CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Autocracy #12
Reviewed by Red Dave Prime
We get the biggest nod to the animated movie in the climactic sequence between Prime, Megatron and Hot Rod – only this time, Hot Rod's distraction works out in the Autobots' favour.
Prime suggests that Hot Rod may one day be a Prime (a Rodimus Prime if you will). Hot Rod will indeed hold the Matrix for a short period – but not as an official Prime.
When Prowl is left in the room with all of Zeta Prime's now-illegal weaponry, we don’t really believe he is going to follow Prime's orders and destroy all those toys. Do We?
Slinger reappears at the end and indicates that the survivors of Nyon will become the new chroniclers of the planets history. He will also re-appear as part of the Grand Convocation in Monstrosity.
It’s not clear in their very brief exchange if Optimus and Windcharger remember each other from the events of Shadowplay.
The Dynobots' appearance here somewhat contradicts their appearance in Monstrosity. Considering they gained their monster curse during one of Zeta’s last mission, they don’t seem too affected here. If this is set before that final mission (which wouldn’t make sense) Skar should still be in the group. Also, Grimlock is speaking in the more cartoon friendly version (he speaks as normal in Monstrosity).
“Courage won’t shield us from that thing!” – Bumblebee fears that all the positive thinking in the world isn’t going to stop the Vamparc annihilator.
“These guns of death are an affront to those who forged this world – they shall be silenced” – so says the massively armoured Metroplex.
“You cannot harm me little tyrant” – Size matters.
“One shall stand, one shall fall” – Animated Movie reference #1
“Working together we can heal the wounds that have divided our people” – Seems even at the end, Optimus believed there was good in Megatron.
“No Ya don’t Megatron” – Animated Movie reference #2
“Out of the way Hot Rod!” – Animated Movie Reference #3
“You just started a war the likes of which this world has never seen” – Anim… no wait, they did have different scripts!
“Til all are one” – ah drat…
Autocracy concludes its run with a rather grand scale battle, fought between the forces of Optimus Prime and Megatron and featuring an ending that is far too close to the most famous scene in the animated movie to be taken seriously. There’s giving something a nod and then there’s just over-indulging your inner fan boy.
If there’s a feeling that issue 12 is re-threading old ground it’s not just because of the Megs-Prime battle. We’ve already had a storming of the citadel in issue 8 – and it was a more exciting one too. Here, the Autobots walk (I am assuming symbolically) down a single large street, hoping the decepticons run out of bullets and bombs before they run out of bodies. Did they not notice how few casualties they suffered when they used more sensible tactics 4 issues ago?
Despite having a big battle, this issue feels a little flat. The overpowered Metroplex simply swats off the Vamparc Annihilators blast and rips the citadel apart. If that was the case, why not start with that tactic? As it is, the battle lacks drama and dynamics, but mostly it lacks any real personal conflicts other than Prime v Megs. I always like when a big battle has a few smaller rivalries play out, but to be fair 8 pages doesn’t give you a lot of space to play around.
All this means that despite an intriguing enough start, Autocracy ends with less of a bang and more of a fizzle. We’ve had some good stuff but the main premise of how the Decepticons rallied against the corrupt forces of the ruling Autobots only to reveal themselves as far worse is swept into the background far too quickly in favour of Optimus vs. Megatron. Zeta should have been the main antagonist and he was written well but I guess the writers only wanted to play with their favourite toys. It’s a problem that plagues the series as we see so many familiar faces. LSOTW shows how having lesser names can work just as well, if not better at helping creating a feeling of gravity to proceedings but we don’t get that here. The outcome is well known but the journey is also too straight ahead to be memorable. Generally the good guys always win in this kind of things but we get no great twists in the tale, no great sacrifice. Metroplex waltzes in so easily at the end that we don’t even feel that things may not work out.
As an experiment in digital distribution, Autocracy is ok. Some parts work from the shorter page count, while other issues simply thread water. As a TPB it’s ok. Livio’s art is a big draw for me but if that doesn’t appeal to you then you could happily skip this. There’s no great revelation or shocking truth within its 96 pages to make it required reading. Indeed Costa and Roberts made the past a lot more interesting in the conversation between Megatron and Optimus in Chaos Theory than it turns out to have been.