IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 11:44am CST

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 54,969

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Another Fine Mess
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
DRIFT RETURNS! Last year, TRANSFORMERS readers were shocked when DRIFT left the AUTOBOTS in disgrace… and now he’s alone, on a mission to clean up the darkest depths of the galaxy—until RATCHET shows up to try to bring him home!

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
These guys


Story

Imagine: you're an ex Decepticon, who used to kill people for fun. Then you grew a conscience. So you traded guns for swords (that famous instrument of peace). Then you grew a bit too much of a conscience, and tried burying guilt beneath it and a veil of reborn spiritualism - and by ways of redemption, take the blame for something you didn't actually do, and are exiled. That's where we are with Drift, as Empire of Stone begins.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
Right here


It's been some time since we saw him in action, other than flashbacks, and readers have been wary of the return of a character who has been fairly marmite-esque (that's British for divisive). What we find with this first issue back in Shane McCarthy's hands, is thankfully not a return to the character when he first introduced it, though some will complain it can feel that way in places.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
Some fan


Compared to other Transformers comics coming out this week, Empire of Stone is a lot slower in terms of narrative, though it does stand up quite well with the dialogue, and the chemistry between sulky Drift and grumpy Ratchet works nicely. And, as a set-up/catch-up issue, it does what it has to do without wandering too much around.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
Honestly, these guys


However, that's about it so far. It's not a bad comic, the story can go in a very interesting direction with the next three issues, and Empire of Stone is a catchy enough title for a popular enough character like Drift - but I can see how it might not be on everyone's immediate buying list as yet. Still.. read on.


Art

The art team is really where the book, much like ReGeneration One before it, will gain traction with potential readers. Guido Guidi's linework and Stephen Baskerville's inking are a great combination, and the action sequences are very well choreographed, with the sword element added to the fights gives space to Guidi's art to play around with the space of and around the panels.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
...ready?


Also back from the ReGen team is colourist JP Bove, doing an amazingly dusty and gritty (in the soil, dirt sense) job of the patina covering some otherwise quite flamboyant roboformers. I will never tire of looking at Guidi backgrounds filled in with Bove's technicolour magic, and there are some excellent sets in the issue.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
Drift in spaaaaaace


Unfortunately, the review copy does not fully credit the letterer or editors for the issue, and has some general technical difficulties in the credit page layouts - nonetheless, The Unknown Letterer's work is, while very very subtle, pleasingly appropriate, keeping dialogue in place and a limited amount of background noise. As for the covers, we've seen all of them by now throughout the last couple of months, from the Alex Milne/Josh Perez one to the multiple Guidi variants (including the thumbnail one).


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

As a first issue, and as I mentioned above, Drift: Empire of Stone #1 is a harmless, easily paced, fairly well-dialogued and definitely good looking book, preparing a stage that so far has very little impact on the wider universe of the Transformers, but according to solicits may change everything - again.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review
Is it? Is it really?


It does little more than that, however, other than re-establishing the at times quite moving relationship between Ratchet and Drift, and hopefully diving into more of Drift's story from this point onwards, as well as the presence of the Cybertronians we do find in the issue. Needless to say, I remain hopeful.

. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:

Credit(s): IDW, Va'al


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Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1624906)
Posted by Hans on November 26th, 2014 @ 2:48pm CST
Not a Drift fan, but I'll be picking this up for the art. I love the Guidi, Baskerville and Bove art team :-)
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1624907)
Posted by jogunwarrior on November 26th, 2014 @ 2:48pm CST
the art is pretty good, I like the "sketchiness" of it. Don't care for the writing though. The narration is terrible and the dialogue seems so generic and too familiar.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1624920)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on November 26th, 2014 @ 3:41pm CST
Mayhem Sucks.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1624921)
Posted by Shuttershock on November 26th, 2014 @ 3:42pm CST
SW's SilverHammer wrote:Mayhem Sucks.


Soul of a poet, that one.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1625285)
Posted by AudioKnightsTheatre on November 28th, 2014 @ 8:52am CST
This comment isn't *just* a shameless plug; it's actually relevant to the conversation. I actually voice Drift on the MTMTE audio drama that I produce with other Audio Knights. In getting into character, I researched what made Drift the character he is. Reading all the stuff in the IDW verse, from his time as the Decepticon Deadlock to his stint on the Lost Light, to his siphonist burnout days in the Shadowplay series, I learned a very important thing.

Drift is a junkie. An addict.

Drift finds something to do, to believe in, and he adopts it wholeheartedly, to the point of distraction and, in many cases, to the point of harming himself. As a Decepticon, he thought his role was to punish and kill Autobots. He did his job with such overzealousness that even his superiors wanted him to tone down his brutality. But he couldn't stop, and eventually got "kicked out" for disobeying orders. He left and never looked back(til this issue).

On the Lost Light, he believed so much in the mission Rodimus had set forth(even the secret one concerning Overlord), he had such religious fanaticism to the cause and espoused so much positivity(because that's what he thought it meant to be an Autobot), and when he got kicked out of THAT, even with Ratchet's welcome, he had already moved on.

We've seen his drug addiction in the Shadowplay series. His addiction is obvious there. It seems he's left that behind too.

And now he's out on his own, defending the weak against bullies - this is his new and latest mission, and he has devoted himself whole-hog to this newest obsession. You'll notice Drift has a trigger reaction to most everything. He doesn't leave room for thinking or questions; he just ACTS. He has already decided his stance and doesn't let others talk him out of it. These are classic signs of an addict-to-burnout cycle which he's constantly in.

Drift drifts from place to place carrying his addictive, obsessive nature with him.

I, for one, enjoy playing his character. I can identify with backing a cause and that listless feeling when you feel lost. He's a joy to portray and I hope you guys will give our project a listen! Grab MTMTE issues 1-4 and listen along! www.TheAudioKnightsTheatre.com
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1625990)
Posted by Va'al on December 1st, 2014 @ 12:10pm CST
Yes, Drift is an addict, and we've seen him almost outright admitting his by now inextricable guilt at what he did, was and could be if left unchecked.

But this first issue did very little in explaining why he has returned to the loner style, if he is still following his faith (whatever that may be) or if he's had a crisis, and where that leads him. It does little of what you outline in the post, which is what I'd like to see in a story that follows a potentially poignant character with a deep storyline hiding beneath the fancy paintwork.

As I said in the review, I am hopeful for next month, but I'm not waiting with baited breath.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1626079)
Posted by Dead Metal on December 1st, 2014 @ 3:28pm CST
So far this series doesn't seem to be too continuity breaking, only having two flubs according to tfwiki, which does seam to suggest that McCarthy's slowly improving.
But, let's just wait and see how the upcoming issues fare.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627152)
Posted by Va'al on December 4th, 2014 @ 5:17pm CST
More quick IDW Publishing news, in the form of three more pages from an upcoming Transformers comic. This time, it's issue #2 of the Drift: Empire of Stone miniseries. Check out the mirrored images below, via iTunes bookstore!

ONCE A DECEPTICON! DRIFT’s past comes back to haunt him, as RATCHET tries to drag him back to the Lost Light. But alone on a far-off world, DRIFT’s honor demands he stand his ground!


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Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627155)
Posted by K2vox on December 4th, 2014 @ 5:30pm CST
Ratchet, haven't you read the G1 comics??? Don't start s**t with Megs!!!
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627156)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on December 4th, 2014 @ 5:32pm CST
That's not Megatron, that's Gigatron.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627179)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on December 4th, 2014 @ 6:22pm CST
I always knew there'd be a reason to hold on to that RID Megatron figure.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627184)
Posted by Randomhero on December 4th, 2014 @ 6:56pm CST
Nemesis Maximo wrote:I always knew there'd be a reason to hold on to that RID Megatron figure.


YUP!!!! Time to take him out of his RiD box(tub in storage) and put him on the classics/IDW shelf with pride.

I don't know why some people are asking for a new classics/generations figure. He's the same as the damn original toy. Go get him off eBay. He's cheap.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627296)
Posted by Randomhero on December 5th, 2014 @ 8:41am CST
This series is pretty good starting off. It's not world building like the others which is not what it's intending to do. It's just a mini series. I enjoy Shane McCarthy for the most part. Just as long as he doesn't do anymore interviews. Good guy just says the wrong stuff and comes off as a jerk.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627307)
Posted by jogunwarrior on December 5th, 2014 @ 9:26am CST
I should really go track down a RID Megatron/Gigatron figure on eBay now.

Also, I would love for Hasbro to retool Drift into Deadlock, he looks awesome like that.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627321)
Posted by Randomhero on December 5th, 2014 @ 10:07am CST
jogunwarrior wrote:I should really go track down a RID Megatron/Gigatron figure on eBay now.

Also, I would love for Hasbro to retool Drift into Deadlock, he looks awesome like that.


I'd even spend the money on a tfcc recolor of deadlock. I like Drift. Always have. I never joined the bandwagon of hate all because McCarthy, Hasbro and IDW over sold him but he was a big deal! New character in G1. That was a thing. He's never done anything wrong in the stories and I don't hold it against him for over commercializing him.

I liked Drift from the beginning and his figure was one if the coolest from 2010 generations to me. Need to get my hands on the SG Deadpool recolor
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627392)
Posted by ZeroWolf on December 5th, 2014 @ 2:27pm CST
To be fair he wasn't the first new character in G1 and there's been far better additions like Rung and Tailgate. I'm cautious about this series, all hail Megatron beat that into me.

Oh and the best drift writer is James Roberts.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1627395)
Posted by JazZeke on December 5th, 2014 @ 2:31pm CST
ZeroWolf wrote:To be fair he wasn't the first new character in G1 and there's been far better additions like Rung and Tailgate. I'm cautious about this series, all hail Megatron beat that into me.

Oh and the best drift writer is James Roberts.

Rung > Drift times infinity
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1630350)
Posted by Va'al on December 16th, 2014 @ 2:35am CST
The mystery of the Empire of Stone continues, as Drift and Ratchet face an old but new threat in this week's second issue of the mini-series - check out a full preview below, and come back later this week for the Seibertron.com review!

Transformers: Drift—Empire of Stone #2 (of 4)
Shane McCarthy (w) • Guido Guidi (a & c)
ONCE A DECEPTICON! DRIFT’s past comes back to haunt him, as RATCHET tries to drag him back to the Lost Light. But alone on a far-off world, DRIFT’s honor demands he stand his ground!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:
The fan-favorite Transformers character returns!
Ties in directly with MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!


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Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1630385)
Posted by Optimizzy on December 16th, 2014 @ 8:33am CST
Still no name given on Megatron/Gigatron in the comic. And how many times is Drift going to have to say he's not Deadlock? Erg.

Giga-whatsit-tron: "So Deadlock, is the war over" (important question)

Drift: "I told you I'm not Deadlock" (ignores)
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 Review (1630397)
Posted by Va'al on December 16th, 2014 @ 9:41am CST
Optimizzy wrote:Still no name given on Megatron/Gigatron in the comic.


Second panel on the first page, Turmoil calls him Gigatron! :D

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