24th Jul2017

‘Robotech #1′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Brian Wood | Art by Marco Turini | Published by Titan Comics

Robotech-Issue-1-Cover-A---Artgerm

Robotech is one of those names we have all heard of right? In fact, it’s probably one of those names that even non-fans have heard of, even if they have never watched an episode on TV, or read a comic book based on them. There have been many comic books featuring Robotech down the years from a variety of publishers, so Titan are joining a solid group. My own personal first exposure to Robotech goes way back to 1985, when I picked up DC Comics Robotech Defenders mini, which I still have, and I checked in on them now and again down the years, most notably with the Comico books, which were very good. This led on to the animated series, which then led me on to other anime and manga. Robotech was my Japanese entertainment gateway drug.

For those unfamiliar to Robotech, don’t worry, this book will embrace its past but mainly create a new future, and you won’t need more than a passing recap here or there to know what’s what and who’s who. Writer Brian Wood has said he is going to do two main things. Firstly, take the story back to Macross Island where it all began, and more impressively, incorporate every single adventure in the past as canon. Every TV episode, every comic, every book. Now that’s dedication. Brian Wood is a great choice for writer, having worked across all the major American publishers and worked on both mainstream and indie projects, including the superb DMZ for DC/Vertigo.

The first three pages are all Brian Wood needs to bring us all up to speed. A helpful text page with a who’s who, then a brief two page spread showing the alien spacecraft crashing on to Macross Island 10 years ago, something at which Roy Fokker, now leader of Skull Squadron, Robotech Defence Force, was present. Forward now to the present, and Macross Island is the home to the Robotech Project, a unique fusion of human and robo technology, leading to such vessels as the Super Dimension Fortress, one of my favourite names ever. The tech love though temporarily takes a back seat as we see Roy’s brother Rick Hunter arrive, the two having a somewhat complicated relationship. Roy tries to get Rick arrested and thrown off the island for example.

Meanwhile, aboard the Super Dimension Fortress, or SDF-1, they are tracking multiple blips on radar. Clearly ship’s commander Henry Gloval knows something as he orders all Veritech squadrons scrambled to intercept. The alien bogeys launch an assault on Macross Island, and the defence force responds in kind. While all this is going on, Rick Hunter has stolen a plane and has got caught up in the fighting, hopelessly out of his depth in a Veritech plane. He crash lands, narrowly missing civilians including Lynn Minmei, a long time resident who is refusing to get to the shelters where most the Island inhabitants have gone. She may have wished she had, judging by that strange creature making its way towards her and Rick.

No slow and gradual introduction to Robotech from Brian Wood then. Just a solid story that brings the characters in as and when they are needed, and the briefest of looks at each. Still a fair degree of world building and setting up of course, but as an organic part of this opening story rather than being the sole reason for reading. Readers new and old are starting from the same point, and Brian Wood does a great job with this first issue. As it was pretty much all action the only real negative is that there was very little development of characters or relationships, but then now our attention has been grabbed that can come next.

The colouring and art, by Marco Lesko and Marco Turini respectively, was technically really good. Lovely clean lines, a ton of detail in most panels, and nice distinctive characters, essential with such a large cast. I do have a little proviso though, and this is aimed not only at the artist, as they have to interpret the script as best they can, but also the writer. I felt at times the art needed to be bigger. Robotech needs to be about size, about battles on a large scale, we need to be impressed by the massiveness of everything. The art here was fantastically detailed, which I loved, but some pages packed in quite a few panels and so reduced the scale perhaps too much. A quibble of course, rather than a criticism.

Overall, a great reboot for a great franchise. The 16 year old me who bought those DC Robotech issues back in 1985 would approve.

**** 4/5

Robotech #1 is released by Titan Comics on Wednesday July 26th.

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