IDW comic - What the deal with Drift character ?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Lightningsonic, May 16, 2020.

  1. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    I am honored. Thank you!
     
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  2. TheSuperion

    TheSuperion Die mad about it.

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    Did you forget about the foreshadowing regarding why Rung was able to heal himself beyond usual capacity? Serial number 1 million as of the very first issue.... or should I say serial number ONE. Did you forget that Megatron was redeemed in the Dark Cybertron crossover before Roberts ever got his hands on him, and it was up to Roberts to justify his change of heart? Did you also forget the part where Tarn was stated to be a point-one percenter himself? Or that he took down all three members of the Warrior's Elite with the help the entire DJD? And in the case of Overlord.... it was the quantum duplicate Overlord that was still chained up inside a prison cell. Not exactly difficult to decapitate.,.. which you yourself admitted in a previous thread on this forum some time ago.

    Also, classifying reinterpreting existing characters in radical new ways as "wish fulfillment" is ridiculous. Are you also gonna go and say that the fans reinterpreting Ratchet as an old war-weary medic (which was never a G1 thing) is wish fulfillment too? What about the Marvel comics re-interpreting Kup into a brutal warrior with some seriously screwed up ethics? (Or, as some people lovingly refer to him, "Murder Kup.") I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

    Let's face the facts: you may like or dislike Jame's Roberts' writing, which is fine... but what isn't fine is that you're using the term Mary Sue so broadly, because its the go-to internet nerd excuse to dismiss any major characters in fiction that they don't like, regardless of what their reasons are for disliking them. The term has been watered down and overused to the point that its now as meaningless a term as .... wait for it.... SJW. (Yeah, I fucking went there.)

    ...oh wait a second. You're one of those members. As you could probably guess from my first paragraph, I was just looking over your posting history, and your viewpoint is so narrow, that you interpreted an innocuous line of dialogue relating to to transformers religion on reboot Cybetron, as the author explicitly throwing shade on Rung Primus, which according to you was something that SUPPOSEDLY didn't go over well with most people. And you also interpreted them killing off Brainstorm as another instance of the author trying to distance his comics from Roberts. Even though the comics have since re-introduced a number of Roberts's OCs, including Nautica and the DJD.

    Yeah, okay, I'm done discussing this stuff with you. Because you're absolutely right about one thing: we're not gonna agree about anything relating to Roberts' run. Not when my G1 entire transformers collection is so heavily inspired by Robert's comics (and all the other comics that were being written while John Barber was editor, or course). Plus.... I spend over 90 dollars on shapeways parts and model paints, just so I could make myself a custom Anode and Lug for one of my Lost Light shelves.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  3. Lightningsonic

    Lightningsonic Well-Known Member

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    I don't say you must. But maybe you should. There are always can be newcomer.
    I just past the Dark Cybertron event
     
  4. Insurgent

    Insurgent Big Red Fire Snorting Dragon

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    The op explicitly states he's only at the end of mtmte season 1, and those are spoilers for characters this thread is not about. Yes, the book is 3 years old but in this case, spoiler tags may be a nice consideration.
     
  5. NanakoPreame

    NanakoPreame Well-Known Member

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    The reason there's such a discrepancy is because Robert's tends to ignore anything outside of mtmte that wasn't made by him, Roache, or Furman. And even then he tends to rewrite and alter events to fit his current narrative.
     
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  6. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy The Crimson Comedian

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    It's funny how Drift had absolutely no point to exist until Roberts got his hands on him.
    I'll admit Drift is unique and feels like something from G1 and he had one of the best toys that deserves an update, but he to me was initially a character who was somebody's mary sue. He got his out miniseries (something other characters lacked), a new toy, and was shoved into the cast of the comics.
     
  7. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    It's a bit tricky applying the term "Mary Sue", since it was originally purposed for fanfic characters. As that line started to be more noticeably blurred, and more to the point, to be seen to get blurred, with, in this particular franchise, someone like Roberts being well known as a fan turned pro. After all, is Windblade a Mary Sue? If she is, then, is Shockwave? Marvel, late '84, Bob Budiansky writes a new Decepticon in who is... "He's purple all over because he's the most Decepticon Decepticon ever, and he can take Megatron in a fight, so he's the new Decepticon leader and the Autobots are all a lot more afraid of him than Megatron, and he turns into a gun too, but he's a giant SPACE gun, and one of his arms is a gun too, and... AND he's all logical like Mr.Spock as well, and he's powered by a nuclear reactor in his tummy and he has rocket boots and he knows things about Optimus Prime that no one else does!"

    Is Shockwave a Mary Sue?

    No, of course not- at least, not Budiansky's Shockwave. Barber's Shockwave is certainly something, but Mary Sue probably isnt quite the right label. However, the point I wanted to illustrate is that you can choose to interpret a character that way.

    I think McCarthy's Drift was a bit pointless, and I think there's a bit of rather tacky Mary Sue-esque shilling for him in his introduction issue, but I wouldn't say the character was as a whole; just dull. Roberts' take on him strikes me as largely more interesting and funnier, but that's obviously a subjective viewpoint.
     
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  8. Lightningsonic

    Lightningsonic Well-Known Member

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    I now come to conclusion that Drift get that reputation is because the fact
    To put it bluntly, people jealous since he get more than their favorite character. get
    "Had absolutely no point to exist" The only different is that McCarthy's is side story, you can read or ignored. while Roberts isn't. He is there and you need to see everything. Take that aside, i dare to say that apply to over 80% of the characters.
    I also don't see how old Drift is Mary sue but MTMTE's is not. Because i said it once again, MTMTE look more mary sue than anything i see in Drift's own seri. Dude is pretty much Rodimus without being an ass in MTMTE while old Drift is a redemption lost soul who once lost to his anger. And people say Original Drift is more mary sue ?
     
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  9. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    I think the trouble with McCarthy's Drift is down largely to timing. As I tried to say, he's rarely Mary Sue-ish, but unfortunately for him, he's never more so than in his introduction; the awesome swordsman who pops up out of nowhere, deals with a problem plaguing the regulars with style, elan and no apparent effort, has a Dark And Troubled PastTM, and who everyone suddenly already knows of.

    Does he continue in that vein for the whole of All Hail Megatron? No, he doesn't, and I admit it subverts the Mary Sue archetype as well that the regulars' reaction isnt "Gasp! It's DRIFT! OMG, What A Guy!" and more "Gasp! It's DRIFT! OMG, What A Wanker!" but still, that introduction, coupled with the whole "roaming Japanese styled atoning warrior" overused trope sets such a bad impression for many that he's largely doomed before he starts.

    Hence, I think, the value of and need for Roberts' reinvention; by mocking Drift and subverting him, he makes it about the character, not the storytelling, and allows Drift to rise beyond it by showing him to be a person despite this.

    Note, too, that Roberts, with MTMTE, was writing an entirely different style to AHM. AHM is a war movie. MTMTE is a sit-com/sci-fi "dramedy", very much in the vein of Red Dwarf.

    That isn't to everyone's tastes, of course, but it is a very popular medium, and given the popularity of the series, it would be hard to describe it as a mistake for IDW.
     
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  10. Insurgent

    Insurgent Big Red Fire Snorting Dragon

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    Thing is, when you get an ensemble cast like this, especially one so large, there will always be people who can be said to be 'pointless' (Roadbuster was just as pointless in AHM). Getting his own miniseries isn't a reason to call him a Mary Sue. It's a reason to think he was being pushed on the fandom a bit much, and yes, at the time, Drift was being pushed a bit hard by Hasbro/IDW, but that isn't the fault of the character, nor does it make him a Mary Sue. To be classed as one, the reasons need to be in fiction. And again, other than being a good fighter (hardly a unique trait in this franchise), Drift wasn't exactly going around being uber awesome at everything and being the star of every panel he was in. There are plenty of reasons to not like him, but it (broadly speaking, I know this isn't everyone who dislikes him) seems to stem from three main points:

    1) He doesn't contribute much to the story he was introduced in, which was intentional, he was never meant to be taking away the spotlight from the main guys. He was meant to be thought of more as a redshirt.
    2) He wasn't part of the OG 84-88 crew but was added into a story that featured those guys heavily, thus making him feel out of place.
    3) The marketing from IDW and Hasbro at the time was pushing Drift hard. This lead to a serious over exposure of the character and that amount of obsession from a company can sour people towards the very character they are trying to push.

    Unfortunately, it's created a bit of a stigma with Drift, especially his early years, that is difficult to shake. I mean, almost everything said about Drift could apply to Stardrive. Is she a Mary Sue?
     
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  11. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    The same stigma can be said to exist for Windblade, and Hasbro and IDW pushed her harder than they pushed Drift, if that is possible.

    The new characters aren't the problem because you need new characters to sustain a franchise. It does have to be done with a gentle touch though, because if you over inundate an old franchise with new characters (or rewrites of older characters, especially a group that could be seen as the A-tier or B-tier cast going back to Minimus Ambus, Rodimus, Megatron, etc.), then it begins to feel less like the old series and more like the author's personal vision of what the series should be. More like a fanfiction than actual fiction.

    New characters are fine. I felt Barber did a great job incorporating Windblade and Pyra Magna and the rest of the colonists as new characters alongside the old characters (which is the same reason I felt Drift felt like a decent character and wasn't out of place in amongst "the old guys."). They didn't supplant the existing cast and fell into it (somewhat ham-fisted at times but still fell into it). They moved around it, instead of it moving around them, which is the opposite of MTMtE and LL (to me). Did they get a lot of screen time? Most certainly, but again, Hasbro had an agenda and that screen time was part of it. Hasbro had a very small sales agenda with Robert's work (except maybe don't get rid of Megatron and push Rook as he had a toy out them), so we can only assume the characters who got screen time there were because he wanted them there. So, yeah, when an author is given that much creative license, it's definitely his agenda and what story he wants to tell.

    IMO, Roberts would have probably been better served by having Hasbro and IDW tell him no to his sitcom in space idea, or at least no to the idea with the cast that he had, and instead been told to bring his new characters in and write a new story, very similar to how Beast Wars successfully brought in an entirely new cast, and then anchor it to the old stories with small elements (similar to Ravage was a large part of how Beast Wars was anchored to the G1 cartoon). To me, there is nothing in Roberts' work that needed old characters for more than anchoring points. He gave them new voices and personalities anyway, and I'd estimate more than 60% of his cast was OOCs already (from name drops like Tripodeca and Aquabat), to rewrites and retcons (Minimus Ambus), to significant background characters (Atomizer, Ambulon, Pharma, the DJD), to major ones (Velocity, Nautica, Rung, Ten, Anode, Lug, etc.).
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  12. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    See, there we'd have to differ, and it is really just down to personal taste, since I'd rate early MTMTE as my favourite piece of TF media after the Marvel UK material, and even that arguable... Ive never known another work which got me to really invest in Transformers as people, to care about them- and a large part of that is giving the reader the chance to laugh with them, to see details like them having movie nights, taking the piss out of each other's mottoes and alt modes, etc etc, but I will very much allow that it lost it's way somewhat, that the pacing fell to pieces, the change of artist hurt the book, and that whilst there's nothing actually wrong with Anode and Lug as characters, and certainly neither are Mary Sue, nevertheless, due to issues probably beyond Roberts' control; the Lost Light relaunch and the curtailed run time, it might have been better to cut them and divide their role amongst the existing cast.

    For instance; Swerve is a metallurgist; and a chronic under achiever- he could easily have inherited Anode's professional role. Not anything wrong with Anode, but circumstances made her a bad idea timing wise, rather than the character herself.

    Overall, I'd say Season One was amazing, Season Two was choppy but brilliant on paper and in parts, and Season Three/Lost Light was a mess with glittering pieces of disconnected brilliance mashed up in it.
     
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  13. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    That's a fair assessment and you're right, it is down to personal taste. I truly enjoyed Season 1, and if it had ended at Dark Cybertron, I would say it's better than 90% of Transformers material out there. However, in the long run, my enjoyment of the series was hurt by what I saw as let down's on some of the long running plot points (Tarn, for example); the way I perceived the characters to loose their voice and devolve into the same sassy, sarcastic, and (what I perceived to be) meaningless dialogue that was supposed to be funny but was really (to me) was just drudgery; and the whole Megatron arc. By the time it rebooted to LL, I was ready for it to be done, which was a low point for me because I was so excited to see TF comics again after how Dreamwave ended and thinking I would never see them again after the end of the Marvel run in the '90s. I could have cared less about Anode and Lug because neither of them really had a real personality. They were just kind of art on a page to me, that sounded like everyone else. As a whole work, I would say it's one of the more accoladed pieces of TF fiction, most of which was rightfully earned for S1, but personally one of my least favorites because I felt it rode the coattails of lightning in a bottle when it really wasn't that great. To sum up, I loved Season 1 and it earned every bit of praise it got and maybe even more. Hats off to Roberts for that. Had it ended there, I would have zero complaints. The rest is eh, at best.
     
  14. Kaosu Reido

    Kaosu Reido Well-Known Member

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    First off, Lightningsonic, you got your answer, and now you're acting like kind of a jerk because it turns out not everyone liked AHM-era Drift. Move on.

    Second, I think part of the difference between Drift and Windblade is, one, McCarthy made that kinda tonedeaf statement that Drift is supposed to be a tribute to the country and culture that gave us Transformers, showing an ignorance of the franchise's multinational history and a very basic view of Japanese culture in general that is entirely "samurai and ninjas and HONOR and I guess drift racing". That, along with AHM coming out of nowhere and stomping all over the -ation series and ignoring characterization and events from them, pretty much soured people on McCarthy and Drift out of the gate.

    So when Drift started showing up out of nowhere in picture books, kids' books, etc, like he's just one of the crew, it rung super hollow. He was basically Poochy.

    Windblade, on the other hand, was a fan-vote character. She was basically slowly built from fan-votes, leaving people time to acclimate. She wasn't just a generic "JAPANESE CULTURE" rep, and something like a Cityspeaker was kind of unique in a franchise where "brooding samurai swordsman" was an already explored trope. Also, her introduction was as a group of Transformers, and her miniseries were well written, drawn, and received.

    She was what they WANTED Drift to be, and she was introduced in a time frame and format that let people enjoy her, instead of be immediately soured on her.

    Third, I think it's pretty clear that Dark Cybertron, Combiner Wars, and other mandates messed with Roberts' groove. He had to roll with some punches he didn't foresee, and he wasn't necessarily great at separating tones when he added in like ten new characters in five minutes. You had a lot more time to get used to smaller segments of the cast in Season 1. Once he got Megatron, I think he got really interested in Autobot Megatron as a character, and that left some of the less developed cast by the way side. The series being cut short didn't help, either, as he tried to flesh newbies out and then suddenly "OOPS, GOTTA WRAP STUFF UP".
     
  15. TheSuperion

    TheSuperion Die mad about it.

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    Roberts actually got screwed over TWICE when it came to Season 3 and Anode/Lug. Because his initial plans were to introduce them in a story that focused on Getaway's Mutineers.... but IDW wanted to soft-relaunch all their ongoings. (Which is why MTMTE also got a title change). So instead, he shoved them into the Functioninst universe arc that he had moved forward to launch season 3 instead. And then, just 12 issues later, he got the cancellation notice, and had to move quickly to tie up all the loose ends and do all the reveals he had been planning from the beginning.

    Honestly, as messy as Season 3 was, I was amazed (and happy) that the ending mostly stuck the landing, even if it was admittedly rushed. Proof of why why having a story bible is so important for fiction as intricate as his.
     
  16. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    You've made it clear you have a low opinion of Shane McCarthy (Whether it's warranted or not) and I respect that, but I don't think this is an entirely accurate assessment of Drift and his creation.

    I think by and large people didn't like Drift because they weren't happy at the time with the direction IDW was going in, All Hail Megatron isn't a bad story, it's just not what people wanted at the time and as a result it lead them to lash out and find anything to bitch about- hello OC created by the author. It's become kind of a staple of the TF fanbase to overreact, which the response to Drift most definitely was. Going back and reading the stories with him, he isn't nearly as bad as he was made out to be, especially in comparison to later OC's made in IDW. He had a bit of a rough start? Sure, but he wasn't nearly as bad as some folks have made him out to be.

    You're right in regards to how Roberts changed him and Tumblr did as Tumblr does, but I'd be willing to say both Roberts and McCarthy made him a more multi-faceted character who deep down cared about how others saw him, so he'd often present himself differently depending on the situation.

    Jealous? Maybe, but then Roberts did basically take his character and made him into someone different, I'm sure you would have felt the same way if it was your creation.

    Now the last part of that statement I have to strongly disagree with, because we know from interviews there was purpose behind his design and character. The few Japanese elements (which really aren't that many, swords aren't an exclusively Japanese trait :lol  ) were to pay homage to where Transformers came from, and you can even see the different concept designs by Guido, to say there was no thought involved in his creation isn't fair. You could argue that he's lying in these interviews or just pulling it out of his ass, but that sounds needlessly paranoid.

    A Mary Sue is a character that can do anything when they need to do it, will often manifest unheard of or unseen abilities (cough City speaking cough) the flaws they have only serve to make them more beautiful, everyone tends to like them (sometimes even the bad guys), and mostly serve as a self-insert for the author that are shapeless in terms of character. Does Drift have any of these? Maybe his character was kind of shapeless for a bit, but that's... it, really, and I doubt he was meant to be a self-insert.

    Don't take this as some defense of Shane McCarthy, I've disagreed with him before (like that time he called AOE Drift "racist" or something similarly ridiculous) I'm just trying to provide a more accurate picture of the situation and your post struck me as a little hyperbolic. Maybe Drift looks less bad because the majority of OC's IDW has put into the spotlight have been so much worse and it's just perspective, but I'm still of the belief that people were overreacting back then.

    So you're incredibly biased in favor of these characters, so much so that you're willing to drop almost 100$ on making toys of them. So you maybe aren't in a position to fairly or accurately critique MTMTE / LL?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  17. NanakoPreame

    NanakoPreame Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's sad and all, but don't forget that Barber had to wrap up his story too. Also, from what I've seen, comic writers have to more or less be ready to change their stories on the dime.
     
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  18. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    James Roberts got the Babylon 5 season 5 treatment, in fact. Had the comic wrapped up at the end of "More than Meets the Eye", it would have been really well remembered. Had it continued for three 'seasons' unmeddled with, it would have been really well remembered. Yes, there would still have been problems, and certainly the things that are down to personal taste would have annoyed the same people they always annoyed.

    Roberts was never going to pull back a curtain and reveal "TehReelUltraaMagnutz" and "Honourable Bedwetter Star Saber" standing in an alcove ready to decry the things done in their name by 'imposters'; because, in the context of MTMTE, the Ultra Magnus we met always was "the real" one, for whatever that's worth, the one who embodied all the tropes and traits of Ultra Magnus IDW; the Ultra Magnus we'd been following since his spotlight- it's just that we learned that he'd had another name before that, that he wore power armour (gosh, Ultra Magnus wears armour to have his iconic look? Damn those circa 1986 instruction booklets, what horrible spoilers they give!), and that he'd inherited the name and identity from another robot who we had never met at that point, and only ever met through the "Autocracy" series, shoe-horned in later and with a ton of canon issues of its own, and Roberts' Star Saber is basically an OC with an FC's name and look; if you have a problem with this, you always will, I don't, and I never will, and neither of us are right; they're just opinions.

    However, had what happened not happened- the messy Lost Light relaunch, plot lines truncated, rushed, and shoved around to accommodate executive demands and the need to have a smooth beginning/ending, then "Lost Light" would have played far better than it did.

    Anode and Lug; ultimately, their problem can be expressed in two words; meaningless to those of us who weren't Babylon 5 fans, but teeth-grindingly reminiscent to those of us who remember back then, when Season 5 aired, but its plot didn't.

    "Remember Byron."
     
  19. Lightningsonic

    Lightningsonic Well-Known Member

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    Did i force other to like the character on that specific comic ? No, it is not Jerk, it called debate
    I get the answer, but reply on another topic that brought up along the way. Which is some of them is bias and double standard.
    This look like a double standard as well. why other can and i can not ? because it turn out not anyone like MTMTE's Drift better ? move on !
     
  20. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
     
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