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Red Dave Prime
2013-08-07, 07:45 PM
Transformers Autocracy #2
“Parasites”

Published Date: February 1st 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:

At a meeting of Senators and Delegates at the Autobot Citadel, Zeta Prime unveils his latest solution to the disgruntled masses and dissidents running amuck in cities like Nyon. Displaying disdain for the general populace and even the Senate that he supposedly answers too, Zeta presents the Vamparc Ribbon, a weapon with links back to Jhiaxus. Despite the presence of troublemaking delegate Starscream, Zeta prepares to deploy the Vamparc Ribbon on the captured Decepticon, Swindle.

Meanwhile in the Citadels training quarters, an overly aggressive Orion Pax spars with Ultra Magnus. Confessing his fears of failure to Magnus, he asks his junior officer if he has ever questioned they side they fight for.

Zeta displays the Vamparc Ribbons mechanics – it drains the energy from its target before unleashing that energy as a blast of destructive force. Showing no regard for the Senate, he leeches energy from Swindle and releases it into the ceiling of the Senate's Chamber. When he reveals his grand plan to arm a range of Omega Destructors with Vamparc Ribbons as a means to pacify the populace, the Senate explodes in outrage. Worse is to follow, as Zeta announces that his plan is already in effect and the citizens of Nyon have already been subjected to slow, measured version of the Vamparc Ribbons energy drain.

Surprisingly, it is Starscream who defends Zeta Prime's proposal to the other Senators. However Zeta appears to catch Starscream admitting to performing underhand acts. To distract the unwanted attention, Starscream points at a Spying Soundwave. Worried that his master plan might be revealed, Zeta orders Orion Pax and his squad after Soundwave.

Characters featured [in rough order of appearance]:
Zeta Prime, Starscream, Swindle, Orion Pax, Ultra Magnus, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Soundwave

Notes:

Starcream is a delegate but it’s not made clear whom he represents. At first I thought he was a Decepticon delegate, but given how events turn out that seems unlikely.

In a change from Sentinel Prime's reign as Prime, Zeta appears to be the one in charge of the senate whereas before Sentinel was subservient to the senate.

Orion Pax continues to show heightened levels of aggression, both in his sparring with Magnus and his willingness to bring Soundwave back 'Dead or Alive'.

Goofs:

Zeta Prime is worried that Soundwave would leak information of the Vamparc Ribbon to the Decepticons and the general public – but he had no problem with showing off the weapon to Senators and a mere delegate in Starscream.

Speaking of Starscream, the last time he went near a political establishment he acted as a prisoner who was pretending to betray Megatron's underground gladiator ring and then proceeded to shot up the council. He already had a huge list of crimes to his name at that point. How does this guy end up in what appears to be a pretty top-secret meeting?

Also, he positions Soundwave at the start of his conversation with Zeta, only to reveal Soundwave later to cover himself. It seems odd that Zeta (who isn’t portrayed in any way as an idiot) didn’t notice this.

Equally, given the events of Chaos Theory, it seems odd that Zeta Prime would promote Orion Pax to such a high position. Maybe not quite a goof, but it seems strange.

Zeta stats that Nominus Prime was his Predecessor but in fact it was Sentinel Prime who succeeded Nominus. Zeta in turn succeeded Sentinel.

Quote / Unquote:

“Not bad for an old timer huh, Kid?” – Yep, even in the past Ironhide was ancient.

“The Populace is either with us or against us” – Zeta Prime, Man of the People.

“I am the monster the people need” – At least Zeta doesn’t have any delusions about how he will be viewed.

“Look there! A Decepticon Spy” - Starscream points at the camera unit he brought in.


Review:

And so the problems begin. While not a bad issue by any means, issue 2 has some annoying issues that really should have been spotted by a writer who did a small bit of research or by an editor. That may sound harsh, but the appearance of Starscream at Zeta Primes secret meeting is pretty inexcusable. There are plenty of Decepticons that could have been used but the writing team couldn’t to find someone who hadn’t shot up a similar meeting or had a rap-sheet or had been linked with Megatron directly. It doesn’t ruin the issue but it does annoy me. In a similar manner, there’s been no real reason given for Orion Pax to have risen in the command structure after his rage against the machine in Chaos Theory.

Those problems aside, this isn’t too bad an installment. There’s nice development on Pax and his rising anger and frustration at the present situation. Zeta Prime is a full-on Bond Villain. Insane Plan? Check. Overpowered Secret Weapon? Check. Making demands of a government and putting a populace in jeopardy? Check and mate. Furry White Cat? Che.. Ah well. Can’t have it all.

That said, this feels very much like a part of a bigger comic. More than part one, this reads like a preview or piece of something bigger. Obviously it is, but there’s no real start, middle and end. It’s more just an event. Not a problem but worth noting all the same.

Art is still lovely to this reviewer’s eye. Zeta Primes design is a touch too odd for my liking (I feel likes it’s based on Judge Fear from the Dark Judges) but the art overall is quite nice. 2 panels worth observing though for completely the wrong reasons are on pages 8 and 9. Attempting to have Orion Pax and Zeta Prime make the classic “Suspicious Eyes” look, the end result is quite funny – obviously not in an intended way. I usually find Livio works well with the masked transformers but these 2 panels don’t.

Overall though, it’s another intriguing part to the Autocracy story. We have a direction for the plot and a few of our characters intentions are lined up and have obvious paths to follow. That’s not bad for 16 pages. Mike Costa managed less in whole series.

3 out of 5.

Blackjack
2013-08-07, 08:04 PM
Autocracy and Monstrosity would probably annoy me a lot less if they don't outright ignore everything already established in Megatron Origins, Chaos Theory and a lot of other stories. And a lot of other editing goofs as well. The earlier issues are pretty good, but once you reach Metroplex and the Matrix it's just an obvious attempt to shoehorn in the stupid 'Binder of Revelations' backstory from War for Cybertron into a continuity that can't possibly take it.

Of course, Roberts and Barber eventually made sense of it, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And the Terrorcons are a threat now apparently?