IDW Optimus Prime #7 Review

Optimus Prime faces a new set of challenges now that he’s made peace with the Junkions.
In Optimus Prime #6 Prime made peace with the Junkions, helping to establish a new colony for the wayward race of space robots on Earth. This would be the end point for any comic or show under a different label. Not IDW though. The company that has built three ongoings around a Transformers universe where the war is effectively over isn’t going to end things with Optimus and Rum-Maj shaking hands.

Thoughts and Synopsis

Peace has won the day, but the universe seems to conspire against Optimus. The American President vents at the Prime over the various alien incursions under her watch. One has to ask themselves if she should build some sort of space wall? Maybe make Starscream pay for it? That’s neither here nor there though.
She informs Optimus about her father, a civil rights activist who believed in non-violent resistance. Optimus concedes that fighting has gotten the Cybertronian race nowhere and that looking for a peaceful solution is his attempt to make things better. Even if it’s not a good choice on the whole.
Optimus is sure to get a reminder that it wasn’t such a good choice. Pyra Magna, upset that the Prime has refused to stand up to their enemies, courts Marissa Faireborn with a proposition of overthrowing him. Arcee and Slide both fume at the peace Optimus has made, as the Junkion threat cost them each someone close to them.
Arcee worries about Sideswipe’s chances now that the positron core has been lost. Slide, for her part, laments the lose of her bonded brother, Oiler. Devisen Transformers are born in pairs and they cannot transform should their sibling perish. Side and Arcee haven’t crossed paths. Yet they, along with Pyra and her Tourchbearers, could represent a powerful faction that could challenge Optimus’ leadership.
Jazz factors into all of this. The President informs Optimus that Jazz will appear on television to tell the world of his experiences. Jazz killed John Powell, a cop. Optimus insists that it was in self-defence and that Jazz has the right to express his opinions like everyone else. The President informs the Prime that making a noted cop killer the public face of the Autobot presence on Earth could end badly for whatever Optimus is trying to accomplish.

Final Thoughts

The art is the first thing you’re going to notice. Kei Zama has taken a break. In her stead is Priscilla Tramontano. Tramontano’s style is brighter and, in a lot of ways, clearer. I would be lying, however, if I didn’t admit that I missed Zama’s more stylized and pseudo-retro look. It isn’t as if Tramontano’s bad. The work on the robots is excellent in her own style. The problem is that she’s batting around five-hundred when it comes to the humans. The American President gets it particularly bad in a few panels.
The issue is, overall, rather good. Barber’s fumbled attempt at social commentary from the last issue can be forgiven. The attempts here are all rather to the point, but Barber’s message is clearer and not burdened by the unfortunate implications from the last issue.
The most striking thing to stand out is Jazz’ reputation as a cop killer. He killed an officer of the law in self-defence, and the American President informs Optimus a lot of humans will only see him as someone who killed a policeman. That Jazz is always coded as black makes the conversation feel uncomfortable. That’s the point though. It’s meant to be uncomfortable. The same basic message about marginalized groups and their relation to law enforcement from #6 is again present, but it’s much more succinct here. Barber raises the question and forces us to think on it. Whether we want to our not.
This issue was slow. It had to set the stage for the next part of the arc. That said? It was an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
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