THE LIFE OF SIDESWIPE! A Junkion machine finally gives long-injured Sideswipe a new lease on life! But when his brother goes missing, Sideswipe and Arcee return to Cybertron—and nothing will be the same between them ever again.
After a traumatic battle, Sideswipe was put into status. This issue of Optimus Prime is all about him finally waking up and bringing him up to speed with the world. This allows Arcee and Sideswipe to have some time together. Given how Arcee has been pretty much a loner who tries to relies on no one, seeing her and Sideswipe interact allows for some very nice character development. There is also mention of Arcee having a brother. Hopefully this will be expanded upon in later issues.
This issue also offers a surprising emotional moment as events unfold. John Barber really tells an engrossing story and finds a way to keep the story active while at the same time giving the audience a chance to breath a bit before another massive scale alien invasion erupts.
The art work by Kei Zama with Josh Burcham on colors helps create a gritty environment which is perfect where it needs to be. It helps to give the audience and Sideswipe the illusion of Cybertron being as bad as Sideswipe remembered. Also, points for the reference back to Transformers: Robots In Disguise as Sideswipe revives in the same way Wheeljack did by landing on his head as he comes out of the restoration tank.
It is really impressive how good this run of Transformers stories has been. More because, for a book named Optimus Prime, it’s the side characters who are stealing the spotlight. Considering what Jazz and now Sideswipe have had to endure, this is not hard but it just feels like the book should be telling stories of this caliber with the titular character. Despite his iconic nature, it’s hard to remember the last time a story featuring Optimus had the same emotional impact. It is possible to pull back the facemask and show him as being more than simply a stalwart character of righteousness. Might help him feel a bit more relatable.