In this review of Robotech: Rick Hunter #1, Rick Hunter is called back to face a new threat rising from the ashes of the first Robotech War.
Robotech: Rick Hunter #1
Writer: Brandon Easton
Artist: Simone Ragazzoni
Main Cover: Inhyuk Lee
Variant Covers: Derrick Chew, Simone Ragazzoni, Josh Burcham, and Nahuel Grego
Page Count: 32 pages
Release Date: August 2, 2023
I am a sucker for nostalgia. I remember watching Robotech on TV after school every day as a kid. It wasn’t Transformers. It was something different. And it was fun. Titan Comics recently released a Robotech series that led into a subsequent one titled Robotech: Remix. And then it was gone. There was no reason given, not from the creators or the publisher. Then in May, Titan announced the release of Robotech: Rick Hunter #1. What we learned in the news is that the series would focus on the beloved hero and would take place after the events of the Macross Saga.
Robotech: Rick Hunter #1 begins with a small intro which could be the tale of parts of the last series, but is in my opinion closer to the TV series, which ended with the First Robotech War. From there, Easton jumps into the present and the next mission of the United Earth Expeditionary Force. To learn more about the Zentraedi and more specifically their creators – the Robotech Masters. In leading this mission, the United Earth Government promotes Rick Hunter to the position of Major General to the glee of the troops in attendance.
Things get interrupted with an alarm. Japan is under attack by a squad of Zentraedi battle pods, which the force did not expect nor received alert over. But this attack was different. Unlike past attacks, the Zentraedi force just destroys the town without scavenging through it first. Perhaps this splinter group wants to leave a message to the undermanned United Earth force.
A message comes in from another Robotech favorite – Max Sterling. He congratulates his friend on his promotion before discussing the construction of the new SDF-3. The discussion doesn’t get too far as they’re interrupted by another transmission. It’s Anatole Leonard, general of the Army of the Southern Cross. His team tracked the rogue Zentraedi to the middle of the Australian outback. They’re in possession of Breetai’s flagship. This ship contained the last remaining hyperspace fold engine on the planet. General Leonard orders Rick and his team to retrieve the ship and destroy the rogue aliens.
As they prepare to depart on their mission, Rick thinks back to when he grew up with his adopted brother – Roy Fokker. His memories lead Rick telling his team how Roy died during the war. What’s worse, he could do nothing about it as he himself was in a coma due to injury. Rick’s story is cut short, however. As the Pegasus Team approaches MacWilson Island off of Australia’s coast, they find it in flames. The rogue Zentraedi forced destroyed it.
From a distance, the Zentraedi look on in pleasure. Their leader, Zeraal, smiles in glee. It’s time for the next phase. He’s going to embarrass the Micronians. Then he’ll torture them. And when he completes his mission, he will serve them on a silver platter to the Robotech Masters.
What Went Right and What Went Wrong
This was a really good start to the new series. It had no shortage of action as the story immediately jumped to battle. However, there’s one concern that I have with the story. To this reader, Robotech: Rick Hunter isn’t written for those who may not be familiar with the Robotech franchise. I base this, of course, on just reading the first issue. While I’m not certain how many issues Titan plans for this series (obvious sales plays a part), what I will say is that if this story intends to grab the interest of new readers, there needs to be more backstory. They can accomplish this either through more flashbacks or even editorial comments pointing to past issues. Without it, I few new readers would be lost in the pages of the comic.
As someone with a history with the franchise, however – both on screen and in print – I thoroughly enjoyed this issue. Despite Simone Ragazzoni’s modernized take on the characters, I immediately recognized all of the key players in the issue. I didn’t need a backstory to place events in their proper place. Easton’s take on the characters and the continued battle between the forces of the United Earth Government and followers of Khyron who continue to want to make humans succumb to their will. I have invested primarily due to my nostalgia to the franchise. I’m hoping Easton keep me vested in the series. He is, however, off to a good start.
Simone Ragazzoni’s produces an enjoyable, modern take on the characters in this issue. While it took a moment to recognize Zeraal on the last page (the chestplate sealed it for me), I easily recognized everyone else. I wish there were brighter colors from Bryan Valenza. I read this issue digitally, which typically have brighter colors. But Valenza’s colors appeared duller on my screen. I hope they correct this in future issues. However, I don’t consider this to be a deal-breaker either.
I am happy for the return of Robotech to the pages of comic books. Robotech and I maintain a strong connection (my nickname “GrandAdmiral” stems from the 80s/90s series and comics). I maintain my concern for the series in the hands of new readers. And I remain salty over the fact that readers like me continue waiting for the return of Robotech: Remix. However, Brandon Easton has Robotech: Rick Hunter off to a good start. For followers of the Robotech franchise, don’t miss out on picking this up.
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