Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Megatron's Origins and Autocracy: Because you can't have one without the other

Throughout all of the generations I've seen of Transformers, is it sad to say that I only recall a single dedicated origin story for Megatron? Not to mention, how many Transformers fans who read this can tell me, without looking up a wiki who Orion Pax is? Yeah, you'd think that the two main characters of the series would get dedicated origin stories often, if at all. Well, we have 12 comics that give dedicated origin stories for the two, along with the Autobots and the Decepticons. They won the poll, so its time to look at the two IDW Transformers arcs: Megatron's Origins and Autocracy.

Disclaimer: I have not seen and/or read every single iteration of Transformers. The only time I recall seeing a origin story for Megatron was Transformers Prime and the only two times outside of this series of comics I've seen Optimus Prime referred to as Orion Pax was an episode of Generation 1 and late season 1-early season 2 of Transformers Prime.

So for this, I'm going to tackle the two separately in terms of reviewing them. So up first: Megatron's Origins. So Sentinel Prime and the senate rule Cybertron with a, potentially literal, Iron Fist. The rich are trampling over the pour, the government is corrupt and the planet itself is on the brink of civil war and with an Energon shortage in progress, it would be catastrophic. A worker in an Energon Mine, when learning of what was going to happen to the mine and how the senator's guards treated the workers may have... snapped, leading to the death of a guard, the death of several of the miners.The escaped miners go off the radar, becoming what can basically be described as a terrorist group led by the miner, turned warrior, Megatron. By the end of the four issue arc, the Decepticons are formed, and the war begins. The Autobots, who at that point in time, wants to keep their control over the planet, and the Decepticons who want to overthrow them and bring Cybertron into a new age of "peace".

This is actually a very surprising interpretation of Megatron, as it gives him some actual character rather then just "I'm evil because I said 'F$#* it' I want to be an asshole today". It portrays him as a semi "fall from grace" character as his reaction to what happened in the mine is nothing like what you'd expect from Megatron. You do kinda feel for him in this arc, though at the same time it doesn't shine him in a good light visually. For a transformers comic, its very graphic as it doesn't leave a lot to the imagination in terms of what's happening on the page. It's beautiful, but if it was anything else, I guarantee people wouldn't sit through the whole arc.

Autocracy on the other hand is a different story. Sentinel Prime's death in Megatron's Origins, which happened several years before this, as led to a new prime, Zeta Prime. Orion Pax along with many other Autobots are members of his guard and police squad, charged with "keeping the peace" and stopping more Cybertronians from joining Megatron. However, there is a small problem. Innocent civilians are being branded as traitors and killed, and Zeta Prime has been building up a super weapon. After Zeta's death, all Autobots go into hiding in fear of being killed on sight, and during this time, Optimus finds the long lost Matrix of Leadership, turning him into Optimus Prime. Using the Matrix, Optimus manages to inspire many Cybertronians into joining the new Autobots, with views more familiar to what fans are used too, eventually leading to a massive battle for Iacon and setting up the war as a whole.

Yes, these are abridged versions of the stories, but I don't want to spoil them as I think the two stories are quite good. I've seen more development for Optimus and Megatron in these 16 issues then I have in over a decade of watching the shows and movies simply because of the fact that these do the best job I've seen of portraying these two as two sides of the same coin in more ways then one. They were very similar before this happened, but it was just a few decisions that made them who they are, and that either one of them could have easily ended up like the other. I see this as the Transformers equivalent of Batman and the Joker thanks to that development, something I've thought about prior, but never completely agreed with until now (the closest being Transformers Prime).

The art style of Autocracy is almost dream like in a way. It's the best way I can describe it. It just looks surreal, in comparison to Megatron's Origins which looked realistic. It's quite gorgeous and its a style that gets repeated in several later issues... I think... You see, its hard trying to find out the release order for these comics. These issues are most of the early issues in terms of plot, but I have no idea in terms of release. Thankfully they're adopting a more traditional release schedule for the two on going lines, More then Meets the eye and Robots in Disguise (real original there guys...). Either way, the style is just gorgeous and makes me really want to see it in motion.

The last thing to address is the fan service in these, you'll be seeing a lot of it. Many iconic generation 1 characters can be seen in this, which I don't mind to an extent. But this is a personal thing, I'd love to see more love for the later generations of Transformers. I'm excited when I see things that kind of look like they were inspired from Armada like Optimus' fake arm cannons in a later issue and the toy lines putting out an Armada inspired Starscream and Megatron along with Mini-cons (which I'm thankful that the combiner Minicons look like they're at least fun in all three modes, all I have in terms of a complete mini con combiner team is Energon Perceptor (which if you want me to review, use this link here: to vote on this Strawpoll). Just a personal thing guys, and this includes third party Transformer toy makers, can we please see more non G1/ Beast Wars (I think) Transformers. I would go out of my way some remakes of the Unicron Trilogy Transformers.

Incase it wasn't obvious, I loved reading these two arcs, they are some of the best arcs I've personally read (though granted, that's not saying much, even when considering the arcs from all the comics I've read just for leisure and not to review. I highly recommend them, especially if you like Transformers. The IDW representative has been changed in the new Strawpoll for November's comic arc to review: and next week, we're "on our way, to the Friendship games". See you all then.

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