The anger and war of Transformers: Autocracy #1

Transformers: Autocracy is a one shot, twelve part comic book series from IDW, based on the wildly popular Transformers franchise.

It takes place during the years before the Cybertron Civil War. Optimus, here known as Orion, and not yet Prime of the Autobots, is a sort of investigator for the Autobot government.

He’s working with a team which includes Bumblebee, and something has been done to his spark, leaving him emotionally numb. 

This first issue seems to want to make Orion out as a bad guy, a flunky of the oppressive Autobot regime, setting the stage for revolution while establishing the moral color of the book. It’s a bit obtuse for a new reader to IDW’s Transformers stories, but I was expecting that. With such a sort series there is little time to bring the reader up to speed. 

What brings me down here it’s the writing, perhaps it can be also blamed on the brief format – the entire line it’s only planned about a hundred pages – but the characters, so far,  are flat and unsympathetic. There are two personalities only, seemingly shared among all of the characters. 

The conflict is less than compelling. A story which should be really cool and epic has been reduced to just another baseball bat story of oppressive politics; yet another over-politicized analogy for the war on terror, which wants us to see that our government should be questioned. Whether you agree with the politics or not, it’s a tired theme, and I’m done reading sci-fi which is only veiled critique of the war.

The art in the book is merely okay. The style is trying to be gritty, and I get the idea, I really do, but it’s simply too dark, and the style and design of the settings are too earth-like to be Cybertron, which does a real number on the immersion of the piece.

I’ll keep an eye on the series to see if it gets any better after these first few pages, but for now, I can’t recommend that anyone pick it up. If you want to anyway, you can find it wherever you usually by comics, including the comiXology store.