes helped escort the ancient Autobot across the battlefield, fighting warriors from the armies of both Tarn and Vos.
Just as they were about to enter Iacon, a bridge collapsed under Megatron cutting off their path. Optimus jumped the ravine, to get help, while the other three stayed behind to protect the Overlord. They fought hard, but were being swamped, until Nightstalker self-destructed and saved them.
Despite this narrow escape, the Overlord was dying. His frail old body needed constant refuelling to survive, and he was at his last ebb. He begged for fuel from Megatron, but the gladiator refused. He begged for fuel from Ravage, but the bodyguard refused as well. The two stalked off, to start a new world order, as the old world order died behind them.
Hah! He'd be too feeble and old to even have physical stats. His strength and speed would be close to nothing. It's hard to imagine him having a high firepower when he burns fuel fast enough to die in a few seconds without a constant supply.
He might have higher stats in things like Rank and Intelligence. Perhaps a 7 or 8 for intelligence and maybe a 9 or 10 for rank. After all, even though he was the supposed 'Overlord' of Cybertron, his power and influence was greatly diminished by the time we meet him. Skill I wouldn't really guess at, and courage would probably be quite low.
As for his endurance, that would be hovering somewhere between 1 and zero. Only took a few minutes for him to die without fuel. What a big wimp!
It's an intriguing idea. The pictures we have of the Overlord are not really that thrilling, but he could come with some neat special features. His wall of pipes which provide him with fuel, and perhaps the box seat at the State Games, would make for an interesting playset. He could even come with a Nightstalker figure who would defend him, unto the last.
For a long while I didn't like Overlord. I didn't like the way he fit into TF history. But that was just me, my hangups, my stiff view of the Transformers universe.
Looking back, it's clear my opinions were quite... well... wrong. Overlord is an interesting character, and is part of quite an interesting little saga in Transformers history. He provides us with an insight into an aspect of Transformers culture, and gives us the gladiatorial games. The idea of Transformers as gladiators is one that rings true for a lot of people, even Dreamwave has one of their characters refer to Transformers as gladiators in the TF comic preview book.
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