There’s a little phenomenon in sci-fi properties that rears its head every now and then called the retcon. Short for “retroactive continuity,” a retcon is when new items pop up in a story that contradict the previously established lore, redefining its fictional world. The longer a franchise goes, the more likely it is that a retcon is going to occur, tweaking your favorite series. For years, Goku is just a magical boy with unique powers and talents, but one alien landing pod later, he turns out to be the failed first strike in an alien invasion. That’s a perfect example of a classic retcon right there. Well, what kind of thing do you end up with when you retcon a retcon? Something along the lines of Robotech Remix, the latest release from Titan Comics.
Back in 1985, Harmony Gold released Robotech in the United States. It was a “series” that was originally three different anime in Japan – Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. But since children’s shows needed at least 65 episodes to make syndication, the three series were laid end-to-end, dubbed together with a slightly cohesive generational plot, and unleashed upon American kids. The arc that resonated most with fans was the “Macross Saga,” where ace pilot Rick Hunter was recruited into a defense force, piloting his Veritech fighter against the invading Zentraedi. During the story, he found equal shares of joy and tragedy. Meanwhile, the second arc, “The Masters,” introduced Dana Sterling, the daughter of one of Rick’s wingmen, defending Earth from the Robotech Masters.
Robotech Remix, however, changes Dana’s fate. Continuing the story from Titan’s Robotech comic series, it establishes that Dana was flung back to a point somewhere in the Macross Saga, and while humanity still won the war, Dana made one egregious error – becoming the wedge that split up her parents before they ever married. Now her would-be father, Max, is commanding a battleship, while Miriya, the Zentraedi defector who was supposed to be her mother, is helping fellow Zentraedi settle in on Earth. In the meantime, Dana has adapted to her new timeline, splitting her days between piloting her own Veritech and serving as caretaker for the children who were supposed to be her squadmates a decade or so down the road. This equilibrium is rocked when an unknown alien ship emerges from a rift inside Earth’s moon, bringing a new threat, as well as a potential way for Dana to return to her time.
Writer Brenden Fletcher does a great job of capturing the classic feel of Robotech, equal parts slick sci-fi style and comedic levity, but with a still noticeable dose of drama. All the hallmarks you expect from the franchise are here – transforming fighter jets, strange alien forces, pop stars… man, does Robotech love its pop stars. The vibe is a perfect fit for Fletcher, who proved himself adept at handling these elements with his definitive run on DC Comics’ Batgirl. However, this reads a bit like an advanced class. If you’re not well-versed in the Macross Saga, you stand a chance of getting lost pretty easy.
The art does a lot of favors in bridging the gap for new readers, though. Elmer Damaso’s art, while not specifically aping the style of the original anime, makes each character easily identifiable and brings them to life with a lot of fun moments. Marco Lesko’s colors enhance Damaso’s work, bringing an extra dose of electricity to the proceedings.
For me, Robotech Remix hit me exactly the way it was trying to, bringing a fresh take on a favorite franchise. I’ve loved these characters for years, and to see them in a more modern light gave me both the nostalgia of seeing favorite characters and settings as well as excitement for something new and different. I’m not so set in my ways that I don’t mind a bit of a retcon every now and then. It’s definitely something better suited for veterans of the franchise, so if you’re wanting to give this a try, I suggest watching some Robotech before diving in, or at least checking out the previous volumes from Titan. In the meantime, I’m just going to kick back, put on my favorite Lynn Minmay track, and wait for volume 2 to arrive…
Robotech Remix: Deja Vu manga features story by Brenden Fletcher with art by Elmer Damaso and collects volumes 1-4 of the series.
Beginning a brand new volume of the Robotech comic saga, featuring more twists on the classic transforming-jetfighters-versus-giant-aliens adventure!
After the events of Titan’s first Robotech comic volume, the humans’ war with alien invaders has ended - but the threat to mankind is not over…Ace pilot Dana Sterling had traveled back in time to help in the war, but she has become trapped in a remixed past of her own making…Now mysterious new enemies have emerged - and Dana could be the only person who can stop them…