IDW Publishing "Autocracy" #4 Comic Book Review
Title: Cause & Effect
Cover Price: $.99 (Digital Exclusive)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: February 29, 2012
Story by: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Letters by: Robbie Robbins
Editor: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
In the Kaon District Orion Pax is meeting with Megatron as the Decepticon leader holds Bumblebee hostage. Megatron attempts to convince Orion that his own government is corrupt and that they should work together to take it down. Even as Megatron goes on, Ironhide is communicating with Orion via a special channel indicating he is incoming with reinforcements. While this is going on, Megatron shows Orion footage of Starscream and Zeta Prime talking about his nefarious plans to end the Decepticon threat, including killing Cybertronians who may or may not be innocent!
Suddenly, the Autobot raiding party crashes into the building. Hound, Ironhide and Prowl make quick work the Decepticons and Ironhide arms Bumblebee. The Autobots bust out just in time to meet up with Sky Lynx who is hovering overhead. As they get onboard and escape, Megatron tells the Decepticons to let them go, convinced that the information he has just given them will cause more damage than he ever could by himself.
Safe at headquarters, Zeta Prime berates Orion and his lack of success in tracking down dissidents. Orion is also upset, telling the Autobot leader that he believes his team was set up from the beginning. Zeta refuses to acknowledge Orion's conspiracy theory and orders Orion and his team to track down the "mystery bomber" that he wishes to make an example of. He only has one lead, the dissident's name...Hot Rod!
Previous issues of "Autocracy" have moved between focusing on the political aspect of the Cybertronian situation or the action packed adventure we've come to expect from "Transformers". In this issue, we get a balanced blend of both. Even though I knew Megatron's "story", I still found myself in heavy anticipation of what he had to say to Orion. I found Megatron's attempt at recruiting Orion to be really interesting as it jives a bit with the current "Transformers Prime" interpretation of the story where Optimus Prime and Megatron were once allies. This thread also carries through the early days of the live action Movie universe, where Megatron and Optimus Prime shared duties in protecting Cybertron under Sentinel Prime. This "sit down" would no doubt play itself out over and over in history (including some of the issues of the IDW universe right before the relaunch of the books). What felt exciting was seeing the genesis of this somewhat sad and twisted relationship between the two leaders right before our eyes, and it played out beautifully.
I was very glad to see Orion had a plan beyond just talking his way out of the situation. Perhaps much later in his life as Optimus Prime he would have tried that, but as Orion he is still young, brash and he does not have all the "wisdom of the Primes" behind him yet. This also solidifies him as an "action hero" on top of being a figure that can talk out a situation.
I have to give high marks to Dille and Metzen for their handling of Zeta Prime. He's credible as a military oriented leader who is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately that means crossing certain moral lines that future leaders will most likely not do. He's threatening and you don't like him, but he's not a cackling villain who tells you his life story as his plot unravels (well, at least not yet). From his own twisted point of view, I can see why he feels what he's doing is justified and a sign of strength, but Orion's conviction to stand up against his own commander is admirable and shows us the strength we know he will have as Optimus Prime.
With the combination of a political angle and action, Ramondelli gets to flex his creative muscles in two different ways. The scene between Orion and Megatron talking was done really well. Seeing the characters at various angles, the slight crook of Megatron's mouth as he smiles, Orion's threatening body language - it all came together to create a very tense scene that played out wonderfully.
On the flip side, his artwork with the action scenes is great. When Orion is fighting Megatron it's a treat to watch. The scene is dramatic and powerful and the way Hound busts into the building is spectacular. My favorite entrance? Sky Lynx's rescue. I've always liked the character in both his Marvel G1 comic book and G1 cartoon appearances. Seeing him get such a dramatic scene here was awesome, and it related to his ability to shuttle Autobots around!
one of the mor einteresting scenes involves Zeta and Orion arguing. I had not realized Zeta was that much larger than Orion and it was really cool to see how Ramondelli drew Zeta to look so imposing. Add to that his rather creepy head design (which looks to me like a zombie head with a robotic helmet on it) and Zeta is a character you can enjoy as a "villain" on many levels!
This was a fun issue that gives readers a look at the two primary strengths of the "Autocracy" series so far: a look at Cybertron's political machinations and action! Four issues in and I'm more engaged than before. I can't wait for the next issue!