Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reading and Viewing Experience: Robotech Genesis-The Legend Of Zor

by Chris McGinty (

I’ve started reading in chronological order, and I’m a little bit behind Nathan. I will presume as I write that you’ve seen the original series, and have at least read the material I’m talking about. If not, then this is your official spoiler alert. I have seen the original series, read the novels of the original series, and some of the comics of the original series. I have seen “Robotech: The Movie.” I’ve not read all of The Sentinels or anything else prior to this reading extravaganza. I’ve not seen “The Shadow Chronicles.”

Going by the chronological list, I started by reading the “Legend of Zor’s Fall.” Or whatever it was called. I almost thought that I was going to be reading the issues a little bit at a time, and then I got into the story, and read all six issues in one night. It wasn’t a bad story to be truthful.

Nathan draws some comparisons to the Star Wars prequels, which may have a lot to do with drawing on Roman history, and like the Star Wars prequels, if I have one complaint it’s that there aren’t too many surprises. In Star Wars, the problem was that we knew most of the major events already. This is partially true for the Zor story as well. The most enjoyable parts of either set of prequels for me were the things that I knew nothing about.

Issue #1 of the Zor mini-series was particularly tough for me. Some of the exposition dialogue was cringe worthy. One of the senators suggests that they mine the really big planet, and Zol responds with something like, “Now you know that the gravitational pull would kill anyone stepping on the planet.” It felt to me like the next panel should have been other senators saying, “This is why we shouldn’t let senators get their family hired to run this world.” And then the next panel should be the foolish senator sulking, saying, “They said there are no bad ideas in brainstorming.” But it’s ok, because later, when they create the Zentraedi, I’m sure he was going, “Hmm. I seem to remember suggesting mining the big planet, and everyone was like, ‘Oh no, we can’t do that!’”

I was also a little perplexed by the whole Arla thing at first. Zor takes her out to park on Blueberry Hill, and it was just odd to me. The character did serve her purpose as the story went on, though if I’d been writing the story, I would have delayed her death until the time of Zor’s death, along side Zor. The fact is that I thought the timing of Zor’s father’s death was pretty poignant. Zor has done so many things against his will, and then the one thing he asks in return, he is denied. Arla’s death as part of the rebellion didn’t carry that same weight.

Then there were the “Legends of the Fall” moments of the story where its like, “Many years passed after that day. Anthony Hopkins got older and started collecting ailments. Brad Pitt’s brothers got older and some of them perhaps died. Brad Pitt… well, he grew a beard.” Like Nathan said, it feels like there might have been some story to be told in those “years later” plot movements.

Aside from these complaints though, I enjoyed the story. It’s a hard balance to strike between just filling in the details of a back story, and writing something that will compel people to keep reading. I think this mini-series got the balance mostly right.

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