Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles – Manga Review

Review by: Clive Owen

Publisher: WildStorm Productions (DC Comics)
Author: Jason Waltrip and John Waltrip
Story: Tommy Yune
Artist: Omar Dogan, Tommy Yune, Jason Waltrip and John Waltrip
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $17.99 US
Rating: N/A
Release Date: Now Available

This is the beginning of a new kind of Robotech war.

Looking back, I have to say that the person who really showed me how good anime was had to have been my older brother who – during the 1980s – introduced his then three-year old little brother to his favorite television series … the original Robotech. Thankfully, it took a complete box set of this series for me to truly appreciate what my brother was trying to show me and I have to say I can now see what made him love this series that might have been the first anime to really make an impact to kids growing up in the 80s.

Like other Robotech fans, I too wondered what happened to Rick Hunter and his compatriots after having seen this character go from an inexperienced kid to an admired hero of the Robotech War. Our questions have been answered in an animated film based on the Japanese anime series and, thanks to WildStorm, we now get an even deeper look into the events of the Shadow Chronicles film with Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles.

On an official manhunt for that traitor, General T.R. Edwards, a somewhat still youthful and slightly grizzled Admiral Rick Hunter and the crew of the Pioneer-class fortress known as the SDF-3 have finally located the man who has betrayed the human race. The Invid Regent has overtaken the city of Tiresia on the planet Tirol that was once the homeworld of the Robotech Masters. Rick and his troops manage to secure some of the area and make a shocking discovery … Minmei’s is in the city and taken captive by Edwards who murdered Minmei’s cousin. On top of that, during his escape, Edwards unleashes the power of an experimental technology that severely cripples the SDF-3 with Lisa Hunter onboard as commanding officer.

With the Robotech Expeditionary Force’s main flagship taken out, Rick is still determined to find and capture General Edwards. Unfortunately, the incident above Tirol has taken its toll on Lisa who – sadly – was so badly injured that she suffered two big emotional blows. Both Rick and Lisa have been through a lot in the past and the couple had pulled through but a year passes and we can see the incident has emotionally aged Rick considerably. His youthful appearance is replaced by a silver-haired Admiral whose resolve has not changed.

As it turns out, the SDF-3 has not only been repaired but has been retooled with technology that belongs to the alien allies who have aligned themselves with the humans to combat the Invid. It’s with this cooperation between different races and the Ambassadors who respect Admiral Hunter that the mission to capture General Edwards has begun again. This time, however, Hunter’s close friend Vincent Grant has taken command of a battleship that includes familiar faces such as Doctor Jean Grant.

Unfortunately, Captain Grant has a run-in with the Invid during the battleship’s search for Edwards and finds that the General has sided with the Invid King but during the space battle against Grant’s fighters, General Edwards’s true plan begins. He sets in motion his plan to control the Invid’s Hive Mind and thus snatches control from the King himself. Now in command of the Invid’s forces, Edwards launches an attack against the human battleship and forces the crew to abandon ship. Part two of his plan has him snatching the remaining survivors that include Captain Grant and Jean along with a few others.

It seems that General Edwards’s plans aren’t entirely about world and universe domination. There’s a noble cause behind his plan that has become twisted as a result of his growing madness and it could have been the plan that would have put an end to the enemy’s invasion if the General didn’t go about it in such a deranged fashion. It is clear that he has lost a lot to the enemy and I don’t mean the loss of his eye but it becomes clear to everyone that the General means to destroy the enemy by ways of their Shadow technology and an alien experiment called the Genesis Pit that rearranges DNA to make more Invid troops.

Luckily, Admiral Hunter arrives on time using the new technology of his flying fortress and stages a rescue mission in the Invid homeworld where they encounter General Edwards waiting for them. The inevitable confrontation, however, is the highlight of this graphic novel and the outcome leads to the events seen in the film including a new body for Janice M1. We also get a glimpse of a character who appears throughout the movie. I won’t spoil what happens at the end but know that things get really good.

Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles is, simply put, a prequel that actually outshines the animated feature film itself and its story will not fail to rekindle our love for all things Robotech. With some great writing from two very talented writers and some amazing art, you certainly can’t go wrong with this graphic novel. If you’re a long time Robotech fan, missing out on this would be a shame.

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Hot on the trail of General Edwards who has not only betrayed the human race by siding with the Invid but has also managed to take down the SDF-3, Admiral Rick Hunter turns to humanity’s only allies in the war against the oppressive invaders for help. Armed with new alien technology, Hunter and the others go up against Edwards in a massive battle that sets up the events of the feature film.

ART: A-
Despite the different artist on board, the art remains consistently the same throughout and this is a good thing seeing as Omar Dogan’s art is delightfully easy on the eyes. It also captures the look of the animated film perfectly so yes it’s Ok to drool at the artwork.

OVERALL: B+
An engaging prequel that‘s even more exciting than the animated film itself, Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles is the perfect companion piece to the movie. Whether you’re a fan of the Sentinels series of the original Macross, Robotech fans will definitely get a kick out of this graphic novel that contains a wonderfully written story and great art.

Review copy provided by WildStorm Production/DC Comics

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One thought on “Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles – Manga Review

  1. Pingback: Musings and conversations « MangaBlog

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