Top o’ the Lot: Autobots

Top o' the Lot Image Updated

From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.

As a thirty-something who doesn’t really care anymore (if 40 is the new 20, by the transitive property I’m like a teenager) I have no problem admitting that after school Autobot Symbolcartoons in the 1980’s were a huge factor in defining my level of geekness. Although that’s where most of my adoration for Transformers found its genesis, early Marvel comics and the amazing full-length feature Transformers: The Movie did a great deal more to solidify the toy brand turned promotional cartoon as my younger self’s go-to 30-minute animated funtime, and was placed in primary position on my presents list to the red clad fat man. With so many different aspect forming my love for GoBots bigger, better robot brothers, my slanted and skewed picks for the Top Autobots is extremely slanted and skewed, but I have my reasons. So, without further ado, we transform Autobot City, pull the Matrix of Leadership from our chest cavity (eww!) and Light Your Darkest Hour, as we run through Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Autobots.

Honorable Mention: Jetfire/Skyfire

SkyfireWait! A flying Autobot? Who’d a thunk it?! Logically, the fastest moving Autobot, and usually the first one to get to the fight, it always seemed to me that with at least 4 or 5 Decepticon Jets on the opposing side he should have never stood a chance. His portrayal in the cartoon was unique, but his Marvel Comic story was just plain old awesome! Created by Shockwave and turned do-gooder? He’s may be as true as they come now, but that gray area give Skyfire only a mention in this Top, not to mention the severe lack of Rolling Out ability.

5. Perceptor

One of my favs from the 1980’s Transformers: The Movie, as well as one of the prides of Perceptor Toymy personal collection leftover from those “good old days”, Perceptor was, in a single word: Weird. He was a scientist (which was really cool), who changed into a microscope (which is probably the strangest thing ANY Transformer has ever changed into), but also has some crazy third form that was supposed to be some kind of half-track missile launcher…whatever! Perceptor was really cool, because he was a brainiac nerd, he had a completely out of place British accent that actually worked in a some silly way that only my 8-year-old self could understand, he turned into a freakin’ microscope! And the microscope even kind of sort of worked to an extent…but not really. Still, he makes the Top simply because this list is slanted, biased and skewed, and he remains one of my favs.

4. Omega Supreme

Omega SupremeOne of the tings that always bothered me about the seemingly never-ending war between the Autobots and the Decepticons was the overwhelming tactical advantage the bad guys always had over the good guys. I guess that was supposed to be part of the appeal; it’s always easier to root for the underdog; but I always thought the Autobots should have had some bigger guns (despite building the Dinobots, see below). I think that’s why I’ve always been such a big fan of Omega Supreme. He’s the big hitter the Autobots need! In robot mode he can keep up with the like of Devastator himself; with a plasma gun for an arm and everything; and his vehicle Omega Supreme Toymode was an oddly cool combo of a tank, a railroad track, and a rocket ship. A what a awesome toy this made! Being cool in an odd way, and uniquely badass for an Autobot, puts Omega Supreme launching into the number 4 spot in this Lot. But, when you need a true warrior, you call on the next robot on our list.

3. Ironhide

IronhideLoyalty. It’s the mark of any good Autobot, and Ironhide carried it like cubes of energon. Although he most most significant in his role as a warrior and a team leader in many occasions, Ironhide is best exemplified in his capacity as Autobot leader Optimus Prime’s most loyal bodyguard. Sure, he transformed into an ’80’s style soccer mom grocery getter, and famously bought it in the movie with “Such heroic nonsense”, but Ironhide came off as the quintessential soldier that no other Transformer, Autobot or Decepticon, just didn’t quite meet. And, in a story based upon a grand robot war, he was a steady sail on a ship that required a mass appeal and not just an ongoing war story. While I didn’t cry nearly as hard when Wash died in Serenity, I WAS almost 20 years younger when I bawled about Ironhide’s passing. But I’m over it; *sniff*; yeah, I’m over it.

2 Bumblebee

BumblebeeOut of all the Autobots; or the Decepticons for that matter, few are as recognizable as Bumblebee. Maybe it’s the fact that the VW Beetle is such a recognizable vehicle, or the fact that Bumblebee didn’t come off as a holier-than-thou dogmatic bore or a megalomaniac dictator, but rather as a honest-to-goodness young grunt in a war he’d rather not be fighting in, for a reason he doesn’t quite understand. He acted as a “little brother” character that most young children could relate to, best friend to the human Spike and his dad, and quickly became a mascot for the entire toy line, although I never did figure out what was up with Bumblebee2those tiny horns on his head. You can keep your all growed up Goldbug, the horrible movie version Camaro, or any of the other so-called Bumblebee’s, there’s simply only one, and he’s a Beetle Bug. Does it hurt the character that my first real car was a ’72 Super Beetle Sedan? Nope, which is why he sits in the number 2 spot in this Top o’ the Lot, leaving only a single favorite to go.

1. Grimlock

GrimlockI truly don’t know what it is about kids and dinosaurs, but there certainly something there. Rugrats go crazy for giant, extinct monsters with hard to pronounce names. So it made sense when Wheeljack and Ratchet decided to add some brute force to the Autobot lineup. Although his almost immediate betrayal of the Autobots and subsequent rethinking of that betrayal, only compounds just how stupid Grimlock really was, hey, he was the smartest of the Dinobots, and that counts for something. While he was originally going to be part of the same origin as the rest of the Autobots, and that origin was explored fully in the Marvel Comics storyline, Grimlock’s G1 cartoon origin Grimlock-Toyis still the best, and I strongly recollect dragging my mom to my local KMart soon after his premiere. I’m not sure what ever happened to my figure, but I miss it. I really miss it. Me, Gaumer, miss action figure! 😦 And with a soon to be released movie starring the T-Rex turned robot, Grimlock’s stardom should get back to Super-stardom by year’s end. Did I mention the comedy relief in the movie? He’s just an all-around cool character, and my favorite, earning Grimlock the Top spot in this weeks Top o’ the Lot.

See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.


6 thoughts on “Top o’ the Lot: Autobots”

  1. Good list, though I feel Optimus should be up there (even if he is the obvious choice).

    Here’s mine:

    5.) Kup – old grizzled dude who’s seen everything. He’s the cranky WWII vet of the team, which is fantastic. (Also the prototype for every “old man” transformer hence, from Animated Ratchet to movie Jetfire.)
    4.) Wheeljack – love his Boston accent and his blue collar mechanic ways. Also the slinky face.
    3.) Grimlock – can’t really disagree with anything you said. Also, I agree: G1 cartoon Grimlock was the best. He was like the Hulk for kids (dumb, powerful, but honest).
    2.) Ratchet – I guess I have soft spot for the engineering support squad (and Dinobot creators). Robot doctor is a unique job, and there’s a reason Ratchet’s survived pretty much every incarnation.
    1.) Optimus – The Autobots wouldn’t be so easy to root for if Optimus wasn’t leader. He’s John Wayne swagger in robot form.


    1. I literally thought one of the other contributors to this blog was going to punch me in the face for excluding Optimus! 🙂

      I left him out not because of anything he DID do, but because of things he never did. Looking back to the 80’s cartoon, the Autobots home, Cybertron, was being occupied by an invasion force, and Optimus was fine and happy hanging out on Earth. Not only that, but he was fine with a reactionary policy toward the Decepticons despite him knowing full-well that the Decepticons could and wanted to take over the planet Earth.

      It’s a fine line, I’ll admit, but fine enough for me to leave him off the list.

      BTW, I love your list! Kup is a great character.


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