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Red Dave Prime
2014-11-09, 01:03 AM
Primacy #1

August 13th 2014
Written by: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Colors by: Livio Ramondelli
Edited by: John Barber
Cover price: $3.99

Synopsis:
In the aftermath of the battle against Trypticon, Cybertron has settled into a period of unease. The general populace is still unsure of the Autobot command and their leader, Optimus Prime and the Decepticons continue to gather new troops to their cause.

There are positives though – the unstable raw energon from beneath Toraxxis has been refined and can provide enough energon for the population. The Dynobots have been cured of their berzerk beast modes and there are new recruits coming from the Autobot academy, such as Hot Rod.

Seeking to clear his mind, Optimus Prime heads to the Southern Polar region with Iron Hide to test himself against some of Cybertrons harsher elements. Here he discovers the last of the Omega sentinels, Omega Supreme, standing watch for the return of Nova Prime. Revealing himself to be the current Prime, Optimus convinces Omega to return with them to Iacon.

But it is not only Optimus who is recruiting. Megatron is rebuilding his forces after Scorponoks disastrous rule. Helping him in his task is Trypticon, once again arisen and powered by the spark of the Quintesson Pentius, a spark which Megatron himself once carried. Using Trypticons base form, the Decepticons take leave of Cybertron to gather Megaton’s scattered forces.



Characters featured [in rough order of appearance]:
Blaster, Hot Rod, Slinger, Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Omega Supreme, Metroplex, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Grimlock, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Trypticon, Megatron, Quintesons, Sharcticons, Starscream, Sky Warp, Soundwave, Black Wall, Sky Link, Shockwave

Notes:
This is the first of the “–Cy” stories NOT to start out as a 12-part digital comic, before becoming a 4 part printed series. This issue is the first of a four part printed run.

There’s no exact indication of how much time has passed since the events of Monstrocity but in the interval, the Dynobots alt-form problem has been cured and the Autobots have been able to build a new Energon refinery.

Slinger seems to forget that he was as willing as, if not more than, for Hot Rod to destroy the inhabitants of Nyon to stop them becoming fodder for Zeta Primes vamparc-powered Omega Destructors.

Another thing here which seems odd is Slinger biging up the Decepticons and bragging how they provided him with a new, more powerful body. This seems odd though because one of the main plotlines running through Monstrosity was the lack of Energon on both sides (the destruction of Toraxxis and the loss of its energon production was a key factor in the exodus). Now, although the Autobots can claim the unstable enregon as being their own, it’s the Decepticons who have the upper hand in terms of resources?

Anyone else find it odd that Trypticon can just vanish without anyone noticing? This may be an odd homage to the awful Matthew Broderick-starring Godzilla movie…

Sky Lynk is now called Sky LINK for no noticeable reason. New toy coming maybe?

For a cadet just out of the academy, Hot Rod seems to be able to walk around Autobot HQ free and easy. His higher ups seem easily accessible for the plucky upstart too.

Monstrosity ended with Megatron reactivating Trypticon with the Pentius spark, flanked by a sizeable amount of Decepticon troops. That image is somewhat ret-conned here as he is on his own as Trypticon awakes and a large passage of time must have passed.


Quote Unquote:
“There was a moment when the most dangerous Cybertronian Alive... Saved the world” – The narrator bigs up Megaton’s danger levels (too right as well – he was off the scale in Monstrosity)
“Everything’s different since you blew up Nyon!” – Slinger points a massive finger of blame at Hot Rod, somewhat forgetting he was kinda egging him on at the time.

“They fixed me up, made me a fighter. They’re the real power now!” – Slinger talks up the benefits of joining the Decepticon cause. It doesn’t quite gel with the issues ending where Megatron is heading off from Cybertron to get the real troops back.

“You’re not experiencing any heightened pulse-surges or aggressive compulsions?”
“Not Yet, But the day is young” – I must admit to finding Grimlock an awful bore in this issue but I did chuckle at his response to the question here.

“There is no shame in turning from these visions, Megatron. Your spark cannot process the enormity of such depthless evil. Not yet at any rate”
“Do not speak to me of Evil!” – Megatron and Pentius / Trypticon play the “evil willy-waving” game

Review:
Another trip to the past for Metzon and Dille and its possible that they still haven’t learnt the lesson of the butterfly effect. Primacy is supposedly the conclusion to a trilogy but the only real connecting branch through the first two series has been the creative team behind it, being the same writers and artist throughout. It’s not surprising then that Primacy #1 exhibits the same disregard for established continuity. In this issue, it even manages to ret-con the final page of its predecessor.

Minor crimes it must be said. Comics can sometimes feel too slavish to what has gone before that it comes at the cost of simply telling a good story. Not sure if this issue can use that excuse however because there really isn’t much of a story here. Primacy #1 is one of the most blatant set up issues I can imagine reading. That’s not so much a criticism as a statement of fact. This really is just scenes of exposition, putting characters in place and establishing what has happened in the short time this and monstrosity.

Even the discovery of Omega Supreme isn’t really anything more than establishing that Omega is now with Optimus. There is a small element of curiosity over why he is waiting for Nova Prime to return – is it to greet him or destroy him? It's also odd that Prime and Iron Hide are so keen to great Omega, given that the last time we saw Omega Sentinals they were cutting down the general population under the command of Autocracys villain, Zeta Prime. Otherwise, there’s no drama to be found in this issue and as such it won’t warrant anything more than a passing read through. It feels much more like an issue 0 to be honest. It’s also worth noting that what is established (being set in the past) is feels re-threading of well-worn ground. Civilians torn between ruling Autobots or charismatic but deadly decepticon causes, Prime worrying about his leadership, discovery of some mythic old ‘bot (Its metroplex in Autocracy, Trypticon in Monstrocity and Omega here in Primacy). We’ve seen all this before and not just in this trilogy.

And unfortunately, what it is setting up doesn’t seem too interesting yet either. I’m sure we will get some twists in the story, but at the moment the odds seem to be a smack down between Trypticon and Omega. So much meh.

Things would maybe be helped if the characters were at least engaging but they are merely functional and seem to be based as much on the cartoon and marvel UK comics as anything IDW has established. The usual crowd are here, in the usual positions. Grumpy Grimlock, Plucky Hot Rod, Gruff Ironhide and of course Awkward Optimus. Roberts and Barber have both found much more success with a Prime who knows his place and is a powerful and galvanising leader. Hell, Michael Bay knew it too. But here we get the tired old idea that Prime needs some time away to get his head together. Hopefully it’s just a plot device to help him find Omega.

The Decepticons fare a little better thanks to Trypticon being an amalgamation of not just the beast and Pentius but also a little of Megatron thanks to the spark sharing of the previous arc. Whether this goes anywhere or not we will have to see but it is a novel take on giving Trypticon character.

The only saving grace really for this issue is Ramondellis art which for the most part is eye-catching and atmospheric. He still suffers badly drawing a basic robot face but he can be counted on to provide more than a few nice panels and if nothing else, his art is synonymous with the series and would be greatly missed.

The most damning thing about this issue isn’t that it’s bad. It’s not too bad doing what it sets out to do. It just suffers from not being necessary. It could have been covered in a couple of pages and when a series is only 4 issues long, giving a whole issue over to mere set-up isn’t good enough. Time will tell but my gut feeling tells me that you could happily skip this issue and read the remaining three and not missed out on anything.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5