Robotech: The Graphic Novel

Robotech: The Graphic Novel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I miss reviewing modern comics, partially because it meant I was buying new comics and reading new stories, and partially because the new comic reviews were my most popular feature. Revisiting my old comics, some of which I haven’t had the chance to read again since I bought them is pretty close. I just remember as a kid re-reading the same old comics because I only owned a few of them. But with my current circumstances it’s only thanks to a friend of mine that I’ve reviewed any new comics since my money dried up.

We’ve already looked at the first three issues of Titan Comics’ reboot of Robotech, a show I grew up with and still enjoy when I can catch it. Sean also enjoys the show which is why he wants my opinion on these. This one is going to be rather spoilery I’m afraid, since I’m going to be using the Scanning My Collection format, but thus far the changes have been minor, so they’re spoilers for a TV series from the 1980s you can still watch on Crackle.com.

So far we have the SDF-1 in space, with Macross Island being rebuilt inside the ship as Macross City. Rick and Minmei were just rescued from the bowels of the ship after they were forced to make a hyperspace fold, but when they returned to normal space they were light-years from home and the fold engine vanished. And this issue is going to end with a big change which I’m not so sure about. Remember, I grew up with the original. The original was fine. I don’t see the need to change it. But they’re going to so we’ll see how this goes.

Usually it’s Roy that’s doing the collecting…of women’s phone numbers to Claudia’s annoyance.

Robotech #4

Titan Comics (November, 2017)

WRITER: Brian Wood

ARTIST: Marco Turini

COLORISTS: Marco Lesko & John Charles with Tony Holdsworth

SELECTED COVER ART: Blair Shedd, who I would rather see as the artist; sorry, Mr. Turini

LETTERER: John Workman

10 years ago Roy Fokker and Admiral Hayes were studying the crashed spaceship. They found the computer spoke our language and they found dead bodies that looked human. Something about one woman with long hair disturbed the admiral…which I got more from Roy’s concern than the usual dull surprise on what we could see of Hayes’s face. Interesting that the character who isn’t reacting (Roy) is the one without the helmet.

Back to present day. Exodore’s research reveals that Zor referred to Earthlings as “Micronians”, suggesting he programmed the ship to speak Earth’s language and sent it to Earth on purpose. Also, the info was flagged with a warning to avoid contact at all costs. Since they already messed that up, Breetai opts to double down rather than leave well enough alone. He decides to send a ship to test the SDF-1. It’s a brief scene but on the show all the scenes with the Zentraedi were brief.

Back on the ship Rick is in the hospital, his eyesight damaged from being outside the ship during the hyperspace fold. (Minmei apparently didn’t get a good enough glimpse of fold space.) This didn’t happen in the show and ultimately serves zero point since it’s not like Rick is going to be the pilot he became in the show overnight…since he didn’t become that pilot overnight in the show either. There’s a difference between a stunt plain and fighter jet after all, especially when that jet turns into a robot. Minmei visits while Rick feels useless and there’s a minor bicker session because it seems to be the new nature of their relationship. Because people aren’t allowed to get along anymore in fiction apparently.

Also my scanner seems to think this is a black and white image instead of flashback in the dark.

“I’m trying to have an emotion, Roy, but the artist can’t do it.” Also, my scanner thinks this is black & white instead of a flashback in the dark. Roy had color in his face.

Gloval gets the report that the fold engine disappearing means the main gun is now useless. However, Doctor Lang has discovered how to use some remaining energy to create small barriers that the crew can attempt to use to deflect weapon fire…but they’re the relative size of coasters moved around the body with trackballs. That’s great if you’re playing Centipede but of limited use in battle…which the show demonstrates and the comic doesn’t have time to. And don’t tell me it’s due to a lack of space because the show was adapted properly by Comico back in the day…and the artists did more to attempt to replicate the show than these artists. And pardon the expression but the early attempt at anime style was still more animated that this comic. The artist may have better posing but my characters look less stiff depending on the style.

Of course it’s only a little later when the Zentraedi ship attacks. With Gloval walking around Macross City for some reason, Lisa has command and orders the other defense…converting the SDF-1 to it’s own battloid mode, which was Gloval’s decision in the show,  which he was forced to do since he didn’t want to disrupt the civilians further. There’s an unstated problem, which Gloval goes to investigate or was already there…I can’t really tell. And what does he do down here? Not much except observe the area holding the city being messed up by the modular transformation. At least Lisa has a plan, which is more than Gloval seems to have in this story. The two ships that were folded with the fortress had previously been attached to the ship to serve as launch decks and are now the arms of the robot. So she uses the barrier to protect one of the ships and punches the Zentraedi ship.

For some reason Rick decides to hop into one of the non-transforming Destroids that is part of the second part of her plan. Why? I don’t know. He didn’t do it in the show, and it was in-universe months after these combined events before he decided to sign up with the Robotech Defense Force. Here he just jumps in, probably feeling useless since he can’t fly but the story acts like he’s already an RDF pilot. Claudia even refers to him by his first name when she wonders what he’s doing. The compression isn’t as bad as the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing manga I reviewed but it’s still annoying, like the writer is being impatient to complete the show. The next issue is going right to Mars so Lisa can find out the bad news about her fiancé rather than develop things further. Lisa decides to let Rick stay part of the mission because they need extra help…from the guy with fuzzy vision who is now in a walking gunrack he never learned how to operate. Next she turns the controls of the ship over to Mr. Magoo!

The other part of the plan is brilliant and actually was Lisa’s plan in the original show. After using the Dadelus to punch into the alien ship, the doors open and the Destroids all open fire, destroying the alien ship, who explodes with no damage to the punching ship, the fist ship, or the Destroids at ground zero. Eh, the show made the same goof and I can ignore it for the sake of the action. Exodor is surprised at the maneuver because none of them ever thought of it. I guess they aren’t punchers. Breetai decides to call for reinforcements.

I’ve been giving the artist heck, and deservedly so, but I have to give credit where it’s due. This was a good panel. He just needs someone else to draw faces for him.

Our heroes celebrate but in the ruined city they find Captain Gloval under some wreckage and he appears to be dead. What was he even doing down there in the first place? There was no reason I can think of other than whatever “problem” was going on and we don’t even know if that was addressed. It’s as if Wood wanted to kill off Gloval, one of the pivotal characters of the series, for no good reason. That’s the kind of stupidity I expect from Simon Furman! What’s that you say? Simon Furman is coming in next issue as a co-writer? Well, that just might explain everything, doesn’t it?

And this is just what I was worried about from the reboot–that they would take the show I enjoyed and change something important to “improve” the story. “Yeah, the story was good, but this would be better.” Because that worked so well for the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, right? Actually, the writing itself hasn’t been bad with this series. It’s the art I have a real problem with from a critical perspective. Changing the story is really more of a personal gripe, as demonstrated in the IDW MASK reviews. And yes, Gloval is dead. The solicits for the next issue not only mentioned Furman but stated that there would be a funeral for a major character. This isn’t a joke. Captain Gloval is dead, and I’m not so sure I’m going to care about what’s coming because I’m too invested in what I grew up with whether the new take is good or not. And yet the critic in me is curious to see where they’re going with this.

However, this comic currently has the same opinion that the aforementioned MASK does, that I wouldn’t talk you out of it but I can’t really recommend it either. The show was better without the decompression in this comic and the art was way better in the old Comico straight adaptations, but the writing isn’t bad so much as appears to be changing too much of what I already enjoyed. My friend has convinced me to try the next issue, as Furman joins on, but he just likes to see me rant about my issues with Simon “destroy all the things while running five storylines at the same time” Furman. But he’s only a co-writer so maybe it will be more like his time at Dreamwave…sadly the company that stiffed him out of the money he earned. I guess we’ll find out next time if I’m comfortable with the changes or would rather stick with my nostalgia.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Sean says:

    I too prefer Comico’s Robotech comic books. On the other hand, I’m also ok with seeing a 21st century reinterpretation of Robotech, but there are limits to my tolerance. For instance, I was very shocked that Captain Global was killed off. This is going to totally change the story drastically from here on out. Macross without Captain Gloval is like Voltron without Coran. Plus, Gloval’s death makes me wonder who else will get killed off in this new Robotech series. Now I know that anything is possible in this new 21st century Robotech universe. This is especially the case because Furman arrives as a co-writer starting with Issue 5. For all you classic 80s Robotech fans, I remembered hearing earlier this year that Titan Comics does plan to publish trade paperback collections of the Comico Robotech comics. I heard that news in 2017, so it makes me assume that said trades would be published some time in 2018. In the meantime, I will continue to pick up Titan’s Robotech and judge it issue by issue. If the story becomes too disturbing to me, then I will just end getting it and enjoy Robotech through the Comico issues I have and the classic Robotech novels by Jack McKinney from the 1980s (I have 4 Macross novels).

    Like

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