CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: Drift #2
Reviewed by Blackjack
"Trouble in paradise?"
Still sub-par, although readable compared to Nefarious or the ongoing. Plot moves forwards, Drift's backstory is fleshed out and things actually happen, even if it is kind of slow. The bits where Drift fights Wing is so stereotypical, and Milne's art continues to un
impress with his clunky action scenes. Expressions are horrible, and sometimes it's hard to tell Drift and Wing apart. The thing is a whole patchwork of Japanese anime cliches, although McCarthy's writing style has certainly improved from his All Hail Megatron days. Sadly, if it were Guido or Roche that drew this issue, the expressions of the characters would've delivered more impact. Again, the Circle of Light is an interesting concept, a bunch of neutrals removed from war, but the execution of them basically being self-appointed pacifist Jedi knights isn't developed properly, although I admit it could've been much worse. I do like the debate of ideology between Drift and Wing, even if it is kind of repetitive. Wing is very dull, though.
Dai Atlas is there from the Japanese series simply as a peace-loving guy to lead people. It's much better than adding one of McCarthy's horribly-named cliche fancharacters, anyway... none of the Circle of Light members are memorable, and Drift's present-day interactions with Wing is banal and dull. The flashback scene with Gasket (yet another obscure-guy-whose-name-is-borrowed for a dying generic, like Fasttrack and Wing) is made unclear by Milne's rather messy art, and the name change from Drift to Deadlock to Drift is hardly necessary. So Drift joins the Decepticons to avenge his pal's death, killed by accident by the good guys? M'kay, not as cliched as others. Drift's frustration at the Autobot guards is well-written as well. The speech scene by Megatron, however, is well scripted and is infinitely better than the trash we got in Megatron: Origin. Nice propaganda. Alex Milne has thankfully realized that his Megatron design in Origin, with the eternally-crying eyes, is shite, so he updated the Cybertronian Megatron design to be sleeker and more conventional. The surprise importing of Lockdown from the Animated franchise would've worked much better if he hadn't been seen in cover solicits months ago, and I suppose he would be as good a Decepticon as any... Hasbro mandate, and all that. Better than another terribly-designed fancharacter, I say.
There are some good bits, and the bad parts isn't as terrible as they could've been. Drift's backstory is actually not so
bad once prejudices have been removed (and I have removed those after getting his kickass toy). Overextensive, sure, but at least Shane knows where he's going with this. I don't like the idea of those ugly Alien Slavers being main characters, though. It's not as terrible as Spotlight Drift, but not by a large margin.
There are several Easter Egg words that are sneaked into the Cybertronian lights in New Crystal City. 'MONZO' is written on the floor on page 1, panel 4. Monzo is the name of a prominent fan, who takes his name from G1 Wierdwolf's Headmaster partner. On page 20, 'TFW2005', a popular messageboard, is written under a train bridge. At the panel directly below it, 'NOPRIPS', the DeviantArt username for colourist Priscilla Tramonato is written on an arc.
Armada Hot Shot and Shattered Glass Ravage are among the casualties during the flashback scene in the first page. David Willis (a.k.a. ItsWalky, one of the leading members of TFWiki) expressed some anger about this, Armada Hot Shot being his favourite character and him being behind the creation of Shattered Glass Ravage in one way or another. Normally this would be a case of paranoia, but Alex Milne admitted that his friends suggested using those two characters as cannon fodder because they are David Willis' favourites. This created some controversy, causing Denton J Tipton to state that Milne has no control over which characters live or die, and that this is 'only an issue because of the fascination with canon'. So we have an artist and a fan angry with each other, and an editor who doesn't care of the canonicity of the series he manages. There you go... and after the good edits in issue one, too! Shame.
According to a Twitter post, Josh Perez coloured the generics on page four, panel two based on Mega Man, Earthworm Jim, Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, Protoman and Turbo.
Kremzeek cans reappear on the slums where Drift and Gasket are.
The shielded Autobot security guards are directly lifted from the design in Megatron: Origin, although the ones here have better-looking faces (i.e. less uglier). They are accompanied by floating drones whose design is inspired by the Diagnostic Drone from the Beast Machines cartoon series. On the same token, Megatron, the Seekers and Soundwave are all based on their Megatron: Origin appearances. Megatron had some slight cosmetic changes to him, though, that make him easier on the eyes compared to the terrible, over-bulky design we saw in Megatron: Origin. It leans closer towards the Infiltration design.
On page fifteen, panel two, one of the generic guys in the background seem to be based on Animated Lugnut. It is worth noting that, after the bonzana of post-G1 and G2 Decepticons last issue, very few similar obscure cameos appear this issue, barring Path Finder among the slums at one point. Maybe Milne was reprimanded by the editors for the fanmade complaints of the deaths of guys like Electro last issue?
Drift was named Drift before the war, and was renamed Deadlock by Megatron when he joined the Decepticons. When he met Wing last issue, he uses his original name as an alias... which apparently would stick after the miniseries. Kind of weird.
Lockdown is, of course, based on the popular Animated bounty-hunting character. His design is directly lifted from the new Revenge of the Fallen
toy, which in turn is based off the Animated toy, only in Movie aethestics. Now they import the ROTF design (with a mouth) into the G1 IDW universe. Um, character importing is confusing!
On the first page, Drag Strip is obscured by the caption box, when there is a perfectly good empty space above him on where to place the caption box.
From page nineteen until the end of the issue, Drift's Decepticon brand inexplicably vanishes from his chest.
How did Drift manage to get out unseen? Surely Dai Atlas isn't so daft as not to place security cameras or additional guards?
Drift: "'Ideological'? We were at war for the future of Cybertron! We are at war for-"
Wing: "Your war damned the future of Cybertron."
Dai Atlas: "He is a Decepticon."
Wing: "He's one of our kind."
Dai Atlas: "Decepticons are not 'our kind'!"
Wing: "So, after all these years of preaching against factions, we've created our own, is that it?"
Wing: "What does [the Decepticon insignia] mean?"
Drift: "Strength, power, convinction-"
Wing: "Superiority? So, you're the best then -- the strongest -- and because of that you should rule?"
Wing: "Prove it. No guns, no swords. Prove it."
Wing: "If you want to conquer the galaxy, you need to try harder than that."
Megatron: "We're not interested in a war. That is something they want. All we desire is equality, and end to an unjust rule... and peace across Cybertron. But they won't have it. They fight us at every turn. Crushing their heels down upon our heads until we're back where they want us -- on our knees."