IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review

IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 6:04pm CST

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 78,489

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..And Whose Army?
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
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!

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
Pfft, honor


Story

You now, Drift - was Deadlock, but would rather not be reminded; was a Decepticon, see above; part of the Lost Light, then self-exiled; feels guilty about everything since pretty much forever, so heads off to be the Batman/Robin Hood of the galaxy. Why am I repeating this? We are not being allowed to forget what Drift's past is, nor his own guilt.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
You tell him, Ratchet


In this second issue, though, what I am left wondering is - will the retreading of Shane McCarthy's initial pitch, with the layers of characterisation given to Drift since All Hail Megatron, actually lead to something other than unspoken guilt, unreasonable bravado and a penchant for lost causes?

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
Even Gigatron gets it


Don't get me wrong, there are some very good interactions in the issue, and some of characters have a fair deal of personal creation and minor development - but there is a constant feeling of something still missing in a series that is promising so much to start with, and already in the middle of its run.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
Do you?


I don't mind the dialogue, though I'd like to see more of it, and I like most of the characters that McCarthy is setting up in the miniseries, from the Stone whatevers to the Micromasters (mentioned in Windblade, too), the brief return of Turmoil and the magnificence of Gigatron. But it needs more to keep us in.


Art

Now, the art is great. It was good, if not entirely apt, when the team of Guido Guidi and Steve Baskerville were working together on ReGeneration One, but it's really good in this contemporary setting - there's a sense of grit, chunky big hulks of rock in the designs of the blockier types of characters we've encountered, and that's before we even see a Stone Army.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
And faces..


Of course, the feeling of dust, dirt and stone would not be complete without the magnificently painted work of JP Bove. If the bulk of the rocky art comes from the pencils and inks, the layer of grit and sand is definitely in the colours. And it's tasty grit with crunchy bits thrown in for good measure, and great lighting as the icing on top.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
..all the faces


And Tom B. Long gives us a double-whammy this week, by showing his fingers in the fonting, lettering and sounding of the pages of McCarthy's script, and giving some gravitas to the dialogue where needed. The two covers are also quite a thing to look at, dealing with the duality of Drift's character in the main Guidi/Josh Burcham one, and his conscience in the Alex Milne/Josh Perez variant (thumbnail).


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

Much like its preceding issue, Empire of Stone is taking its time to really kickstart its proper plot, and might get on the bad side of some readers used to the tighter stories of the two current ongoings. The stories that are there don't have more than some references, but the characters' different voices ad their interactions can, for some, make up for it.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review
I am hopeful


On the visual side, we have a similar concentration of silent action sequences (and pretty good ones too) to the first issue in the miniseries, and probably something we should expect for the following two issues. Fortunately, the artistic team is magnificent at conveying the ruggedness of this side of the galaxy, and we can revel in the eye candy.

. :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 #2 Review (1631090)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on December 17th, 2014 @ 10:28pm CST
I'm sorely tempted to get this, simply because of Gigatron. But Drift is a big thing that I have trouble getting past. If the finale is mind blowing, it may be worth it. I hope it is - I want McCarthy to make me like Drift.

But mostly I wan to go dig out Mega...ahem...Gigatron.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631127)
Posted by Va'al on December 18th, 2014 @ 2:06am CST
Nemesis Maximo wrote:I hope it is - I want McCarthy to make me like Drift.


That is exactly my feeling. I want to like this series, the writing, the characters. I want it to be impactful, I want it to relate back to the main story in MTMTE somehow meaningful.

So far, it's not doing it. But it hasn't screamed that it won't at all.

So, like Natalie Imbruglia, I am torn.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631132)
Posted by ZeroWolf on December 18th, 2014 @ 2:47am CST
I have a question though, didn't spotlight: Night beat kinda hint that the micromasters were the creation of Jihaxus?
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631133)
Posted by ZeroWolf on December 18th, 2014 @ 2:48am CST
I have a question though, didn't spotlight: Night beat kinda hint that the micromasters were the creation of Jihaxus?
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631137)
Posted by Va'al on December 18th, 2014 @ 3:03am CST
I believe the Windblade colony explanation sort of overrides that. As it overrides the 'Arcee is only non-male character'. Jhiaxus may as well have created *some*, but there are more out there that are 'naturally' occurring.

I think.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631148)
Posted by Windsweeper on December 18th, 2014 @ 4:22am CST
Ah but none of the Micromaster characters we've seen since have been small so maybe Jhiaxus was involved in down sizing the ones in Nightbeat.

I'm really enjoying this series despite my initial misgivings.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631237)
Posted by Mkall on December 18th, 2014 @ 11:30am CST
Sigh... I'm going to have to find me an RiD Megatron now?

The story isn't bad. I'm liking that the Breastforce are making an appearance.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631258)
Posted by Flashwave on December 18th, 2014 @ 1:06pm CST
Va'al wrote:I believe the Windblade colony explanation sort of overrides that. As it overrides the 'Arcee is only non-male character'. Jhiaxus may as well have created *some*, but there are more out there that are 'naturally' occurring.

I think.


Truthflly, I think its more that after a few years, backgrond cameos get reused and we're reading into it too much.

The Gorlam Prime Micromasters were organic beings who evolved into mechanical ones, first through simple cyborg implants, and then outright living mechanical entities, and yes, that was through Jhaxius' intervention. Off the top of my head, the Gorlam Prime Micromasters were never named as individuals. The fandom "assumed" names becase Hey, that's who they looked like, but they were crowd filler, whereas the Micromasters we've met in story with names but at full scale, Fixit etc., are the actual Micromasters characters. And since I don't have Windblade handy, were the MM colony bots at fll scale or icro scale?

Also of note: There are plenty of Titan's jst laying around. Remember Prime plled one of them out of the time travellling planet, maybe what we saw in WIndblade wa a Titan on Gorlam Prime sleeping with its eyes open? ;)
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631259)
Posted by Flashwave on December 18th, 2014 @ 1:06pm CST
Va'al wrote:I believe the Windblade colony explanation sort of overrides that. As it overrides the 'Arcee is only non-male character'. Jhiaxus may as well have created *some*, but there are more out there that are 'naturally' occurring.

I think.


Truthflly, I think its more that after a few years, backgrond cameos get reused and we're reading into it too much.

The Gorlam Prime Micromasters were organic beings who evolved into mechanical ones, first through simple cyborg implants, and then outright living mechanical entities, and yes, that was through Jhaxius' intervention. Off the top of my head, the Gorlam Prime Micromasters were never named as individuals. The fandom "assumed" names becase Hey, that's who they looked like, but they were crowd filler, whereas the Micromasters we've met in story with names but at full scale, Fixit etc., are the actual Micromasters characters. And since I don't have Windblade handy, were the MM colony bots at fll scale or icro scale?

Also of note: There are plenty of Titan's jst laying around. Remember Prime plled one of them out of the time travellling planet, maybe what we saw in WIndblade wa a Titan sleeping with its eyes open? ;)
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631262)
Posted by 1984forever on December 18th, 2014 @ 1:18pm CST
AHM proves that Shane can write much better stuff than this. The plot sucks, the dialogue sucks and the art is outdated. I am so tired of seeing Transformers covered with dents and dings. No one takes pride in their appearance anymore!
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1631321)
Posted by Hans on December 18th, 2014 @ 4:00pm CST
1984forever wrote:AHM proves that Shane can write much better stuff than this. The plot sucks, the dialogue sucks and the art is outdated. I am so tired of seeing Transformers covered with dents and dings. No one takes pride in their appearance anymore!


You didn't even notice that this is mentioned in-story? That Ratchet outright says to Drift that he looks like a wreck? Seriously, if you want to criticize the art, at least pay attention... although I admit I'm biased, because I love the artwork : P

I agree with the notion that the Gorlam Prime Micromasters were probably a completley different race with a different origin from the ones seen in Windblade... although I'm pretty positive some of the Micromasters seen on Gorlam were definitely ment to be existing G1 characters, such as the Decepticon sports car patrol...
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1640758)
Posted by Va'al on January 19th, 2015 @ 5:25am CST
Thanks to a new listing on online retailer Amazon.com, we have a confirmed release date for the collected trade paperback version of Transformers: Drift - Empire of Stone: June 16, 2015 (currently priced at $16.50). No artwork yet, but check below for further details, including what to expect from the extras by Shane McCarthy, Guido Guidi, Stephen Baskerville and JP Bove.

DRIFT RETURNS! After leaving the Autobots in disgrace, he's now alone, on a mission to clean up the darkest depths of the galaxy - until Ratchet shows up to try to bring him home! Also contains bonus content like creator interviews, behind-the-scenes info, an art gallery, and more!

Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: IDW Publishing (June 16, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1631402692
ISBN-13: 978-1631402692

Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1640828)
Posted by triKlops on January 19th, 2015 @ 10:17am CST
Got it in my preorder list now; thanks for the link folks!
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1642251)
Posted by Va'al on January 23rd, 2015 @ 3:31am CST
The second piece of iTunes via IDW Publishing comics news, sees the third issue of Drift being previewed in its own three pages of Empire of Stone horror - and Ratchet's cynicism. All mirrored below, ready for the full preview next week (And a Seibertron.com review, too). Check it out!

THE STONE ARMY! The secrets of DRIFT’S past become his present-day problems… and RATCHET’S none too happy about being dragged along!


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Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1642253)
Posted by Hans on January 23rd, 2015 @ 3:53am CST
My favorite art team in the business :)
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1642266)
Posted by ZeroWolf on January 23rd, 2015 @ 5:15am CST
I wonder what the chances are that somewhere down the line liokaiser could appearance
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1642271)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on January 23rd, 2015 @ 6:20am CST
Aw, it cut off the part where Hellbat was about to say, to ratchet and drift, "What is a transformer? A miserable little pile of secrets!"
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1642304)
Posted by Optimizzy on January 23rd, 2015 @ 8:47am CST
Im not a big fan of the art. I don't dislike it though, I just guess I've become a Roche fanboy.

I don't like Mccarthy's writing though. After Barber and Roberts I find him a little pedantic. It's better than previous outings though.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1642308)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on January 23rd, 2015 @ 9:02am CST
I havn't read any of the issues, but I almost feel like getting the TPB. As much as I dislike Drift, I love me some new villains. And since we have Gigatron and Hellbat, they may be worth McCarthy's reminding us of Drift's past over and over and over again.
Re: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #2 Review (1643501)
Posted by Va'al on January 27th, 2015 @ 2:21am CST
In other IDW Publishing Transformers news, this last week of January also sees the third chapter in the new Drift miniseries, Empire of Stone, and the full preview can be found below! Head back here tomorrow for the Seibertron.com review, and let us know what you think in the Energon Pub.

Transformers: Drift—Empire of Stone #3 (of 4)
Shane McCarthy (w) • Guido Guidi (a & c)
THE STONE ARMY! The secrets of DRIFT’S past become his present-day problems… and RATCHET’S none too happy about being dragged along!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:
Ties in directly to MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!


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