Review: Transformers: Optimus Prime #23

The battle against Unicron forces Optimus Prime’s colonist soldiers to contend with a brutal reality-they have no homes to return to. But when they make a move against Trypticon, the human-controlled home of the next generation of Cybertronians… can the end be far behind?

Transformers: Optimus Prime #23 could have been an interesting tie-in to the current “Unicron” storyline. Instead of exploring the concept of the end of the world and what you should do, the issue devolves into a typical battle due to misunderstandings. Like the “Unicron” main series, it also has no problem killing characters off, indicating the end is near in multiple ways.

Writer John Barber gives us a pretty typical story of things getting out of hand due to misunderstandings. It all escalates in expected ways and of course there’s that moment of no return. In all of those ways, the comic is pretty lackluster for what’s presented.

What’s interesting though is the exploration of the Cybertronian history and their true nature of destruction. Even though they think they protect, they destroy. It’s a cycle that seems to play out in numerous ways over and over. It’s even manifested in the character Jazz himself. Unfortunately, the protector/destructor duality is spelled out for us. Jazz reminds us multiple times in his dialogue. So, even the interesting aspects stumble in this issue. Add in those who reject Optimus and decide to attack, it all just comes together in a comic that throws a lot into the pot but doesn’t quite make the case for any of it.

The art by Priscilla Tramontano is also a let down. The G.I. Joe characters look a bit too cartoony and their style doesn’t mix well with both their vehicles and the Transformers that surround them. It feels like two different stories mashed together in that way. Tramontano’s style would work really well for a younger reader Transformers/G.I. Joe series, or if the Cybertronians had a similar flow in their style as the humans. The color by Josh Burcham is cool and reminds me of the comics from the 80s that I love so much.

The issue has an interesting idea and set up but never quite lands things. It has to spell things out for the reader or falls into a story that we’ve seen too many times before. As far as a tie-in, this issue falls flat when so many others have been so good. It feels like a wasted opportunity to explore more of the Hasbro universe before things wrap up.

Story: John Barber Art: Priscilla Tramontano
Color: Josh Burcham Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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