Review – Optimus Prime #12 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Andrew Griffith
Colourist: Josh Burcham
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Release Date: 1st November 2017

I stand by my opinion that Optimus Prime is one of the major highlights of John Barber’s career. It takes all the good from his years on Transformers and blends into one mainlining book filled with incredible heart, love, politics and, of course, continuity. As a matter of fact, it’s so good, it’s one of few Transformers book that hasn’t left me bored with getting humans involved in Cybertronian matters.

That said though, I can count the amount of stand-out event aftermath issues I’ve read on my fingers. And while #12 is not a terrible book, Optimus Prime’s First Strike aftermath issue doesn’t mean I can start counting on my toes.

In Primeless, Part 2, separated indefinitely from Cybertron and Prime, Aileron and co. continue on their quest to find Jazz, now found under fire by anti-Cybertronian humans equipped with ‘space-guns’. After a quick kerfuffle with the humans, our rag-tag group are victorious, and thanks to some information gained by a very cooperative human, set out to find the source of the anti-Cybertronian weaponry.

It’s a fairly basic premise that really only plays out to show us where all the Cybertronians left on Earth stand after the events of First Strike. And in that respect, this issue works and does exactly what it sets out to do. But at the same time, there’s no denying that this issue doesn’t exactly stand-out.

The issue basically works by moving through the story with some exposition and scant action scenes, scattered in-between with six panel grids displaying ‘headshots’ of the characters and their thoughts on the situation after First Strike. Really just legwork. It’s still, however, not the worst thing you’ll read this week because Barber’s standards of quality still remains in the dialogue.  And there are strong moments; interactions between Jazz, Slide and Aileron in the latter half of the issue are as strong as Barber’s writing gets, and honestly gets me excited about where these characters WILL go next as we head into 2018.

The art by Andrew Griffith also does a great job here, even if the story doesn’t give him much in the way of material to work with. And with Josh Burcham’s colouring still present, Griffith’s art seems like a natural fit for this series, feeling not too distant from Zama’s incredible ongoing work with the series.

So, to conclude, this is pretty much your classic event aftermath issue. Perfectly serviceable in every way, with some interesting scenes and always-great art by Griffith, but it mostly just reads and feels like legwork. The stuff that gets you from the event to the next bit of actual story that the book wants to tell. But with the set-up now firmly in place, all I can say is – bring on the next part of Barber’s incredible tale! See you next month, Prime.

Rating: 3/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Connor Stephens

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