One of the more overlooked sci-fi anime classics from the 1980s is Robotech, a mech-driven epic series that premiered in the United States in 1985. Repurposed from three separate Japanese anime titles, the cartoon was many viewers' first exposure to Japanese animation styles. Following its initial run, the anime has been adapted and modernized in various other mediums, with the latest being a new comic book relaunch, Robotech Remix, by Brenden Fletcher (Isola) and Elmer Damaso (Robotech/Voltron).
Following Titan Comics' previous comic storyline "Event Horizon," the new story follows ace Robotech pilot Dana Sterling. She finds herself transported back to the franchise's classic era after Earth faced a devastating alien invasion by the fearsome Invid. Armed with her knowledge of future events, Dana sets out to change history. She also encounters the series' classic characters who are all aboard the franchise's signature vessel the SDF-1 as the extraterrestrial menace continues to rear its ugly head across space and time.
It's clear throughout this entire issue that Fletcher is crafting a big love letter to the entire franchise while re-staging it to make it fresh and accessible for modern audiences and potential new readers. The entire premise of this new volume allows the creative team to go back to a classic moment for the series without completely invalidating the Titan Comics stories that came before. Instead, it launches its own altered timeline with the familiar era as a welcome backdrop.
That said, Fletcher balances the nostalgia of the original animated series while trying to make this opening issue an easy jumping on point for readers that hadn't experienced any previous Robotech comic book stories. Having read "Event Horizon" certainly helps and enriches the experience of delving into Robotech Remix but is by no means required for the uninitiated. And Fletcher captures the voices of the classic cast effortlessly. They're immediately recognizable to longtime fans, and Fletcher imbues each with their own distinctive personality.
Readers unfamiliar with the Robotech franchise may still be lost at first due to the sheer scale of the world. But, using the time-displaced Dana as a P.O.V. to the story's past, Fletcher eases the reader into things alongside its protagonist, before ramping up the requisite sci-fi action and expanding the cast of characters.
This immersive love letter to the franchise mines nostalgia without coming across as dated, and is fueled largely by Damaso's breathtaking artwork. Paired with color artist Marco Lesko, the visuals feel like they are straight out of the original animated series, from its vibrant use of color and its loving renditions of many of the fan-favorite characters who are steadily reintroduced as the issue progresses. And when the expected mechs arrive and the high-flying, space-faring action kicks in, the dynamics similarly soar strapping readers in for a genuinely crowd-pleasing ride.
Brenden Fletcher and Elmer Damaso honor the past while forging a new future -- literally -- in the opening issue of Robotech Remix. Their work evokes the original, halcyon days of the classic 80s series. The creative team has blended nostalgia and the franchise's signature mech-driven, sci-fi action for an imaginative, fresh take on the property. While certainly more rewarding for existing fans of the franchise and readers of the previous comic book series, the creative team has created a perfectly accessible entry point for those largely unfamiliar with the story.
Robotech Remix #1 is available in stores now.