Jazz has a chance to tell his story to the press, which is maybe not the best idea but you have to admire his principles. Jetfire gets to talk to the friend who beat him up for being a sellout, which is a slightly better idea but is still pretty dicey. And Optimus finds out that “keeping your friends close” isn’t a good idea when one of them is a murderer.
See below for preview pages and a review of Optimus Prime #8.
As always, minor spoilers below.
I’ve talked a lot before about how so many of the IDW artists have really captured the G1 cartoon “feel” in their art, but I’m starting to realize each of them capture different aspects of that feel. Some have the perfect colors, some have the sense of motion of a cartoon, but Casey Coller really gets the ages of the faces right. I don’t mean the wear and tear in the metal (Livio Ramondelli nails that one) I mean the maturity level, in Earth-type measurements. It’s hard to describe, but some of the more manga artists look tend to make everyone look a little on the young side (still beautiful though.) But with Coller, Optimus looks like he’s a seasoned leader, Pyra Magna slightly younger, and Jetfire’s age really changes in his face when you go from flashback to present day. To me anyway. Plus Coller really gets the shape of the eyes and teeth right. I don’t know, I’m nit-picking, but in a good way.
John-Paul Bove’s colors are a perfect match for the style. He really knows how to depict glowing lights, without having to throw in a lot of lens flares.
I’m going to sound like a broken record if you’ve read any of my other reviews, but I think my only complaint about this issue is (say it with me) “too many humans.” However, I think I’m in the minority with my anti-human stance, and Coller is one of the artists who draws them in a style I like.
The story is mostly a flashback issue, what with us seeing both Jetfire’s early days as an Autobot and Jazz’s background story that he gives to the press. But it’s also moving the plot along in the present, in regards to Optimus’ problems on Earth, Pyra Magna’s distrust of the Prime, and Jazz’s future prospects once he tells his story to a bunch of reporters who mostly want to know why he killed a police officer. (For background on that situation you can check out tfwiki, our go-to site for sorting through years of TF history.)
After reading this issue I really wouldn’t mind another Jazz Spotlight, one that looks at his life before he became an Autobot. What we got to see in this issue is really going to resonate with musicians and music lovers. (Not to mention the type of music Jazz thinks matches Prowl, which when I read it I was like “YES OF COURSE.”) There’s also a great arrangement of some of the most famous jazz musicians, and it’s another one of those “I’d frame this and put it on my wall” pages.
The timing on this issue was a little off, it actually takes place right before Transformers Annual 2017, which published back in March. That’s actually a bit of a relief, because when I read that one I wasn’t sure why Optimus and Pyra Magna were headed to this out-of-the-way spot on Cybertron. Once you read this issue, you’ll know why they went there. (I mean, you could figure it out in the context of the Annual, but I thought I’d missed an issue somewhere.)
Also, I thought everybody’s variant covers were great, but I thought Coller and Bove’s work on the subscription cover was my favorite.