G.I. Gary’s Pull List Pick of the Week – 8/4/17
Titan Comics “Robotech” #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Marco Turini
I had two reasons why I picked up this book. Number one is that it’s “Robotech,” a favorite cartoon from my childhood and college. But the second reason is Brian Wood. I really enjoyed his Vertigo series “DMZ,” and Dark Horse’s “The Massive,” so when I saw his name attached to this it sealed the solicit for me. So here I am giving it a shot and a review!
First impression is of the cover and there were many to choose from through Previews. I went with the Minmei cover A and the Rick Hunter action figure cover. Being a first issue, I don’t expect the cover to represent anything other than the idea of the series and the Minmei cover does, if you’re familiar with Robotech. Covers D & E better represent with a Veritech and the cast on D and the SDF-1 with some characters on E. Those would be better as an introduction for someone who is unfamiliar with the series.
Moving into the story we’re greeted with Marco Turini’s line work and Marco Lesko’s colors. Turini’s art is mostly realistically stylized with hints of manga inspirations. Lesko’s colors are vivid, but he tends to use darker shades, which gives the sky a cloud covered feel or adds a sense of claustrophobia when inside a building or ship. Sometimes it feels a hair out of place, but mostly correct for the tone of the story. The issue is exclusively paneled, with surprisingly no splash pages. While it paces the story, some sections feel drawn out. The lack of splash places no emphasis on any events that happen, and there’s a couple events that I think deserved that.
Onto Mr. Wood’s story. Prior to picking up the book, I didn’t read any hype or previews. I went in blind to find out that we’re starting the “Robotech” story over again. This first issue is a light revision of the first episode of the series. A couple plot points that are revealed later in the TV show are front and center now. Some introductions are different, but Minmei’s is most significantly changed showing a much stronger woman in her role chastising Rick as he pilots a Veritech for the first time. Also, Rick is a worse pilot now than in the TV show and they change his relationship with Roy Fokker. I suspect Brian did that to move this comic away from the TV show and create a more original story.
My question with this series is why the need to update the story and create, what is essentially, a new continuity? The source material is currently readily available on DVD and Netflix and anyone interested can easily get up to date on the “Robotech” story. The original story is a mash up of three anime series (“Macross,” “Genesis Climber Mospeada,” & “Southern Cross”) and there is ample story space between the three “chapters,” and after the series’ conclusion that narrative could be crafted. What is there to gain from creating this new story, rather than adding to the currently established narrative?
Overall, this is a fair first issue for a licensed property. Brian Wood has gotten the plot moving forward and there’s a cliffhanger ending to lead us into issue two. Unfortunately, with no “wow” moments in the book, its hard to build excitement to see what’s going to happen next. I’m finding myself wanting to pick up that second issue more as a curiosity as to where the deviations in plot are going to take me, rather than a genuine enthusiasm for the characters and story. Given Mr. Wood’s track record, I’m hopeful for the next few issues.
I am left with the lingering question: who is the intended market for this book? Are they trying to garner new people to the “Robotech” lore or attracting existing fans of the property? I would hope that comic shops would carry the first issue for readers to pick up on. But at the same time, I would think that more than casual “Robotech” fans will pick up on the inconsistencies in the plot and that may alienate them.
Until next week!