By Josh Blaylock (writer), Mike Bear (art)

I’m a fan of Voltron. As a kid it was one of my favorite shows and when Image Comics/Devil’s Due resurrected the franchise in 2003 I was all aboard for some fun nostalgia. The funny thing is the comic series was maybe just a little bit too true to the Voltron spirit. Like the show, the characters were paper thin, the plots silly, and the dialogue awful. Needless to say, I stopped buying the book after the third issue. Fast forward four years and we’ve got Devil’s Due ready to take another crack at the franchise.

Cautiously optimistic was my attitude going into this and much to my surprise, the story actually delivers. I’m probably one of the few Voltron fans out there who prefers the Vehicle Force to the Lion Force, and in this issue we get both squadrons. I’m actually really impressed with how writer Josh Blaylock manages to get both teams in the same book without making it feel forced. Granted, the story is nothing that will garner awards, but its straying from the typical Voltron formula is something most fans will appreciate. The dialogue, on the other hand, is quite spotty. At times, the conversations flow naturally, and other times it left me scratching my head or rolling my eyes. “How did they know we were here? Damn security leaks,” is probably the worst bit of dialogue I’ve read in a comic all year. Mr. Blaylock needs a better editor (or one that’ll speak his or her mind).

Even worse is the art by Mike Bear. His art does nothing but hurt the book while also proving once again that Devil’s Due needs to spend some money and hire some inking talent. Save for the opening pages, every panel that follows feels amateurish in composition. I’m sorry, but there’s only so much a colorist can do to cover up for an awful penciling job and it’s very apparent here. Also, the battles out in space are truly atrocious. This is the kind of space battle art I would draw on lined binder paper in elementary school. The ships have no sense of depth or dimension, the scenes lack drama, and the ship designs are utterly generic.

Despite the enormous amount of grievances, I remain a supporter of this book. Why? Because it’s a more grown up Voltron story, and one that I’m actually interested in seeing finished. The art may not have any semblance of Japanese anime, but that’s okay. The characters, for the most part, are easily identifiable and the story actually dares to push the Voltron mythos into new territory. If Blaylock can tighten up his dialogue and maybe hire a new artist, this book could thrive as a strong offering. Until then, it remains strictly average and I remain cautiously optimistic. (Grade: C)

– J. Montes