New Cybertron Part 1: To Walk Among the Chosen
I need to admit something. I am a very spoiled fan of Transformers and for a very good reason. The franchise has a solid lore and a very expansive universe that can be extended and explored again and again. As a Transformers fan as well, I know everyone reveres Optimus Prime for being the badass cool good guy that he is. IDW’s newest entry into the saga of the great Autobot leader, Optimus Prime #1, is both a look into his past and to the future he’s creating, and what it entails for him as someone caught in-between.
We go back in the past through Optimus Prime’s eyes, talking about his time before becoming a Prime as Orion Pax. Like TV series Gotham’s James Gordon, he was a good cop unable to do anything but tolerate the violence and corruption within the bowels of the Cybertron leadership and its police. His naïve outlook on his colleagues has cost a few lives. This continued on and on until he realized that being good and making sure change is done for the good are two things that might not align with each other sometimes.
Fast forward to a newly annexed Earth, making it Cybertron’s 13th colony and an equal partner; Optimus did the annexation to make sure that he can protect its citizens from harm’s way. Earth as it is doesn’t want any part of it, however noble the Autobot leader’s intent may be. While he’s straightening out issues with the people of Earth, an alien spaceship has dropped at the Alps, signaling that the human world has no choice but to be one with the cosmic alliance.
IDW’s art is nostalgic and beautiful, especially having Kei Zama’s hands taking care of these details. The style reminds me of older Transfomers comic books when I was younger, and the story is something to behold. It’s the start of a brand new future for the Earth with the Cybertron’s denizens not as an outsider force that simple inhabits the Earth but as its protectors from an upcoming armada targeting its sights into an energy rich world that is ripe for the picking.
John Barber’s story is a tease into the series for both established fans and the new fans of the franchise. He has tapped a story that talks about a divided past and trying to push for a united future, not just for the people of Earth but the Cybertron citizens as well. It evokes a parallel between old Cybertron and the nations of Earth, something that has lacked for the decades that Transformers has run its course. We were always given note that Cybertron and its people were superior in every way to the people of Earth, but now they are in some way “humanized” , for us to understand that the Cybertronians have the same plights as us.
It’s interesting to see that Optimus is not with his usual Autobot teammates but with a ragtag bunch of outsiders from different teams and colonies. This allows the story to pan outside everyone accepting that Optimus’ orders are supreme. I’m excited to see what’s in store for this story and how it pans out from here on out. I want to see a threat above anything Prime has ever encountered. Something smart, calculating and destructive, and I think we’re going to get that here.