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Voltron Force: Shelter From the Storm Vol. #01 Manga Review

3 min read

A Haggarium storm attacks the Voltron cadets!

Creative Staff
Story: Brian Smith
Art: Jacob Chabot

What They Say
Years ago, Voltron mysteriously disappeared, and the five lions were scattered throughout the universe. Over time, the lions were recovered by the original Voltron Force: Lance, Pidge, Hunk, Princess Allura, and Commander Keith. Now, with the help of three new recruits, Voltron rises again to defend the universe once more!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
In the last few years, several franchises from the 1980s have made a comeback, including Transformers, My Little Pony, and Thundercats. One of the more recent additions to the list is Voltron, now revamped as the Nicktoons Voltron Force series, and Viz Media has recently released the first of a series of companion comics based on the new cartoon.

This full-color book uses glossy stock, and the binding feels pretty durable. The print job’s well done with the luminescence of the cadet’s weapons and the robeast’s electrical charges showing up nicely. Character designs are similar though not an exact match to the cartoon (for instance, Allura’s eyes aren’t quite so pointy). The story assumes you’re already familiar with the Voltron universe, but if you’re not, it includes a four-page introduction with enough information for you to get the gist of it.

This title is rated for ages seven and up, and it’s definitely geared toward younger readers. Although all the adults get lines, the focus is really on Daniel, Larmina, and Vince, the characters whom kids are most likely to identify with. In addition, the way Chabot portrays the three Voltron Force cadets makes them seem somewhat younger and shorter than the way they look in the cartoon.

For those that remember the original series, the typical plot formula consisted of the evil Drule making a robeast, the lions attacking it separately before forming Voltron, and Voltron taking down the enemy with the blazing sword. This story contains all those elements (including the iconic, “AND I’LL FORM THE HEAD!”) but deviates slightly in that the featured robeast isn’t part of a Drule Army onslaught. It’s actually just an experiment reject, albeit a destructive one. At any rate, it conveniently wafts over from Maahox’s space lab to the corner of the universe where the cadets are training with the lions and winds up wreaking as much havoc as an intentional strike. As mentioned earlier, this story highlights the cadets, and when the robeast unleashes its particular brand of psychological attack, you get a glimpse into Daniel’s, Larmina’s, and Vince’s greatest fears and also watch them find their own unique ways to conquer them.

While Vince’s ultimate strategy for defeating the robeast is a stretch of scientific principles (space IS a vacuum, after all), it’s a good story for kids. The plot premise isn’t too complicated or scary, plus the dialogue contains several one-liners of the type you’d find in the cartoon. And though it all wraps up neatly with laughs for the Voltron Force, Maahox’s final scene leaves the door wide open for a continuation.

In Summary
Fans of the Nicktoons cartoon will enjoy this series released by Viz Media. Though it is a standalone series, the characters’ banter and action maintain the feel of the TV show. The focus of this first volume is the three Voltron Force cadets as they struggle to work as a team and ultimately pull together to show the adults a thing or two. If you’re more interested in the original five Voltron pilots, you may be disappointed; Keith, Allura, Pidge, Lance, and Hunk stay mostly in the background, but the conclusion of the robeast battle is very reminiscent of the old series down to the “FORM BLAZING SWORD!” at the end.

Content Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+

Age Rating: 10+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
MSRP: $7.99