Prowl never explained to Tumbler/Chromedome what he was doing, or why he was doing it. As we’ve already seen, it appears as though Prowl was quite hurt by what he saw as Tumbler siding with Pax over him. Here, it seems as though Tumbler was equally hurt by what he saw as Prowl abandoning him - probably interpreting it as spite. For all their similarities, and their somewhat awkward affection for one another, it seems like they weren’t especially good at reading one another, at least not back then.
I feel like these few panels tell us an awful lot, in very few words, about the kind of feelings Prowl must have had for Tumbler/Chromedome.
There’s a hint of jealousy here, I think - almost a resentful ‘I can’t believe he’d listen to you over me’ kind of vibe going on. And of course Prowl - buttoned-up, careful Prowl, who keeps his emotions so tightly guarded people think he doesn’t have any - would talk about Tumbler being 'good at his job’, not wanting him to throw his career away.
I don’t think it’s the job he’s concerned about, deep down - although there’s an element of it. I get the feeling that what Prowl is angry at here is Tumbler aligning with Pax as opposed to heeding his caution. He refers to it as 'falling under [Pax’s] spell’, suggesting that Tumbler’s decision can’t possibly be a rational one. To Prowl, I think, Tumbler isn’t so much throwing his job away as throwing Prowl away. Leaving him, and whatever precarious, fledgling relationship they have behind on what Prowl perceives as a whim.
I think Prowl is genuinely hurt. And you could perceive his request to Pax as being one last desperate attempt to keep Tumbler with him - Prowl himself acknowledges that this act is extremely out of character for him, and I find it hard to believe that Prowl would knowingly break character solely for the sake of Tumbler’s career. My feeling - and I could very well be wrong - is that Prowl was hoping Tumbler would come back, deflated and disappointed but ultimately willing to go back to the way things were. And perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that, assuming I’m right about Prowl’s motivations (and I could be very wrong) it appears Prowl never just straight-up told Tumbler how he felt. I guess for someone as emotionally repressed as he is, that would be a difficult conversation to have.
Of course, as we see a little later, Tumbler/Chromedome takes Prowl’s 'abandonment’ personally (although given that this story is told in retrospect, and from Chromedome’s point of view, it implies CD must now know the truth about what Prowl’s intentions back then.) And I can’t help but wonder - if Prowl had been open about his feelings instead of 'helping’ him from behind the scenes, would Tumbler have reacted differently?
sometimes I’m struck by just how big an influence Megatron must have been for Orion Pax. And how similarly they saw the world, with all its injustices and imbalances. It’s methodology that drove them apart - and even with all of the fighting and war and mutual antipathy I can’t help but think there’s a part of Pax that still feels as though he owes Megatron a great debt.
I often think that Drift and Magnus sort of represent very opposing forces in Rodimus’s life. Drift is the positive influence, the ‘yes-man’: he’s there to support Rodimus and, I think, to nurture his ego to some extent. In contrast, Magnus is almost Rodimus’s conscience. He’s there to drag Roddy down to earth when he needs it, to keep his ego in check when it gets out of control.
And I think this panel is a great illustration of that: when Magnus doesn’t give Rodimus the answer he wants, nor provide a salve for his conscience, Rodimus turns immediately to Drift.