|Percentage of vote:||15.5%|
Just how do you describe a character like Silverbolt? Noble hero? Lovesick fool? Dumb as a sack of hammers? All of the above apply, and many more to boot. Although Silverbolt was only introduced to Beast Wars in the second season, he quickly became one of the most memorable members of the cast. An idealist with a very rigid idea of what it meant to be a hero, he frequently clashed with his more pragmatic, morally grey crewmates. And unlike them, he was willing to look for common ground with his Predacon enemies.
And it was among those very same enemies that he found his soul mate. Love is a topic not often explored by Transformers media, and for understandable reasons -- the protagonists are machines and good portion of the fiction is targeted towards young children. But it was explored here, and explored well to boot. Silverbolt's unintentionally comical nature made him a surprisingly good romantic lead, allowing him to believably take dopey actions in his pursuit of the Predacon Blackarachnia. And although they got off to a rocky start (and Silverbolt got more than one gunshot wound for his trouble) his love and acceptance was the trigger that helped Blackarachnia find redemption and eventually embrace her Maximal heritage.
And Blackarachnia wasn't the only person that Silverbolt tried to save, either. The monstrous, deeply broken Transmutate was another target for his heroic leanings. In a particularly sad twist, Silverbolt found himself completely alone as he stood up for its rights -- the Predacons wanted to kill it, the Maximals wanted to shove it into storage and forget about it, and only Rampage of all people wanted to keep it alive -- so that he could glory in its twisted, tortured existence. Speaking as someone who has both mentally- and physically-challenged people in his family, this is perhaps the apex of Silverbolt's heroic endeavours. Because it's one thing to be the knight in shining armour for an attractive woman who can take care of herself. It's something else entirely to stand up for a helpless, defenceless creature that even your own allies want to be rid of. Other episodes managed to paint Silverbolt as a rather silly character, but this one made it clear just how serious and deeply moral he could be when the situation called for it.
In the end, Silverbolt couldn't save Transmutate, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. And after she was lost he even showed sympathy for the twisted, evil Rampage, recognizing that in his own way, the monster was mourning Transmutate's loss every bit as deeply as Silverbolt was.
And while Beast Machines isn't exactly well-loved by the fandom, it took Silverbolt's character in an interesting direction. Under the influence of Megatron's mind-controlling shell program he became Jetstorm, the cruel general of the Vehicon air forces. He was forced to become everything he'd spent his life fighting against, and he...liked it? In a reversal of their earlier roles, Blackarachnia was the one who spent much of the series trying to free and redeem her beloved. Redemption isn't easy, though, and Silverbolt would spend the rest of the series struggling with the memories of what he'd done and how he'd felt about it.
It would have been easy to write him off as a one-note joke character, but neither the Beast Wars nor Beast Machines writers were content with that. Silverbolt's nobility could easily have become eye-roll inducing, but instead he became the caring, deeply moral heart of a Maximal team that definitely needed one. And that, when you come right down to it, is what makes him one of the greatest Transformers character of all time.