Voltron: Defender of the Universe #1 (Modern Comics, December 1984)
Script: Henry Vogel
Illustrations: Dick Ayers
Editor: Gary Brodsky
Cover: Mac Fury
Voltron: Defender of the Universe arrived on US airwaves in September 1984 and achieved instant success, beating out He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Transformers, and GI Joe to become the top-rated children’s series. The first season, which aired weekdays through November of that year, focused on the Lion Force. Though adapted for kids, the series originated as a Japanese anime aimed at adults, Hundred Beast King Golion.
I first discovered Voltron not through the TV series, but through a toy. At some shopping excursion in the spring or summer of 1984, I ran across a massive toy named Lion Bot. It featured five robotic lions that combined to form what we now know as Voltron. Lion Bot was actually an identical knock-off of Voltron, though I had yet to see the official version of the toy. I knew a cool toy when I saw one, but it was out of my price range.
Several weeks or months later, I happened upon the Voltron cartoon series, which I at first thought was set in the Star Blazers universe, and made the connection with the toy. I was instantly hooked by the series, becoming a huge fan. Sadly, I never ran across Lion Bot again, and the official Voltron toys were much more expensive.
As much as I loved Voltron, I was not aware of the Modern Comics three-issue Voltron series back then. I actually did not collect comic books very much as a kid, just scattered issues here and there. By the time the first issue was released, Voltron had just begun its second season, which had shifted focus to the massively disappointing Vehicle Force (or, as my friends and I called it, the “Car Voltron”). Vehicle Force was adapted from a different anime series. Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. I hated it and stopped watching. A Lion Force Voltron comic would have been most welcome at this time.
I recently acquired all three issues of Modern Comics’ 1984-1985 Voltron comic book series. In this first issue, Haggar uses a mind control device to lure Keith and his Black Lion away from planet Arus. The comic book assumes reader familiarity with the TV series and does little to introduce characters and concepts.
Though it is an original story, “Will Power” is right in line with the tales told on the show. Unlike most episodes, though, this comic did not feature a climactic showdown between Voltron and a Robeast. One of the things I would have definitely appreciated had I bought this comic as a nine-year-old was that the story was self-contained, rather than continuing in the next issue. It was rare that I obtained two sequential issues of a comic book back then.
The art is decent for the time period and most of the characters look like themselves, with the exception of Keith.
Though there were not as many advertisements as I had hoped for, another fun bit in this comic was the inclusion of a Voltron trivia page. I was only able to answer two of them correctly (A and D).
Overall, it was a fun issue that fits in well with the Lion Force version of the Voltron: Defender of the Universe cartoon series.
Story/Writing: 7 (out of 10)
Cover Art: 8
Overall Experience: 7