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The War Within Prowl

Transformers Titanium
by yo go re

We've mentioned before how Prowl is one of the most popular Transformers - there's been at least one character with that name in every incarnation of the franchise, and sometimes more than that. Thanks to Toys Я Us, this trend continued in the Titanium line.

The most single-minded of all the Autobots, Prowl is sometimes referred to as "the commander's Sharkticon" because of the way he seizes a problem and refuses to let it go until it is solved. He rivals even Shockwave in the fields of cryptology, logistics and strategic planning. In fact, the two of them will occasionally engage in complex shadow wars that rage beneath the surface of an ongoing battle, logical games designed more to frustrate and confound each other than secure victory for their sides.

Prowl believes that there is a reason for all things. He struggles to understand the perspective even of his enemies, believing that if he can discern the logical underpinnings of the Decepticon cause, he can devise a strategy for final victory. Though he is often torn by emotions in conflict with his logic, he has difficulty understanding how others can be so ruled by feeling and instinct. He believes that all creatures behave according to some complex arithmetic, and that if he could only work it out, he could bring peace to the universe.

Here's a brain teaser for you: is Prowl black and white because he's a police car, or did he become a police car because he likes being black and white? If it's the first one, then it's a cosmic coincidence that law enforcement vehicles on Earth share a similar color scheme as their counterparts on a distant planet four million years prior.

One of the cool things about The War Within designs is that even the robots who could have looked exactly alike, don't look exactly alike. Bumblebee and Cliffjumper have different bodies, and so do Bluestreak and Prowl. If you go through the comics, not only do their robot modes have small variances, their vehicles are entirely unique. That shows dedication.

Prowl is some kind of hover car, wide and flat with large gaps in the design. It definitely looks unearthly, even with the red and blue lights scattered about. Actually, there's a strict division between them: red is always on his left, blue is always on his right. This mode is 5¼" long, 5¾" wide and a little less than 1½" high. There are some nice design elements here, like the twin turbines on the back or the evidence of further technology hidden under the windshield.

Since this Prowl hasn't yet become a Datsun Fairlady 280ZX, converting him to a robot isn't an exact analogue - there are some true parallels, though, like the way you have to spin the waist around to get the legs in position, and how his head rises up from the "hood." They even found a way to include his rocket launchers and the way doors used to poke out from his shoulders. Gotta love any excuse to integrate the kibble.

Quite a bit of Prowl's design has been changed since we saw it in the pages of The War Within. The vehicle doesn't compact as much, and the robot's chest is far wider. He also consistently had scars on his face in the art, but that hasn't been carried over to the toy. He has a silver star on his chest, with an Autobot symbol in the center - that's definitely something made up for the toy.

Prowl's head comes in just under 5½" tall, while the rockets will add nearly an inch to that total. He's plenty poseable, with a swivel neck, swivel and hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel forearms, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs and hinged knees. Now, his toes can flex downward to help with balance, but that's more of a feature of the change process, not articulation; and his has swivel wrists, but his hands live in square recesses that make the joints useless - good thing the forearm swivels duplicate the motion.

Since the rocket launchers are built into the figure's frame, he doesn't have any loose accessories. On the plus side, that means you won't lose them. It'd be nice if the projectiles weren't blocked by the body of the car in vehicle mode, but if it actually matched the layout of the original design, that wouldn't be an issue.

Prowl is a welcome addition to the ranks of the War Within characters - no, he's not a perfect translation of this pre-Earth design, but he's still a good Transformer with two decent modes. If you're a fan of this uptight Autobot security expert, head over to Toys Я Us and bask in the awesomeness of 4 million BC.

-- 02/24/09

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