The brilliant update to a classic cartoon returns this week in ROBOTECH #3 from Titan Comics. Author Brian Wood continues to elevate this remake while remaining faithful to the original source material. Almost in perfect sync with the third episode of the cartoon this issue finds the SDF-1 in the outer reaches of our solar system due to an unexpected failure of of the as yet untested space-fold technology. As the super fortress reconfigures itself to accommodate the thousands of civilians that were inadvertently take with it in the jump young Rick Hunter and Minmei find themselves lost in its cavernous lower decks. As the two grow closer in the joint struggle to survive the evil Zentradi close in on the wayward SDF-1 knowing full well that the young human race has no idea of the power in their possession.
Remake? Reboot? I am not sure what definition is best suited but I can say that as a huge fan of the original I am loving what Brian Wood is doing with ROBOTECH. Before the release of this title I went back and watched the first ten or so episodes of the Robotech cartoon and to be perfectly honest it does not hold up very well. The action is still top notch but the exhaustively slow pace and the cringe inducing Minmei subplot really hurts the series. What Brian Wood has done is kept what works and course corrected on the portions that I just mentioned. The pacing is considerably sped up with issue #3 covering weeks of time. Instead of three to four 22 minutes episodes watching Rick and Minmei fumble around in the dark Wood distills the main points of their budding relationship to a few pages. As to the other point of Minmei herself as a character, Wood has slightly aged her and given her an edge that makes her instantly likable. These two small changes coupled with a heavier focus on the truth behind the origins of the SDF-1 from the Zentradi point of view all combine to bring the series into the modern day while still being true to the original story. Brilliant work!
Meanwhile art from Marco Turini just kicks ass. Everything from characters to vehicles to the Zentradi look amazing and fit cohesively in this world together. Again referencing Minmei her design is probably the most altered from the original taking a slightly older and sexier approach as opposed to the doe eyed child that existed in the cartoon. All these elements come together to produce a comic book that both honors its origins while blazing a new path all on its own. This is super easy to recommend to fans of the original cartoon but any fans of the various Macross Anime series should check it out as well. In fact, any fans of epic space science fiction operas would really love this comic.