Transformers: War for Cybertron is a single-issue comic published by IDW Publishing that ties into the game of the same name. It serves as a prequel to the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron comic series.
In the High Council Tower in Iacon, a meeting with the High Council is now in session. High Councilor Halogen addresses the disappearance of Autobot leader Sentinel Prime, of which the former Kaonian industrial worker-turned-gladiator Megatron stands accused of orchestrating. Megatron is asked to step forward. One of the Council inquires him of his name, and Megatron begins his testimony.
Megatron explains his origins as a nameless laborer, known only by his assigned sector number: D-16. He reveals how he became intrigued by witnessing and participating in gladiatorial combat for the first time. It was here where he discovered the value of free will and equality among Cybertronians, and how the lower classes of the caste system were in constant oppression by the higher classes. In these combat pits, Megatron saw the potential for all forms of Cybertronian life, regardless of social status, and thus defends his right to his name and to be heard.
After his testimony, another Councilor questions his involvement in recent terrorist activity, such as the capture of Sentinel Prime and the attacks on Six Lasers Over Cybertron, the Blaster City Armaments Plant, and Polyhex's Smelting Pool Estates. The ones responsible for such attacks call themselves "Decepticons" and claim to be followers of Megatron. Megatron brushes off the accusations, but speaks his admiration of these "Decepticons" since, to him, sometimes deception is a necessary evil to overcome a greater evil, such as the hindrance of free expression for all.
High Councilor Sigil speaks on behalf of the Guilds of Cybertron, reiterating how the caste system and the guilds have kept Cybertron civilization in order for eons, as Primus himself decrees, and describes any individual plotting to undermine such a peaceful status (such as Megatron) as being a radical and one who speaks of treason. Halogen calls forth the young Hall of Records data clerk Orion Pax to speak.
Orion Pax steps forward and addresses all that Megatron has addressed. He explains how, while all the recent attacks and uprisings were harsh and intolerable, they are only signs of their failing civilization. As long as the guilds and the caste remain in effect, the current situation of Cybertron will only get worse. Each Cybertronian's voice wants to be heard and, what's more, it is only natural for such feelings of free expression to exist within the sparks of all Cybertronians. But as long as strict order dominates over freedom, Orion declares that "There can be no true peace through tyranny!"
Orion Pax calls for the need for a new leader, a new Prime. One who would recognize each person as his own unique individual, his own "Autonomous Robot". Orion reaffirms that all Cybertronians are Autonomous Robots, and from that coins the term "Autobots", using it as the name for a new movement based on freedom and equal individuality. He again calls for the choosing of a new Prime, and rallies many supporters in the room for his Autobot movement.
Halogen, however, calls for order and silences the room. He then speaks of also having come to realize the stagnation of their planet's way of life himself, and agrees that a new leader must be chosen to prevent their planet from collapsing into war. But, this new Prime must first find the lost Matrix of Leadership, which, according to the Archivist Alpha Trion, may yet lead Cybertron to a new golden era. If he can find it, Orion Pax may rightfully claim the Matrix, and Halogen promptly names him the new Prime: Optimus Prime.
The newly rechristianed Optimus Prime attempts to decline the power that has been bestowed upon him, feeling unworthy of such an honor. Megatron however, see this promotion as an act of betrayal on Orion's part. Megatron accuses Optimus of having used him and his charisma to better his own image so that he, rather than Megatron, may take the title of Prime for himself. Optimus denies these assertions and tries to appeal to Megatron by reaffirming his beliefs in a free Cybertron and how, in its darkest hour, Cybertron will find and choose someone to lead it to a new age. Megatron scoffs at these words, further accusing Optimus of having fallen in with the High Council's ways, which he will openly defy and lead the Decepticons against in full retaliation.
Elsewhere, Sentinel Prime stands battered and beaten, chained up in darkness between two pillers.
Halogen attempts to silence Megatron, who swiftly and permanently silences Halogen with a blast from his newly revealed Fusion cannon. As the guards attempt to defend their new Prime, Optimus orders them to stand down. Seeing Optimus using his new authority reassures Megatron's accusations. He warns Optimus that his gladiators would not back down as easily as the guards did, even if Optimus were now a Prime. Optimus is not intimidated, and Megatron orders his Decepticons to stand down as well. Megatron then warns Optimus of how many Decepticons await him out in the rest of the world, but Optimus remains prepared to face whatever challenges he may face. Megatron also looks forward facing whatever Autobots may oppose him, and vows to claim the Matrix for himself.
As the Decepticons vacate the premises, the two former brothers say their farewells.
"We learned that we were individuals by facing off against each other in the gladiator pits in Slaughter City and Kaon, and how did we know we were individuals? We knew we were individuals because as we killed our opponents in the ring, we saw in their deaths the realization that they were individuals. And so we knew we were too. In killing, we understood life."
- —Megatron delivering his testimony to the council.
"It is natural for a being born with spark to know that it should be free to change as it wishes. Only dead things stay the same. No Cybertronian is simply the mechanical sum of his parts. Each of us contains a living spark that makes us who we are, and awakens us to the possibility of freedom. One bot's freedom can never be given or taken away by another."
- —Orion's statement on the witness podium.
"I believe in Cybertron. I believe in the history that I read as a clerk. I believe the stories that say that when Cybertron needs someone, that someone will always be found... ...and that someone will light Cybertron's darkest hour."
- —Orion on attempting to refuse being named "Optimus Prime" and denying Megatron's accusations.
"Decepticons, roll out!"
- —Megatron, inspiring or stealing one of Optimus' iconic phrases? Inconceivable!
- On page 7, panel 1, Optimus's chest is drawn/colored differently compared to his earlier and later appearances in the issue.
- Jazz's appearance changes about three times.
- Despite the "issue 1" label on the cover this was a one shot comic.
- This comic was available to those that pre-ordered the game from Australia-based JB Hi-Fi. Later, it was available for those that purchased either the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 versions of the game at Sears or Kmart in the United States, although not necessarily as a pre-order bonus. It was again made available during San Diego Comic-Con 2010, at Activision's booth with Don Figueroa's autograph session and Alex Irvine's session at Hasbro's booth.
- While a slightly condensed adaptation of chapters 12 through 15 from Transformers: Exodus, the terrorist acts shown, such as Six Lasers Over Cybertron and Altihex Station, are from earlier chapters of the book.
- Megatron's origins include having worked in the mines and then fighting in the gladiator pits, akin to his counterpart in Megatron Origin. He even says "I still function!", from The Transformers: The Movie.
- The Quintessons were kicked off of Cybertron.
- Some cues regarding Optimus:
- Optimus's job was a clerk at the Hall of Records prior to being named Prime, just like his other self being an archivist in The War Within #1.
- Interestingly, he's the one who says "There can be no true peace through tyranny"! Inspiring Megatron? Double inconceivable!
- He uses "autonomous robots" which gets shortened to "Autobots", similar to his movie counterpart's line of "autonomous robotic organisms" in the 2007 Transformers film.
- Both Megatron and Optimus call each other "brother", again from the 2007 live-action film, but in the friend-sense, not familial-usage.
- Teletraan-1 and moon bases are mentioned.