Robotech is a series I’m not familiar with–I admit, it’s the cover that sold me on this title. It has a manga feel that’s not unlike Speedracer, which I loved. But instead of race cars, it’s jets and mechs (I think!).
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
Brian Wood is writing this title, so we’re in good hands as far as dialogue and character based drama. The art style is detailed and looks a bit gritty, which suits this human based adventure focusing on the world after an attack killed a city. The lead character is a hotshot pilot (do they come in any other form?) who is young, but smart–this is going to be a series many will get behind.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It doesn’t look like the attack was on purpose.
This issue opens with a cast of characters page detailing all the main players. This does a lot as far as getting the reader on board with the characters because Brian Wood jumps right in, first showing us an attack that killed a city, and then cutting to the “now” ten years later. The hotshot mentioned above is named Rick Hunter and his big brother is very close to the operation which weaponized the alien tech that destroyed the city. And then, another attack takes place! Much of this issue focuses on the second attack and the confusion and planning taken to fight back. Wood adequately drops you into this battle and has you catch up, not unlike most action films.
In the latter half of the book, Rick meets a female civilian–by almost taking her head off–and you can already see this budding relationship is going to be fun. They bicker and push each other’s buttons right off the bat like so many good relationships in drama start off. Rick’s relationship with his older brother is another interesting element and younger audiences are going to relate quickly to their dynamic.
Marco Turini draws a good issue that’s detailed and full of good looking technology. Layouts are simple in a European style and there’s plenty of detail in backgrounds. Rick’s red ship is particularly cool looking and all the mech suits look believable with their doodads and pouches.
Typical hotshot pilot.
It can’t be perfect can it?
So…there’s no mech to speak of in this issue. It’s clearly doing a slow rollout thing, but to have no mech in a series that’s all about mechs is kind of shocking. The ships and alien crafts look great, but this issue is lacking direct conflict and action. It’s all drama with setup which is unfortunate as it doesn’t come out of the gate with an explosive first issue.
The last page is somewhat confusing in how it’s drawn. I won’t spoil it here, but the perspective is off and makes whatever is happening look like it’s supposed to be large, but then I’m not so sure. When Rick shouts “No” I’m really unsure what he’s afraid of. Is it that this threat is huge? It’s cast in shadow, so there’s no way of knowing what it is so maybe it’s disturbing? I throw my hands up–this cliffhanger left me cold!
Is It Good?
Robotech opens with a promising start with tons of character work and dynamics in play. It also sets up the world well, but it doesn’t have any direct conflict or a mech to speak of! I’ll be tuning in next issue, but my expectations are not terribly high.