Voltron: Defender Of The Universe #1
Image Comics/Devil’s Due (May, 2003)
“Revelations” part 1
WRITER: Dan Jolley
PENCILERS: Mike Norton & Clint Hilinski
INKER: Clayton Brown
COLORIST: Brett R. Smith (with Jeremy Roberts)
SELECTED COVER ART: Mark Brooks, Clayton Brown, & Danimation
LETTERING: Dreamer Design
As the first Empire rampaged through space a group of scientists and priests came together to create an autonomous robotic protector they called Voltron. However, the Empress employed a witch named Sarga to destroy the robot, a counter-spell forcing the five fragments to crash on the planet Arus as five robotic lions. Then the Drule empire came along and bombed the crap out of Arus, sending the planet back to primitive times, the king and queen killed in front of the ruler of the Ninth Kingdom of the Drule Supremacy, King Zarkon. However, Hawkins believes that Voltron isn’t just a myth and this is the mission he has brought Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Sven together to find. Arriving near Arus they are attacked by a Drule scout ship and crash on Arus, disturbing the tomb of one of the early kings. A man named Coran is ready to kill the five for their blasphemy, even if unintentional, but Allura stops him after Keith mentions one name: Voltron! And behind the vault is the first fragment of Voltron, a giant green lion. However, Zarkon has his own witch, Hagar, and she can sense there is trouble for them on Arus.
There’s no “got wrong” on this one, so let’s go over what I like. The origin is tweaked slightly. It’s not Hagar but her ancestor that’s responsible for Voltron’s dismemberment. The use of magic in part creating Voltron is part of further established Voltron lore by World Events in the second season, which featured original stories and animation, and in further Voltron sequels and spin-offs. The design of pre-separated Voltron is nice, and the art is just really good, from the drawings to the coloring. It even works that the space mice are robotic rather than just multi-colored mice since comic relief isn’t as big a concern in this version.
I also like the history for the villains. The concept that there are 10 kingdoms that make up the Drule Supremacy, and that Zarkon rules one of them makes a stronger connection between the Drules (more an artifact of the anime used for the Vehicle Team) and Zarkon’s group than Fleet Of Doom gave us. It makes the threat larger but Zarkon and his bunch are still the immediate concern. And like the other character models, Zarkon and Hagar are only tweaked designs rather than full-on alterations. Coran also isn’t the goofball he is in that one episode of Legendary Defender that I showed on YouTube recently.
This is a good example of how you update something without re-imagining it, making something fresh for old fans but modernized for a new fan base. If you haven’t checked this series out you really should.