As the penultimate chapter, Transformers: Drift: Empire of Stone #3 does suffer from the typical condition of most penultimate issues – it serves to build up to the final chapter. Still, there are more than a few handful surprises inside and, all in all, it’s entirely justified as an issue in it’s own right.
The official description from IDW:
THE STONE ARMY! The secrets of DRIFT’S past become his present-day problems… and RATCHET’S none too happy about being dragged along!
One of the more instantly noticable things here is the focus is – as the title suggests- very much on Drift. There are a few elements I’d like to see explored further, but many of them, such as the Stone Army, are justed used as plot McGuffins and general threats. While this does make sense – it’s such a short series – I would of liked to seen more of these. Perhaps in the future.
What does work, however, is the sense of character and personal development. Shane McCarthy demonstrates a good understanding of Drift by now, especially in relation to specific charachters. The dialogue and narrative all influence this and McCarthy ensures this doesn’t get in the way of the action, but enhances it. Drift is a man/robot of words, so it only makes sense this title follows suite. In other areas, he touches upon some thoughtful aspects, such as Hellbat’s rant about being an immortal of sorts. This would arguably be better if we knew more about Hellbat as a character but that’s a minor fault.
Visually, there’s nothing new here really. Guido Guidi provides some fantastic pencils, although the transformer designs themselves tend to look a little old or simple. If you compare the generic Decepticons, or even Hellbat, to the likes of Drift and you get a very big contrast. This may have been intentional, but I think it’s just lazy. in some cases, the non-important cast members just have crude boxes for torsos.
All in all, however, I’m really just picking at things here. If you’re in this far, you’ve invested in Drift as a character and this issue ensures that doesn’t let you down.