CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
Everyone deserves a second chance.
Giving McCarthy just 22 pages to work with instead of 12 issues somewhat thankfully results in a story with a beginning, middle and end rather than the random meandering he usually favours. However, the plot itself it still incredibly slight, uninteresting and, worst of all, thematically unsound.
We’re repeatedly told Drift is a reformed character, an honourable warrior who takes the moral high ground over both Autobots and Decepticons. Whilst at the same time he goes around hacking people to bits with swords. He won’t kill Turmoil directly because that would take him down to the Decepticon level, but will brutalise him and them blow him up. If the comic is aiming for some sort of moral complexity, it’s failed. Drift’s “Swords are the keeeewl” attitude coupled with Perceptor seemingly getting blown up for being too smart only serve to emphasise McCarthy’s love of machismo.
It doesn’t help that for a tormented soul, Drift spends all the time with a stupid inane grin on his face.
It’s not all bad, the art is fine and Kup is surprisingly good value despite the continued presence of the cigar, but the net result is a decidedly average and forgettable entry in the series.
One thing of note is that, despite McCarthy claiming he created Drift because there was no prior existing character that could serve his plot functions, is that much of what we learn of him here is very like the Carnivac story arc from the Marvel UK comics. Both were former Decepticons who left their former faction to join a new group of Autobots containing some former Wreckers. Both went on a solo mission against their former unit, and in particular, took out their ex leader. The difference is when Carnivac made a big moral gesture of letting Bludgeon live he didn’t then blow him up.
Drift’s speech about what’s wrong with both sides is pretty much exactly the same as Sideswipe’s in All Hail Megatron
The idea of Cybertronians fleeing the planet to find peace comes from both the original cartoon episode Fight or Flee!
and Marvel’s Headmasters
miniseries. Drift is vague on exactly what happened to this mysterious group, but the subtext seems to be he objected to the Decepticons massacring them.
Perceptor here receives the damage that will see him rebuilt into the gun-toting maniac we see in All Hail Megatron
. It’s revealed he personally built Kup’s new body, and that despite this impressive achievement he’s still impressed by the work done upgrading Drift’s body.
The issue ends with Kup forming a new unit, presumably the one we see on the Trion in All Hail Megatron
. It’s not clear what happens to the rest of the Wreckers, if they carry on as a separate entity, are disbanded back into the regular army, or if they’re all in Kup’s new force but not all of them were on the Trion when it was shot down.
Even before this, Springer seems to have been demoted, whilst before he was fairly autonomous in his leadership of the Wreckers he now appears to be happy to be Kup’s right hand man. Kup implies Springer has some dark secret in his own past and should know the importance of second chances.
Once again we are forced to ask if the special speech bubbles given to Transformers actually mean anything, as the woman seller at the start of the issue seems genuinely surprised to find Drift is a Transformer.
Drift, the super stealthy ninja, talks to himself as he wanders around the Decepticon ship.
Green Woman: I’m not sure what business you have with the ship but you may wish to reconsider, friend. Cybertronians are a plague. Wherever they go death and destruction follow. Everyone else is smart enough to simply leave them alone.
Drift: Your concern is-
Green Woman: It’s not concern. I told you, you pay w- [Touches his arm]-your arm… you-you’re one of them.
Drift: Again, my thanks.
Kup: You! What are you doin’ here?
Drift: Well, I was trying to sneak in.
Kup: Yeah, we don’t do subtle.
Kup: So you are a Decepticon.
Drift: I don’t go by that name anymore.
Kup: That’s helpful considering Deadlock happened to have slaughtered quite a lot of Autobots.