From the fine folks at IDW Publishing we have a preview of Autocracy #5, their digital format comic. Enjoy the preview below.
Transformers: Autocracy #5
Chris Metzen, Flint Dille (w) • Livio Ramondelli (a)
12 CHAPTER DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE SERIES! THE HUNT IS ON! ORION PAX's strike team follows he trail of a young rebel into the ancient ACROPLEX! But what they find there is more than a single dissident—it's a secret that will shake CYBERTRON to the core!
Here it is – the issue we have been waiting for, and it does not disappoint. Having been captured by Starscream in an attempt to stop Soundwave escaping with knowledge of Zeta Prime's new weapon, Orion Pax is brought before Megatron and he is every bit as intimidating as you would expect him to be. Sitting like an emperor on his throne, basking in the attentions of his servants, Ramondelli’s Megatron reveal is a delicate balance between his ancient-era tank style altmode and his traditional G1 form, instantly recognisable and utterly menacing, and the conversation he has with Orion in the bar is certainly the same.
But let’s not overlook Metzen and Dille’s smaller details. The initial panel of the local citizen pledging himself to Megatron’s cause, the vandalised Autobot symbol on the wall and the terrified bartender taking cover during Pax and his team's escape keep the mood dark, Nyon no longer belongs to the Autobots. Small details such as this are vital to the setting of the scene for what’s to come and an indication of how things must get worse before they can get better, and the follow up with Zeta Prime is no different.
A sneak peek at the 3D glasses for Transformers 4?
Megatron’s decision to allow the fleeing Autobots to escape is the key point in this story. Having planted the seed of insurrection in Orion’s head, he allows him to take what he has learned to Zeta himself, where the comic takes on a different tone altogether. We have already discussed that this Prime is a dictator – he rules the planet and will retain his grip by any means, as Swindle well knows from issue 2. Unsurprising then, is his treatment of Pax in his debriefing, critical and dismissive, unaccepting of excuses and unwilling to have his decisions questioned -- this is a leader set up for a fall, unlike Megatron who is set up as a potential victor.
This guy is just up in everyone's grill today.
Offering Pax and his crew one last chance, Zeta hands them a final mission: to return to Nyon to make an example of an insurgent whom readers will instantly recognise. The question is, will Orion's loyalty to the Autobots really stand up to this test?
Diving straight back into the action, issue 3 of Transformers Autocracy follows immediately on from Soundwave's escape from the Iacon senate security meeting. Zeta Prime, having unveiled his new ‘weapon’ now orders Orion Pax and his elite team of Bumblebee, Hound, Prowl, Ironhide and Silverbolt to track down and stop the escaping spy, setting up an epic chase and an exploration of Soundwave’s capabilities that IDW have woefully ignored in their time in charge of this franchise.
"Transform and um ...hover out!"
Again the art and lighting is of the highest standard, you still feel as though you are remembering these images from eons ago, but there is a trade off for the stunning visuals as some of the action shots seem to lack clarity. The fight between Bumblebee, Hound and Ravage is over quickly but without Silverbolt's narration, it would difficult to tell exactly what happened at the end, although the other cassettes used are a bit clearer, and a special mention should be made of the sound effect lettering by Robbie Robbins which adds to both the tension and narrative allowing the various crashes, bangs and explosions to entertain in the background and actually enhance the art.
I CAN HAS ELECTROCUTION?
This is the sort of episode where the writing steps up, Soundwave fleeing for his life masterfully using his cassette army as a defensive strategy, and the interchange between Soundwave and Frenzy is fitting and well written by Metzen and Dille and they squeeze a great deal into a limited space, especially with the twist at the end. Soundwave's fight with Orion himself is intense and every bit as brutal as the signature of this series, not afraid to show a little mech-on-mech violence and it makes this darker comic an engrossing read, and the teasers of other well known Decepticons on the last page all add to this cliff-hanger of an ending.
Pax just loves those hard-hitting beats.
Those in the know will have an idea of what to expect from issue 4, and this polished showcase of one of the Decepticons' best known lieutenants abilities just further emphasises what Orion and his band are up against from both sides.
How will our heroes get out of this one?
Catching up on those issues that may have passed you buy before the 5th issue come out next week, Seibertron.com brings you our reviews of the Transformers Autocracy e-series so far.
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 city of Gotham Iacon never sleeps.
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.
Zeta Prime has been interrupted! I, Starscream, am now your new leader!
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.
...and will probably steal your boots when it's finished.
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.
The two sides of the Autobots, the light side and the dark... oh.
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?
For those of you who read our review of the first issue of RID, you’ll know that this is the more serious and in-depth of the two current Transformers stories. This tale of intrigue and political machinations based firmly on Cybertron initially lacked the pace of its sister publication and looked to take itself too seriously for some readers. In this second issue the dark tone of the series remains but the pace has, thankfully, very much increased.
Friends, Cybertronains, countrymen, lend me your horns...
Recapping the final actions of the first book – the death of Horri-Bull – this time from the Decepticons point of view, this story starts to build its momentum in a glorious 2-page spread which is a rogues gallery of tertiary colours and a great way for Andrew Griffith to showcase his designs, iconic and crisp, and a balance of the more detailed styles that have been prevalent in the comics since the big screen movies forced upon us that 'flexible metal skin' just isn’t acceptable these days. The various Constructicons, and Shockwave especially, stand out as hybrids of the old and new styles that work, but it is a style that doesn’t flatter everyone as Starscreams cluttered design will take some getting used to whilst a pivotal moment at the end is almost spoiled by some inexplicably awful character design on what is an iconic fan-loved character that really hasn't survived the transition to IDW very well.
¿sıɥʇ ǝʞıן ʞooן ǝnboןɐıp sʇɐqʇɐɹ ʇ,upןnoɥs
John Barber keeps the intricacies of the story enjoyable, exploring the strain and distrust within the Autobot ranks towards the ‘pacified’ Decepticons, and brings out a side of Bumblebee that we haven’t really seen before, shown in his treatment of Starscream – an interesting role reversal from the days of old - an obvious indication that the pressures of command really do change a man. With this, and the staple internal struggle for power within the Decepticons themselves, one begins to see the depth of the writing within this book and can almost see the countdown to a return to civil war being the biggest enemy here.
Metalhawk, don't be a dick.
Again, this is not a light hearted read. Character banter is minimal and the narration is complicated and twisting, but the slow burning story from last month is definitely beginning to gain momentum. Can the Autobots gain the trust of the Metalhawk and the NAILS, how will the Decepticons respond to Starscream and Ratbats power struggle and, as the comic ends in an assassination attempt and another high profile death, how are Barber and Griffith going to top this?
I think we'd all prefer he just shot Metalhawk...
For those who like a more grown up theme to their alien space robots, Robots In Disguise is turning out to be a weighty political thriller with the stage being set for what the Decepticons do best which may not work for the casual fan, but for those looking for a bit of meat in a story, this is a very palatable entrée.
Lets see Metalhawk do that!
I would really not want to be Bumblebee right now.
Seibertron.com member optibotimus has posted a few quick in-hand images of Transformers Prime "Robots in Disguise" Deluxe Ratchet. The images include Ratechet with the rest of the Autobot crew, the team is finally complete! Check out his images below.
Update: For those of you who enjoy video reviews optibotimus has posted that as well.
Blu-ray.com has reviewed the soon to be released Transformers Prime: Season One Blur-ray. Click here to read their full review, we've posted a few excerpts and images below as well as a couple of new promos that we received directly from Shout! Factory. Transformers Prime: Season One Blu-ray is scheduled to release on March 6th. You can pre-order Transformers Prime: Season One [Limited Edition] on Blu-ray and DVD.
Transformers Prime: Season One's 1080p transfer isn't all that consistently pretty. Certainly, there are moments when the animation sparkles, but aside from its flatness, there are some technical bugaboos that drag it down considerably. First, the image is greatly hindered by what is oftentimes intense banding. Huge chunks of the image often suffer through terrible bouts, with entire backgrounds sometimes reduced to large masses of bands of poor color transitions. Unfortunately, many a line are jagged, and aliasing appears with some frequency, too. As noted, the animation is naturally flat and often looks to have a plastic-like texture to it. There's no real flow on anything but the Transformers themselves; human hair and clothes offer no real movement or textures. Such elements are very much flat and stiff, but that's inherent to the original elements, not a fault of the Blu-ray transfer. On the flip side, those Transformers can look quite good in close-ups; the digital artists have taken the time to create some fairly complex elements within eyes, faces, various exposed gears, and the like. Their metallic exteriors are scratched, dented, dirty, and generally well-abused, but that's mostly the extent of fine detailing. Colors, likewise, are very flat and lack much range outside of basic shades. The yellows, reds, greens, whites, and blues that make up the Autobots are bright but monochromatic. The Decepticons are a bit colder, favoring rather flat shades of purple and gray. It's all relatively simple, but it's that intense banding, frequent jaggies, and occasional aliasing that really hurt this one. The banding is nothing short of an eyesore, so audiences sensitive to that might want to rent before committing to a purchase.
Audio Commentaries: "Darkness Rising, Part 1": Executive Producer Jeff Kline, Hasbro Studios Developer Mike Vogel, Animation Producer Therese Trujillo, and Art Director David Hartman; "Darkness Rising, Part 2": Jeff Kline, Mike Vogel, Therese Trujillo, and David Hartman; "Darkness Rising: Part 3": Hasbro Studios Executive Director Brian Lenard, Actors Tania Gunadi and Ernie Hudson, and Art Director José Lopez; "Darkness Rising, Part 4": Brian Lenard, Tania Gunadi, Ernie Hudson, and José Lopez; "Darkness Rising, Part 5": Composer Brian Tyler; "Masters and Students": Production Manager Mathias Dougherty, Animatic Artist Meghan Burleson, and Production Assistants Nathan Johnson and Jacob Rivera; "Scrapheap": Production Manager Sonya Park, Production Coordinator Meredith Rogers, Production Assistant Kathy Cavanaugh, and Post Supervisor Austin Block.
Audio Commentaries: "Convoy": Actor Peter Cullen, President of Hasbro Studios Steve Davis, and Producer Rafi Ruthchild; "Predatory": Director Todd Waterman and Actors Sumalee Montano and Josh Keaton.
Audio Commentary: "Shadowzone": Supervising Director David Hartman, Actor Andy Pessoa, Editor Mike Miles, and Bumblebee.
Audio Commentaries: "Stronger, Faster": Actor Jeffrey Combs, Writer Mairghread Scott, and Director Shaunt Nigoghossian; "One Shall Fall": Writers Joseph Kuhr and Nicole Dubuc, Director Vinton Heuck, and Character Designer/Prop Designer/Colorist Augusto Barranco; "One Shall Rise, Part 1": Nicole Dubuc, Jospeh Kuhr, Vinton Heuck, and Augusto Barranco; "One Shall Rise, Part 2": Supervising Producer/Head Writer Duane Capizzi, Staff Writer Marsha Griffin, Supervising Color Designer Christophe Vacher, and Background Design Supervisor Vince Toyama; "One Shall Rise, Part 3": Duane Capizi, Staff Writer Steven Melching, Christophe Vacher, and Vince Toyama.
Making-Of Transformers: Prime (1080p, 11:02): An all-too-brief look at the creation of the show, beginning with a look back at the older franchises and moving on to examine the presentation for a new generation, the voice acting, the Transformer cast, the human characters, and the animation.
Toy Featurette (1080p, 16:31): A look at continuing with Transformers lore, creating new characters, characters who didn't make the cut, toy design, and the characters the crew would like to see in the show.
Season 2 Teaser (1080p, 0:20).
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