Ricky Church reviews Optimus Prime #6…
“NEW CYBERTRON”—CONCLUSION! As the Junkions reveal their ultimate plan, Optimus Prime makes a decision that will define the relationship between Earth and Cybertron for all time… but will Arcee be able to live with the fallout?
The first arc of Optimus Prime comes to a close as Optimus struggles to prevent the situation with the Junkions from escalating any further. Optimus Prime #6 took a small break from the action we’ve seen the last couple issues to resolve the arc while setting up the next phase of John Barber’s story. Rather than going for the obvious, Barber subverted expectations while bringing Optimus back to a slightly more recognizable mindset than we’ve seen him in lately.
Optimus has had a lot to deal with lately, from ensuring a peaceful relationship with Earth to how new Cybertronians view him as a messiah and God-like being. This has not necessarily pushed him over the edge, but we’ve seen him take a bit of a harder stance on enforcing his control and wishes on others. This has been mirrored pretty well in the flashbacks that show how Prime, then Orion Pax, lost any and all sympathy with the Decepticon movement.
Instead of wiping out the Junkions as retribution for their betrayal, he instead still wants to find a peaceable solution to their conflict, something that surprises nearly everyone involved. But in doing so, he became like the Prime of old, committed to the ideals of peace and that “freedom is the right of all sentient beings”. It helped that he was also confronted with some unsettling comparisons in this issue, such as his actions against Galvatron or how he could be no different from what Megatron once was.
Barber still left room though for some more surprises. Despite the hopeful ending of Optimus’ choice, there’s an ominous feeling that not all Autobots are happy with his decision. Barber also subverted expectations by not fully saving Sideswipe. It seemed like his recovery was all but assured after Arcee found the tool to save him, but then Optimus destroyed it. It definitely makes for a bit of a downer, but sets up what might happen in the next arc or further into the series.
Kei Zama is back on art duties and his art is, for the most part, good in this issue. At times, though, the art is a bit confusing, such as the aforementioned scene where Optimus destroys the Positron Core. It’s not entirely clear what exactly happens, or if that’s what he meant to do or just an accident, but there are a couple other instances where it’s a bit difficult to tell what’s happening. His character models are pretty well done, though, with Optimus and Jetfire looking the best of the bunch, and Josh Burchman’s colours help elevate the issue and make it pop.
Optimus Prime #6 is a good close to the title’s first arc that examines Prime’s standing among the Autobots and people of Earth. This issue’s look at his culpability in the conflict and desire to change brings back a more familiar Optimus Prime than we’ve seen lately while simultaneously leaving readers with the thought that not everything is good for him right now. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.