Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A to Z Challenge: Drift vs Devastator



The two characters from yesterday were important to the More Than Meets the Eye series from IDW and so is Drift. 
Comic book Drift

He's one of the few characters who didn't originate with a toy.  He first appeared in the IDW comics miniseries "All Hail Megatron."  He was popular enough that he got his own miniseries and then became a recurring character.

Drift started out as a Decepticon called Deadlock, but he had a change of heart and became an Autobot named Drift.  He inherited a really cool sword and has the whole bushido philosophy thing going on.  As with most of the live action movie robots, Drift was mostly an ethnic stereotype in the the fourth movie.  He will be recolored but will show up in the fifth movie too.

Movie Drift
Continuing in the comics, Drift joined the crew of the Lost Light in the More Than Meets the Eye series.  But after the psychotic Decepticon Overlord killed a few Autobots, Drift took the fall for Overlord's escape and was banished.  In the Empire of Stone miniseries he and the Autobot Ratchet go to a planet where a group of Decepticons are trying to revive an army of soldiers made of stone.  Eventually then he rejoins the rest of the Autobots.

Due to the character's popularity in the comics, he eventually got his own toy and then of course there were toys for the movie versions.  A Fun Fact about the original toy:  I was interested in buying one though on Amazon it was going for like $118.  Later I bought a 30th anniversary movie set that had Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Springer, and Kup figures that all looked (mostly) like their movie version.  There was also a "Blurr" figure that looked nothing like the movie version or even the remodeled one I had already bought.  I looked closer and then realized Hasbro had struck again by recoloring the original Drift figure blue, changing a couple of minor details, and calling him Blurr.  So I pretty much now have the original Drift figure for far less than $118!  That's a happy accident for sure.

Anyway, it is pretty cool that a writer and artist created what could have been a throwaway character and it wound up taking on a life of its own.

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One of the first gimmicks Hasbro pulled out for Transformers were combining robots. Like Voltron, it’s where five (or six) smaller robots become a big robot. The Constructicons were the first combining group. They were six Decepticons who naturally were all construction vehicles. They combined into the giant Devastator. And for a time Devastator was the big, bad bot on the block, but then there came new combining teams like the Aerialbots (planes), Protectobots (emergency vehicles), Stunticons (cars), and Combaticons (military vehicles…and a space shuttle).

The funny thing is in the 1986 movie Devastator is still the big, bad bot despite that all those other combining teams already existed on the TV show. Plus the Autobots had larger guys like Omega Supreme and Skyfire who could have gone toe-to-toe with Devastator. The problem was that while the movie was being made the show was being made separately so they didn’t entirely sync up.

Once other combining teams showed up, Devastator lost some of his prominence, though he still hung around the TV show, comics, and video games. In the IDW comic he was the first combiner. The Autobot Prowl kills the Constructicon leader and takes his place, in the process bending the rest to be his loyal slaves. As part of this, Devastator raids a Cybertronian colony and begins the “Combiner Wars.”

As the first combining toy, Devastator was not all that great. The six smaller robots were kind of awkward and he was far more fragile than the later ones that used the formula of small robots for the limbs and a larger central one for the torso—which was also the Voltron model, at least the lion Voltron, not the crappy vehicle one. The Constructicons were reissued a couple of times, once as part of the “Generation 2” line and later as a tie-in to the IDW Combiner Wars series.

Devastator also appears in the 2009 live action movie “Revenge of the Fallen” though instead of a giant robot he’s some kind of big cat-looking thing was that really, really stupid and just one of the many reasons I hated that movie. I mean they took one of the coolest concepts for Transformers toys and made it look so completely stupid! Now that takes talent.

2 comments:

  1. I think I would have liked the Transformers movies more if they'd come out when I was a kid. Of course, they wouldn't have the technology to do that kind of movie, which is a paradox unto itself. I had no idea about any of this stuff. I thought the cat thing was kind of cool (and so was the dinosaur transformer). I guess the thing I appreciate the most out of the movies is the mythology, because I just always thought transformers were some creative toys for children and didn't have this huge universe behind them.

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  2. I like Drift. He was the first attempt to insert a new character into the G1 mythos. They've also added Windblade now (another cool character). I have the original Drift figure; bought it at retail :p

    Devastator was never my favorite of the combiners (that would be Superion lol) but it was a cool concept and with the toy line from the last couple years, they pretty much took the concept to the nth degree. I was glad they sold Devastator as one big box set. I also have the movie Devastator box set, although I was disappointed it didn't include the most important part...the scrotum lol.

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