TransFormers: The Death of Optimus Prime #1
Title: The Death of Optimus Prime
Writer: James Roberts, John Barber
Art: Nick Roche
Letters: Shawn Lee
Colors: Josh Burcham
Cover Art: Viktor Deak
Editor: Carlos Guzman
Publisher: IDW Publishing
With the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons ostensibly over, it should be a time of peace on Cybertron. Instead, the planet is being overwhelmed with “NAILs” – Non-Aligned Indigenous Lifeforms – in other words, Cybertronians who took no side during the war. And as Bumblebee and Rodimus Prime struggle to bring peace between two factions of Autobots, Optimus himself begins to wonder just what his role is in a world without war against the likes of Megatron and Galvatron.
Despite the hyperbolic title, this is just an okay issue. James Roberts and John Barber are here basically to draw the lines between the upcoming “Schism” (to borrow an X-Men term) between the two ongoing TransFormers titles, one showing Autobots under Bumblebee’s leadership, one under Rodimus. They’re also out to explain why Optimus has been taken out of the equation, although the conclusion isn’t as simple as one might think.
The new Status Quo here is interesting enough. The writers have changed things up considerably for this franchise, placing familiar characters in a new situation that neither they nor the readers are used to. If you’re going to do a relaunch of such a classic property, this is a good way to do it, even if this issue itself is a little lackluster.
Nick Roche’s artwork helps a lot. He’s got a good feel for the robots, something that is a little more stylized than the classic cartoon, but not so far as to hit the nigh-incomprehensible “realism” we get from the Michael Bay movies. He makes the characters his own, using them to tell stories instead of sell toys.
Okay issue, but it does pique my interest for what IDW has planned next.