And this is the #1 reason I used Hound with the main cast of this story. When I saw that Hound was getting an updated toy I knew he would get an upgrade in the comic in some shape or form, even if Cliffjumper and Hot Shot didn’t. In fact, for a time I even considered taking Hound out of the commentary trio and adding him into the main cast permanently. I had plenty of time to think about it since there was a good six months or so between the time they announced the new Hound toy and when it was actually released, but it was one of the decisions I wrestled with for a really long time. I eventually decided removing Hound from the bookend panel would be far too big a shakeup and it would never feel right to me. However, I still wanted Optimus to offer Hound the job. Turning it down seemed like the thing Hound would do anyway so it worked out great overall.
I tried explaining the lag time between the events in the actual story and the commentary panel here, but even then it didn’t work very well since Cliffjumper interrupted the main comic just a few panels earlier.