Short, punchy and brutal is a good way to describe this second issue of the web-only mini-comic released as a background to the two current ongoing arcs. From the outset it was clear that this series was structured to be different to the other comics being planned, not least the format, but the very distinctive artwork is what will set this apart.
The Livio Ramondelli designs are very different to most of what we have seen before. Drawn as if they are a hazy memory from our childhood, he creates a richer Cybertron that has a more organic feel to it, and whilst his use of lighting to set a darker tone for this story may not be everyone’s cup of tea you cannot deny it sets a visually stunning scene in a world set after Megatron: Origin, deep under the threat of terrorism and civil unrest.
Last issue he and the writers, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille, introduced Orion Pax and his team of well known heroes capturing a Decepticon terrorist, but losing the trust of the citizens of Nyon, and now the action moves to Zeta Prime and his senate for a very different type of battle. Again the lighting floods the comic with atmosphere as Zeta is shown to be a harsh dictator, using the captured Swindle as a power source for a new weapon, facing down Starscream and brushing the ‘humanitarian’ concerns of the remaining senators aside in favour of a war-like totalitarian strategy, clearly being depicted as the evil the Decepticons are standing against, whilst elsewhere our hero Orion trains away his frustration and anger at his leader's and faction's perceived failings.
This issue helps to further flesh out the backdrop of Cybertron, a leadership in crisis and its increasing desperation to regain control and whilst not as action filled as the first issue it answers some of the questions raised from the last issue and poses a few more about who the Autobots are and what their part in the outbreak of the war will be.
A visual feast for those who like to read at their screen, Autocracy issue 2 of 12 is online now and is a must for those who have an interest in Cybertron’s past and want to know, just where did it all go so wrong?