As one who grew up with the original Transformers comics, I would say that on a scale of 1 to 10 (1/10 being 'The Big Broadcast of 2006' (Macchio, US #43), 'The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship' (Budiansky, US #55) and 'The Human Factor' (Furman, US #68 ), and 10/10 being 'Warrior School'/'Repeat Performance' (Budiansky, US #7-8 ), 'Brainstorm'/'Prime Time' (Budiansky, US #11-12) and 'The Icarus Theory'/'Dinobot Hunt' (Furman, UK #45-50)), I give 'Counterpoint' (Furman, US #80.5) a solid 7/10, on a par with 'The Flames of Boltax' (Budiansky, US #48 ), 'Space Pirates' (Furman, UK #182-187) and 'End of the Road' (Furman, US #80). This is in terms of perceived quality, of course, not length - 'Counterpoint' is a 16-page recap/teaser and must be judged on that basis.
As far as recap goes, it plays to the reader who is familiar with the original series, but is of limited help to new readers. They will be catered for by the full reprints of the last few US issues from 1991, which we expect to precede #81. What issue #80.5's recap sections do is remind old readers of what went before through familiar images, admirably selected from the whole US run, not just Furman's issues.
Optimus Prime's severed head as Shockwave's captive reminds us (I hope) that in the original stories, there was no 'spark' in a Transformer's chest. All that mattered was the programming in the tiny brain module - heads could operate without bodies, brains without heads (remember the Throttlebots' brains in those toy cars) and software without brain modules (Optimus's mind being saved on a floppy disk and then rehomed in a new body built on Nebulos). The Ark is correctly depicted as silver, not gold, we are treated to rare shots of Buzzsaw, Huffer and Cliffjumper (the latter being blasted by Starscream), and there are some other nice signs of attention to colouring detail - in the US flashback, Soundwave is purple and Action-Master Optimus Prime's forearms are blue - though both have changed in the new, present-day scenes. Plus, we have what I believe is the first ever shot of Autobots hanging from the ceiling of the Ark where they all have essentially the correct colour schemes - something even the partially corrected IDW reprint of the classic issues failed to give us. No-one is perfect, however, and we have an embarassing schoolboy error reference to the 'Matrix of Leadership'. It's called the 'Creation Matrix' throughout the Marvel run.
On the teaser side, the plot of Optimus Prime standing aloof on Nova Point, in denial about the imminent return of the Decepticons, is a repeat of what occurred in 'Another Time and Place', the original UK postscript story to US #80. The description of Optimus Prime and Prowl's feelings was much more sophisticated in that story than what we get here - a very brief verbal exchange, Prowl having been replaced - unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned - by Ultra Magnus and Kup. However, this is a teaser for something larger, not a proper character story in its own right as ATAP was. Kup mentions the Wreckers. One would hope that the Wreckers, when they appear, retain the history and scars of events from 'Target: 2006', 'City of Fear' and 'Time Wars' and nothing is done to invalidate those stories (though the animated Movie future they interacted with in the 1980s has evidently been averted).
On the Decepticon side, Soundwave has a few new faces among his followers, including the Micromaster Battle Squad and either Wingspan or Pounce. He also has a few familiar faces such as the Duocons. This is Flywheels' first US appearance, though he appeared in the UK in 'City of Fear', which also introduced the Kalis-Baird Beaming Transmitter that Soundwave makes use of here - a lovely touch. Spinister is also present, but thankfully not Needlenose. Although the sequence of events in the later UK 'Earthforce' stories relative to the later US stories was problematic, one would hope to retain Needlenose's memorable demise at the claws of Carnivac as an established part of Marvel Transformers lore.
Then, right at the end, we have the pay-off - but that's too big a spoiler to post until Free Comic Book Day has come and gone.
I look forward immensely to the series proper, which I will judge alongside 'Another Time and Place' and the Generation 2 series, for its merits as a continuation/conclusion of the original Transformers comic saga. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the swirly time-vortexy thing framing this story was just for effect and that we don't get another end of the universe - 'Time Wars', G2, 'Reaching the Omega Point' and 'Alignment' having done that to death. Let's have something different this time!