Friday, December 16, 2016

Review - Optimus Prime #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Things were changing on Cybertron...too fast for some..."

Optimus Prime needs no introduction. Except to the people of Earth he's seemingly always trying to help even if they don't want it. Turns out he had a past though that some may not know about and Optimus Prime #1 from IDW Publishing explores that past. The issue is written by John Barber, illustrated by Kei Zama, colored by Josh Burcham and lettered by Tom B. Long.

REVOLUTION is over-but the danger to Earth is just beginning. As Optimus Prime pulls Earth into the larger universe, he's painted a target on Earth...and a new alien incursion begins when a corkscrew shaped craft drills into our world!

Barber's approach in Optimus Prime #1 is part police procedural and part Transformers saving the world. The police procedural portion gives the reader a glimpse into Optimus Prime's past on Cybertron and Barber ensures that Prime's dogged adherence to justice prevails. The issue jumps back and forth between that history and the present where Earth is reconciling the fact that there are giant talking robots who swear they're here to help with their fear of aliens. Barber's script is jam-packed with tons of dialogue to this effect and he uses it quite effectively in presenting the reader a great insight into why Optimus thinks the way he does about humanity. There are points where the issue does feel a little too wordy, but Barber mixes it up enough where it never feels dry.

The artwork by Zama is fantastic. The Transformers are drawn with features that make them easily recognizable to long-time fans of the series while at the same time giving them some semblance of humanity. In fact, the artwork has something of a throwback mentality to it in that Zama illustrates the characters with sharp lines and a newspaper-strip like approach. Zama also alternates the gutters between empty and black to remind the reader what time they're reading about, providing context for Prime's actions in both settings. Burcham's colors are bold and dark, lending a somewhat dour mood to the action.

Optimus Prime #1 follows probably the most famous of all the Transformers in Optimus Prime in both youth and older age. Prime continues to bang the drum for saving humans on Earth--whether they want the help or not--for reasons that aren't entirely altruistic. Barber's script is solid and provides a very thorough examination of what makes Optimus Prime tick. Zama's artwork is great and effectively renders the characters and all the action. Optimus Prime #1 offers the next step for IDW's Revolution crossover by exploring one of the most beloved characters in the Transformers universe.

Optimus Prime #1 is available now.

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