IDW Publishing "Autocracy" #7 Comic Book Review
Cover Price: $.99 (Digital Exclusive)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publishing Date: April 11, 2012
Story by: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Letters by: Robbie Robbins
Editor: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
In the outskirts of Nyon, Orion Pax and his team have fallen. Standing over them is Zeta Prime with power surging through his Vamparc cannons. Just as he is about to finish everyone off, several blasts strike him - from the Decepticons! Zeta thinks the Vamparc will save him but Megatron quickly overloads it by throwing several victims at him at one time. Rather than face Megatron one on one, Zeta retreats!
Later at Kolkular, the Autobots have been repaired courtesy of the Decepticons. Megatron again works to recruit Orion to bring Zeta Prime down. Orion asks Megatron how can he trust him, but Megatron counters by asking what choice does he have?
Later, Orion is walking with Hot Rod discussing the deal that is about to be made. Orion explains that the price of leadership is making hard choices: just like agreeing to work with Megatron!
A lot about this issue left me uncomfortable - and that's a good thing. Every step of the way, "Choices" shows us how much more complicated the world of Cybertron's past was before the total outbreak of the "Great Wars". If you had told me years ago we would be seeing Optimus Prime's predecessors slaughtering innocents and then trying to kill Orion Pax I would have thought you were nuts (or it was one of those "mind control" episodes). If you had told me that Megatron would be the one saving the Autobots, I would have said "Now you're really making things up!" but that is exactly what happens in this issue and it defies our expectations and is a better story for it.
The story kicks off with a bang. Zeta looks positively demonic standing over the fallen Autobots. The large Autobot symbol on his chest comes off as ironic rather than heroic in the worst possible way. When Megatron and the Decepticons intervene, we get to see Zeta's true nature: that of a coward. And for a moment at least, we can see why Decepticons may follow Megatron. Evil or not, he is charismatic and willing to face an enemy head on without flinching. You don't have to like him or agree with his philosophy, but you can definitely understand why Decepticons respect him (well, most of them anyhow).
Seeing Orion choose to side with Megatron is interesting. He could strike out on his own, but he's already seen the result of that, especially with Zeta's use of the Vamparc cannons. What I do wonder however is how he will go from the upcoming confrontation with becoming a Prime himself in the future.
Most of this issue is made up of non-action packed moments, so Ramondelli's work focuses on character shots. There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on shadow in this issue, more so than usual. I conjecture that this is a thematic choice to really show how the lines between "good and evil" are blurring and how choices are no longer one hundred percent clear to our heroes. I do have to admit I loved the shot of Zeta Prime in the beginning in all his semi-demonic glory. I was also happy to get to see Megatron in action and not just sitting around.
"Autocracy" #7 left me wanting more, partially because it left me in a very uncomfortable place. I don't like the idea of Orion working with Megatron, I am not fond of Zeta's wackiness - but darnit I wan tto see how this story resolves! This is one of those stories that works well because you know where some of the key characters will wind up in the future. I'm really happy with this issue and look forward to the next!