Comics do not always receive the credit that is due to them. Many comic series brought to life characters seen everywhere today such as Marvel and DC superheroes. Other comic series began as a TV series or a film before going to the world of pictures and words. One unique series of comics actually began as a line of toys. Once these toys obtained their own cartoon in the 1980s, The Transformers took off and became “more than meets the eye,” not only receiving more cartoons, but movies and comic book series, as well.
In 2012, a rather unique comic book trilogy began for The Transformers. Chris Metzen, a new writer for the franchise at the time, paired up with veteran Transformers writer Flint Dille to write a new story. Completed with the artistic talent of Livio Ramondelli, then also a new artist for the universe, Autocracy was created. These three men made quite the team and went on to finish the trilogy with Monstrosity and Primacy. Rather than looking at each of these stories separately, it is more beneficial to look at them as they are meant to be: as a whole.
In Transformers: Autocracy, there is an Energon shortage on Cybertron and the Transformers fight amongst themselves to claim what is left of it, separated by two factions: Autobots and Decepticons. Megatron leads the Decepticons to fight against the Senate while Zeta Prime leads the Autobots down a dark road to annihilate the Decepticons. War is on the rise and Autobot Officer Orion Pax is uncertain about his lot in life. In a system where it seems he has no choice, Orion must chose for himself what he believes is worth fighting for and step into his own as the new Prime.
In Transformers: Monstrosity, Orion Pax has stepped into his role as Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots; however, it is more complicated than he expected to unify all of Cybertron. What is Optimus to do when not all bots agree with him being the new Prime and the wisdom contained with the Matrix of Leadership remains silent? Meanwhile, Megatron finds himself on a desolate wasteland of a planet, battered by his fight with Optimus. Refusing to be defeated, he faces impossible odds as he journeys back to Cybertron to face his foe in combat once more.
In Transformers: Primacy, both Optimus and Megatron have recovered from their battles with one another. Now is the time for war: the final showdown between Autobots and Decepticons. The leaders travel across galaxies to amass their armies: alliances are made, ties are broken. When the war breaks out, will the already dying planet be obliterated or will the dream of all of the Transformers being one come to light?
From cartoons to novels to comics, the beginning of the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons has different iterations with similar elements. However, there is something truly unique about the Transformers: Autocracy trilogy. The story takes fans deeper and darker than ever thought possible in the Transformers universe and each of the stories has a meaning everyone can abide by. In Autocracy, all of the bots are faced with making difficult choices, especially Orion. He is constantly led to believe that he has no choice but for the ones given to him, until he realizes that he has the free will to make his own decisions. In Monstrosity, Skorponok says, “Deep down, we’re all monsters.” There is darkness within everyone and there are moments when it threatens to come out and take over the good. However, the darkness can be faced and it can be tamed and one does not have to be alone while doing so. And finally, Primacy is about the big battle every fan has looked forward to, but the story is not just about the fighting. It is about unity, fighting for the greater good, and all finally becoming one.
Perhaps what makes this trilogy as unique as it is is the fact that Dille wished to expand more on certain elements from the 1980s show and, with Metzen’s help, succeeded in doing so. Readers who aren’t as familiar with the Transformers franchise, especially the G1 series, may not understand as many of the references as fans would. Fans will come across many characters, lines, and even scenes from the original G1 series that have been changed a bit, providing a new twist of events for fans to enjoy. The story would not be as powerful as it is if it weren’t for the artistic ability of Ramondelli who truly captured the feel of the story with his use of light and dark panels as well as how he depicted the Transformers themselves. He held true to the original G1 designs of the Autobots and the Decepticons and then gave them a more modern-day twist. Readers will find themselves lingering on various panels, especially battle panels, to take in all of the detail, color, and shading Ramondelli included.
With each of this trilogy’s stories coming out a year apart from each other (2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively), fans did not have to wait long for the completion of this amazing contribution to the Transformers universe. And with the Transformers: Autocracy trilogy being released for the first time as a single tradeback edition this December, new and old readers will be able to enjoy the story again and again. The three talented men who brought this story to life truly brought justice to the bots many have come to know and love and, even if readers aren’t as familiar with the franchise, they may become more intrigued to conduct their own research after reading this trilogy. Perhaps the only downside to the trilogy is that upon completion, fans will want more. While the novels of Exodus, Exiles, and Retribution have given a wonderful take on the beginning of the Autobot/ Decepticon war and the beginnings of Optimus and Megatron as leaders of said factions, the series seems to have come to a, hopefully, temporary standstill. The team of Metzen, Dille, and Ramondelli could create a wonderful new series that is more than just three stories; however, Autocracy, Monstrosity, and Primacy give fans an epically memorable rendition of the beginning of the war for Cybertron.