IDW Transformers Optimus Prime #4 Review

Optimus Prime attempts a fragile negotiation between Earth, the Junkions, and Cybertron.


Thoughts and Synopsis

Orion Pax re-adopt the moniker of Optimus Prime at the end of Dark Cybertron. He confronted Nova Prime in the Dead Universe and realized that the title of Prime was not tainted. Yet it’s becoming clear that he still doesn’t believe it.
Barber does a masterful job marrying the pre-war story to the present story. Orion sees Zeta knowingly carry around a fake Matrix yet act like the legacy of the Primes empowers him. In the present Optimus admits to Aileron that he can’t respect the Matrix as anything but a broken piece of technology. It’s hard to ignore the implication that Optimus is unable to accept his role as Prime because of Zeta’s abuses.
Meanwhile Cosmos, Rumble, and Frenzy fend for themselves aboard the Junkion ship.  The Junkions’ ambition becomes clear. They don’t trust Optimus enough to trade for what they need. So they’ll exact vengeance on the race that destroyed their home.
The human side of the Optimus Prime title begins to come into its own here. Talon and Spike discuss ways for GI Joe to deal with Optimus. Flint tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Melissa. World leaders meet with Optimus for a summit that could usher Earth into the Cybertronian Council of Worlds. The human elements had been feeling a bit tacked on in past issues, but here it finally feels like they’re an essential part of the story.

Final Thoughts

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that the Optimus Prime title is, at least partially, a character study of Optimus Prime. IDW has been accused of falling into the trap of playing up Optimus’ self-doubt in an attempt to make the character “interesting.” It feels different here. It feels like Barber saw that angst past writers and editors grafted on to the Autobot leader and went “I’m going to explore that.”
I could be wrong. This could be another case of “IDW Optimus doubts himself to the point that he’s unable to actually function.” I just don’t see it. All of the pieces are set up to deliver a story where Optimus Prime finally realizes what it means to actually be the Prime. And they’re set up in such a way as to seem deliberate on the part of the author.
I, for one, can’t wait.
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