US comic #65 (Dark Creation, only a text mention)
Speculative appearances in US comic #61 (Primal Scream) and Transformers: Generation 2 #5 (The Power and the Glory, this appearance is less likely to be Prima as he isn't seen with the Matrix. Being seen with the Matrix has to be made the definitive evidence that a picture is of a Prime.)
Speculative appearance in US comic #74 (The Void)
Speculative appearance in UK comic #150 (Legacy of Unicron, pt 5)
N/A, none of the three ever had any dialogue.
The Primes, this is an important one, so I don't want to stuff this up.
In issue #65 of the US Transformers comics we were given a piece of almost invaluable information by no less reliable source than the Matrix itself. This piece of information was the names of those who had held the Matrix before Thunderwing (and therefore before Optimus Prime). The names of the three Primes.
The Primes were not, as you might think, the leaders of the Autobots. No, the Primes were the 'Holders of the Creation Matrix'. Each of them had a somewhat Latin name and an affinity to the Matrix. This affinity was usually found only in Autobots, until Thunderwing came along.
There have been a total of five known Primes. They are Prima, Prime Nova, Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime and Thunderwing. The other Prime, Rodimus Prime, was destined to come into existence only in alternate realities and futures.
While the careers of Thunderwing and Optimus Prime are well documented, there's almost nothing actually known about Prima, Prime Nova and Sentinel Prime, except that they came before Optimus Prime.
We assume that the order in which the Matrix was passed from Prime to Prime was the order in which the Primes were listed by the Matrix. This is supported by the fact that the Matrix lists Primus first (clearly the Matrix was first one with Primus), Optimus last, and then adds Thunderwing after Optimus. It's also supported by the translation of the characters' names.
I should mention here again that the Primes were NOT the leaders of the Autobots. All evidence (most of it gained from the UK comics) points to the Primes being hero figures, rather than direct leaders.
Shortly before the war with the Decepticons Cybertron was ruled by an Autobot Council of Elders. This council included such figures as Tomaandi, Traachon and Emirate Xaaron. This council had taken over from a series of autocratic Overlords who ruled Cybertron prior to the council coming into power. There is no evidence to show that the Overlords had any Primes amongst their ranks. There's also no evidence to show that the Autobot Council had any Primes amongst its ranks. (Conversely, there's no evidence to show that there wasn't a Prime who was an overlord or a council member.)
It's really uncertain WHEN the Overlords came to power in Cybertron. It's really uncertain WHEN the Autobot Council took over from them. It's very possible that prior to the rise of the Overlords that the Primes were the leaders of the Autobots.
Warning! Because nothing is known for certain about the Primes, this ENTIRE section is totally speculative. Even the picture of Prima might not actually be a picture of Prima!
Most of the information in this section is based on translations of the characters' names done by my mum. I personally know NOTHING about Latin, and my English-Latin dictionary was absolutely no help. Thanks mum!!
Side note: Blame any inaccuracies in the translations on my mum!
First, chief, principle... 'Numero Uno'.
Prima's name says it all. He was the FIRST. The first Transformer to carry the Matrix, in fact the first BEING to carry the Matrix (Primus himself WAS the Matrix, he didn't carry it). He's also been depicted as the very first of all Transformers to rise from Primus' flesh. In addition to that he was the first of the Primes; the first to have a Matrix affinity.
Prima must have carried the Matrix for SOME time. There's a multi-billion year gap between the genesis of the Transformers' race and the start of the Transformers' war. It's possible during that time Prima helped to lead the Autobots (as all TFs seem to have been called then). He might have had battles with the Liege Maximo, or other cosmic figures and might have been quite a figure in the history of the Transformers. It's hard to say.
All we do know about Prima is that he was THE FIRST.
Why the pictures are him
This is a tough one. The picture from issue 61 is of a Matrix-wielder. We see him rise from the flesh of Primus (Cybertron), and the narration suggests that he is the first of his kind. It's possible that another picture, from issue #5 of the Generation 2 comic is Prima. This character doesn't really resemble Prima as he's pictured here. However, he's definitely one of the first Transformers to rise up, and has a vaguely Rodimus/Primus look to him. However he was never pictured with the Matrix (which I've had to use as the final telling sign as to whether someone's a Prime) so he's not here on this page.
The best of the new. The chief new one. (Nova meaning 'new' and Prime meaning 'best'.)
The best of the new.
The new what? Hmm, hard to say. Perhaps because the term 'Prime' is applied to all Matrix holders it's more of a title. The Primes are 'The Best'. So Prime Nova is really the 'New Best One', rather that the 'Best of the New'. Possible; he was the new Prime after Prima. Still, that's somewhat unsatisfying.
More likely he was the greatest of a new type of Transformer. Possibly he was one of the first who could Transform. If this is so then he must have either succeeded very shortly after Prima, or have been born shortly after him. After all Primus' goal was to create a species who could change their form just like his old enemy Unicron.
Was Prime Nova the best of those born through the 'budding' method of reproduction which gave birth to the Cybertronian Decepticons? This seems the most likely answer.
It's possible he was the greatest of the Generation of Transformers to be built by hand rather than to be expelled from the flesh of Primus, as well.
Why the picture is him
This picture of 'Prime Nova' is actually a picture taken from issue 74 of the US comics. It's a picture of a Prime, that for sure. After all, he has the Matrix! But which Prime is it? The narration is ambiguous: [Primus] populated [Cybertron] with beings designed to mimic Unicron's transformation abilities, arming them with a genetic matrix [another name for the Creation Matrix] formed with his own life essence!
While this text could suggest that this is a picture of a group of the very first Transformers, it doesn't really suggest a time frame on the picture. So, for the sake of having three Prime pictures, I've designated this one as a Prime Nova picture. Taking a closer look, clearly it is not a picture of Prima as seen above.
The chief observer/watcher. Could also be 'the first observer/watcher'. Sentinel has to do with observing, watching and being aware of things.
Sentinel Prime has, in my opinion, the most interesting of all the names.
He was a watcher, what exactly does that mean? Obviously all of his fellows watched over the Matrix. Obviously he had a chest compartment for the Matrix (as did Optimus Prime, Rodimus Prime and Prima... Prime Nova, it follows, probably did also, but there's not direct visual evidence) so he can't have just 'watched' over it while it sat in a room or something. There must be more to it.
Perhaps Sentinel Prime was the first 'freelance' Prime. Did he watch as the Transformers grew by themselves, always in the shadows ready to lend a hand when most needed? Was he the first of the Primes not to be an Overlord of Cybertron? Was he the first of the Primes who wasn't a member of the Autobot high council... or the Autobots at all?
He hasn't got an Autobot symbol, so it's possible he WAS the first of the Primes who wasn't an Autobot. This is poor evidence though, as none of the other pictures of the Primes show them with Autobot insignias, either.
It seems to ME that Sentinel Prime was most likely a shadow figure. He left the Autobots to watch over his people from a distance, until he died when interfering again. At his death he passed the Matrix to one of the young hopefuls he'd been watching... at least, that's what I think is the most likely of the Sentinel Prime stories. In truth there is very little evidence to fully support this.
Why the picture is him
Sentinel Prime was the Prime BEFORE Optimus. Therefore any picture of someone passing the Matrix to Optimus Prime is a picture of Sentinel Prime. Interestingly, Sentinel has a very Rodimus Prime (or perhaps, very Primus) head design.
Probably (judging by the other Primes) close to all tens, if they were to have Tech Specs.
Because each Prime appears to be stronger than the last (compare Optimus Prime's stats to Rodimus Prime's) I would assume that Sentinel Prime was the most powerful, while Prima was the least powerful.
However, it's possible that Prima, considering he was the first, straight from the skin of Primus himself, was the most powerful of all. After all, he was directly infused with the power of Primus AND he had the Matrix. Who knows? It's possible being so directly built by a god of creation gives you less destructive power?
Each of the Primes had a fairly generic boxy look. None had any alt mode features from what we can see in handful of pictures of them.
The one thing that all the Primes would have in common, if they were converted to toys, would be a Matrix storage chamber! Each one of them could be made into model-kits which each came with a cool Matrix. Now THAT would be a neat trio to add to your collection, wouldn't it?
In the case of Sentinel Prime it might be possible to kit-bash a Rodimus Prime toy into a fair likeness. Perhaps one of the boxier Action Masters with a Rodimus Prime head? (NOTE: I really don't know how big the Rodimus Prime toy's head is in proportion to the Action Masters, so don't go ripping any heads off Rodimus Prime toys until you find out!)
Really not much more to say. All I CAN say is: check out how big this entry is based on a vague list of 3 names, four or five pictures, and some inferences based on Latin translations made by my mum!!
Recently, for BotCon 1999, Simon Furman wrote a story called Covenant, part one of a four part story. In that story another Prime is mentioned, one not previously mentioned. His name was 'Primon'.
This 'Primon' doesn't quite fit into the 'scheme' of the Primes as we know it from the US comics. Clearly he wasn't mentioned by the Matrix, but according to Covenant Primon was the first of the Primes, not Prima. Primon's appearance was in two short sentences. They were flashback scenes in the mind of Leonicus, one of the 12 Autobots known as the Covenant. Rather than piss-fart around, I'll just lift the sentences so you can see for yourself. (They appear in different sections of the actual story.)
Saw the Liege Maximo tear the Matrix of Leadership from the shattered remains of Primon.
Saw the Matrix of Leadership pass from Primon to Prima to Prime Nova to Sentinel Prime to Optimus Prime, and ultimately to Rodimus Prime.
Primon is a retcon character added by Furman for the sake of his story, even though it doesn't REALLY lend anything to the story. (Primon could have just as easily been Prima.) Oh well, he can be forgiven considering how obscure the Primes really are. Primon doesn't fit in with issue 65's list of Primes, made by the Matrix, but that doesn't mean he never existed. The Liege Maximo, who was clearly a cosmically powerful creature, tore Primon apart and took the Matrix from him. It could have been that these events made the Matrix forget Primon.
Still, this means that the picture I've been calling Prima might really be Primon, so I think we'll just ignore him and pretend old Furman didn't add a new Prime to the roster, shall we? There's no way I'm going back to having an incomplete set of pictures of the Primes, okay? (Big Grin.)
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