IDW Publishing "Autocracy" #6 Comic Book Review
Cover Price: $.99 (Digital Exclusive)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: March 28, 2012
Story by: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Letters by: Robbie Robbins
Editor: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
In the Tours City of Nyon, Zeta Prime leads a group of Omega Destructors to wipe out the local populace. Using the Vamparc cannon, he manages to decimate several enemies at one time, much to the horror of Orion Pax and Hot Rod. As they watch the carnage from within the ancient Acroplex, Orion makes a decision. He and his team will distract the Omega units long enough to buy Hot Rod time to evacuate the fallen Transformers who have been hiding inside the Acroplex. Hot Rod isn't completely happy with the plan, but he realizes he has little choice but to do as Orion says.
Meanwhile at Kolkular, Megatron and Starscream watch Zeta Prime's assault with interest. While Starscream is impressed by Prime's zeal, Megatron is more interested in seeing what Orion will do.
Back at the battle front in Nyon, Orion and his team work together to distract one of the Omega Destructors. Despite releasing mines, cannon firepower and more the gigantic warrior is unharmed. Orion decides to fall back, hoping he has bought the time Hot Rod and his people have needed.
On the outskirts of the Acroplex, Hot Rod and the wounded Transformers have evacuated the city. As they watch the Omega Destructors do their horrible work in the distance, they decide to activate their contingency plan: destroying the the entire city of Nyon! Hot Rod regrets the action, but activates the explosives, destroying the city and the Omega Destructors in it! Bumblbee is shocked by this action but Orion explains he had no choice. Zeta Prime set everyone up and they've all played right into his hands!
As the Autobots try to find an escape route, Zeta Prime comes charging out of the field of destruction! He uses the Vamparc cannon and quickly dispatches of the Autobots, including Orion Pax!
My PC's desktop background right now is a gigantic CGI rendering of the planet Cybertron from the new "Fall of Cybertron" game (you can see it on their official web site here). This image has bits of Cybertron seemingly on fire while other parts literally float off into space. It's clearly a world in turmoil and physical chaos, and as I read this issue of "Autocracy", I couldn't help but think of this picture. I also having the recent "Orion Pax" three parter from "Transformers Prime" on the brain, which featured a mostly dead world of Cybertron, reminscent of the desolate world we saw in "Beast Machines", and all I kept thinking is "How sad is this? Such a world with potential for life and it's ruined.". The traditional thinking is "Oh, it's all the Decepticons' fault!" but this issue puts that to lie. Instead, we learn that Cybertron's sad state in the future is due, in part, to the actions of an insane Autobot - one with the title of Prime no less! For a reader who grew up with decades of Transformers fiction telling me that the title "Prime" stood for nobility, wisdom, compassion etc. this is a lot to absorb. Sure we've seen Zeta's plans slowly come together over the last five issues, but to see the terrible consequences of those plans is really stunning.
I think part of what really messes with my head about Zeta's plan is that he is positively sociopathic about it. He believes on being with the "winning" side, not the "right" one, a position that one would normally associate with an opportunistic mercenary, not the leader of the Autobots bearing the title of "Prime". The callous way that he turns the Vamparc cannon and Omega Sentinels on just about anyone who gets in his way is frightening. Indeed, I found myself more frightened of Zeta Prime than Megatron. At least Megatron is fairly overt about his intentions. He intends to conquer, destroy etc. and he makes no secret of it. Zeta uses the Autobot shield almost as a fascade to justify his insane behavior, and in my book that makes him worse than Megatron.
I looked forward to this issue in part to see the Omega Destructors in action, and while we did get to see that, I was surprised how reserved their presence was. Appearing in only three key scenes, I am still very impressed by the way artist Livio Ramondelli was able to make their presence almost omnipresent. Whether they were in the forefront or off in the distance destroying buildings, you always felt their threat looming over our heroes. Kudos also for the Zeta Prime artwork in this issue, which really helped bring across his rather menacing appearance through the use of close ups on the character that made it almost feel like he's staring down the reader!
"Autocracy" #6 is a bit of a release on the pressure valve that has been building up over several issues. Zeta's plan is revealed now, but we know Zeta doesn't stay "Prime" forever, so will we see what leads to him being taken down? Will it be Megatron? Will it be Orion?! There's a lot of potential opened up by this issue. With haunting art and an increasingly chaotic storyline, I'm very curious to see what happens next. This is an excellent read, but not a jumping on point. Spend the $5 and pick up the previous issues first if you haven't already. Highly recommended!