After the Death of Optimus Prime (IDW #125, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21st 2011), the "War for Cybertron" is officially over. The Autobots have won and took control of the planet. They are starting to rebuild. There is a choice though - stay or go. This is where the split into 2 books will happen. More Than Meets The Eye will follow Rodimus and his team, as they choose to leave Cybertron. Robots In Disguise will focus on the new leader, Bumblebee, and how he leads the remaining Autobots (and Decepticons, all Transformers for that matter), on Cybertron. Two books, one universe.
In More Than Meets The Eye, Rodimus will lead at least the following bots - Ultra Magnus, Drift, Ratchet (they are seen on the multi cover images). We will follow them and whomever goes with them in space as they search for the "Knights of Cybertron" a legendary band of bots. They are not even sure if they are real. They supposedly have the power to return Cybertron to the "Golden Age" before the war. This group will run into remnants of the Great War on planets and locations that aren't yet aware it is over, as well as other conflicts. So even though the war is over, it is still an action book.
Robots In Disguise will focus on Bumblebee and his attempts to rebuild Cybertron's society. Bots staying with 'Bee will include at least Ironhide, Prowl and Wheeljack. Thousands of neutral Transformers are returning home knowing the war is over. Cybertronians that fled the planet eons ago without choosing sides. Left over Decepticons are also present and need to be dealt with, re-integrated. Bumblebee doesn't want to return to the past; rather, he wants to forge a new future for their race. Here and now, moving forward. Managing all these factions and points of view is hard and we will follow his journey through that.
So basically - it is a philosophical difference between groups of Autobots after the war. Do they look to the past and try to rediscover it, or move away from it look to the future? We follow each view point in the 2 books.
At first, there will be some crossover in the books. But after the "split" officially happens, the books will be relatively independent of each other. There will be themes that may crossover, and Rodimus' crew members may "call home" every so often. But otherwise, independent.
The way this is being pushed is that if you are new to the IDW universe, new to Transformers, or just want to jump back in, this is a good point to do so. It's a reboot without losing the rich continuity they have built over the last 3 years.
The creative teams for these ongoings are the greatest writers and greatest artists that IDW has ever had for the universe. Roche and Roberts did the critically acclaimed, sold-out Last Stand of the Wreckers, while Griffith illustrated one of John Barber's comics that took place in the Transformers movie continuity. Barber's a former Wolverine editor that combined two previous Transformers movie comic adaptations, five books, at least seven other comic miniseries, and toy bios from a conflicting morass into an amazing read.
The release schedule was planned to be MTMTE on the first week of the month, and RID on the third, but it isn't set in stone. You don't need to have read a single comic in the universe from before now to get into it, but it will let you appreciate nods to the past. They plan on using previously underutilized characters along with the main cast. The potential exists for mini-series to spin out from the ongoings, but it's not a guaranteed thing. The writers come up with ideas, and barring one or two exceptions, they aren't censored or reeled back in anyway. They aren't selling toys, they are creating a story. This means they can kill who they want, and introduce who they want. Also, no humans, from what I can tell.
The Death of Optimus Prime and More Than Meets the Eye #1 are illustrated by Roche, but due to other work, Alex Milne will illustrate the series from #2 on.
exciting interview with the authors with SPOILERS
RID #1's cover
MTMTE #1's cover
IDW made online scavenger hunts with promo images for More Than Meets The Eye and Robots in Disguise, they've released 12 for MTMTE and 14 for RID to various fan sites. SPOILERS.