Comic Book Resources has done another interview with Optimus Prime writer John Barber on the newly-released first issue, and what’s coming in its near future. Barber had this to say about how Prime’s past will be playing into present events on Earth:
We’ll definitely be digging into Optimus Prime’s past. The first arc has a parallel story set before the war — back when Optimus was Orion Pax, a police officer on Cybertron. It’s another view, on another world, in another time, of a lot of the same issues at play in the present day: the relationship of a protector to the protected, and how Optimus/Orion looks at his enemies. Back then, Cybertron was on a downward curve, historically speaking. Orion’s on the precipice of a four-million-year-long war that he winds up being an essential part of.
In the present day, endless war is not what Optimus wants for his new homeworld – and he really does start to see Earth as his new, adopted, world. So, as the past story unfolds, we’ll see how his decisions, and how circumstances, led to this unfathomable tragedy of the War for Cybertron. And in the present, we can see how Optimus does or does not follow the same path. How much has four million years of war, and all the events of the past comics, really changed him?
Barber also commented on how the book’s artist Kei Zama was brought in:
I’d worked on most of the previous Transformers series with Andrew Griffith. We’d been working together non-stop since 2010, all on Transformers. I’d been able to write other stuff, but he was understandably interested in trying his hand at something else. Still, losing him was like losing half my limbs. Fortunately, he didn’t go far — he’s drawing the M.A.S.K. ANNUAL — and we still talk every day, so we’re cool. But his departure meant we had to find somebody really great to handle the art.
Andrew had introduced me to Kei Zama’s art. Andrew goes to Japan a lot, and he met Kei there. She did some covers last year, and she kept in touch with me, sending me a cool sketchbook and then a short story she’d drawn. Her style is so different from Andrew, or from anybody on the Transformers books, which is what made her really exciting. I mean, I think we’ve had an unbelievably talented crew on all the Transformers comics for the past few years and Kei came in with such a different style that played well with this world. She has an aggressive bent to her work: a little of the Derek Yaniger’s G-2 Transformers comics, a little Kevin O’Neill – who I know is one of her favorite artists – and a lot of heavy metal and beer.