Review – Transformers Drift Empire of Stone

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Transformers Drift

Writer: Shane McCarthy
Pencils: Guido Guidi
Inks: Stephen Baskerville
Colours: John-Paul Bove
Publisher: IDW

Last year IDW made a genius move and brought back fan favourite robot ninja Drift back to the Transformers universe. Drift has been out of action since he took the fall for a fellow autobot whilst he was briefly on board the Lost Light during the pages of More than Meets the Eye. I had the honour of reviewing it then and as soon as I saw this on tomorrows release schedule I jumped on it again.

The story begins with Drift freeing yet another planet from a group of Rogue Decepticons, since the war ended many have set themselves up as warlords on distant planets. Drift makes short work of them and after a brief reunion with Ratchett, an old Autobot friend from The Lost Light and original G1 Transformer, they discover another Decepticon stronghold that needs to be taken down.

Shane McCarthy, Drift’s original creator is at the helm of the series and very quickly dispels any horrible memories left over of the Michael Bay version of the Transformer that we had been subjected to recently. Drift himself is written a lot like a wandering Samurai or Ronin wandering around the wastelands putting right the many wrongs his metallic ex brothers in arms have perpetrated. Drift fights using two Katana like blades, he has one larger blade that is literally powered by his spark so using it too much can kill him. He also has a very spiritual side, something we only see briefly from time to time, a wisdom that is far deeper than he has any right to have. In true Anime fashion though he also has a pretty goofy, fun loving side which shows itself throughout his adventure. More than that we see a Transformer who is completely devoted to his beliefs and his conviction is present in everything he does, he is not good or evil, he is what he needs to be at any given time.

Guido Guidi draws a fine Transformer, more than that though he draws a fantastic action sequence which is exactly what you need for a character like Drift who hardly ever sits still. Watching Drift leap over opponents whilst simultaneously slicing the limbs of another is incredible to behold. Drift looks impressive in every scene regardless of what he is doing, the guy just oozes that lone wolf style. Without going too far into spoiler territory the main big bad is a re-purposed Transformer from the Japanese anime show Car Robots (renamed Robots in Disguise here) and he is glorious! He actually draws the attention away from Drift a little with his magnificence which I never thought id see.

Bove does a great job on colours, the usual brightly colour blasts are sharp and bright, but more interesting to me is how he completely nails an eastern/manga style colour scheme. The book seems to take place almost entirely at dusk and the understated colour scheme is something that wouldn’t look out of place in a Patlabor or Gundam book. For a story based around a Transformer like Drift who is very clearly eastern influenced the colours in this book are just perfect, they help to hammer home just who this character is.

It is always interesting to read a collection of a mini series you have enjoyed previously and wonder just how it would all fit together in the end. I am happy to report that this trade represents fantastic value for money whether the reader is a fan of Transformers or just into really into the wandering Ronin kind of tale. There book is bursting with fantastically rendered action sequences, a cast of likeable characters and a villain you will love to hate. The book is so far removed from the main series that anyone can pick it up and yet it does link in just enough that fans of any of the current ongoing series will see where this fits into the bigger picture. I just hope we get to see more of Drift in future because this books creative team have made a modern day masterpiece. Do not miss out on the chance to pick up one of the most unique and engaging Transformer stories to hit comic book shelves in years!