Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23

Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 8:00am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 20,066

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Unicorns on Eart
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
The battle against Unicron forces Optimus Prime's colonist soldiers to contend with a brutal reality-they have no homes to return to. But when they make a move against Trypticon, the human-controlled home of the next generation of Cybertronians... can the end be far behind?

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
always the same story, no?


Story
In what has finally become a parallel story being told between the Unicron mini-series and the Optimus Prime ongoing, we reach the splitting point in the latter, as the former makes its appearance on Earth - but the shadow of Optimus Prime's presence and legacy takes priority in terms of 'how bad the situation actually is for everyone involved'.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
you want chaos? we got it


Working multiple points of view into one coalesced synthesis was an extremely ambitious narrative choice on John Barber's behalf, and I enjoyed looking at both all of them in their individual stories, and as a the final bringing together in the final acts of the book itself - but there was something a little too cacophonous about how it was executed, that can border on confusing.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
Rum-Maj is still the best


That said though, once you put the potential frustration aside, and maybe give the whole thing a second read (with Unicron #4 also at hand), the added layer of perspective over Cybertronian history, its imperial, colonising past, the politics at play that Barber has never shied away from in all of his Transformers books, is a juicy reward.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
..oof


Particular standouts for the issue, and about time for one of them too, are Slide and her pent up anger towards Optimus Prime, Rum-Maj and her majestic spiky self, Slug and his existence as Dinobot grunt, and - going back to some very very very early stories told about the entire Earth/Transformers stories - Jazz, and his sense of responsibility for just about anything he can, it seems.


Art

For this one issue, we get to see the return of Priscilla Tramontano as line artist, with her rounder style that perfectly fits the story of Devisiun told in flashbacks (though may not fully work on Trypticon, in two panels), and some surprisingly sharp, pointed, and poignant depictions of the anger, anguish and visceral confusion that the entire Unicron element brings to an already taut cast of characters. Slide and Slug in particular have some really touching moments.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
One of said moments


Once more, the visual continuity support that Josh Burcham can bring to the pages of this series cannot and does not cease to impress me, as we have a very different line art style from the artists seen so far. In addition, we also get some of the very interestingly multichromatic excitement that we saw in Sins of the Wreckers, in the opening flashback of the issue, and what it does with the tone is nothing short of marvelous.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
fluffy and mournful


Tom B Long and Curtis Fandango are hard at work on this issue, as it requires more narrative captions than ever a regular Barber script would need at its usual capacity - but the work pays off in some key moments preceding even key-er moments-er (?), and the final page, with the added font effects in some of the harder contrasts.

In terms of covers, you can find all three (admittedly two, given the Kei Zama retailer incentive in black and white lineart) in full size in our entry, though the Tramontano cover is the one taking the spotlight in the thumbnail, as it bears quite heavily on the story in the book itself.

Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead
This is a seriously poignant issue, part of an ambitious series that takes its titular character to the very extremes of its definition, blurrs the edges, and smudges the entirety of its name and legacy - with reason. As an issue, it's one of the most successful in doing so, though at times frustratingly confusing by choosing to focus on the multiple stories overshadowed by Optimus' legacy so far.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23
The captions in the story pack the punch


That may get in the way of some readers' enjoyment of the amount of effort and work going into this, but give it the time to settle (and a second read at least): the pay off, I found, was extremely rewarding, and I'm still poring over some of the (social) ramifications of this narrative. As an added bonus, too, we're finally, utterly concurrent with Unicron series, meaning that the book can be read both before and after issue #4 of the series, also out this week, without spoiling either!

. :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: - out of :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON:


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Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1982448)
Posted by Sunstar on September 5th, 2018 @ 4:28pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:Ouch, IDW has not been kind to Optimus... Good! This take on him as given him the three dimensional take on his character that he sorely needed.


I do like this, because I grow weary of the goody goody two shoes he is usually portrayed as.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1982456)
Posted by Black Bumblebee on September 5th, 2018 @ 5:09pm CDT
The art killed it for me in this issue--the humans looked far too cartoony. Marissa, especially, looked like a teenage girl.

Past that, I can appreciate what they were trying to do, giving all the characters perspectives... but if I have to be honest with myself, I don't really care. If Oiler gets stepped on, I'd probably cheer.

There's a giant monster planet headed their way... get with the program, folks.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1982615)
Posted by budmaloney on September 6th, 2018 @ 9:44am CDT
I have to be honest here. I have no idea what is going on. Somethings don't make sense to me at all. What is exactly Shockwave's plan? It got so confusing.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1982622)
Posted by ZeroWolf on September 6th, 2018 @ 10:02am CDT
budmaloney wrote:I have to be honest here. I have no idea what is going on. Somethings don't make sense to me at all. What is exactly Shockwave's plan? It got so confusing.

In a nutshell:

1) poison the energon of Cybertron
2) unicron eats Cybertron
3) unicron dies
4) shockwave (as onyx prime) takes over galaxy with maximal army.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1982635)
Posted by TF-fan kev777 on September 6th, 2018 @ 11:14am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:
budmaloney wrote:I have to be honest here. I have no idea what is going on. Somethings don't make sense to me at all. What is exactly Shockwave's plan? It got so confusing.

In a nutshell:

1) poison the energon of Cybertron
2) unicron eats Cybertron
3) unicron dies
4) shockwave (as onyx prime) takes over galaxy with maximal army.


I think you missed a few steps
5) steal all the underwear
6) ???
7) profits

Or maybe I'm mixing up some other story...
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1982701)
Posted by budmaloney on September 6th, 2018 @ 4:38pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:
budmaloney wrote:I have to be honest here. I have no idea what is going on. Somethings don't make sense to me at all. What is exactly Shockwave's plan? It got so confusing.

In a nutshell:

1) poison the energon of Cybertron
2) unicron eats Cybertron
3) unicron dies
4) shockwave (as onyx prime) takes over galaxy with maximal army.


Wasn't Shockwave attacking with Unicron? Or they were not allies?
Dang Shockwave is a beast.

TF-fan kev777 wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:
budmaloney wrote:I have to be honest here. I have no idea what is going on. Somethings don't make sense to me at all. What is exactly Shockwave's plan? It got so confusing.

In a nutshell:

1) poison the energon of Cybertron
2) unicron eats Cybertron
3) unicron dies
4) shockwave (as onyx prime) takes over galaxy with maximal army.


I think you missed a few steps
5) steal all the underwear
6) ???
7) profits

Or maybe I'm mixing up some other story...


I knew it. that's the purpose of his spider tank mode in Cyberverse. It's a Yoga pose, and only underwear can be flexible enough to support that pose.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1988035)
Posted by Va'al on October 7th, 2018 @ 3:45am CDT
Initially shown during the IDW Publishing panel that took place at New York Comic Con 2018 this weekend, the cover for the final issue of ongoing Transformers comics series Optimus Prime - which is also the supposed last issue of the entire narrative universe, after Lost Light 25 and Unicron 6 - has been shared by colourist Josh Burcham on his Twitter account.

The art is by main series artist Kei Zama, and features a close up of the titular character, plus what seems to be every single major player in the series, from Pyra Magna and the Torchbearers, to the Constructicons, via Longtooth, Snarl, Trypticon, Aileron and Arcee, Bludgeon, DOC, the human contingent, the Mistress of Fire, Rum-Maj and Wreck-Gar, Sideswipe, Bumblebee, Alpha Trion, and more! Check it out below.


Til all are done[?]


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Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1988855)
Posted by Va'al on October 12th, 2018 @ 9:48am CDT
ScottyP noticed this on the Amazon listing for the OP TPB volume 4:

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We are a famous now!
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1988872)
Posted by snavej on October 12th, 2018 @ 11:40am CDT
Cover for #25 - Bob the domesticated Insecticon is front and centre! :lol:
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1988899)
Posted by Va'al on October 12th, 2018 @ 3:31pm CDT
As news hits of our very own reviews being scooped up by Amazon listing editorial reviews, we also have actual news for next week's upcoming penultimate issue of ongoing Transformers comics series from IDW Publishing, Optimus Prime #24.

The full preview can be first found on regular outlet source Adventures in Poor Taste! here, and the images are mirrored below with the blurb. Take a look, and join the conversation in the Energon Pub discussion board.

Plus: Trivia time, from ScottyP - In the opening pages, Thundercracker is working on a movie based on the (very good) IDW G.I. Joe: Cobra series by Mike Costa. It's not quite an accurate accounting of events, and this makes it a very, very funny page!

YOUTH IN REVOLT! As Unicron approaches, Optimus Prime’s colonist soldiers take matters into their own hands. With Autobot forces spread thin, will anybody stand in their way? And–more importantly–SHOULD anybody stop them?

Bullet points:

– Ties in to the Unicron event!
– Part of the summer of Transformers–all building up to the end of the universe as we know it!
– The penultimate issue before the conclusion you have to see to believe!
– Black & white variant cover by Kei Zama!


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Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1988977)
Posted by The Lonely Cracker on October 13th, 2018 @ 10:23am CDT
are they . . . trying to make Unicron a character? With feelings and motives?
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1989532)
Posted by Va'al on October 17th, 2018 @ 5:04am CDT
Let It Slide
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
YOUTH IN REVOLT! As Unicron approaches, Optimus Prime’s colonist soldiers take matters into their own hands. With Autobot forces spread thin, will anybody stand in their way? And–more importantly–SHOULD anybody stop them?

Image
that solicit feels more like last issue


Story
We continue, after a fashion, the almost parallel story being told between the Unicron mini-series and the Optimus Prime ongoing, after the latest events in the two series and the splitting up of the stories, as they reconnect in Unicron #5 - the review for which will follow this one, as the story does so in the books. But for OP? Read on below!

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brutal recap


The story, or rather stories, that are taking place in this one issue have seemingly little to do with the opening - very funny - scene with Thundercracker retelling events from the GI Joe books. I say seemingly, as the leitmotif of the TF universe has effectively been 'stories are just stories being told in different ways from different storytellers' - and that leads us into, finally, a conclusion to Slide's grief, anger and legitimate (but dragged out) resentment towards Optimus himself.

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FINALLY


This latter frame, while needed, can create some confusion on the overall book, as the subsequence of multiple perspective flashbacks and present time retelling of the flashbacks, with a shift into the actual present time actions that follow that retelling... Nonetheless, several of the cast members here, and it's an impressively enormous cast by now, get their character moment, even if just one line, one panel, one frame.

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This one's Snarl's


That said, there isn't ..that much happening in the issue overall, though some serious conversations and interactions take place. Which is, again, an odd choice, being so close to the end - with Unicron #5 and #6 continuing this story before we fall into the conclusive issue #25 - and that may not sit well with everyone still along for the final rush to the finish line, despite what good comes from the single moments - such as the final two pages.


Art

On art duties, we find both Andrew Griffith and Sara Pitre Durocher, working more or less in tandem on the different timeframes of the overall story: Griffith has a specific task with Thundercracker, of course, and SPD works particularly well with Jazz and Prowl scenes - but both deliver some excellent panelwork, and the multiple splash pages and spreads are a testimony to their skill, and the synchronicity of their collaboration.

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DOC MISSES BUSTER


Something that Josh Burcham's colouring work only seems to highlight, as on the first read - bar some obvious exceptions, such as the opening scenes - I wasn't entirely sure on which pages were done by which artist, and that is something the colours have been able to do for the entire series, just even more so here. And I am so very impressed.

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Your New Robot Monster Girlfriend


Tom B Long doesn't have an easy job of keeping track of the multiple time and story frames, but the story progresses nicely with his help too - and the captions, the colour coding of the stories being told in them, and their placement, ensure that readers are really on board with who's speaking at what moment, and why that matters. Because it does.

As for covers, you can find all three (admittedly two, given the Kei Zama retailer incentive in black and white lineart) in full size in our Vector Sigma Database entry, and the one found in the thumbnail is the Griffith / Joana Lafuente B Cover, with yet again the leitmotif in plain sight.

Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead
If you're looking for a big fight against Unicron, or even under Unicron at this stage, last issue is where you want to look for, as the breather - an odd choice of pacing for an ending series, admittedly - is what we find here. And it may not be John Barber's most political issue overall, but it has some of his most poignant reflections on the themes he's explored so far, from leadership, to community, to tyranny and fascism, via personal loss and anger.

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Till All Are ...oh


So even with the odd 'breather' pacing issues, I enjoyed the book - but more so on a second read, and I'm glad it's coming out close enough to Unicron #5 as we'd otherwise have too much space of not much happening in the same storyline across two books. Visually, the last Griffith page is magnificent, SPD's Prowl is brutal, and Stardrive is still as great and sharp as she is (/will be) in Unicron #5, with the full force of Prowl's influence on her after a long stint alone.

. :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: ½ out of :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON:
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1989601)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on October 17th, 2018 @ 6:27pm CDT
If I'm being honest, I just want Slide to go away. I've really not enjoyed her character at all, and I find myself grimacing when she's on panel.

I find myself the same way with Stardrive. After how she started, she's a bit too Prowl for me. I like Prowl as he is, but Stardrive as his protege doesn't really work for me.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1989643)
Posted by Black Bumblebee on October 17th, 2018 @ 11:54pm CDT
Can someone tell me why Prowl still has an injured eye? I mean... come on. Dude's like Rung can get their entire head replaced, and characters tend to get new bodies like folks get new sets of clothes. Why can't someone take a few moments and get him a new eye?

Yeah, I know... issue is about loss and fascism and all that stuff. Depression-rama. Our heroes suck, even when they're trying their best. I hope Oiler just gets squished soon.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1990692)
Posted by Daniel Adkins on October 24th, 2018 @ 12:43am CDT
Black Bumblebee wrote:Can someone tell me why Prowl still has an injured eye? I mean... come on. Dude's like Rung can get their entire head replaced, and characters tend to get new bodies like folks get new sets of clothes. Why can't someone take a few moments and get him a new eye?

Yeah, I know... issue is about loss and fascism and all that stuff. Depression-rama. Our heroes suck, even when they're trying their best. I hope Oiler just gets squished soon.

Oiler died a while ago. Slide is the one still around.

Also, the reason Prowl still doesn’t have his eye is because he’s supposed to mirror Shockwave at this point. That’s why he has the Vamparc Ribbon and is going off to face Shockwave in Unicron #5.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1991049)
Posted by ScottyP on October 25th, 2018 @ 6:48pm CDT
Black Bumblebee wrote:Can someone tell me why Prowl still has an injured eye? I mean... come on. Dude's like Rung can get their entire head replaced, and characters tend to get new bodies like folks get new sets of clothes. Why can't someone take a few moments and get him a new eye?
Prowl's just trying to be cool and edgy ;)

And about Rung, well, based on your post you're not caught up on Lost Light are you? There are reasons and I'll leave it at that!
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1994388)
Posted by Ironhidensh on November 17th, 2018 @ 7:42am CST
So..... this Wednesdays issue is it for the current IDWverse, isn't it?
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1994538)
Posted by william-james88 on November 18th, 2018 @ 7:47pm CST
The end of the current Transformers continuity over at IDW is upon us with its final chapter, Optimus Prime 25, coming out this week. The 5 page preview has been found on adventuresinpoortaste.com.

Of course, since this takes place after the finale of the Unicron mini series you may want to read that before looking below since this may spoil that book.

Optimus Prime #25

END OF THE ROAD! The battle is over. Heroes have fallen. Worlds have died. Now Optimus Prime faces his final ordeal–as past, present, and future collide. Who will stand with him? And when it’s all over, who will carry the mantle of “Prime?”

Bullet points:

– Extra-long final issue! Tying together and putting a bow on stories from the past 13 years!
– Ties in to the Unicron event!
– Part of the summer of Transformers–all building up to the end of the universe as we know it!
– Variant cover by Andrew Griffith!

Written by: John Barber
Art by: Kei Zama
Colors by: Casey W. Coller
Letters by: Tom B. Long
Cover A by: Kei Zama
Cover B by: Casey W. Coller
FC • 40 pages • $4.99
Release Date: November 21, 2018

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Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1994542)
Posted by BATTLEMASTER IIC on November 18th, 2018 @ 8:20pm CST
A ceremony that Thundercracker is involved in? I wonder if it's for a film he's been working on... Or if he's going to be naturalized as the first Cybertronian citizen of the United States :RUBSIGN:
Re: Review of IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #23 (1994551)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on November 18th, 2018 @ 9:08pm CST
Ironhidensh wrote:So..... this Wednesdays issue is it for the current IDWverse, isn't it?

Yep it is.

and I have some thoughts on the end here once his issue comes out, cause there is some stuff I really need to get off my chest about the end

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