Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review - Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1


"There's no point in living if you sacrifice everything you are to do it."

For as much as Optimus Prime worries about other races in the galaxy being hurt by his ongoing war with the Decepticons, there really doesn't really seem to be anyone willing to make their safety priority number one. It takes a special Transformer to set aside their investment in the war on either side to so. A Transformer like Drift, recently exiled and looking for his own personal redemption in Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 from IDW Entertainment. The issue is written by Shane McCarthy and illustrated by Guido Guidi.

After Drift's exile from the Autobots, he decided to help the helpless. Now he's alone and on a mission to clean up the darkest depths of the galaxy. His journey takes him all over the galaxy and he even crosses paths with Ratchet. No matter what he does though, he can't seem to escape his past as either a disgraced Autobot or former Decepticon named Deadlock.

The Transformers universe has always been about the Autobots and the Decepticons waging their war against one another across the galaxy. Most of the time, that war spills over to other civilizations in a way where the Autobots feel obliged to save the civilization being currently threatened as a result of their war. McCarthy takes things in a different direction, presenting Drift as a character no longer beholden to either side, but aware that the ever-raging wars has a lot of collateral damage. Drift travels through the universe as a ronin, content with helping those who need help and not getting caught up in serving either side. McCarthy's dialogue shows Drift's embodiment of this approach, as he's content to let the Autobots and Decepticons continue to wage their war as long as innocent civilizations don't get hurt and he can stay out of the fray.

Considering Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 is rife with robots, Guidi does a masterful job of making them feel anything but robotic. Drift is depicted as moving effortlessly through combat, bolstering his presentation as a samurai proficient with sword. Guidi does a great job depicting the size of the Transformers in the early pages, showing Drift towering over the creatures he could just as easily crush. On the flip side, when compared to other Transformers, there's still some sense of size difference between the characters that makes them feel less like robots and more like individual characters. There's also a lot of frenetic fighting that Guidi handles deftly, offering battles that blend both sophisticated weaponry and barebones brawling.

Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 is an entry in the Transformers universe that takes the emphasis away from Megatron and Optimus Prime (and their war) and focuses on a different aspect of being a Transformer. In the case of Drift, that aspect is being non-committal to either side and really just wanting to help those who have been negatively affected by the Cybertronian war. McCarthy's story moves along well in following Drift and his new focus, but the backstory surrounding his exile isn't really explored, which means you'll have to do some other reading to gain full insights into his thought process. Guidi's art is fantastic and offers a great, kinetic look at Transformers who aren't shy about showcasing a wide range of emotions and physical capabilities. Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 is a solid first issue that explores some of the lesser known characters in the universe.

Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone #1 is in stores now.

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