Pullbox Reviews We Ride Titans- “Pacific Rim meets Shameless” in a kaiju crunching family drama

Kaiju hit hard. Family hits harder.

Pacific Rim meets Shameless in this sci-fi kaiju action adventure, female-helmed thrill ride where one woman must keep the monsters in check – as well as her explosive family!

Trying to keep your family from imploding is a tall order. Kit Hobbs is about to find out it’s an even taller order when that family has been piloting the Titan that protects New Hyperion from kaiju for generations. Between a spiraling brother, a powder keg of a father, and a whole bunch of twenty-story monsters, she’s got her work cut out for her.

Without a doubt, a comic about giant mechs being used to battle invading kaiju is an easy sell for me. That was the hook that pulled me in and kept me on the hook until the true teeth of the story sunk in. Vault’s own description, that it’s “Pacific Rim meets Shameless”, is more succinct than anything I can come up with so I might as well wrap this review up now.

But I won’t cuz I got words…

We Ride Titans is a family drama pretending to be about mechs and monsters, and it’s a well-written one at that. Tres Dean is tapping into something profoundly special as he addresses the anxiety-fueled animosity inspired when a father willfully chooses one sibling over another. The paternal sin is compounded when Pappa Hobbs seems to value family legacy, and his own place in it, over the well-being of his children, Dej & Kit. Dean taps into that heavy emotional baggage with care, only unloading what the reader needs to see when they need to see it. The family divided dynamic digs in and hits home hard, the emotional trauma bookended by some pretty epic giant monster beatdowns.

And then we get to the visual side, compliments of the combined efforts of illustrator Sebastián Píriz, colorist Dee Cunniffe, & letterer Jim Campbell…

Píriz’s style may not look as polished at first glance, but he conveys everything a reader needs to see and feel in his lines. At every step, from emotional moments to comedic beats to kaiju (and Titan) crushing action, his work carries its load as skillfully as I’ve seen anywhere else. I’ve been following his work on social media for a while now and have become a fan of his character sketches and their often quirky appeal. Despite that, I was well into the second chapter when something in the artwork clicked and prompted me to look back at the credits page. Píriz has adjusted his style, leaving out much of his signature quirk to suit this relatively serious (and seriously relative) story with all the heart in the world.

Dee Cunniffe takes the framework laid out by Píriz and fleshes it out. It ain’t just “coloring”, as his work gives the world in the book weight and depth in a brightly lit world. That brightness doesn’t take anything away from the heaviness of the story’s theme but does a great job of shining a spotlight on the contrasts. Meanwhile, Jim Campbell’s lettering slides into the open spaces to lay the dialogue without getting in the way of the visuals. Where Campbell seems to have had some fun was in his varied use of sound effects, incorporating them into the action itself instead of simply dropping a “BOOM” into the background.

With enough monster-smashing fun to hook the willing, and more than enough triggering drama to satisfy the terminally angsty, We Ride Titans stands as one of the most happily surprising comics I’ve read in quite a while. I thought I knew what I was getting into, and I wound up hip-deep in so much more. Sadly, the physical trade is out of stock at Vault’s online store, but the digital copy is priced to move! Hop on over there and take a look. Your therapist will be there when you get back.

Final Score: 11/13

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