STATUS: Hey, VG, sorry to have to waste like fifty words or so, of my first piece back, explaining my big idea to the nitwits, I mean, to the readers.
Vira Gunn: Don’t call me “VG”!
<<<At this point, I duck a thrown stapler, with a combination of catlike reflexes and the sort of raw and unbridled dumb luck you can only achieve through years of intensive training.>>>
STATUS: Ahh! It’s good to be back.
OK! So here’s my BIG idea… a ratings system for my reviews! I got to thinking, “Screw stars! Everybody does stars!” I always thought it was cool The Source magazine used a genre specific ratings system for their album reviews with their ‘five mics’ standard. So, I decided to go that route and be genre specific and what I came up with had to be something that was familiar to every con-going, bargainbin-diving, bigtime, smalltime, and long time comic book collector and that they would know and love… the Long-box! For example, “The Killing Joke” or “Days Of Future Past” would be four Long-boxes. ANY issue of “FrankenCastle” would, of course, be one Long-box… or maybe half a Long-box. So, there you have it. Are we ready to roll? Good.
For this week’s review, we check in with the first issue of the latest comic book offering for the classic 80s cartoon icon, giant ass kicking robot extraordinaire, and Defender Of The Universe… the one… the only… VOLTRON!!! The Voltron Force, the team of five robot lions and their BIG alter ego, are experiencing a renaissance of sorts recently with the release of a recent video game by THQ titled “Voltron: Defender Of The Universe,” a new cartoon airing on Nicktoons titled “Voltron Force,” and the launch of a second ongoing comic book series, also by Dynamite, titled “Voltron: Year One”.
Voltron #1 is a $3.99 comic book from Dynamite Entertainment and it was originally released on December 7, 2011. Voltron #1 was written by Brandon Thomas and features artwork by Ariel Padilla, colors by Marcelo Pinto, and lettering by Marshall Dillon. This issue also had a veritable army of variant covers – eleven in all; there are six by Alex Ross, two by Sean Chen, two by Wagner Reis, and one by Jack Herbert.
The story opens in the year 2124 with King Zarkon’s forces attacking a city on Earth, the citizenry being evacuated, Voltron fighting tooth and nail against a RoBeast, and things generally going all to hell. The Voltron Force is spread throughout the city assisting in the evacuation and doing their best to try and hold off Zarkon’s troops. The whole familiar crew is here: Keith, the commander of the team and pilot of the Black Lion, Lance, the brash yet brave hothead and pilot of the Red Lion, Pidge, the pint sized genius tech specialist and pilot of the Green Lion, Hunk, the big bodied heavy weapons expert and pilot of the Yellow Lion, Princess Allura, the heart of the team and pilot of the Blue Lion, and the surprise SIXTH pilot, Voltron, The Defender Of The Universe himself, who appears to actually be sentient! We then change locales and flashback to a year we’re all getting pretty familiar with, 2012. In this flashback, we witness a Doctor Zarkon (Holy crap… what the?!) being a recruited by the President of the United States to build a weapon powerful enough to defend the Earth and humanity from the highly advanced and highly hostile alien species that threatens the planet. I can’t wait to see who this Doctor Zarkon turns out to be and what his connection to King Zarkon is! We jump back to the book’s present timeline, for the final scene, to learn Voltron has been taken and the rest of the Voltron Force team prepares for their next move while they await extraction.
Now, we’re off to the art department! Ariel Padilla’s is art good throughout, but not quite great. Padilla’s inks are a bit heavy handed, though, and some of the art suffers from being weighed down with so much black ink. The action sequences are all very well done, and the movements feel relatively fluid. The knock down drag out fight between Voltron and the RoBeast is every bit as BIG and over the top as it should be. Padilla does very competent work with the emotions and facial expressions of his characters; the best example of which being, the flashback scene where Doctor Zarkon is recruited by the President. Doctor Zarkon’s expressions nicely run through a gamut of human emotions during his conversation with the president. Marcelo Pinto’s color work is solid and does nothing to hurt the finished product, but I have seen much better. The colors just don’t POP to me. He renders Voltron well, but is lacking a certain depth in a lot of other instances.
All in all, as a long time fan of the franchise, I enjoyed this comic a lot. Although, they could have made the story a little more accessible to new readers who may not be acquainted with Voltron by perhaps giving a bit more background on who and what the Voltron Force and Galaxy Alliance are all about. Granted, they very well may do that in future issues, and I fully expect they will, but the introductions of the characters and their mission were not realized fully enough, for my liking, in this first issue. Otherwise, it was a fun ride
I give Voltron #1 a solid 3 Long-boxes!
All images are property of Dynamite Entertainment.