Tech Jacket, written by Robert Kirkman

July 28th, 2008 by

When I found this entire series (issues 1-6) packaged together (and on sale) at Dreamhaven, I was intrigued enough by the cool robotech style artwork to give a second look. And in that second look I saw something that made this an immediate must-have for me: Robert Kirkman’s writing credit. Those of you who have listened to the podcast know that Florence and I recently saw Kirkman hold court at his very own panel at Wizard World in Chicago, and were immediately enamored enough to want to buy everything he’s ever written.

Well, as much as I love Battle Pope (which came out by Kirkman at least two years before Tech Jacket), the writing in Tech Jacket feels a bit amateurish in comparison. I can only explain it by assuming that this was written for a much younger audience, because Invincible started coming out around the same time as this (a few months later), and Invincible is totally awesome right from the beginning.

As Kirkman is aware (he sort of apologizes for this in one of the letter columns), Tech Jacket shares a lot in common with Invincible. They are both about teenagers who come into great power. They both prominently feature aliens. However, Invincible is still around, and Tech Jacket appears to have been canceled after only six issues. The series seems to “tie up” many loose ends in that final sixth issue, and apparently in the TPB, Kirkman says he chose to tie everything up quickly because sales were declining. Yet in the letter column of the sixth issue, Kirkman refers to the seventh issue, and there is even a preview of the seventh issue’s cover! I don’t know how to explain this, I’m just pointing it out.

E.J. Su’s art in this really shines when there are sprawling space battles. The rest of the art is okay too, but the space scenes, and in particular the level of detail given to the tech jacket itself and to the space ships is really impressive. As you can see from the first and sixth covers posted here, his art really seems to have progressed, or more likely, he just got more comfortable drawing the tech jacket over time.

All in all, this was only moderately satisfying, but well worth a read for those of us obsessed with Kirkman, or for anyone who loves a good space battle.

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