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Red Dave Prime
2013-08-05, 07:11 PM
Transformers Autocracy #1
“Law & Disorder”

Published Date: January 2012
Written by: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Colours by: Livio Ramondelli
Edited by: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
Cover price: $0.99

Synopsis:

Arriving in the desolated city of Nyon, the newly rebuilt Orion Pax leads a squad of his most loyal Autobots on the hunt for the Decepticon, Swindle. While en-route, the squad discuss how things have changed and how the innocent are now considered guilty until proven otherwise.

Using a locator device attached to the Phase-chargers Swindle is trying to sell, the Autobots locate him as he is in discussion with a dissident cell leader. The Autobots storm the scene but encounter resistance from the dissidents. Swindle makes a break for it, but is cornered by the Autobots air support, Silverbolt. Orion Pax takes Swindle down before his laser blasts can hurt any innocent civilians, but his aggressive manner in dealing with the Decepticon causes panic in the watching civilians. Bumblebee intervenes in time to stop Pax from executing his prisoner, alerting Pax to the civilian presence. Before Pax can respond, an explosion erupts around the Autobots.

Luckily there are no causalities. Hound identifies the source of the explosion as being one of the stolen plasma chargers and Prowl spots a fleeing bot that he identifies as the bomber. Not looking to risk any further incident, Pax allows the bomber to escape. They load up Swindle and head back to the citadel – unaware that everything has been overseen by Laserbeak.

Characters featured [in rough order of appearance]:
Orion Pax, Hound, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Prowl, Swindle, Silverbolt, Laserbeak

Notes:

Autocracy is set during the initial stages of the war. Orion Pax has yet to become Optimus Prime and the Autobots are more of a police wing of the overall cybertronian government. Zeta Prime is the current commander in chief. It’s not indicated exactly, but Autocracy follows closely on from the events told in Chaos Theory.

Autocracy was initially a digital series, consisting of 12 parts. It also was released in a completed form as a trade paperback.

Goofs:

While Ironhide seems to be one of Orion Pax’s main troops here, the impression given in AHM coda #1 was that Ironhide first meets Optimus Prime face to face after the fall of the initial Autobot government. This won't the only instance of Autocracy not quite following previous recounts of History.


Quote / Unquote:

“They rebuilt me, to serve them once again.” - Pax details his treatment after the incidents of Chaos Theory.

“They left a gaping hole within my chest. Whatever their purpose for doing so, It feels as if my spark has been dimmed.” – I bet no-one can guess what this is all about…

“You and Your Prime are the ones crushing these people under your heels every day!” – Swindle stays on message for the Decepticon cause.

“Face it Autobot – You’re not just part of the problem. You are the problem.” – Still on message.


Review:

IDWs first attempt at a digital-only comic, Autocracy is an interesting if not particularly brilliant comic. Working on what amounts to little more than a preview to get their characters and stories across, Metzen and Dille do an admirable job of setting the scene. Livio's artwork also helps set the tone and no doubt works better in small bites like this than over 24 pages. It’s also worth comparing the generally poor mini-stories that the AHM coda issues gave us (Nick Roche's Kup story aside) to what’s on offer here.

However, appreciating the technicalities of Autocracy isn’t the same as enjoying the actual story. You can only give concessions to a point. Thankfully, for the most part, issue 1 is a nice little read as well. Characters are well defined enough, with Swindle, Ironhide, Bumblebee and Orion Pax all being given clear roles in the story. Dialogue is well written and the action serves the story.

If there are any problems, it’s with the setting. Being set in the past, the plot has to either respect what has been written before (for better or for worse) or bend things in a way that past issues don’t get written out. We get a small instance here with Ironhide and Orion Paxs relationship but thankfully its nothing too out of line. Still, the writers will need to thread carefully with some points further down the line, particular as the cast is so filled with main characters from the current era. We know beforehand that none of these Autobots were going to die and we also know that Pax is not going to execute Swindle, despite it being a decent enough scene. Had it been a different Decepticon, there might have been more of an edge.

Summing up, Autocracy #1 is a decent set-up issue for the plot ahead. There are politic and personal issues to be dealt with. So far, the writers have worked well within the limitations of an 8 page issue. Stories set in the past can be great fun for a reader to reveal new dimensions to characters and their backstories. But they can also undermine the good work that is being done by the main writers if editors don’t keep things in check.

3 out of 5