Nemesis Prime

In Transformers: The Last Knight, one of the biggest surprises was to see the heroic Optimus Prime, always voiced by Peter Cullen, becoming the bad guy under the influence of the mad goddess Quintessa. While acting as her lieutenant, Optimus even changes his name and appearance, having half of his face turned red and calling himself Nemesis Prime. This isn’t a new name, quite the opposite. In the comics, though, Nemesis Prime isn’t a brainwashed Optimus, rather his evil clone. There are several versions of Nemesis, differing in origin and purpose, but we’ll stick to the original one. Let’s see together.

Unlike most of the Transformers, Nemesis Prime wasn’t born on planet Cybertron, nor he was created by someone originating from there. He was an “artificial” Transformer built by a human, engineered and assembled on Earth. He was born when Doctor Arkeville, an evil scientist who often allied himself with the Decepticons to obtain power for himself, became tired of his allies’ continuous failures in bringing down the Autobots. Believing that the origin of all his problems could be led up to Megatron‘s incapacity as a leader, Arkeville started designing a better ruler of the Decepticons, one who could obtain a definitive victory over the Autobots. Since the greatest leader around proved to be Optimus Prime, Arkeville decided he would have had an “Optimus” on his side, and he started stealing the Decepticons’ data on the enemy commander. With those data, Arkeville built a perfect replica of Optimus, changing the color pattern and programming it so that he would have possessed all Optimus’ abilities and none of his morality, a perfectly sentient being devoted to an evil cause rather than to a noble one. The only thing Arkeville was missing was a way to bring his creation to life, but several attempts, from stealing energy from the Autobot Spacebridge to capturing a Spark with a subspace linkup, failed. Before the scientist could try something else, a time portal opened right besides the inert body, and a shiny orb came out of it, merging with Nemesis: the clone awoke, just moments before he disappeared from his creator’s eyes. The robotic body, in fact, had been possessed by an Autobot’s Spark, sent back in time by Rodimus Prime to repair the timeline damaged by Ravage. Using the body’s energy, the Spark managed to do so, and reached the other Autobots to inform them of his mission… but in that moment, Nemesis Prime’s original A.I. took control of the body.

The Autobot’s Spark was still informing his teammates on how he had repaired the timeline, when Nemesis took over: the Autobot’s symbol on his chest became a Decepticon’s one, and he became suddenly hostile to the Transformers. Before he could do any true damage, the Spark used the last of its energies to open a portal to Arkeville’s lab, and deactivated the clone. Even without a Spark, however, Nemesis’ automated A,I. was enough for him to cross the portal following the Spark, coming back to his creator. Arkeville, in the meanwhile, had found an ancient, malicious life force he could tap in, and as soon as his robotic son came back home, he connected him with it: finally, Nemesis Prime came to life on his own, not a puppet anymore, but a sentient being with a mission. It was following this mission that Nemesis abandoned Arkeville’s lab and tracked down the Decepticons, eager to join their ranks… and to challenged Megatron for the right to rule. When the two Decepticons were about to fight, however, on Cybertron the Autobot Mirage had found the switch the Quintessons used to control all the Transformers: following Optimus Prime’s orders, Mirage turned it down, thus deactivating every Transformer in the universe who wasn’t upgraded (the ones from Generation-1). As a result, Megatron was deactivated, and Nemesis Prime emerged victorious without inferring a single blow. For first, Nemesis ordered Shockwave to collect as many inert bodies he could, in order to use them for spare parts: the powerful Decepticon found logic in what he was told, and he complied. Seeing Shockwave obeying the newcomer, even the other Decepticons swore their loyalty to him: finally, Nemesis had reached the goal he had been programmed for, and he was now the undisputed ruler of the Decepticons, ready to take on his hated enemies.

Nemesis Prime is a perfect replica of Optimus Prime, with all his charisma, his intelligence and his strength, but none of his compassion and morality, making him a perfect dark mirror of his Autobot counterpart. He possesses superhuman strength, durability and reflexes, he can turn into a huge truck gaining speed, and he’s a master of unarmed combat and marksmanship. Whether created by Arkeville, by the tyrant Straxus, by the terrorist organization M.E.C.H. or simply born in an alternate universe in which Cybertron was conquered by Unicron, Nemesis Prime is a ruthless and brutal warrior, a worshipper of raw power who believes honor in battle comes from the total annihilation of the enemies.


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