Orion Pax/Optimus Prime returns to the comics! (well, aside from being in 'Autocracy')Backtrack: Deciding to leave after the events of CHAOS and the rebirth of Cybertron, Optimus Prime attempted to remove himself from the situation. With Megatron gone, and the Decepticons defeated, Optimus felt his presence was causing more harm than good. Returning to his given name, Orion Pax, he bled a trail to parts of the galaxy yet unknown to us, hoping that the removal of his presence would help Bumblebee and the Autobots to be able to create peace.
Now: Six months later (our time), he makes his return. Having Optimus Prime back seemed to create the expectation, the feeling within me that all will be well now. However, don’t assume having him back means he’s back on Cybertron, as you can see from the preview, he’s not. Bumblebee will have to work out his own problems there... for the time being.
The story in this issue has been written with some interesting reveals, and surprises. It steps away from the conflict that Bumblebee, Prowl, and the other Autobots find themselves in on Cybertron, and moves us across the galaxy to follow Wheelie
, and Hardhead
(a very unlikely trio), as they protect and remove a particularly dangerous piece of cargo from Cybertron. I know, it seems like an uninteresting crew, bland and dull, but ‘the cargo’.... there’s the catch
When I read this first part of the issue, I was thinking to myself, no way, no way, they have Megatron in tow. But part of me was excited thinking it could be him, why else would Optimus need to be called upon again?
Fortunately, the writers created an answer to this that is more complicated than my idea was, and perhaps even more dangerous, and interesting.
Because 'the cargo' they are carrying is having a ‘reaction’ to events happening to a long dead and destroyed Shockwave seeded world (yes, that means Ore-13 could be involved) called Arduria, Hardhead, and Wheelie call upon Optimus Prime for his wisdom, and his leadership to help them to know what to do with ‘the cargo’, now that it is reacting as it is. Optimus would seem to be the only one available to observe and then ascertain, and carry out the next step.
Because of the danger of ‘the cargo’ (psst...it is a Transformer), Optimus Prime travels with the trio to the origin of the Ardurian signal causing all this CRAZY hubbub. Here they find much more than what they were looking for, a trap, a clue, and some very dangerous Decepticons who haven’t made an appearance in quite some time.
Picking up a few loose threads from IDW’s earliest Transformers series (‘-tion’s, Stormbringer, and many a characters’ Spotlight issues), this issue and those following promise to add more depth to some of those threads that we have been wanting some resolution to since, well, when they happened, and were not really resolved in ‘Revelation’.
At least 3 Decepticons (somebody’s fan favorite I am sure) make their return. The ramifications of their return, not quite revealed by the end of the issue. But that’s why it’s a multi-parter.
The story reads well, offers many points for readers to use clues, and make their own guesses before certain revelations happen, like the mystery cargo, the signal, and who springs the trap, what’s in the ice and rock (gestalt!)...
I found this to be a really needed change of pace for the Robots in Disguise series which to me, has grown somewhat stale. While the events on Cybertron have led to quite a few interesting conflicts of ideals, and really have started to give great depth to the characters involved, this issue offers a different focus, while still related to the events occurring on Cybertron. It feels like a much needed break.
It’s nice that the change of setting and story focus includes a very different art style to go with it. Livio Ramondelli returns to the printed comics after his successful run on the online Transformer comic ‘Autocracy’ to lend his skills to the telling of this arc. Reminiscent of the way IDW used Ramondelli and other artists to tell the two different pieces happening in Ongoing, the re-use of this strategy, giving regular artist Andrew Griffith a break, seemed effectively used to me. While part of me begs to see some of the characters done in a more ‘traditional’ style, ‘Autocracy’ gave me much needed confidence in Livio’s skills to create a fantastic, dark setting. I wish his character details stood out more, but his panel work usually does a very nice job telling the story.Don’t stop reading just because Optimus is back.
It’s not the same ol’ same ol’ (yet anyway). The action, and the payoff for longtime readers really make this issue a fun read. I’m already excited and can’t wait for the follow up issues. Hopefully, the creators pay off the interesting plot which has been started here, and don’t just give us more loose story pieces to wonder about.
Check out the preview pages here
, if you need more convincing to read this for yourself.
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