The official Transformers facebook page
has shared this week's Creator Commentary, which takes a look at the first five pages of Transformers Spotlight: Orion Pax
with writer James Roberts. We've mirrored the commentary below for those without facebook access.
PAGE 1- Orion Pax, tied to a rocket, is heading towards a city. What was the main motivation for telling this story at this point in Pax’s life?
JAMES ROBERTS: If you mean “this point” as in “this precise moment,” simple: it’s exciting! Nothing like starting off a book with a cliffhanger.
Also… this story takes place after “Chaos Theory” and “Shadowplay” [two James Roberts-written stories that ran in TRANSFORMERS #22-23 and TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE #9-11, both featuring Orion Pax as a main character] (not that you need to have read those two stories to enjoy this one). To date, while we’ve seen Pax get sucked into adventures, it’s always seemed as if he’s been sidetracked – like all the political shenanigans are a diversion from his day to day job as the Cybertronian equivalent of a police captain. With this SPOTLIGHT issue we jump forward in time a little, and by joining Pax as he’s strapped to a rocket stuck in a death-dive, we hopefully that he’s moving away from his old life and into the role of fully-fledged freedom-fighting action hero.
PAGE 2- Orion is given a new body by Wheeljack, now appearing as he did in SPOTLIGHT: BLURR. Was this a continuity issue you wanted to fix; since Pax has appeared in a different body in other issues set in the past?
JAMES ROBERTS: Sometimes, what appears to be quite a complex continuity problem can be fixed easily and simply. I think this is one of those times.
PAGE 3- Orion is told by Rung and others of possible issues that could arise from getting his new body. And he meets Zeta Prime. This meeting of the Primes—was this pre-planned or something you thought up just for this story?
JAMES ROBERTS: Well, you’ll notice that he’s not meeting Zeta Prime for the first time – he met him as Zeta at the end of a previous story (in MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE issue #11 – check it out, folks!). Having Orion Pax talk to Zeta after he’s become a Prime serves to show that time has passed and that their relationship has deepened. You can see that Pax is in awe of Zeta; he’s very loyal to him. I wanted to convey the depth of their relationship here – or, more specifically, the extent to which Pax trusts Zeta to repair the damage caused by the Cybertronian Senate – because in later stories (TRANSFORMERS: AUTOCRACY), Zeta is behaving irresponsibly – pretty abominably, actually – and yet Pax is slow to stand against him. In this story I suggest a reason for that, namely that he had such high hopes for him.
But enough with the past and future stories! SPOTLIGHT: ORION PAX is absolutely designed to read as a standalone story: a freewheeling, guns-blazing, bad-guy-bashing thrill ride starring the greatest Autobot of all! You need not have read anything else featuring Pax to enjoy this.
PAGE 4- Orion is briefed on his mission, a prisoner exchange with the Decepticons. Having done so much with his past already, how much more have you got worked out in the history of the ’bot who will become Optimus Prime?
JAMES ROBERTS: I intend to continue operating in the space between “Shadowplay” and MEGATRON: ORIGIN, building up supporting characters and staging some famous first encounters between characters. If all goes to plan, there’ll be another pre-war story in the next 18 months.
PAGE 5- Orion meets Alpha Trion for the first time. Is writing for Trion something that’s been burning in your mind for a while?
JAMES ROBERTS: To be honest, no. Until this story I’d never really known how to approach to character. Then I decided to hone in on the part of his personality – the preachy, pious, smarter-than-thou characteristics – that would make certain characters want to punch him. Once I made up mind about that, he was fun to write. In fact, I’d quite like to see him turn up on the Lost Light in MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE…