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Onyx Prime: Who is Transformers' Original Beast Machine?

Of all the beast machines in the Transformers Universe, one of the most powerful and spiritual is Onyx Prime, a member of the Thirteen and the offspring of the Transformers Creator-God Primus. Tasked with carrying out his bidding, Onyx Prime was a loyal servant to his deity and had sole access to powerful, ancient artifacts.

While he lead his fellow Transformers to combat Unicron and others that would oppose Primus across the universe, IDW Publishing Transformers' comics saw a classic villain take on Onyx Prime's identity and twist it into something very different. Now, we're taking a closer look at this key figure in Transformers mythology, from his original beginnings to the bad things that've been done in his names.

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Onyx and the Thirteen

Transformers The Thirteen

The Thirteen were the first Transformers created by Primus to aid him in his ongoing war with his corrupted twin sibling Unicron as Primus was not physically strong enough to overpower his brother by himself. As one of the middle number of Transformers created by Primus, Onyx is one of the more balanced members of the Thirteen. More spiritual and elemental than several of his counterparts, Onyx is the first known Transformers with a Beast Mode transformation, which would be the center of the fan-favorite Beast Wars series.

Generally regarded as one of the greatest of the Primes among all the Transformers, Onyx is the only of the Thirteen entrusted with Primus' Triptych Mask. The ancient artifact allows Onyx to project his astral form to appear in others' dreams and communicate with them as well as track Sparks even after they have passed into the afterlife. This spiritual nature, friendly demeanor and timely wisdom has made Onyx one of the most inspirational figures among the Autobots in the Transformers mythos.

Onyx and the Covenant of Primus

Transformers War of the Primes

As the Thirteen battled against Unicron and his own formidable creations, the group was betrayed by one of their own when Megatronus switched allegiances to join forces with Unicron. Confronted by his love interest Solus Prime, Megatronus impulsively killed the original member of the Thirteen, with her death visibly affecting Onyx the most having grown close to her over the years. Onyx would later reflect that his best friend was Micronus Prime as the war continued.

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Fueled by Megatronus' betrayal and Solus' death, the surviving members of the Thirteen bitterly fought each other, resulting in Onyx becoming mortally wounded. With Solus Prime's body melted down to form the core of Cybertron, Onyx volunteered to catalyze the birth of the new planet and use the power of the Triptych Mask to lead to a diverse race of Cybertronians from the Well of Sparks within the planet's core. Several of the Thirteen lent their energy to aid Onyx in his final quest, with Micronus and Onyx's star pupil Optimus Prime accompanying him to the core to carry out his mission, which lead to the creation of the Generation-1 Transformers.

Shockwave and Onyx Prime

The 2005 comic book relaunch of Transformers by IDW Publishing reimagined Onyx Prime as the leader of refugee Cybertronians in the wake of the Knights of Cybertron leaving theor planet for parts unknown. The nomadic group came across Shockwave who had accidentally been transported over twelve million years in the past after his chronal drive was damaged.

Realizing Onyx's historic role, Shockwave took advantage of his hospitality and killed him, disguising himself as Onyx Prime while taking control of his followers. Using his knowledge of history, Shockwave attempted to tear down Cybertronian philosophies and religions from the distant past to make the planet more vulnerable to Unicron in the relative present. In doing so, Unicron was successful in destroying Cybertron, but was eventually stopped by Optimus Prime at the expense of the Autobot leader's own life.

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