Early this year, Blizzard Senior Vice-president of Creative Design Chris Metzen and his pal Flint Dille (Transformers) joined up to write Transformers: Autocracy — a 12-issue digital comics available on iPhone and Comixology.
If you are a Chris Metzen fan, like myself, this will blow your socks off. IDW Publishing unveiled the Transformers: Autocracy (Paperback) last week at San Diego Comic Con. If you missed the digital version or waited for the paperback, here it is. Grab it while supplies last.
The sales went so great that IDW has pledged to the creative minds of Metzen and Dille for a second round.
According to a Twitter message, both authors and Livio Ramondelli (Artist) are joining up once more to create a Transformers: Autocracy sequel titled Transformers: Monstrosity (January 2013).
For those who missed it, Transformers: Autocracy was set after Chaos Theory and Megatron Origin. This story portrays Orion Pax and Megatron uniting to fight a common foe: Zeta Prime. A chaotic world that makes path to the birth of Optimus Prime from the ashes of Orion Pax. The moment in history when Orion Pax finds and dons the Matrix.
I’m nigh 40 years old. Back in the 80s, I didn’t miss a Transformers TV Series chapter. I loved to draw Optimus Prime, back then. It’s absolutely cool to read how Optimus Prime came to be his heroic self from the pen of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille. After reading the 12-issue digital comics, I wished to see more of Metzen/Dille, and my wishes were granted. Monstrosity continues the saga. As per Dille’s words: “Now that they have freedom, what do they do with it?”
Image by Seibertron
Transformers: Autocracy (Paperback) Letter from Chris Metzen
We joked that one day we’d find enough time outside of our day jobs to collaborate on something epic!
Well, when the opportunity presented itself to work on a Transformers story for IDW, that collaboration kicked into high gear. I had a number of themes I wanted to chase in the story; ideas and things I’d wanted to see rendered since I was a kid (how Optimus got a lot of unfinished character business from the ’80s that he wanted to make good on (Hot Rod’s impetuousness getting Optimus killed, the root of Megatron’s evil). Writing Autocracy allowed us to scratch all those itches at once.
We knew Autocracy would be a fairly dark, gritty story about the fall of Cybertron’s former governmental system — a theme that both Flint and I were fascinated with. We had talked a lot over the years about the world we live in today and the challenges of developing pop fiction in the post-911 world. We talked a lot about what it means to be a good soldier — about what roles real (or fictional) heroes play in a society where achieving celebrity has seemingly become an end in and of itself — and about how the “cult of personality” shapes and breaks leaders’ careers on a daily basis. It seemed to us that this was all really interesting DNA for a story … a story of how a banged-up cop who’s lost his faith in justice opens his heart to his people — and leads them to real freedom.
Flint’s unbridled energy and constant stream of ideas really charged me up, and pushed me to reach deep to find the soul of this story. I learned a lot about franchise-storytelling from Flint over the course of developing this series (that I hope to leverage in my day job). But really, getting to work with one of my heroes on a franchise that he helped define has been a staggering honor. And, seeing Flint get to chase ideas he always wanted to tie up — and revel in the sheer geeky glory of the Transformers universe again — was great fun.
Of course, none of our highfalutin ideas would have come to life without the vision and talent of Livio Ramondelli. A newer artist on the Transformers scene, Livio turned out to be the perfect artist for this series — and the “missing third ingredient” to finalize our vision. Having grown up with Transformers himself, Livio’s instincts for these characters’ feelings and motivations really helped galvanize Autocracy’s core storyline. But it was his materful rendering of Cybertron’s scarred, immortal warriors — and the contrast between its stark urban collapse and hopeful, dawning horizons — that gave Autocracy its distinct visual authenticity.
Under Livio’s digital-brush, each page of this series literally strobed between darkness and light — and cut straight to the core of this beloved franchise; good vs evil — hope vs nihilism — all lovingly rendered in every detailed panel … Livio’s cinematic eye for storytelling and drama didn’t just define Autocracy’s look — it changed the way I’ll look at Transformers forever.
I also want to thank the very talented editorial team at IDW — who have kept the Transformers torch lit for years. First, to Scott Dunbier who suggested I take a swing at writing a Transfromers story “one day”. Props must be paid to Andy Schmidt (former series editor) for taking the chance on a couple of comics-newbies and allowing us to tell our story.
I want to give special thanks to the current Transformers editor, John Barber, for not only keeping us on track, but for shaping this story with us from the get-go. John’s patience, encouragement, and creative support were instrumental in getting this project across the finish line!
And, I’d be remiss to not thank all the great writers whose stories paved the way for Autocracy — especially Simon Furman, James Roberts, Mike Costa, and Eric Holmes. It’s been a great honor to help weave this evolving mythology alongside such great talents!
On behalf of Flint and Livio, I dearly hope you enjoy this tale — collected here in print for the first-time ever! It’s been a very rewarding adventure so far!
ALL ARE ONE.
Transformers: Autocracy # 9: is now on sale, and things have ramped up with the demise of ZETA PRIME, and the betrayal of Megatron, as he shoots a hole through Orion Pax’s chest and pushes him into the abyss.
Long ago, on the planet Cybertron … ORION PAX, leader of an Autobot counter-terror strike team, joins with MEGATRON, commander of the rebel Decepticons, to overthrow the planet’s corrupt ruler, ZETA PRIME. With success at hand — and Zeta dead — Megatron turns on Pax, blasting him through the chest. Throwing Pax’s body underground, Megatron seizes power for himself.
Story: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art: Livio Ramondelli
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editors: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
I’m amazed by Transformers: Autocracy # 9. I saw it coming. With ZETA PRIME dead, and Megatron backstabbing Orion Pax, shooting him through the chest — Megatron has now taken Iacon and all of Cybertron over for the Decepticons –giving out an amnesty to all Autobots to join the Decepticons, or death.
In the depths of The Undergrid, a broken and nigh dead Orion Pax awakens as he senses a nearby power source. A calling.
Transformers: Autocracy # 9 is going to give fans the goosebumps. It’s a thrilling moment for any reader. Orion Pax dons the Matrix of Leadership, shedding away his life and identity to become Optimus Prime.
Issue # 10 begins the climax of this storyline. It’s time to set Cybertron free. It’s time to fight as one. It’s time for hope of a better tomorrow.
Chris Metzen & Flint Dille have done an amazing job fleshing out a chaotic Cybertron that truly needs a noble and unconditional heroe. A freedom-fighter. A symbol of unity and hope: Optimus Prime.
Grab your copy or the entire series at Comixology, or find it on iPhone/iPad. Comixology supports PC reading with Adobe Flash player.
Iacon, Trion Square
Torus-City Ultrix. Autobot Safe-House
Chris Metzen (Blizzard SVP Creative Design), Flint Dille (Diablo III: Book of Cain), and Simon Furman (DC Comics StarCraft) are landing at BotCon 2012 on Saturday, April 28th.
Panel: Transformers Comics: IDW Publishing
- 11:00-11:50 AM – Reunion Ballroom
Hyatt Regency Dallas
300 Reunion Boulevard,
Dallas, Texas, USA 75207
Tel: +1 214 651 1234 Fax: +1 214 742 8126
Ever since Megatron revealed Orion Pax the content of Soundwave’s recording of Zeta Prime’s plans, it was kinda obvious the Autobots and the Decepticons would end up teaming up to fight the good fight against Zeta Prime.
It’s now reality with the final panel in issue # 7. Megatron and Orion Pax shaking hands.
Both forces unite to take out a Prime who is as evil or more than Megatron. One that’s even willing to sacrifice his own population and strike team to reach his goals.
I’m digging this bi-weekly comics only 8-pages long. So much happens in each panel. A mix OF raw action, and straight-to-the-liver dialogue that result in a dynamic storytelling that keeps you craving for more.
With the series ending in issue # 12, readers now have five issues more to crave for patiently.
Chris and Flint definitely have lots of surprises still on queue. If you haven’t yet, jump into the Transformers: Autocracy wagon. It’s available for iPad and iPhone, but PC users can read them online via the internet browser at comixology.com
Transformers: Autocracy # 8 hits Comixology on Wednesday, April 25th. It’s only $0.99 cents!
CHAPTER DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE SERIES! ORINON PAX– the ‘bot who will someday be Optimus Prime– lies defeated. Cybertron is in flames. ZETA PRIME is poised to conquer all. Does any hope remain– or is this a very short chapter?
Writer: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Artist: Livio Ramondelli
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editors: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
Long ago, on the planet Cybertron … as Decepticon forces rise up to battle the Autobot leadership, ORION PAX leads a counter-terror strike team. After tracking down a mysterious bomber named HOT ROD, Orion and his team learn Autobot leader ZETA PRIME has been draining the energy of the civilian population on Nyon to power his vamparc weaponry — and when Zeta’s forces attack, Hot Rod is forced to destroy the city he had vowed to protect. But even that desperate move doesn’t stop Zeta from beating Pax to the ground.
The outskirts of Nyon
Kolkular (Decepticon HQ)
In Transfromers: Autocracy # 6, Zeta Prime has shown his true colors and Hot Rod has been successful opening Orion Pax’s eyes. Orion Pax finally accepts his leader has betrayed him, and set up his Autobots team.
Back in issue # 4, Zeta Prime sent Orion Pax and his Autobots team to Nyon in a mission to capture the terrorist cell leader, Hot Rod. Turns out, it was a set up. Zeta Prime had ordered the release of the Omega Destructors upon Nyon with the intent to siphon the energon from the citizens, thus expecting Orion Pax and the Autobots to die along with the rebels.
Megatron and Starscream, safely within the Decepticons headquarter, spy upon the invasion of Nyon; and the Decepticon leader ponders what Orion Pax might do now with the raw truth slapping him in the face.
Hot Rod has to make a desperate decision. One that makes the reader wonder how different he is compared to Zeta Prime. Given the circumstances, even good-hearted people might be put between a rock and a hard place.
In issue # 6: Purge, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille play mindgames with the reader. Decepticons, Autobots, Zeta Prime’s Autocracy, Nyon Rebels. Throughout the Gen1 80s, it was about black and white. Autobots and Decepticons.
This story reveals the old days of Cybertron was a cornucopia of factions with shades of gray. Leaders with different agendas who dealt with the citizens in unexpected ways.
The general story in issue # 6 doesn’t have revelations, or long cliche megalomaniac monologues. It’s about action, and facing the raw hard truth. Zeta Prime and his Omega Destructors have arrived to Nyon, and the odds of winning this battle are slim.
This is merely the belly button of the Autocracy series. Six more issues to go. A story that aims to tell readers what dire situations helped to build the Optimus Prime everyone knows, loves, and holds dear.
Get Transformers: Autocracy on iPhone, iPad or online for Windows PC at Comixology.
Autocracy # 6 Video Teaser
In this uncut and raw behind the scenes footage, Flint Dille and Chris Metzen explore the thinking that went into the groundbreaking new comic books series ‘Autocracy’, by IDW Digital Publishing.
Fans of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille might be able to see them on Friday, March 16th at WonderCon 2012 which takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Both writers will co-lead a IDW Transformers panel between 2:00pm – 3:00pm – Livio Ramondelli, John Barber, Flint Dille, Chris Metzen
Attendees should visit IDW Publishing booth #301. Register here.
UPDATE: The Blizzard Art Director Samwise Didier (King Panda) will be at table AA 131 in the Artist’s Alley through March 16-18th. He’ll have two exclusive art to sign. Visit his website to order posters if you aren’t attending.
The Floor Map can be found here (at the bottom-center of the PDF page). Ask there about Metzen and Dille’s panel.
ANAHEIM CONVENTION CENTER
800 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802
12 CHAPTER DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE SERIES! THE HUNT IS ON! ORION PAX’s strike team follows the trail of a young rebel into the ancient ACROPLEX! But what they find there is more than a single dissident– it’s a secret that will shake CYBERTRON to the core!
Story: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art: Livio Ramondelli
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Editors: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
Long ago, on the planet Cybertron … as dissident Decepticons rise up to battle the Autobot leadership, ORION PAX leads a counter-terror strike team. After being attacked by a mysterious bomber — and subsequently failing in their mission to hunt down a Decepticon spy — Autobot leader ZETA PRIME orders Orion and his team to take down the young rebel … a Transformer called HOT ROD.
Previously, Orion Pax and the Autobots are sent by Zeta Prime in yet another setup mission to hunt for Hot Rod — revealed to be the one who set off the bomb attack against the Autobots in Nyon.
Hot Rod is found and escapes, leading Orion Pax intentionally to a place where he would see the truth behind Zeta Prime.
There’s more than meet the eye in Transformers: Autocracy # 5. I haven’t read any of the Transformers comics except for Autocracy, but I can tell there might be some new ancient Cybertron lore in this series that might come back to haunt or delight old and new Transformers fans.
It’s likely that some of this story might come up in the Transformers MMO.
According to Transformers: Autocracy # 5, The Halls of Order of the old Acropolex in Nyon was the seat of power of the Knights of Cybertron.
The Knights of Cybertron ruled with wisdom and justice, and guarded the Transformers’ worlds before the first Prime came to be.
Many hardcore fans voiced in the forums all around the world, after reading Transformers: Autocracy # 1, that this Orion Pax is not the Optimus Prime everyone loves and hold dear.
Chris Metzen and Flint Dille simply set the grounds of a grand scale story that is now starting to take full-speed in issue # 5.
Orion Pax was brought back to life by Zeta Prime without his heart. There’s a hollow space within Orion Pax’s chest.
His decisions weren’t always right. His nobility and sense of justice was there, but he was mostly a puppet unable to see past Zeta Prime’s orders.
Megatron opened Orion Pax’s eyes to the truth, although not with the intentions one might think. On the other hand Nyon Rebels led by Hot Rod let Orion Pax finally put all the dots together to see the big picture.
All along, Orion Pax was helping a corrupt government as Zeta Prime’s best officer, doing Zeta’s dirty work while the goverment was drying the civilians of their energon, leaving empty husks. The Nyon rebellion now made sense.
This story by Metzen and Dille lets us see all the layers that led to the civil war of Cybertron. It’s not a black and white conflict. There are many shades of gray in between: Autobots, Decepticons, Zeta Prime, and Nyon Rebels. All fighting for a different cause and for different goals.
However, did Orion Pax learn the truth too late? History says otherwise, but Transformers: Autocracy has just ramped up the core of its story building toward the climax.
Orion Pax and the Autobots look into the horizon, and discover Zeta Prime has once more set them up to die. This time sending them to hunt for Hot Rod well knowing his Omega Destructors would be incinerating Nyon fueling their equipped Vamparc Ribbon weapons with the very energon lifeforce of the civilians.
This story is just getting better. Seven issues still ahead to conclude this 12-part storyline.
Order Transformers: Autocracy # 5 for iPhone, iPad or your favorite Windows PC internet browser here.
Note: After visiting the link, Type Autocracy in the search box. Order, proceed to checkout and choose how to view (iPhone, iPad or Web browser)
- Orion Pax
- Hot Rod
- Nyon: The Rust Narrows
- The old Acropolex (legends say it was one of the capitals of ancient Cybertron)
- Halls of Order (Seat of power for the Knights of Cybertron located within the Acropolex).
- Kolkular, the Decepticons’ Base of Operations
IDW published a new video teaser for Transformers: Autocracy # 5 which hits the internet tomorrow Wednesday, March 14th. This video has Blizzard VP of Creative Design Chris Metzen and Flint Dille talking about the transition from issue # 4 to # 5 where Hot Rod out of the blue will take the spotlight.
It’s discovered Hot Rod was who detonated the explosives at Nyon during the events of issue # 1, and he’s taken a radical approach leading the Nyon rebellion against the Autobots and Zeta Prime’s Autocracy. Download Transformers: Autocracy # 1-5 for iPhone or iPad here, or view it on your Windows PC internet browser at Comixology for merely 99 cents.
Previously: Long ago, on the planet Cybertron … as dissident Decepticons rise up to battle the Autobot leadership, ORION PAX leads a counter-terror strike team. On orders from ZETA PRIME, Orion and his team hunt down the Decepticon SOUNDWAVE — but upon the renegade’s capture, the team is outnumbered and taken to face the Decepticon’s leader…
12 CHAPTER DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE SERIES! ORION PAX — Prisoner!? Forced into meeting with the Decepticon leader, MEGATRON, Pax — the ‘bot who will someday be Optimus Prime — finds himself outnumbered… but the real threat may not be wearing a Decepticon badge.
Story: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art: Livio Ramondelli
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Editors: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
Issue # 2: Soundwave records the conversation between Zeta Prime and Starscream. Zeta will install the Vamparc Ribbon weapon on the gigantic Omega Destructors to wipe the rebels. Catch is the weapon siphons the spark of innocent citizens throughout Nyon district to power up.
Soundwave escapes and Zeta Prime sends Orion Pax and his team to hunt for him.
Issue # 3: This was an action-packed issue devoted to the hunt of Soundwave — who uses most of his cassette minions to thwart the hunt.
The cliffhanger was so delicious, everyone just wants to pick up issue # 4 — on sale today. The cliffhanger had Orion Pax surrounded by Decepticons at the border of the Kaon District. The Decepticons surprisingly do not attack. They ask Orion Pax to come with them to have a one-on-one chat with their leader MEGATRON. Considering Soundwave’s recording, one could foresee interesting things might happen in the next part of the story if Orion Pax learns what Zeta Prime plans are.
In issue # 4, Megatron and Orion Pax talk. Megatron shows him Soundwave’s recording revealing Zeta’s plans. Megatron tells Orion that Zeta sent him to Nyon on purpose to be annihilated by the insurgents as an excuse to launch an invasion.
This Zeta guy seems like a calculating Mr. Evil willing to sacrifice his very own best officer in order to have free reign to eradicate the Cybertronian rebellion.
There’s a lot of dialogue in the initial pages revealing what’s truly going on with Zeta Prime, and what really transpired in the first three-parts of this 12-part series.
The seeds of self-doubt and rebellion has been sown into Orion Pax’s mind. He’s the top cop of Iacon — the Autobot Control Center. Yet, his leader Zeta Prime is the heart of corruption, and he works for him. Implications here are mind-shattering for Orion. His world has been flushed down the drain.
Will Orion take Megatron’s offer to join the Decepticons? We might have to find out later throughout the series.
Due to the 8-pages format, we probably missed a good portion of what could have been the Autobots escape from Decepticon-occupied territory. Issue # 3 was all about the hunt for Soundwave. This time we only get about two-pages for the Autobots to escape Kyon. Not an easy feat considering the lengthy way back to the Iacon border — which deserved more screen time with a heck of a chase.
Rant aside, the thrilling pre-Civil War of Cybertron story continues, fast-paced with good dialogues, humor, revelations, and some ass-kicking action.
As usual, Transformers: Autocracy # 4 ends with yet another cliffhanger. The revelation of who was the bomber who attacked the Autobots in Nyon. Zeta Prime orders Orion Pax to take this new “capture” mission.
Grab your copy of Transformers: Autocracy # 4 via your browser (here), iPad or iPhone. The internet browser version only requires Adobe Flash Player (no other software installation). After visiting the link, click the PUBLISHERS arrow and search for IDW. Browse the page all the way down and look up Transformers: Autocracy.
Check out our recent interview with Chris Metzen concerning Transformers: Autocracy # 3.
Scott Johnson from the Morning Stream interviewed Chris Metzen about Transformers: Autocracy # 4. It’s one of the most awesome interviews I have found so far. Chris Metzen talks his heart out about his love for The Transformers franchise since childhood. You can find his interview one-third into the MP3.
The artwork by Livio Ramondelli is awesome, and well-complemented by the coloring and special effects. You don’t see this level of visual F/X in comics very often consecutively from panel to panel in merely 8-pages. It’s pure raw action.
Letters by Robbie Robbins add an extra depth to the story using noise F/X such as CHA-KOOOOM, KRAAK, CHAMMK, BWAM and others with special fonts.
Transformers: Autocracy # 3 quickly puts the 12-part series into high-speed heartbeat-rate.
In this issue, everyone gets their answer about StarScream’s massacre in Megatron: Origin. There were no survivors to relay who perpetrated the assassination of the Senate of Kaon — as you can read in this image.
As Chris Metzen said during our recent Autocracy # 3 interview, this issue is a Soundwave spotlight.
In the previous issue, Zeta Prime ordered his best officer Orion Pax (later to be known as Optimus Prime) to capture the Decepticon spy Soundwave.
Orion Pax and his autobots team are now hunting down the spy to prevent critical classified info from falling into the hands of the Decepticons.
The aerial defences of Iacon won’t allow an emergency evac, thus Soundwave has no other option than to run for it toward the Kaon border — identified as a Decepticon-controlled territory in continuum consistency with the events of Megatron: Origins.
As Metzen said in the Autocracy # 3 video teaser, you will see Soundwave making use of its cassette minions in a surgical way to make his escape. He uses all of them, thwarting the Autobots hunt. Soundwave is definitely one of the more interesting Decepticons. Flint Dille and Chris Metzen make him shine in this story.
Something curious about the citizens of Iacon is how much they fear Zeta Prime’s forces: the Autobots. Something you should put attention to. The citizens fear the Autobots as much as they do the Decepticons.
The only autobot remaining in the hunt is Orion Pax, and you know what that means. “Crack!!!”, It’s Clobbering Time!!!
The end of this issue just makes you wish you could read Autocracy # 4 already, craving for more.
I don’t know if Livio Ramondelli created this front cover artwork with this in mind, but the metaphorical vibes of this image are mind-boggling. That’s a close up on Soundwave with Orion Pax (Optimus Prime)’s reflection in the middle of Soundwave’s chest. See the decepticon insignia on Orion Pax?
Throughout the story, you will see Orion Pax and the Autobots feared as much by the citizens as they fear the Decepticons. Zeta Prime has reached a point where he will rather massacre an entire district than to let the Decepticons continue their hit-and-run terrorist tactics. Zeta Prime is like Machiavelli: The end result justifies the means.
This is definitely not the heroe Optimus Prime we know and love. This was a time of desperate conflict. Orion Pax had been deactivated prior to all this, and reactivated by Zeta Prime to be his best officer. There is a hollowness within Orion Pax, and his loyalty to the law enforcement clouded his vision to see the truth.
In issue # 2, readers can find out what Zeta Prime’s plans are. It’s genocide. Not only the Decepticons, but the innocent citizens who will serve as fuel to the Vamparc Ribbon weapon wielded by the Omega Destructors. As Metzen implied, Autocracy # 3 starts to pave the ground to the truth. Orion Pax was not in the Senate room to hear Zeta Prime’s speech. He was ordered to hunt Soundwave who managed to infiltrate the Iacon Citadel and fled with the recording of Zeta Prime’s plans.
What will happen if Orion Pax sees the video footage? Will he side with the Decepticons? Will he turn against Zeta Prime? This front cover has an interesting vibe.
You can read Transformers: Autocracy # 3 for only $.99 cents in your iPhone, iPad, or at Comixology (PC,Mac,Android).
Check out our interview with Chris Metzen concerning Autocracy # 3.
Autocracy # 3 Teaser Video
A few hours before Autocracy # 3 went on sale, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille posted a video in YouTube to tease the release of this issue. Check it out!
Last summer, during the BotCon 2011 celebrated in Pasadena, CA through June 2-5, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille revealed they would launch Transformers: Autocracy — an 8-page digital format comic book spanning 12-parts. It sets the ground that ignited what will later be known as the great civil war of Cybertron. A world ruled by Zeta Prime. This is where the Optimus Prime we love and cherish was forged. At the time, he was the best officer of Zeta Prime. But things weren’t black and white in this era, and back then Optimus Prime was still known as Orion Pax.
Transformers: Autocracy launched on January 18th, and it’s published every two weeks in Comixology (PC/Mac), and the iPad and iPhone mobile platform.
In the eve of the launch of Transformers: Autocracy # 3 (available Wednesday, February 15th) I had the awesome opportunity to ask Chris Metzen and Flint Dille some questions about the digital comics.
When did you get hooked up with Transformers, and what’s your geek out story around the franchise?
As for favorite geek-out? There’s no question (IMHO) that the franchise’s greatest moment (across all media) is the throw-down mega-fisticuffs slug-fest between Prime and Megatron in the animated film. “Why throw away your life so recklessly?” Heh. Still makes me smile like an idiot?
Which Transformers stories did you read as background for Autocracy prior to writing the 12-part story?
Metzen: Ooof. Everything I could get my hands on! I had been reading the ongoing series/All Hail Megatron/etc. since it started, but needed to brush up on all the one-shots. Loved Maximum Dynobots and the Last Stand of the Wreckers tales as well. There was a lot to take in and I see lots of places where we missed a few notable details. ? It was a lot to cram for. My biggest inspiration (apart from the animated film) is Furman’s body of work on Transformers. That man paved some serious ground.
Some people are confused with what little they have read in the past 16 pages (spanning Transformers: Autocracy # 1-2) and what they know from Megatron: Origins. Especially concerning Starscream. In Megatron: Origins, Sentinel Prime is still alive. Starscream fights alongside the Deceptions against the Autobots and kills Kaon senators in front of everyone. Yet, in Autocracy, Starscream is a delegate with freedom to walk among the Senate and Zeta Prime as if no one knows what he did. Are fans going to get a clearer picture of what’s going on, or is there a retcon?
Metzen: Ok, lemmesee if I can clear this up… (fingers crossed)…
Autocracy takes place AFTER Chaos Theory, Megatron: Origins and Spotlight: Blurr. You’ll see it’s AFTER everything IDW’s tackled in that era. It’s the story of the end of that era – and the start of the WAR we all know and love.
As for Starscream and the senate of Kaon – no one survived that (very brazen) attack and all video coverage was quickly disposed of. Decepticons are very clever… and thorough! Thus, Starscream’s role as a Decepticon is still largely under wraps as Autocracy gets underway (at least as far as Zeta and these remaining senators are concerned). That entire attack was covered up pretty quick – so one has a clear picture of exactly which Decepticons were specifically involved.
I’ll also go out on a limb here and address the other lingering break – Sentinel WAS Zeta’s immediate predecessor – NOT Nominus. That was my bad… the mention of him getting whacked at the start of Chaos Theory was etched in my head as I was scripting Chapter 2 and I referred to the wrong guy… (do I get a last cigarette before the firing squad does away with me?)…
Why did you choose to write a story set in that time period? Whose was the initiative to do so, yours or the IDW editorial team?
Metzen: Well, Flint and I had pitched a really cool ‘present day’ hook that took a deep look at Optimus and what made him tick. It had some heavy flash-back elements from the old days. Some of the themes and hooks we pitched seemed similar to those that were being developed for Chaos Theory (which no one had seen yet), so the editor, Andy Schmidt, walked us through what Chaos Theory was going to be. We were hooked – and knew immediately that our story would fit far better into that pre-war era. From there – Autocracy really started to find its feet.
What can you tell us about Zeta Prime and his extreme measures to combat the Decepticons?
Metzen: Well… I believe Zeta started strong and wanted to be a Prime that really maintained order and security for the people. But Megatron really stoked the fires of unrest. I think there was a crazy escalation between Zeta’s conventional tactics and the Decepticons’ terror tactics. Over time, he concluded that fighting fire with fire was the only reasonable response to what Megatron represented. He wasn’t always a monster – but he sure became one in response to an increasingly lawless and darkening world.
Sounds like there’s a good story to be told there…
Autocracy # 2 was very harsh. How does Orion Pax copes with his orders knowing his duty to Zeta Prime makes him a harbinger of mass destruction upon the very citizens he’s sworn to protect?
Metzen: He doesn’t know yet how bad things are. He doesn’t know the extent of Zeta’s plans (he wasn’t in the room to hear any of this). In general, since he’s having trouble FEELING/Hearing his conscience – one could argue he’s operating through intense tunnel-vision. He doesn’t yet see how bad things are out there in the world – or what that means to him personally.
Obviously, he was in the zone when he stood up to the Senate… clear-minded, compassionate, selfless… But when his ‘heart’ got ripped out… Well, he just ain’t been the same since. However, can you imagine how PISSED he’d be if he saw that video footage Soundwave made off with???
I have been a subscriber of Marvel Digital for a few years. I love the digital library concept. Let’s say that fans — best editors when it comes to continuum inconsistencies — find some retcons, or mistakes in Autocracy. Are you actually able to correct these in Transformers: Autocracy digital at any time? If so, how do you feel about having that sort of control?
Metzen: See answer above regarding said Sentinel/Nominus snafu… Hell yes, I’d like to FIX bits and pieces of this!!!! ? We’ll see about modifying digital content. Not sure what IDW’s plan is for that.
You are working on Diablo III, and both StarCraft II and World of Warcraft expansions, and the next-gen MMO. How do you stretch time to fit writing Transformers: Autocracy?
Metzen: Well, I recently bought a new Mac for home use, so the timing was perfect. And hey – where there’s a will, there’s a way!
There’s a lot of good and awesome critic in the forums around the Transformers: Autocracy’s digital format. It’s only 8-pages, but it crams in so much from panel to panel. The story rolls out. No pun. How does your experience in video game storytelling this past fifteen years converges with comic book storytelling?
Metzen: With 8-page chapters, there’s no room to screw around or get self-indulgent. We have to make every page, every panel, every line count – and tell this story as effectively and excitingly as we can. In that way, it’s not all that different from writing games – where a player/viewer’s time is a precious commodity. The pacing does keep things tight.
Chaos Theory, Autocracy, and other relaunch stories — all of them seem to be leading to a major event set in the present borrowing from events and characters from the long past. Is this really what’s going on? Will you be part of that project or follow up projects?
Metzen: Well, IDW’s big relaunch event was CHAOS – and the two new ongoing series (More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise, respectively) are keeping their hands full. That’s the only mega event I’ve been aware of. As for more down the line… well, let’s see how Autocracy does as it picks up steam.
What should we expect to see in Autocracy # 3, and how do the events affect the remaining issues of this 12-part story?
Metzen: Well, Orion’s going to be busy hunting down Soundwave… shenanigans certainly occur.
Soundwave, Soundwave, Soundwave… for those of you who are fans of this character – buckle up! This is HIS chapter! (maybe my second biggest franchise geek-out…)
Blizzard’s roots started developing DC The Death and Return of Superman in 1994 and DC League of Justice Task Force for Super Nintendo in 1995. If Activision asked Blizzard to work on one of their IP, is that door open?
Metzen: Geez, I dunno. I think we’re doing pretty well with the franchises we’re currently developing. From a story perspective, we’ve still got miles and miles to go with each of them!
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Note: Check back later for Flint Dille’s answers.
Transformers: Autocracy # 3 – Chris & Flint Teaser (Video)
Meet the Writers
Chris Metzen is Blizzard Entertainment Senior Vice-president of Creative Development — responsible for developing and expanding the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo universes and directing the team of story writers for upcoming game content and licensed products such as novels and manga. Chris Metzen is loved by the lore community, and he has identified himself as a geek. The Transformers franchise is in a dear place near his geeky heart.