As the title implies, we indeed see the end of Optimus Prime in this Transformers one shot from IDW. After the rather pointless and lackluster last issue of Transformers: Ongoing we are treated to a real story of consequence in this one shot. Transformers as we know it is gone and IDW is taking the series in a totally new direction; well two actually. The series breaks off into two different titles, Robots In Disguise and More Than Meets The Eye.
The long war for Cybertron is over. The Autobots claim victory over the rival Deceptions, but the damage to the planet and the aftermath of the horrors of war make it certain that no one has truly won. Megatron and Galvatron are gone and presumed dead. The damage caused to the planet by the Decepticon gestalt and The Matrix is nearly catastrophic.
A dazed and confused Optimus Prime awakens on a Cybertron he no longer recognizes. At first he thinks he’s dead and has gone to the Afterspark. But what he soon realizes is that he is alive and Cybertron has been forever changed. The Matrix of Leadership is empty and broken. Prime walks the desolate plains of a ravaged Cybertron and is surprised to find life.
It has been three weeks since the war ended. The Autobots who remained on Earth have returned to help pick up the pieces. The surviving Decepticons, with no leader have lost their will to fight and have been corralled into a makeshift P.O.W. camp. More surprising is that thousands of non-combatants and Cybertronian civilians have returned to the planet to reclaim their home.
The Autobots are put into a precarious position as an occupying force. With no war and no enemy left to fight, the civilians call for their removal from power and to leave the planet to them. Outnumbered, the Autobots argue among themselves about the best course of action. Do they leave the home they have fought for millions of years to defend, or do they find a way to coexist with the Cybertronian civilians?
As crowds of civilians gather around Iacon, protesting the Autobots claim to the planet, things start to turn violent. Bumblebee, still clinging to the mantle of leadership makes a controversial decision and frees the Decepticons to help with crowd control. With no real sense of purpose and no true leader, Starscream and the other Decepticons agree and help the Autobots keep the civilians at bay.
Optimus Prime only stands by and watches as the Cybertron he swore to protect once again splinters into factions and begins to tear itself apart. He makes the only decision he can and addresses the population. Being a living symbol of the war itself, he no longer has a place on Cybertron. He makes a compromise; he will leave the planet forever and in exchange, the Autobots and Decepticons will be allowed to stay and make a place for themselves.
“When I became a Prime, I wrote two speeches…two speeches to be filed away until the war was over. I would give one in the event of victory, the other in the event of defeat. Standing before you today, I do not know which to give.”
“In your eyes at least, I am the war. I represent everything that you sought to escape from…everything you rejected. As such, I am an obstacle to peace…something I have no wish to be. And that is why, tomorrow morning I am leaving Cybertron forever.”
As surprising and shocking an ending this is, it is somehow satisfying and a fitting end to the war. We all know the premise behind Transformers. A lot of us grew up with them and know it all too well. It was only a matter of time before someone had to win. I am glad that IDW is taking this step in progressing the storyline of Transformers. There are so many other great stories to tell besides Autobots versus Decepticons and this is a chance to see if these characters can find a place beyond the war.
One thing I found very interesting about this issue was how Optimus Prime is certain Megatron is alive somewhere in the galaxy. He knows that at some point his return to Cybertron will be necessary. He will be called back to defend his home again. Plus, to have Megatron just mysteriously die in a blinding white light wouldn’t be fitting for him.
As two new chapters for Transformers are about to being I find that I am of two minds about it. Part of me is excited to see what happens next. The thrill of new possibilities and new adventures to be had. Another part of me is sad to see the Transformers universe as I know it come to an end.
Whatever the writers have in store, it will certainly be interesting and I am anxious to find out what happens.
I’m The Nerd and you’ve just been comic booked!
Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime
- Story by: James Roberts and John Barber
- Art by: Nick Roche
- Colors by: Josh Burcham
- Letters by: Shawn Lee