Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Transformers: Autocracy #1

I was intrigued by IDW’s Autocracy project. Basically, the company is putting out a half-length Transformers comic every other week, but only charging 99 cents for it. Chris Metzen and Flint Dille are new names to me, but after taking a quick look at some preview pages, I decided I could shell out two or three bucks for the first couple issues.

It’s pretty good! The series takes place back on Cybertron, when Optimus Prime was still Orion Pax. Orion is an idealistic cop working for the status quo-loving Autobots. The Decepticons are basically anarchist freedom-fighters. It takes some getting used to seeing Orion/Optimus bully people around, but it does seem like his heart is in the right place. And while the Decepticons are trying to take down the Autobot ruling class, they definitely aren’t good guys. (Hot Rod is another freedom-fighter, though! And we know he ends up as a good guy.) It is a neat twist seeing our heroes supporting what is clearly an evil regime. Nothing her ruins the characters, but it adds a nice level of back-story.

The book keeps its focus squarely on Orion, but he does have a small squad of familiar faces surrounding him. Prowl, Iron Hide, Bumblebee, and Hound back up Orion on the ground, while Silverbolt soars overhead providing air-support. The Decepticons are all the regulars: Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, and the tapes. Some Omega Supreme predecessors show up around issue 5 too.

I’m only halfway through, but I really like this format and delivery system. I’m much more likely to splurge on a 99 cent comic than a $3.99 one, and to be honest, these issues don’t feel that short. There are so many ads in the back of the IDW Transformers comics, this feels pretty close to the same length!

Livio Ramondelli handles the art, and he’s good. This has got that painted feel that some Transformers artists use, where things look almost European. I’d almost say it looks as if Gabrielle Del ‘Otto was drawing Cybertron, that’s the feel of the book. It’s always neat seeing the “old” Cybertron forms for the bots too. I do like the design of the current Prime; he’s suspicious right off the bat!


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