Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles
Written by Tommy Yune, Jason Waltrip and John Waltrip; Art by Omar Dogan
DC/Wildstorm, 128 pp.
For nine years, Jason and John Waltrip were the co-creators on Eternity Comics Robotech II: The Sentinels. Sadly, as the series neared it’s conclusion the company went out of business. Now, nearly a decade later they’ve produced an ending to that series, while at the same time bridging the gap between The Sentinels and the recent movie, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. The result is a vaguely confusing read that will probably only appeal to hardcore Robotech fans.
It opens in a rather dramatic and action packed way, and drops the reader head first into the plot: A dead body in a high ranking officials office, a prototype ship is stolen, the whole nine yards. But what exactly does it mean? Thankfully as the series progresses we’re brought up to speed, though there are a number of plot elements that will remain a mystery to anyone who hasn’t read the earlier stories within The Sentinels series. We soon learn that Col. Edwards is attempting to usurp control of the REF space fleet from Admiral Rick Hunter, and that Edwards has formed an alliance with the alien race known as the Invid. Long time fans will know who they are and why this is important, new comers might be scratching their heads for a bit, but thankfully there are several handy character charts, time lines and supplemental material that might clear some of it. Only some of it though, as a lot of the specifics are left unknown. The corpse that we start off with is never properly explained, nor are the exact specifics of who a great deal of the cast is. I was a fan of the series, but even I was left scrambling for wikipedia information on the supporting cast!
Omar Dogan and the Udon team provide the artwork for most of this series, and it’s about as good as you’d expect from them. I don’t mean that in some backhanded sarcastic way either, I enjoy both Dogan and Udon’s work and it’s probably the highlight of the mini-series for me. The action sequences feel a bit compressed and difficult to follow at times, particularly some of the dog fights, but overall it’s decent and the renditions of the various mecha and starships are nice enough that I wish they had more of them. I have to admit though, if it wasn’t for the dialogue I never would have recognized Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes/Hunter. The aging of the characters combined with an art style that tends to eschew the traditionally point chinned look of the characters is a nice change of pace, but the result is that certain characters look very different from how I remember them.
I didn’t exactly love this series, but I’m not quite sure that I hated it either. It fell a bit short of my hopes for it, but I can’t deny that I felt a swell of nostalgia when reading it as well. I’ve been away from the Robotech saga for so long that revisiting it was nice, but vaguely awkward and uncomfortable as well. Kind of like a high school reunion. Still, long time and hardcore Robotech fans will probably be happy at getting the finale for a series that they had most likely given up on.
Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles is available now. Review copy provided by the publisher.