"THE REASON WHY"
Lineart by Paul Naylor
Colors by George Tremarco
Story and lettering by me
Edits by Michelle Therese
Special thanks to J.Z. Belexes and Ibai Canales
This comic belongs to the Untold Marvels, a Transformers G1 non-Marvel UK/US extra adventures project.
Are you an artist? Join us to illustrate more of them!
The goal of this one-pager is an attempt at explaining the apparently hasty decision made by Optimus Prime in the infamous G1 Marvel US #24 "Afterdeath".
Is is well known that Bob Budiansky had been instructed by Hasbro to remove old characters and make room for new ones, but story-wise that event made little sense.
By using some previous events from the Marvel US/UK mixed continuities, a different (deeper?) version of the story can be provided.
The focus on Optimus Prime's inner thoughts is also meant to work as a subtle link to his resurrection (as seen in issue G1 Marvel US #42, "People Power!") and the subsequent afterthoughts in G1 Marvel UK #198, "Cold comfort and joy!".
The connection is given by the fact that, in "Cold comfort and joy!", Optimus is completing an inner quest, discovering his own motivations to fight the good fight once again.
Our story is a prelude to that "spiritual rediscovery/rebirth".
Panels 1, 6,7: G1 Marvel US #24, "Afterdeath!"
Panel 2: G1 Marvel US #10, "The Next Best Thing To Being There!"
Panel 3: G1 Marvel US #12, "Prime time!"
Panel 4: G1 Marvel UK #83, "Target 2006 (Part 5): "The Devil You Know"
Panel 5: G1 Marvel US #19, "Command Performances!"
Panel 6: "Giri" is a reference to G1 cartoon episode "The burden hardest to bear"
Originally published in the Mosaic project, this one-pager has ben relettered and "remastered".
Hell, it's even more tragic if you add his decision from the recent '84 issue 0 (tfwiki.net/wiki/Transformers_%…) so it's not even the first time he's canonically felt like this about the choices he's made throughout the marvel comic. Combined with that and his previous mistakes, this is basically the end point to the story of a guy slowly succumbing to his severe depression (though fortunately not the end of Optimus's overall arc).
Of course that all comes with the baggage the act & concept of suicide brings, even combined with this & the '84 one-shot this whole arc isn't exactly the most eloquent example of a very serious issue (the same can be said for depression). Though to be fair, if people can look past a story where a despot who has killed hundreds if not thousands of civilizations can change their ways within the span of a day despite having subjugated their own people for millennia on top of the aforementioned genocides and still manage to deliver impactful messages about love, family & abuse (among other subjects), then I don't see why this can't be looked at as anything more than "that one toy comic where a talking truck kills himself because he lost a videogame."
That's some nice art there, but I think you are mistaken about the actual explanation behind Afterdeath. It's something that seems to come up a lot, with people wanting to come up with reasons why Prime might want to basically commit suicide. I'm really not sure I buy the idea in your strip that he does so because he feels guilty about the things he has done in the past? I think that misrepresents the actual events of the comic.
Anyway, feel free to stop me if you think I'm wrong.
The whole point is that Optimus and Megatron decide to have their final battle in a simulated world, not the real world. They are robots from space - at the end of the day, the digital input of a computer world is just as viable as the organic world. Megatron is even willing to play along. Yes, he's got his cheats ready, but he still has explosives stuck to his head, and once he loses for real, he doesn't rip off the explosives or crush the human holding the trigger, he just sits there and waits to see what happens. He cheated in the game, but he's still playing by the wider rules.
Megatron cheats to try to win. Of course he does. He's Megatron, he's evil. It's expected of him, in fact. The game is a simulation of reality, to replace a costly final conflict. Megatron would cheat in that too. He and the Decepticons are everything the Autobots hate - untrustworthy, low-down cheaters. Frankly if Megatron didn't cheat, that would invalidate the entire process, as that is just what he does.
Optimus Prime is not a cheat. He is a moral paragon. He leads the Autobots by being an exemplar, of enshrining total moral responsibility and the protection of all others no matter the cost. But when it comes down to it, in the final analysis, to beat Megatron, he discovers that he is willing to kill innocent lives. Yes, the computer people aren't real, but the game is being played /as-real/. In killing them to finish off Megatron, Prime has either cheated (and so forfeits the game), or he has discovered that for him, the ends do justify the means. By either of those definitions, he has lost. And thus, he is the one who must die.
It's not about being guilty. It's about realising that he has genuinely lost, 100% due to his own actions, and he must follow through with the rules.
Actually, I don't mean that Op feels guilty, but tired instead: killing the innocent beings in the videogame is the last straw, and as he can't bear making any more mistakes, he decides to pull the plug. Maybe, his reasoning was something like "even in a made-up world, I have to take lives to win? I'm just as evil as a Decepticon? That's enough". Tired of his burden of upholding impossible standards, but not guilty. At last, that's my p.o.v.: that I failed to convey it is a different matter.
(Ironically, I've used this same concept in another upcoming Marvel onepager!).
The whole fact that they accept to play the game and everything... well, that's something fairly silly which I prefer not to think about.
There's also the unadressed fact that he left a whole world full of 5 billion beings in the hands of the Decepticon, by committing suicide. There were other ways to resign, if he felt that he betrayed his own code: leaving the Autobots in disarray and condeming us to death was not an even more serious betrayal of that same code?
Luckily, your explanation about that sounds fairly logical, being them a completely alien species with parameters that are far different from ours (something which doesn't seem to be the case anylonger, what with movie-formers and IDW-formers becoming more and more similar to us in their behavior, beliefs and social structures).
We all saw what happened, but no one thought he was the only responsible, right?
But he is a righteous leader and bears the blame for everything that goes wrong...even our shortcomings.
Not to mention the whole artwork is brilliant. Great work!