|Cover "A" by Viktor Deak|
Writers: James Roberts and John Barber
Artist: Nick Roche
(covers by Viktor Deak and Nick Roche)
Summary: Celebrating 125 issues of IDW's Transformers! After Chaos, Optimus Prime's fate was shrouded in mystery. Was he truly gone or could there be a way he had emerged unscathed? Now, Optimus sits in contemplation, in a place he does not recognize as home. And with the cost of the battle finally taking its brutal toll, does Optimus Prime even have the will to carry on? CHAOS changed everything, and Transformers #125 sets a new direction for the Autobot leader...
Comments: This issue has gone through some changes. First it was issue #32/#125 and then it was a "stand alone" story. Clearly, the issue continues on from the Costa series though (it even has a "previously..." section on the inside cover).
Anyway, this issue follows on from #31, showing what happened to Optimus Prime after he unleashed the Matrix on D-Void. In short, he survived. At first, he wasn't sure where he was but it turns out he's still on Cybertron and we're quickly caught up on what's going on. Megatron has vanished... Galvatron is apparently dead as are the TFs that he re-animated with the Heart of Darkness. The Decepticons survive and are quickly locked up while many ships of lost Cybertronians return home over time, forcing the Autobots to try and manage matters as best they can. Also, the Matrix has reignited their dead world and its natural energy resources somehow. On this new world, Prime no longer knows where he fits in and ultimately decides to leave, renaming himself "Orion Pax" as he was once called. Elsewhere, Bumblebee and his Autobots decide to try and administer the planet and all its new problems as best they can while Hot Rod/Rodimus decides to lead an expedition to the far side of the Galaxy in pursuit of the lost legendary Knights of Cybertron.
As you may have guessed, this is all set-up for the two new Transformers comics debuting from IDW in January. Robots in Disguise will be set on Cybertron while following Bumblebee and company. More Then Meets the Eye is set in space and follows Rodimus. I'm not sure if these two new stories will be ballsy attempts that reinvigorate the franchise or more storytelling that ultimately falls flat (Costa seemed brilliant in his first few issues but couldn't sustain it).
The issue itself is okay. The story is decent but not especially memorable... As I've said, much of it is a prologue for the two new series and has to address certain plot points to set those up. The remainder is about Optimus finding out where he is and deciding he no longer has any place on a peaceful world. Another issue I have with the forthcoming comics: the writers always seem to want to write Transformers without Optimus Prime involved (since he gets so much spotlight generally). This always seem to not work out very well so it will be interesting to see whether or not the new team can make it work without him in the long run.
The art is by Nick Roche and, frankly, it's kind of weird looking. Many of the characters are spindly, for lack of a better term (particularly Rodimus. His design is so different looking from the norm now anyway. Add this style and he's just about unrecognizable. Metalhawk and a few others also have the spindly look about them too). I also think this issue's art was shrunk after the fact--the captions are smaller looking then normal and every frame has a box around it (I think it was drawn with full page bleed in mind but someone changed their mind late in the process). As you can imagine, shrinking the art affects it too so its weirdness might not be Roche's fault but a result of the change.