At long last DC Mech #1 is in our hands and lives up to the hype! Fans of the giant robot/mech genre of anime and manga should easily see this as a love letter while staying accessible to newer readers. What could have quickly been passed off as gimmicky or unoriginal instead reinvents the DC Universe in a fun and dynamic way.
Baldemar Rivas gets the covers started with a great teaser of what’s in store this issue. Flash, Batman, and Superman stand atop their respective mechs with Darkseid looming above them. It just so happens these are the three heroes/mechs we get to see debut this issue and the overall threat of the series appears to be one of Darkseid proportions.
Dan Mora does a great schematic cover of Batman’s mech as well as Batman’s pilot suit. Done up blueprint style, several key elements are highlighted about the mechs construction. Although Batman is superimposed next to the blueprint, a nice scale drawing is done in the lower right corner to showcase the massive size of these mechs. Much like the Yasmine Putri ‘DnD’ inspired covers to Dark Knights of Steel, these variants add a thematic flair specific to the genre it’s based upon. Definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of the schematic themed covers as the series rolls out.
As if handling the interiors and initial cover art wasn’t enough, Baldemar Rivas gives a great black, white, and red variant. The DCU Trinity in mech form fight alongside each other with what could be assumed as the major players of the series assembled below them. This cover has all the makings of an anime title scene, the only thing missing is an epic guitar riff.
Superman and Batman share one of their face off moments on the variant by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. Sizing each other up, their mechs clash in titanic proportions overhead. The overhead fight could also be interpreted as Batman’s thoughts of what he’d like to do to Superman as it’s his mech who appears to have the upper hand. Whichever the case, it’s a great way to showcase familiar character interactions through the lens of this new world.
Karl Kerschl’s variant is an instant classic. Just about every version of the giant mech genre of anime or manga has their obligatory close up of the pilot standing on the shoulder of their mech. The ’80’s Voltron series (a personal favourite of mine as a kid) did it for all five pilots as the show’s end credits, so this cover hits all the right nostalgia buttons. Obviously the fact that it’s Superman featured on this cover in that type of scene ways heavy on my bias, but I can’t help saying this one is my favourite.
Baldemar Rivas’ designs for this issue are amazing, the mechs are unique while feeling believable they belong to their specific pilots. The scale of their massive size while interacting with the environment is never lost yet maintains a level of believability.
Mike Spicer’s ability to color huge portions of space with the same pallet and not have it look flat is a credit to their talent. Together they create a vibrant new world that compliments the fusion of the superhero and giant mech genres perfectly. Each sequence has such life to them and the action simply flows off the page. We’re only one issue in and I’d already love to see this book animated in their style.
Kenny Porter hits hard with this first issue. Not only is it a mechanised version of the DCU but also an alternate history as to why. We begin at the end of WWII with the JSA being ambushed by an alien being the likes they’ve never seen before. Seemingly unstoppable, the giant alien is defeated but at a terrible cost, setting in motion a global fascination into mech related technologies. Instead of super powers, the heroes and villains we’re familiar with now pilot giant robots in order to protect or conquer Earth.
The alterations aren’t just Earth centric as we’re also given a new rendition of the destruction of Krypton as well as a new Apokolips design. There’s a lot of information thrown at the reader in this issue but the story never feels bogged down with exposition. Instead we’re left with the need for more without relying on a heavy cliffhanger. The stage is set in this high octane first issue that introduces us to an upgraded version of the DCU that has countless possibilities. Hold on to your hats because this promises to be one heck of a ride!
Be sure to check out our interview with writer Kenny Porter and artist Baldemar Rivas, where we talked all about this first issue and what’s to come in the series.