Transformers Spotlight: Optimus Prime
IDW Publishing (August, 2007)
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARTIST: Don Figueroa
COLORIST: Josh Burcham
COVER ART: Don Figueroa & Gabriel Rodriguez
LETTERER: Chris Mowry
EDITOR: Dan Taylor
When Optimus was transferring his consciousness to his trailer unit during Transformers: Escalation his mind went through “infraspace”, where he could sense Nova Prime. Seeking answers Optimus travels to meet with Omega Supreme and discovers that Nova’s trip was not about exploration but expansion, which Omega was not in agreement of. Then they are attacked by Monstructor, a Combiner experiment by Jhiaxus that turned dangerous and Omega locked away. Now Monstructor seeks revenge, and while Optimus agrees what was done to the robots that comprise him was wrong he’s not about taking the monster down. While Omega worries about the secrets of gestalt technology falling into Decepticon hands, Optimus still wants them helped.
What they got right: As usual, Figueroa’s art is fantastic, and the coloring by Burhcam is also quite good.
What they got wrong: But as usual I have my problems with the story. Don’t get me wrong; it’s well-written, although it still has Furman’s desire to tell 15 stories at once. However this is where IDW’s ruining of the Combiner concept begins. It was after I stopped reading IDW regularly so I don’t know if the Spark Of Combination was tied to Jhiaxus’s Combiner experiments or not, but that would be later writers’ faults. However, Combiners used to be cool, a temporary fusion of minds creating a new robot, but here it’s a terrible thing to be avoided and way too powerful. This will be further ruined by other writers leading to Combiner Wars but the limiting of Combiners as a concept began here. Sadly, this will not be the worst thing Furman tied to Jhiaxus’s experiments, right Arcee?
Also, it upgrades Omega Supreme, in my opinion based solely on his name, to a position higher than Optimus Prime, further ruins the Autobot civilization’s standing as the “good guys”, and damages the concept of being a Prime in light of Nova and Omega Supreme’s actions. We can’t really tell if Omega was in the right because we didn’t see what damage Monstructor did, unlike Thunderwing, whose threat we were shown both past and present.
Recommendation: A good story and further setup of the “Dead Universe” storyline, but it pretty much ensured Combiners would be absent for a long time and ruined by future writers. When Furman doesn’t like a concept he will work to ruin them. See also female Autobots, and we’ll get to Spotlight: Arcee eventually. I can’t recommend this story but it’s not bad enough to tell you to avoid, either.