Writer: Tres Dean
Illustrator: Sebastian Piriz
Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
We Ride Titans is a sci-fi drama where a kaiju-fighting family must battle conflicts with each other and their personal legacy.
The high stakes, mecha-action of Pacific Rim meets the family drama aspect of The Fast and the Furious.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The family Hobbs come from a long line of Titan pilots protecting New Hyperion from enormous kaiju. Although they've experienced loss within these fierce battles, members of the Hobbs family have always risen to the occasion to operate their mecha, the Defender Nexus. The kaiju problem seems relatively under control in their shiny, futuristic city; however, their legacy threatens to shatter when Kit's heavily intoxicated brother Dej Hobbs loses a kaiju battle and almost dies inside his Titan.
After Dej's literal fall from grace, the Hobbs family patriarch and matriarch reach out to their estranged daughter, Kit. Emotionally aloof yet loyal, Kit half-heartedly agrees to operate the Titan in place of her brother. Will Kit's spite toward her controlling father and drunkard brother lead her to make impulsive decisions while training to operate the Defender Nexus? Is the real threat the kaiju, or the internal implosion lying within the fractured family Hobbs?
Writer Tres Dean opts for a stark "less is more" storytelling approach that usurps reader expectations in an emotionally profound way.
Any reader expecting another typical action-driven story about a devastating future and robot protectorates will be pleasantly surprised by how Dean balances intense action sequences with quietly tense emotional stakes.
The art in We Ride Titans is simply stunning. Artist Sebastián Píriz shadows with a sort of scratchboard look while keeping his linework thin, clean, and simple. Expressions are rendered with thicker lines detailing the characters' faces.
Colorist Dee Cunniffe uses a neon color palette and color gradients to enhance the sterile futurism in We Ride Titans.
Warmer tones douse Kit and her girlfriend inside their home, later contrasting noticeably with the more tech-reminiscent blues and purples washing buildings and city structures.
Lettering, speech bubbles, and dialogue boxes by Jim Campbell all hold a stylistic flair entirely in accordance with the drama on the page. Campell experiments with some spiked speech bubble tails and leaning letters that broadcast the speakers' emotions, even when their faces aren't shown in the panel.
We Ride Titans feels simultaneously somber yet explosive. The tension between family members is expressed palpably through character demeanors, speech bubble ellipses, or the morphing color hues on certain pages.
Every element moves in the comic series. Whether it's a mech crashing to the ground or a character quickly exiting and then slamming a door, the art brings dynamic motion and life to its panels.
The Hobbs family endures the brunt of a family legacy and expectations. Despite those expectations revolving around piloting a mech, the interpersonal relationship issues, resentment, and family conflicts are universal to any real-world family.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: Although mostly off-page, some may find Dej's drunkenness or mentions of death/injuries triggering.
The second issue ends on a much stronger cliffhanger than issue #1. Although I appreciate the set-up and quietness to the first issue, I think readers may find themselves latching on to the story more by reading the first two issues in succession.
Although Kit discovering Dej's accident on the television works story-wise, it may have been more impactful to cut to Kit's immediate reaction instead of slowly introducing Kit's character for several panels.
Issue #1 characterizes Kit well, but the ending feels meandering and predictable. As I mentioned before, it will serve readers well to read both issues back-to-back for a weightier story.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
We Ride Titans is not your typical kaiju-fighting, grandiose epic where the story centers on battling monstrous creatures in a dystopian wasteland. Instead, the comic surprises readers. The first two issues work as an interplay between fun, futuristic sci-fi, and a grounded, family drama with deviant characters that spark our interest. Though quiet at times, We Ride Titans is anything but mundane.
Artistically, readers will revel in the pristine colors and sharp lines composing the glittering city of New Hyperion. We Ride Titans boasts daunting, lush renderings of both the terrifying kaiju and the technologically formidable Titans.
We Ride Titans #1-2 is a welcome entry into the kaiju/mecha genre with a character-driven story to engage and delight. Hop in a mech for a ride with the emotionally-complex Hobbs family.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
The Kaiju Score by James Patrick & Rem Broo
Kaijumax by Zander Cannon
Dead Beats by Various Creators
If you like the art:
Canto & The City of Giants by David M. Booher & Sebastián Píriz
Count by Ibrahim Moustafa
Black Beacon by Ryan K. Lindsay & Sebastián Píriz
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Tres Dean – Writer (@treswritesstuff)
Tres Dean is the writer of comics such as We Ride Titans, Eternal Warrior, and has a short comic included in Wyrd #3.
Dean has written for GQ and Vulture.
He currently lives in New York.
Sebastián Píriz – Illustrator (@SebastianPiriz)
Píriz has lent his illustrative talents to various comic publishers, such as IDW, Vault, Heavy Metal, and AfterShock.
Outlander: He hails from Buenos Aires.
Dee Cunniffe – Colorist (@deezoid)
Cunniffe is a comic book colorist who has worked for DC, Image, Vault, and ComiXology, to name a few.
He is the colorist on the popular Image Comics title, Crossover.
Outlander: Cunniffe currently lives in Ireland.
Jim Campbell – Letterer (@CampbellLetters)
Prolific: A prolific letter, Jim’s work can be found at nearly every major publisher.
Award Winner: He has been nominated for multiple awards including the Ringos, Tripwire, and twice for the Eisners.
Jim maintains a blog, Man of Letters, where he publishes updates and insider info on the comics industry.
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All We Ride Titans characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Tres Dean & Sebastián Píriz or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED