November 18, 2009

Mantech: Robot Warriors #3

1985 comic issue. Illustrated by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone. Written by Rich Margopoulos.

Related Reviews:
- The first issue of the series.
- The previous issue in the series.
- The next issue in the series..

"The Lost Division of Technoliath"

Instead of a collection of smaller stories, the creative team structures their chapters into a big epic war piece that, while it never quite lives up to the potential it establishes, is still quite rousing.

Back in the days of war between man and machine, Technoliath had entire divisions of robotic warriors hidden away, just waiting to be activated by a master that's now gone. Having uncovered a bunker of one such division, the forces of Tyranik flip the switch and step aside as the soldiers move to the first target on their ancient list: the capital Enclave City.

It's all epic and grand, especially as the forces move in under cloak screens, keeping the city from summoning help until it's almost too late. The problem? Their leader. It would have been great to simply have an overwhelming stream of emotionless robots pouring through the streets, but they're all at the command of a bellowing four-armed juggernaut named Octobot who, for some reason, carries a whip, a sword, and a spiked mace in a world full of laser beams and artillery shells. I guess he's still a bit menacing as he bellows out "Death to the soft skins!" but he's more ridiculous than threatening.

But, hey, this is the era of such comics, where the robots bicker just as much as the humans, every sentence ended in an exclamation point, Solartech randomly flings out that he'd received Nobel Prizes back on Earth, and women named Raveena make our cybernetic heroes regret the loss of certain elements of humanity. I will say, though, that no matter how cheesy it gets, Margopoulos's writing is surprisingly rousing, a memorable sequence being Lasertech going all kamikaze on a chunk of the robot army, trying to take out as many as he can before they cut him down.

The art is still wonky and rushed at times, with moments best described as "scrawl", but there are some great panels in there of the larger forces, and a fantastic page of Solartech roaring with increased fury "Fire! Fire! FIRE!!!" as the forces he's leading blow the holy hell out of the robot army. Seriously, it's a surprising moment from a "Comics Code Approved" Archie title.

All in all, I like it. It's full of flaws and cheese, but pretty much admits so right from the front cover. As long as they make the cheese fun and engaging, I'm in.

For more information about this issue, check out its page at The Comic Book Database. Though out of print, copies aren't very difficult to find at various online comic retailers.


Anthony Williams said...

Man, I'd totally forgotten about "Mantech". Been a while between reviews [A year!]. Was this a tying up of loose ends for you or are there more issues in the series?

NoelCT said...

A definite tying up of loose ends. I've had 3 and 4, the last two issues in the series, sitting around for far too long.