Monday, April 10, 2017

A to Z Challenge: Hot Rod vs Hun-Grrr

Saturday I mentioned the new Decepticon leader Galvatron from the 1986 movie and today is the new Autobot leader Rodimus Prime, who started out as Hot Rod. Like Galvatron he was introduced in the 1986 movie and like Galvatron he had a famous voice behind him: Judd Nelson, who at least at the time was famous thanks to those “brat pack” movies. Going along with his name, Hot Rod was young and impetuous, which caused big problems when he interfered with the battle royale between Megatron and Optimus Prime, leading to Optimus being killed.
Hot Rod

After that Hot Rod, Kup, and the Dinobots crashed on the planet Quintessa, where after a phony “trial” they had to fight off a bunch of Sharkticons before escaping to the planet of Junk where Hot Rod successfully negotiated peace between Autobots and Junkions, enlisting their help to fight Unicron. After being lost inside Unicron, Hot Rod fought Galvatron and took the Autobot Matrix, upon which he became Rodimus Prime, who is slightly bigger and more powerful.
Rodimus Prime

In three episodes in the third season of the TV show Rodimus becomes Hot Rod again. Once when they found a zombie Optimus Prime in a floating mausoleum and he unwisely gave Optimus the Matrix. Another when he crashed in a battle with two Stunticons and the Matrix popped out. The last time was in “The Return of Optimus Prime,” where a “hate plague” infected everyone—including Rodimus—and Optimus took the Matrix from him to open it and save the day. From then on he was Hot Rod; in the “Rebirth” miniseries he became one of the Targetmasters.

In the third series of toys, there was both a Hot Rod figure and Rodimus Prime figure. The Rodimus figure was kind of lame. It was taller but sort of puny, with an RV-like trailer that became a gun platform. The next year there was a Hot Rod Targetmaster figure, which was just the same figure with a gun that turned into a little guy.

There have been reissues of both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime and even one just called “Rodimus.” Originally Hot Rod was supposed to be called Hot Rodimus, which sounded pretty terrible.

Hot Rod didn’t appear in the Marvel comics—at least the US ones—until Generation 2 and even then he didn’t do a whole lot. In the IDW comics, Hot Rod becomes just Rodimus with half of the Autobot Matrix. After the Great War ends, he seizes upon the idea of finding the “Knights of Cybertron” and assembles a crew to search for it. While he’s an enthusiastic and charismatic leader, Rodimus is brash and prone to flitting from one interest to another.  In the prequel miniseries Autocracy, Hot Rod is a freedom fighter for a Cybertronian city but when the evil Zeta Prime threatens to drain everyone's energon in the city, he blows the entire city up instead.

In the IDW Transformers vs. GI JOE miniseries, Rodimus is dethroned and becomes known as Hot Rod because he spends his time transporting radioactive fuel rods—get it? After a confrontation with Blaster he retakes command of the Autobots and helps lead them and GI JOE to victory.

Rodimus Prime has always gotten kind of a bum rap; his lack of popularity compared to Optimus Prime prompted the return of Optimus. Much like it’s hard for replacement superheroes to live up to the original (Reign of the Supermen, Azrael Batman, Superior Spider-Man, etc.) it was almost impossible for Rodimus to live up to Optimus’s popularity.

One of the last of the original combing teams was the Terrorcons, led by Hun-Grrr, or Hun-Gurr. He formed the torso of Abominus and transformed into a white, two-headed dragon. All of the Terrorcons were monsters and there was a smaller, yellow two-headed dragon too. None of them were all that bright, pretty much on par with the Dinobots.

Hun-Grrr and the Terrorcons made into the last few episodes of the third season of the TV show. They were usually up against their counterparts the Technobots, who formed the far smarter Computron. They never really made it into the Marvel comic book. They did appear in the IDW prequel comics Monstrosity and Primacy, though they didn’t combine at the time.

In recent years there was a Hun-Grrr and Abominus set of Transformers Prime Beast Hunters toys but the Terrorcons were not part of the Combiner Wars series despite that their rivals the Technobots were.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't like they made Rodimus Prime a whiny bitch on the series after the movie...he really did get the short straw. I like the end of the movie where Hot Rod becomes Rodimus Prime and smacks Galvatron down and kills Unicron...that's the Rodimus Prime they needed to keep writing, but they pussified him. :(



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