I love DC Comics; I love mechs; this is for me. But first, let me credit who I plan to praise; DC Mech #1 was written by Kenny Porter, with art by Baldemar Rivas, colors by Mike Spicer, letters by Tom Napolitano, and edited by Dave Wielgosz. This first issue is wonderful in so many ways, setting up a solid foundation to build upon for this new universe. A world where superheroes helped win World War II but are quickly made obsolete by an attack from the kaiju-like parademons of Apokolips. Humanity, while still having metahumans, has since turned to mech-based combat as its primary point of defense. It has its standard heroes such as Batman and the Flash taking on villains in giant fighting robots! But let me address the writing, lettering, and art separately to discuss those achievements.
While DC Mech is only on its first issue, Kenny Porter lays down a lot of groundwork for the workings of this universe and its characters. We get a sense of the heroes introduced and what their deal is. When he writes of the Justice Society of America in Hawkgirl’s words of the first attack by Apokolips, you can clearly see her pain even without looking at the art around it. It holds great emotional weight. And that’s only a short monologue setting the stage to help the audience understand a lot about the other characters. Wally is still young and inexperienced as The Flash as he fights the mechanized Rogues. Kal El is coming to Earth having grown on his way to help prepare Earth for Apokolips and continue the fight for his fallen Krypton, while still being recognizable as Superman even after being raised as Clark Kent. Batman is still very much Batman; it is clear in the story he’s needed to be that hyper-prepared defender.
DC Mech #1 is Tom Napolitano at his best. The more standard lettering is excellent, but when he writes Batman, in this thick outline with a green center, it just pops, fitting Batman’s whole aesthetic in DC Mech #1. Then there is Darkseid, who’s got the black bubbles and white letters that feel a little sterner, but when he writes Darkseid in white and pink, it’s to die for.
The art is sensational throughout DC Mech #1. Baldemar Rivas does stellar work with the designs in this book being very unique and fitting for the characters such as Flash’s mech looks aerodynamic like a sports car so it can use its speed bursts. Superman’s mech pops, feeling very human but just as alien all at the same time. And Batman stands out with all the green throughout the mech and not to mention its big cloak. But not just that his art has a kinetic-like motion to a 2D still image. At one point, Wally has to use super speed to hit a bunch of buttons, but it’s almost as if you can see him button-mashing. And Batman punching a parademon, you really feel the weight to it.
Mike Spicer compliments the art of DC Mech #1 with the choice of very vibrant colors making every image pop. And I think that’s especially evident at the beginning with the JSA as it contains bright orange, yellow, and blue as the parademon attacks bringing with it green skin and a red sky for so much excellent contrast with minimal use of neutral tones outside of the costumes. That scene ends with the sky going to a darker blue, then a purple when the destruction hits. The colors make every detail stand out without taking away the important highlights. It’s a visual treat.