Monday, September 26, 2011

My Reason for Disliking "Transformers Drift" is Probably Not Your Reason (Book Review)

Okay, to be fair, I'll start with a confession: I love turncoats with cool swords. I really, really love turncoats with cool swords. So while the rest of the fandom, sick to death of fan character turncoats with cool swords is like "Oh no, not another turncoat with a cool sword!" I'm like "Yes! Another turncoat with a cool sword!"

Does that make me a hack who needs to get over a character type that has been beat into the ground, or does that reference fandom's desire to believe certain character traits automatically make a "Mary Sue" - a belief I no longer subscribe to - which is automatically a horrible thing? That's a whole other discussion for another day. But either way, I think my lack of urge to judge Transformers: Drift's protagonist gives me a chance to point out what - I think - is a bigger flaw at work here. One huge flaw that ruins this entire thing.

Warning: Some spoilers. If you don't want to read farther, let me get this out of the way: 1.5/5, because despite the plot mess, I like most of the characters. So sue me. I'd give it another .5 for being one of the better paced (until the end), easier-to-follow plots I've seen in Transformers comics, but for me to do that the plot would have to make sense.

Why does he join the autobots?

No, really. Why does he join them? Drift's main issue is that the writers don't seem to be able to make the opposing fraction sympathetic without actually making them make more sense than the one we're supposed to be rooting for here. The writers spend so much time showing the autobots as bad, bad oppressive bad guys that they really do seem like the bad guys. And since the decepticon's major claim through Transformers canon is that the autobots are oppressive, that would mean that the decepticons are right. And yet he is told time and time again how bad he is and how much he's being used. It's one of those horrible cases of telling, and it is done with the backbone of the entire plot. Oops.

It just causes the rest to fall apart. The neutrals are shown as the best group in the entire story, and for a good while, Drift seems to feel the same way. He even says towards the end of the story that he doesn't feel that not being a decepticon makes him an autobot.

And then two pages later he's suddenly an autobot.

Whether you like the characters or not, Drift suffers from a greater problem: Failure to establish the morality issues among the various fractions the writers were going for and depending on to tell their story. I think they may have been expecting the readers to be more emotional than really think about it, but for this reader it just didn't work.

No really, why the heck did he join those darn autobots?