Writer: Shane McCarthy
Pencils: Marcelo Ferreira
Colours: John-Paul Bove
The final issue of the exciting Drift mini series Empire of stone has finally arrived but does it end as well as it started and do we finally have answers to all the questions?
I doubt anyone is going to claim that this issue is short on action, from the very first page with Gigatron and Drift literally mowing their way through waves of stone soldiers, this book proves it can stand toe to toe with any anything else out there. Given the amount of fighting the actual dialogue is kept to a minimum and when we finally get some solid narrative it unfortunately raises way more questions than we receive answers. Don’t misunderstand, McCarthy does a great job with all the battle dialogue but when it comes time for answers he swiftly ends the book. Given how this links into More than Meets the Eye I hope that the story continues on there and that he had to write around the upcoming Combiner wars arc.
Marcelo Ferreira takes over for the final issue’s pencil work and delivers a style that is as intricate as it is action packed. Every panel is filled with Drift’s unique fighting style and the imposing form of Gigatron but you needn’t worry about about anything being rushed or lost in the fast pace of the battle, everything looks incredible and just how he is able to cram in so much detail is beyond me.
Bove’s understated colour pallet makes its return for the final issue and continues to create a gorgeous and organic looking book. You will be hard pressed to find an artist who can make the colour brown quite so interesting and yet his ability to layer colour and tone as well as avoid the use of anything too bright continues the more grounded Eastern look the book has had from issue one.
As I mentioned above the only real problem with this book is that it just ends, there is little fanfare and limited explanation as to what is to come next. Drift really does have the potential to be a truly fascinating character and I feel that he started out that way but had the rug pulled out from underneath him when it approached the conclusion.
This is still a good issue with some excellent action, gorgeous art, funny dialogue and some truly memorable characters. I do feel the short nature of the series hurts it a little and its abrupt ending robs it of a truly epic conclusion, I mean, a final battle between Gigatron and Drift could easily have rivalled the G1 fight between Prime and Megatron! What we do get though is a book that has been consistently well presented from the first issue to the last and the attention and care taken on making Drift a unique and likeable character shows. In the end if you like Transformers you really only have two choices, buy all four issues right now or buy the trade because this is a story that I feel has some steam that will continue into the two main books in coming months.