Sideswipe’s life is in danger and the only people who can help him just let a horde of Sharkticons loose on the planet. See below for a review of Optimus Prime #5.
As serious as the story is, there’s a thread of dark humor running through it, like in the word boxes that describe each character as they appear:
Jazz: Trying too hard.
Wreck-Gar: Bonkers Earth invader.
Cosmos: Disagreed with something that ate him.
The narration in the present day is from Arcee, and I could listen to her cynical, introspective monologue all day.
…even I was just a lie I told myself…
In the flashbacks we get more insight as to how Orion would go from an idealistic do-gooder sort of cop, to the battle-hardened solder that is tired of everybody screwing him over.
In the present day we see the fallout from last issue, with the Cybertronians trying to protect humans from the Sharkticons, and most of the humans deciding the Cybertronians are just a menace (so what else is new?) And we get to see what might have happened in the ’86 movie if Hot Rod and Kup had brought Soundwave with them.
And while I’m thinking about it….is Arcee genuinely concerned about Sideswipe? I mean, she cares about him as an almost-friend, and a fellow soldier, but maybe…in a shippy goodness kinda way? Because I can get behind that. (Oh fine, I’m a big ol girl, WHATEVER, shut up.)
As for the art, Kei Zama’s style blends really well with the retro-80s comic book feel they’re going for. There’s a lot of very dark shading and hard-edged lines, and with Josh Burcham’s color choices, a warm tint with high saturation, the pages really take on the look of the old newsprint comic paper that soaked up all that ink.
The battle scenes are chaotic but fun, with a lot of awesome poses (knowledge of anatomy is important even when everybody’s a robot. Especially when everybody’s a robot.) The faces are excellent, Prowl’s face in the flashbacks was particularly nice. And Kei isn’t afraid to leave a face mostly in shadow, with just an eye and a few teeth visible (it’s just as disturbing as you’d think.)
There’s also a panel of Jetfire from behind, he’s spaced down low in the page, and with the single word bubble in the middle it made for a really artistic shot.
Also I don’t usually like so many humans in my Transformers comic, but the way Kei draws them makes me almost okay with it.