CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Drift #4
Reviewed by Blackjack
”Head up, eyes on your next opponent, not your last.”
Someone prejudiced against Drift, Shane McCarthy and IDW in general would’ve given this issue a ‘zero cubes’ and be done with it. However, I am not that prejudiced. Despite the mess that Shane has made out of AHM, the Drift miniseries had so far came full circle.
Things had been expected and easily guessed, but it is done with grace. The story is told relatively well for Drift’s background, and while it is terribly cliché, it at least tells its story in four short issues, with a believable background for Drift, a nice enough plot with the neutralists and an entertaining change in character. Dialogue, however, had taken a slight tumble compared to previous issues.
The main problem, then, is the art. Personally, I like Alex Milne’s art, especially his work on the movieverse comics. However, with a story like this where a character’s expressions should range more than ‘dull anger/surprise’ and ‘sullen’, Alex Milne’s art clearly lacks. Plus, Wing and Drift are virtually indistinguishable in headshots since their head designs are so similar now. The colouring is brighter and better than last issue, although, again, Milne’s art fails to impress, especially during the fight sequences.
The whole ‘Circle of Light’ thing isn’t as corny as it should be (no worse than Animated’s cyber-ninja whatchamacalit and Beast Machines’ more cheesy moments, anyway). Lockdown, however, ultimately proves to be pointless other than to be a plot device so Drift couldn’t rejoin the Decepticons. Wing’s death could be seen from far away, and no one could expect lousy aliens to triumph, right? The worst thing is the rather lame explanation for the ‘Great Swords’. The rest is done rather well, especially Drift’s brutal, angry attack on the alien.
All in all, for something that I expected to be a badly written fanfic, Drift proved to be entertaining enough once you take prejudices out of your head. However, like some people who refuse to acknowledge that Beast Wars/Animated/Movie series/Beast Machines/Minicons/what-have-you are great just because of what they are, I can’t help you. Certainly I enjoyed myself reading the Drift miniseries better than the tiresome and trite ongoing, which came as a pleasant surprise.
Drift’s smaller swords are ordinary blades. The longer one with neutralist markings and wacky Cybertronian glyphs is a ‘Great Sword’, which, according to Wing, is a kind of ancient swords that uses the very spark of its bearer to inflict damage on an opponent, and are weapons used only in great times of need. Presumably this is why the sword crackles with electricity when Drift uses Wing’s sword in rage against the alien leader.
‘Knights’ are repeatedly mentioned. Presumably this refers to the swordfighter neutralists.
Apparently Drift also uses guns even after his conversion. He never uses guns during his appearances in AHM. Wing mentioned that the Knights are forbidden to carry anything else, which might be a message that Drift took to heart.
Wing uses energy falchions.
We get a first good look at New Crystal City. It vaguely resembles a giant version of Dai Atlas’ toy’s base mode, and is even coloured in Dai’s colour scheme.
The guns and missiles that Dai Atlas’ troops use are presumably from the ‘Vault’ mentioned last issue, which could only be opened by Dai.
For the first time ever since his debut nearly two years ago, Drift actually drift-races. Also, by the epilogue of this issue (which presumably took place after AHM), Drift is in his Earthen body, which of course is the basis for the toy. Drift had appeared in his Earthen look for a short while in the first issue of the ongoing.
It is unclear where the explosion that interrupted Drift’s battle with Lockdown came from.
Why the hell is Drift in Japan anyway? With things as it is during AHM and the ongoing, I don’t think that it’s a time for sightseeing. Although then again, the comic was vague on when the epilogue occurred…
It’s hard to believe that Drift wouldn’t finish Lockdown off. If Lockdown told the existence of New Crystal City to the Decepticons, wouldn’t the neutralists be as good as dead?
Lockdown: “You’ve betrayed one of your kind. Give me one good reason not to kill you where you stand.”
Lockdown: “You’re a Decepticon! What could they possibly have offered that would make you turn on us?”
Drift: “What I’ve always wanted… the promise of a better Cybertron. Or have you forgotten why we started all of this in the first place, Lockdown?”
Lockdown: “Idealists. You’ll be the death of us all.”
Alien: “You move like [Wing] does, but you lack his finesse.”
Dai Atlas: “Cybertronians! For Crystal City!”
Alien: “You can hardly stand. What can you possibly hope to do, Decepticon?”
Drift: “I am not… a Decepticon!” [hacks alien into two]
Drift: “I don’t know where I belong anymore. Not with the Decepticons, obviously. Logic would dictate that I join the Autobots, but… I’m not convinced.”