The Autobot Matrix of Leadership (sometimes the Creation Matrix or, rarely, the Autobot Matrix of Power or the Matrix of Light) is an artifact of great power, traditionally carried by the leader of the Autobots, currently possessed by Optimus Prime. Much about it, including its exact composition, remains a mystery. It generally appears as a hollow, spherical metal shell with two handles on either side and with a core sphere of blueish crystal at its center. The Matrix is the one thing, the only thing which Unicron feared.
Holders of the Matrix
|Japanese name||American name|
|Ancient Robot||Primon/Alpha Prime|
|Brooding Robot||Prime Nova/Nova Prime|
|Pre-Transformer||Guardian Prime/Nominus Prime|
|New Narrator||Zeta Prime|
|U-Haul Robot||Sentinel Prime|
|Alpha Trin||Alpha Trion|
|Convoy/Star Convoy/Battle Convoy||Optimus Prime|
The evidence for "Prime" being a rank in the cartoon is weaker than elsewhere, but the case can still be made. Though many Matrix-Bearers are seen, and all are by definition Autobot Leaders, only four are ever named; 2 Primes, 2 not: Alpha Trion, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, and Rodimus Prime. Without knowing any other names it is hard to make a concrete case here for "Prime" being a title given only to Matrix-Bearers. It is of note though that if it were, then "Prime" in this continuity would be a military/political title (since it is the "Matrix of Leadership"), rather than the religious title of the Marvel Comics. There is a nearly complete linage of Matrix of Leadership bearers taking the rank. They are: Primon, Prima, Prime Nova, Guardian Prime, Zeta Prime, Sentinel Prime, and Optimus Prime.
In several alternate futures, several different Autobots (and one Decepticon!) have wound up with the Matrix. Dust Devil, Hubcap, and Slugbug all became Matrix-bearers in timelines that have yet to come to pass.
In the Shattered Glass universe, the Matrix is corrupt, granting power to its wielder but slowly driving her or him insane as it pushes them to greater and greater acts of cruelty and desperation. The Matrix hungers for experience and power, and if it finds its host too weak to give it what it needs, it will drive its holder to death in desire to acquire a more suitable host.
What If? Universes
When Unicron attacked Cybertron in 2005, Optimus Prime was able to defeat the Chaos God using the Matrix, cementing the Autobots' feeling of invulnerability. Without a leader, Cyclonus and the Sweeps settled on Chaar, where they eke out a meager existence while plotting their revenge on the Destroyer of Unicron.
When Unicron attacked Cybertron in 2005, Megatron forced Autobot prisoner Hot Rod, to open the Matrix that Megatron had ripped out of Optimus Prime's chest. Once Unicron was destroyed, Megatron killed this "Last Autobot," believing then that he had extinguished the final spark of the Autobots forever.
G.I. Joe World
In the G.I. Joe World universe, Optimus Prime was much more badly damaged than in the mainstream universe, and has yet to be repaired. Unknown to the Autobots and G.I. Joe, the Matrix still resides in his chest. Unfortunately, without the Matrix, Cybertron was destroyed in 2005.
In the Cobra World universe, Optimus Prime's significance is lost to Cobra, and he was rebuilt as a simple transport drone, albiet one with a powerful mystical artifact hidden within him. Unfortunately, without the Matrix, Cybertron was destroyed in 2005.
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