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Comic Book / The Transformers: Autocracy

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Before Optimus became a Prime... he fought for order. Before Megatron became a conqueror... he fought for freedom. Before they were enemies... They stood against — AUTOCRACY

The Transformers: Autocracy is a twelve-part miniseries, published by IDW Publishing in 2012.

The series focuses on the days just before the Great War. It is set after Megatron Origin, and presents the Decepticons as an established force, sowing dissent across Cybertron primarily through terrorist actions. The series focuses on Orion Pax, an Autobot commander charged with rooting out these cells.

The series is written by Chris Metzen and Flint Dille, with Livio Ramondelli providing art.



  • Ax-Crazy: Zeta Prime, who is letting the authority of being a Prime get to his head.
  • Bad Boss: Zeta treats the Autobots under his command with increasing scorn as things go bad.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Megatron kills Zeta when Optimus is incapacitated.
  • Big Bad: Zeta Prime, then Megatron.
  • Big Damn Hero: Metroplex. Emphasis on BIG
  • The Caligula: Zeta, who starts brainwashing and killing his own Autobot allies for the "crime" of thinking maybe he's going too far in his methods and starts turning Cybertron into a Police State where recreational activities are banned and Police Brutality is becoming commonplace.
  • Can't Stop the Signal
  • The Chains of Commanding: Orion Pax feels them, and he's not even Optimus Prime yet! He also takes time to explain to Hot Rod what it means, as Hot Rod was the rebel leader of a failed rebellion.
    Optimus Prime:Leadership is making hard choices. The price we pay is carrying the guilt, the loneliness... self-doubt. You give it your all, but sometimes it seems like the world just gets darker.
  • Continuity Nod: It happens after the events of Megatron Origins and the flashback portions of Chaos Theory and Shadowplay
    • Optimus mentioned that bonding with the Matrix hurt back in The Transformers (IDW).
  • Doomed by Canon: The Ultra Magnus that appears here is the original one, and The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye confirms that he's dead in the present day.
  • Doomed Hometown: Hot Rod's home of Nyon.
  • Enemy Mine: Zeta to Orion Pax and Megatron
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Hot Rod firing at Thundercracker, or rather the panel behind him.
  • Foreshadowing: Optimus Prime telling Hot Rod that he may one day carry the Matrix.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Zeta and Megatron Zig Zag this. They both resort to extreme methods to fight each other, but deep down, they are just power hungry tyrants with ambitions to control.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Hot Rod blowing up Nyon.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Swindle has a long history of being The Chew Toy in the IDW continuity. Here, Zeta Tests the weapon on him because, hey, they need a volunteer, and no one's gonna miss the con-man. Orion's Police Brutality may be this, if he's just venting frustration at him, but it's more likely Pay Evil unto Evil, as he's fighting a Decepticon.
    • Megatron's murder of Zeta is this because, he did it to open a power vacuum and seize it for himself, instead of any noble reason.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Orion Pax, despite being somewhat of an idealist.
  • Knight Templar: Zeta Prime. He wants to destroy the Decepticons by any means necessary, even if those means include brainwashing or murdering (accidentally or otherwise) innocents or his own fellow Autobots who don't agree with the methods he takes. It eventually reaches the point when Orion turns against him for becoming no better than the enemy they're fighting.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Blitzwing leads the ground forces, as well as several Decepticon detachments.
  • Mythology Gag: To Transformers: The Movie
    • Optimus getting the Matrix and being reformatted is similar to how Megatron was reformatted into Galvatron.
    • Optimus Vs. Megatron plays out like the scene in the movie, Megatron holds Hot Rod hostage and is about to shoot Prime Hot Rod breaks free and Optimus shoots Megatron.
    • Megatron is rescued by Soundwave and escapes in Astrotrain like in the movie.
  • Obviously Evil: Zeta Prime doesn't even try to look like a good-guy. He's permanently cast with shadows on him, has numerous Spikes of Villainy, and his face invokes Helmets Are Hardly Heroic and resembles a Beard of Evil. His appearance in Shadowplay had him in a different and friendlier form, and when he upgraded in Spotlight Orion Pax, he looked like he does now, but being cast in light and a friendlier tone made him look considerably less evil.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Which two Decepticons show the most interest in killing the Autobots? Thundercracker and Dirge. Both having made a Heel–Face Turn in the present. Thundercracker especially, as he was shown to be more merciful than his colleagues during this time.
    • Orion Pax's brutal arrest of Swindle, although this might have been caused by all the frustration dealing with the loss of Senator Shockwave as an ally, and his own brush with death and the realization that he's working for a corrupt system during the events of ''Chaos Theory''.
  • Pet the Dog: After Soundwave and Frenzy have made their getaway, Frenzy feels sorry they left Ravage, and asks if they can go back. Optimus attacks them before he can respond.
  • Police Brutality: Swindle's arrest at the hands of Orion Pax at the beginning of the mini-series borders on it. This has also started becoming common under Zeta's more draconian policies, which in turn is just fueling anti-Autobot resentment and giving support to the Decepticon cause.
  • Prequel: The first of three miniseries taking place before the main events of the Hasbro Comic Universe Transformers continuity.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Invoked, Soundwave, Starscream, and much of the Decepticons got together in Megatron Origin, but Shockwave just appears. This was intentional, as we learn how he joined up in RID.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Starscream's cover as a Decepticon had been blown during the events of Megatron Origins but here Zeta accepts his presence as a Delegate in the Senate.
    • Rumble and Frenzy have their colors changed here. While this has always been a point of contention with the fandom; for most of the IDW series, Rumble has been red and Frenzy has been blue. The Transformers (IDW) flipped their colors. Their appearance could have been explained as having changed their colors in the present, but here it shows that they were colored that way pre-war. Probably best not to think about it.
    • Grimlock is portrayed with his Verbal Tic, which he wouldn't develop in this continuity for a few million years yet.
    • Back in The Transformers (IDW) Megatron and Optimus recall their first meeting and their first fight, and never mentioned anything remotely resembling the events of this series.
    • In the early issues of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye there was a lot of implications that Megatron killed Zeta Prime with a sniper rifle. Here, he instead kills him at point-blank range.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Optimus on one side, Megatron on the other.
  • Spanner in the Works: Optimus and his team for Zeta.
    • Shockwave is one unintentionally for Megatron's plan, he was the one who guessed Optimus's ascension to Prime, and even gave him the matrix cavity just in case.
  • Title Drop: While Megatron tries to convince Orion Pax to join him in taking down Zeta
    Megatron:Together we can bring down Zeta and his Autocracy!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zeta is a subversion. While trying to kill the Decepticons is a Well Intentioned goal, he's more of a Knight Templar as he believes that his way is right, and wants total control.
  • With All Due Respect: Orion to Zeta, particularly as the latter starts insisting that Orion refer to him as "Prime" at all times.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Soundwave flies down in Astrotrain to rescue Megatron while Shockwave orders a withdrawal.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Spoiler Alert: Megatron to Optimus
  • Your Head A-Splode: How Zeta dies at the hands of Megatron

Alternative Title(s): Transformers Autocracy