Spoiler-Free Review: Optimus Prime #24

“A sunrise dark shall cast pall upon the empire…” Optimus Prime #24 is out on Wednesday 17th October, and we’re here with a spoiler-free review of this Unicron tie-in issue. Read on to check it out!

Optimus Prime #24

“A Sunrise Dark”

Written by John Barber, Line-Art by Andrew Griffith & Sara Pitre-Durocher, Colors by Josh Burcham, Letters by Tom B. Long

Optimus Prime #24 concludes a trilogy of Earth-based stories taking place in and around the Unicron mini-series. While this issue picks up the story elements left dangling at the end of issue #23, it also has its own self-contained themes and narrative structure. This time, the backbone of the story is a conversation between Optimus Prime and an angry Slide, serving as a framing device as we flash back to events earlier that day.
(For those keeping track, the main flashback storyline takes place between issues #4 and #5 of Unicron, whilst Optimus and Slide’s framing sequence occurs partway through issue #5. For the reader who isn’t caught up, we’d recommend reading this issue before Unicron #5.)
At its core, Optimus Prime #24 is a story about love and loss, and the connections people form with each other. Much like Unicron #5, writer John Barber uses this issue to pause amid the apocalyptic action, allowing characters to take stock and react to recent events. The dead are mourned – lending some space and poignancy to last issue’s abrupt deaths – and those still alive are held tight. With the core Unicron cast freshly arrived from Cybertron, we get to see characters from both books react to events they’ve missed, including a touching moment for a friendship born two events ago in the pages of Revolution. Thundercracker makes another welcome appearance, helping to lay some more groundwork for his previously-seen but chronologically-later role in Unicron #5, and also bringing with him another delightful scene from his Chuckles movie, playing off the events of the acclaimed 2009 G.I. Joe: Cobra comic.
On line-art duty this issue are Andrew Griffith and Sara Pitre-Durocher, drawing seven and thirteen pages respectively. Both artists maintain their usual high standards, with the huge scales in play providing ample opportunity for impressive staging and composition. In a cute touch, Griffith’s pages include a crowd-scene double-page spread which pays homage to a similar scene from Robots in Disguise #1, the first Transformers comic set in this universe that he and writer John Barber worked on together. Regular colorist Josh Burcham is on similarly fine form, and his distinctive palette for this series does a fantastic job of blending two guest artists’ unique art styles into a cohesive whole.
Overall, whilst Optimus Prime #24 isn’t a groundbreaking issue, it’s heartfelt and well-executed, and, I would say, the best instalment in this “meanwhile on Earth” trilogy of tie-in issues. While it engages in some “plot mechanics”, filling in gaps and setting things up, it stays rooted in character, with a number of really nice emotional moments, including a great closing conversation between Optimus Prime and Arcee. It’s perhaps easy to overlook Optimus Prime right now, sitting in the shadow of the Unicron event mini-series, this is an issue that shouldn’t be missed!