Story: Shane McCarthy (@Shane_McCarthy)
Art: Guido Guidi (@Guido_Guidi ) and Stephen Baskerville
Letters: Tom B. Long (@tombgrfx)
Colors: John-Paul Bove (@wordmongerer)
Publisher: IDW Publishing (@IDWPublishing)
Release Date: December 17, 2014
Drift was once a Decepticon known as Deadlock, before switching sides and joining the Autobots. After witnessing the sometimes amoral attitudes of his new allies, Drift has gone AWOL, and now searches the galaxy for a place to belong.
Not being all that well versed in the Transformer’s mythos, I approached this book with a good amount of caution. I’d seen the Michael Bay films and wasn’t at all impressed with his take on a mainstay of my distant childhood. Thankfully, IDW has shied away from the story-by-explosion trope and opted for something with a little more substance. A little.
Unlike the Drift of Transformer’s: Age of Extinction, this character is less stereotypical cutout and more tragic hero archetype. That is, he’s lost, somewhat literally and definitely emotionally, and trying his best to do the right thing. Whatever that ultimately may be.
The only drawback to that is, well, this is a book about giant shape-shifting robots. You can’t really get too serious with that, or you’ll likely alienate your target demographic. All things considered, issue number two of Empire of Stone is a by-the-numbers story that doesn’t have any major faults or necessarily break any new ground.
It’s entertaining enough, but a little too surface level for me. There’s no real subtlety to the characters but the attempt is made. For instance, Grit, the Decepticon, turns out to be the loyalist of the recently captured cadre that also consists of Drift and Ratchet.
The artwork, by contrast, is pretty spectacular. It feels a little throwback, especially with all of the bright colors and hard-edged lines—again, this is a book about “organic” robots, so I accept some inherent campiness by default. Guidi and Baskerville straddle the line between overly dramatic poses and dynamic action sequences admirably.
Fans of the franchise will love this, and even if you’re not partial to either Autobots or Decepticons, still give it a go for the art alone.