Robotech: Academy Blues (Academy Comics Ltd.)
Ongoing series / May 1995 - February 1996, Dec. 1996
Story by Robert W. Gibson
Most academies have long histories and traditions. Ours is less than three years old. Most schools are built around famous historical sites and landmarks. Ours is built around something that dropped out of the sky. But the most important, most meaningful difference is that wheras most other military academies were formed between boundaries, ours was formed beyond boundaries. There are no countries here, no nationalities ... no borders. Just people.
A spin-off of the ongoing Return to Macross
title, Academy Blues
follows the adventures of Lisa Hayes, Kim Young, Vanessa Leeds, Rolf Emerson, and other future war heroes in their days as cadets in the Robotech Academy, dealing with experimental futuristic machinery as well as everyday problems.
Not that there is
such a thing as an everyday problem on Macross Island ...
Much like Warriors
before it, Academy Blues
was a logical extension of the idea behind Return to Macross
-- the tales of the Macross Saga
cast before the First Robotech War. Where Warriors
showed us Breetai and Exedore scouring the galaxy for the SDF-1 and Return to Macross
covered Gloval, Fokker, and Dr. Lang fighting the forces that would destroy the Robotech project, Academy Blues
turned its attention on Lisa Hayes and the rest of the SDF-1's bridge crew, along with future Army of the Southern Cross chief of staff Rolf Emerson, learning the ropes at the Robotech Academy. Consequently, this series held little room for high adventure, focusing more on the characters and their relationships.
While the six-issue series, written by former Eternity Comics Captain Harlock
writer Robert W. Gibson, got a few minor points wrong (par for the course in the Eternity/Academy pre-Macross
material), for the most part it maintained the feeling
of the good ol' Macross Saga
days, even more so than the series it was spun off from. This probably has a lot to do with the characters involved and artist Sean Bishop's early involvement in the series -- of any ROBOTECH comic artist, Bishop managed best to match the style of the original animation.
Unfortunately, as the series wore on the stories grew less and less about Lisa and company and more about side issues tying into Return to Macross
, drifting the series away from its original remit. While that gives the appearance of cancellation due to low sales, ultimately it's unclear why Academy Blues
folded so early. It is worth noting that Robert Gibson become the bimonthly writer on Return to Macross
soon after Academy Blues
ended, and the book's cast was integrated into the parent title for what would be its final story arc.
In the last month of Academy's ROBOTECH titles, a one-shot called Breaking Point
ultimately tied up the loose ends of Academy Blues
and the Robotech Academy storylines in Return to Macross
, although it did this in a rather vague way due to poor lettering and rushed, unclear artwork by final Return to Macross
artist Dusty Griffin.
- Issue 0 - Academy Blues
- Issue 1 - Tests
- Issue 2 - Roles
- Issue 3 - Tremors
- Issue 4 - The Calm Before ...
- Issue 5 - The Wind and the Wave
- Breaking Point: Cadet Lisa Hayes Special #1
Super Dimension Fortress Macross #1
Editing & Script - Carl Macek
Pencils - Svea Stauch
Inks, Colors, and Production - Phil Lasorda, Gerry Giovinco, with much help from Vince Argondezzi and Dotty Linberg
Letters - Carrie Spiegle
Production Assistant - Aaron Keaton
Published by Comico The Comic Company.
Release date - Approx. January 3, 1985
Cover date - 1984
THE STORY"The alien invasion began almost coincidentally. A mammoth interstellar fortress ripped through the fabric of hyperspace on a collision course with the Earth. Whether by chance or some obscure twist of fate, this alien vessel was drawn toward the unsuspecting planet. The ship appeared over the South Pacific as a destructive fireball racing across the nighttime sky. Most people interpreted the incident as though the Earth had been struck by a giant meteor. Most people had other things on their minds ... like trying to survive World War III. An uneasy peace eventually came to his global conflict. The peace was the result of a group of people who knew that what hit the Earth was not a meteor ... but a machine of destruction--the product of an alien technology lightyears ahead of that of the Earth's. A United Earth Government was formed. Its sole purpose was to create a global defense system utilizing the reconditioned space fortress as an offensive weapon."
Ten years pass. On the day of the maiden voyage of the rebuilt alien space fortress, now christened the Macross
, citizens of the metropolis that grew around it worry that without the ship their home will become a ghost town. They watch as a limousine carrying Captain Gloval
and Senator Russo
passes by, and two citizens comment that without those men the ship would never have been repaired or funded.
Inside the limo, Russo tells Gloval to cheer up. "In less than half an hour, the Macross
will be in your command. The least you could do is act like you're having a good time." Gloval remarks that he had his
good time last night and worries that they might not be doing the right thing with the Macross
On the bridge of the space fortress, Lisa Hayase
arrives to tell the rest of the crew to look sharp, because Gloval's limo has arrived. "I don't know what's gotten into the captain ... coming aboard so late. He practically missed the entire ceremony." Claudia
tells her that he probably got the most out of his "shore leave."
"Well, Claudia ... some of us consider duty before pleasure," Lisa quips.
Claudia asks if she's referring to her seeing Lt. Commander Fokker
the night before, and states that what she does on her own time has no effect on her performance as an officer. Lisa asks about Roy, and Claudia points out that during the war Roy shot down five enemy planes with a hangover. Before she can add anything, Lisa suddenly notices something on her radar screen. It's a tiny plane piloted by one Rick Yamata
, invitation #1021. Lisa confirms that as an invitation from Lt. Commander Fokker and gives him a heading for landing.
Below, Roy Fokker narrates the actions of the newly-designed Valkyrie Fighters
overhead. Suddenly a little air racer appears among them and a loudmouthed pilot addresses Fokker.
"It's been a long time Captain! You sent me this invitation -- now tell me where to land."
Fokker tells his old friend that this is no playground, but Rick counters that he's not here to play -- he's here to show Fokker how a real
pilot can fly a plane! He nearly takes off Fokker's head with a low dive, then fires his boosters and joins the Valkyries in a burst formation. Rick lands his racer and Roy takes off after him, demanding an explanation. As Rick climbs out of his plane, he reminds Roy that he was the one who taught him the booster climb. Roy comments that he heard he won the amateur pilot competition last month and asks about Rick's family. "You promised my father that when the war was over you'd come back to the air team," Rick reminds him. Roy apologizes, then notes how he shot down 180 planes during the war. "So, you're proud of being a killer?" Rick asks. Roy says it's kind of hard to explain. "When you start flying those fighter planes .. well, something happens inside of you ... and nothing seems the same." Rick figures he could be right. "But for now," he says, "why don't you start by giving me the grand tour?"
On the far side of the moon, a fleet of Zentraedis
warships materializes from hyperspace. Aboard the flagship, Commander Breetai
asks his aide Exedore
if this was the quadrant he traced the transmission to, and also asks if he checked to see if the ship executed a refold. Exedore states that the computer indicates that there was no second jump, and that the ship must be on this planet. "Perhaps their damages have forced them to retreat to this zone," Breetai suggests. "There is a good possibility that we can end this war within the hour." He orders a recon vessel to go down and investigate.
Back on Earth, Rick admires one of the new Valkyrie fighters. He tells Roy that while it looks impressive, he wonders how it handles. Roy suggests climbing aboard and finding out for himself. As Rick climbs on-board, Roy asks if Rick has the guts to fly one of these things. "Just as long as I'm at the controls," Rick quips.
Elsewhere on the island, Russo is making a speech about how what an asset Macross
has been to the community and is introducing Gloval when an officer arrives to tell Gloval that sensors have detected unusual activity near the moon and he's needed on the bridge. Just as Russo prepares to turn the microphone over to Gloval, he takes off for the bridge.
On the bridge, Claudia remarks that every system on-board is starting up on its own. The booms that make up the front third of the ship begin to separate and energy begins to crackle around them. Gloval makes it to the bridge and, as his head slams against the too-low doorway, he tells the crew to shut down all the systems. As energy surges between the Macross
's twin booms, Claudia attempts to shut off the ship's power, but to no avail. The guns, as Claudia notes forebodingly, are
going to fire. Lisa asks what they're going to do, but Gloval has no answer.
Suddenly, the pent-up energy between the booms discharges, blazing forth over the rooftops of the city, through the island's terrain, and into space, obliterating the Zentraedis scout vessels.
Watching the carnage, Breetai notes that this attack confirms Macross
's presence on that planet. He orders all ships to advance in full balance formation immediately.
Claudia reports that the computer is responding to their programs again, and Lisa asks Gloval if he's all right.
On the ground, Rick is stunned by the display. "What are they trying to do, blow the island apart?" Roy leaps out of the Valkyrie's back seat to find out what's going on.
Lisa receives the space monitor report, which states that what they were attacking appears to be two large objects out in lunar orbit, probably spaceships. Gloval concludes that this was a booby trap. "The aliens who abandoned Macross
must have armed it with an automatic defense system designed to detect and destroy their enemies. The system's activation means that an unfriendly force has approached close enough to be a threat to the Macross
." Out of nervous habit, Gloval pulls out his pipe. Just then, Sammy pipes up, telling him that there's no smoking on the bridge. "I wasn't going to light it! I was just holding it," he comments, putting his tobacco back in his uniform jacket. He asks Claudia for a report on all systems and orders Lisa to scramble all fighters and prepare for combat.
Below, Roy orders the runway cleared and the Valkyries armed.
In space, Armour 1-A
base responds to the Zentraedis' approach. Lancer space fighters are launched and attack upon visual contact; at the same time the space platform begins bombarding the Zentraedis craft with missiles. Their attack has little effect. Breetai orders a standard laser bombardment, and when the space platform breaks out its nuclear weapons, he finds this simply amazing. "Primitive nuclear weapons," he muses with a quizzical grin, "and it appears that they have not raised their particle beam shields." Exedore wonders if it's a trick of some sort to lull them into a false sense of confidence, and also wonders why they haven't broken out their reflex weaponry. "These soldiers act as if they've never engaged in real space combat before," Breetai notes with a sinister smile. "Press the attack."
In moments, the Zentraedis' intense laser barrage rips Armour 2
to pieces and Armour 1-A makes a hasty retreat before it shares Armour 2's fate.
Word soon reaches Captain Gloval. He muses how the aliens have shattered his hopes of world without war, and orders Lisa to prepare the Macross
for combat. She orders the Valkyries to take off.
Back on the Zentraedis flagship, Breetai spots the Macross
among what he refers to as "the most disorderly display of primitive military organization that I have ever seen." Exedore points out that while it does resemble Macross
, it looks strangely different. Breetai assures him it is no trick, and that the initial reflex weapon attack was a clear invitation for battle. Still, he advises all ships to proceed with caution.
Zentraedis fighters break through the atmosphere. The Earth forces fire a barrage of missiles to counterattack.
On the exhibition ground, Rick is awakened from his slumber in the Valkyrie cockpit by an order from Lisa to take off. He tries to tell her that he's not a combat pilot, but his words are met on deaf ears. He tells her that the runway is demolished, but she tells him that runway 2 is clear, and that he's holding up the rest of the squadron. Thus, the brash young amateur is thrust into the thick of battle.
Rick takes off to the skies and is met by the sight of hundreds of dazzling explosions. In the air, he is reunited with Roy and asks his former mentor what the hell is going on. "Rick ... so you decided to try your hand at being a fighter pilot after all," Roy comments with a smile. Rick insists that it wasn't his idea, and Roy tells him that while combat can be scary, it's really not too much different from the good ol' days at the flying circus. While Rick talks big about not leaving his old friend behind, he finds himself blasted out of the sky within moments. Stunned, Roy tells Rick to climb and bank, but Rick can't get control of his craft.
As Rick's Valkyrie dives towards the Macross
, Lisa radios Rick and tells him to switch to Battloid
mode. Rick has no clue what she's talking about, but she tells him to pull down the control marked "B" on the left side of his console. He pulls the one marked "G" instead, and gears and hydraulics within the craft begin to turn and hiss, changing the fighter into a squat, avian robot resembling a bird of prey. It continues to fall, finally crashing into a mess of buildings as Rick realizes he's pulled the wrong lever. He pulls the one marked "B", and soon the Valkyrie Fighter shifts again into a more humanoid configuration. As it rises to its feet, Rick wonders how he can get out of this "flying nightmare."
- This is a mostly
faithful adaptation of Harmony Gold's English language version of the first episode of the Japanese television series Super Dimension Fortress Macross
, "Boobytrap," which was soon after adapted into the first episode of the ROBOTECH TV series. As such, with a few character name swaps and some minor rewrites here and there, it can fill the shoes of "Boobytrap" in any version of the ROBOTECH timeline.MAJOR CHARACTERS
- Tommy Luan (last seen in Return to Macross #37)
- Henry J. Gloval (last seen in Civil War Stories #1)
- Senator Russo (last seen in Return to Macross #24)
- Lisa Hayase [Lisa Hayes] (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #11 "Prototype 001: Variants Part 4")
- Claudia Grant (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #11 "Prototype 001: Variants Part 4")
- Vanessa Leeds (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #8 "Prototype 001: Variants Part 1")
- Kim Young (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #8 "Prototype 001: Variants Part 1")
- Sammy [Sammie Porter] (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #8 "Prototype 001: Variants Part 1")
- Roy Fokker (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #11 "Prototype 001: Variants Part 4")
- Rick Yamata [Rick Hunter] (last seen in Robotech: The Graphic Novel)
- Lynn Minmei (last seen in Robotech (WildStorm) #4)
- Lynn Jason (first appearance)
- Breetai (last seen in Metalswarm #1)
- Exedore (last seen in Metalswarm #1)
This is a ROBOTECH comic only on a technicality.
This is the first issue of what would, a few months later, be called Robotech: The Macross Saga
. However, it was published before the names and plot elements unique to the ROBOTECH version of Macross
were created. As such, there are no references to "Zor's battlefortress," or Robotechnology, or even Rick Hunter
-- he's got a different name, though oddly enough, it's not Hikaru Ichijyo. This comic was created to tie into Harmony Gold's VHS release of the first three episodes of Macross
, advertised in the back of this very comic book. (Those curious can watch the first half hour of that release on Elements of Robotechnology V
, the extras disc released with the Robotech Legacy Collection 5
DVD box, also available with the Protoculture Edition
complete remastered series DVD box set.)
The character names are an interesting mixed bag of ROBOTECH names, original Japanese Macross
names, and names that seem to have been changed almost at random. The worst offender is the name of our brash young amateur pilot hero; originally named "Hikaru Ichijyo" in the original Japanese program, here he becomes "Rick Yamata," which is almost "Rick Hunter" but is still kind of
Japanese. Similarly, "Misa Hayase" becomes "Lisa Hayase," which is almost "Lisa Hayes," but again is still Japanese, though more faithfully in that case.
Otherwise we're in ROBOTECH territory, complete with "Henry Gloval" and "Roy Fokker" instead of "Bruno Gloval" and "Roy Focker." The technology retains its original flavor, with Valkyries instead of Veritechs and the Macross
" rather than the nameless SDF-1. And oddly enough, as you may have noticed, the word "Zentraedi" is permanently plural for some bizarre reason. It wasn't so in the Space Fortress Macross
pilot episode produced by Harmony Gold that ties into this comic book, so I don't know what the deal with that is.
I believe it is as a consequence of this book's non-ROBOTECHness
that "Boobytrap" was adapted twice more into comic book form -- first as Comico's one and only 3-D ROBOTECH comic special, with a strikingly unique scripting job by The Macross Saga
and The New Generation
dialogue wizard Markalan Joplin and art by The Macross Saga
mainstay Mike Leeke, and then in the mid-1990's Return to Macross
and Academy Blues
artist Sean Bishop would do a staggeringly faithful black & white adaptation of ROBOTECH's first episode. Both are a cut above this adaptation, but neither are in full color like this one.
Despite some stilted dialogue here and there, Macek does a pretty solid job of adapting the first episode of Macross
into comic book form, complete with lines that are remarkably faithful to the Japanese version (Claudia talking to Lisa about Roy's service record while hung over) and to the ROBOTECH version that eventually aired on American television (Gloval's explanation of the "booby trap" is almost word for word from the TV series, minus the references to the Macross
). Some scenes are needlessly overexplained, such as Rick's VF-1D's transformation -- Macek added the accidental switch to GERWALK when its pass through that mode was considered a legitimate transition to Battloid in the actual episode -- and he uses a few cliches like they're going out of style, such as two instances of "duty before pleasure" and the bit where Rick awkwardly spits out, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing," at the end, but the trims and the pacing of the adaptation work nicely. I especially like what Roy says to Rick about flying fighter planes: "When you start flying those fighter planes ... well something happens inside of you ... and nothing seems the same." Vague and kind of awkward, but certainly a much more substantial statement than that horribly overquoted line that replaced it in ROBOTECH -- you know the one:
"This Robotech thing is just so exciting I just couldn't give it up! It just gets in your blood or something, I don't know."
There's a weird bit of mistranslation during the attack on the space platforms. Breetai refers to the humans' "primitive nuclear weapons," then Exedore asks why they didn't destroy the Zentraedis with their "reflex weaponry." I'm not clear on how this got bungled between the Japanese script, the English language series script, and Macek's comic script, but what they call "reflex weaponry" is more commonly translated into English as "reaction weaponry," which in fact is a different way of saying "nuclear weaponry." It was only in ROBOTECH that the term "reflex" somehow came to mean Protoculture-based -- at this point "Protoculture" hadn't even been redefined yet, after all. The point being, though, that I have NO idea what, in this version of Macross
, Exedore would be referring to when he mentions "reflex weaponry."
As far as the artwork goes: at first glance, the painted art in this book is kind of stunning, in a good way. As ROBOTECH series producer -- and this issue's script writer -- Carl Macek helpfully points out, all the character and mechanical art was done on animation cel-like overlays, while the backgrounds were painted on separate layers. The effect is quite nice. It's a shame the character and mecha art on the whole isn't very good, and to be honest, I'm not sure who to blame. The attention to detail is there, but the raw talent doesn't seem to be present. I think it might be fair to split the blame between penciler Svea Stauch and the inking staff. After all, there seem to be some decent shots ruined by sloppy inks, but there are some shots which have odd, awkward poses.
Most of the more well-staged shots are directly adapted from the show, which means that for serious fans of the show reading the comic gives the weird sense of looking at it through a fun house mirror. To put a finer point on it, it's immediately recognizable as something familiar, but somehow not as good -- kind of like watching the dumb, poorly-written and cheaply animated cartoons you loved as a child years later with all your adult sensibilities, only without the weird sense of guilt.
As an aside, notice how the cover depicts the Macross
in its humanoid "attack" mode, while the ship doesn't enter that configuration (and in fact cannot
enter that mode, since the fold drives are still intact) until episode/issue #5.
Also, that VF-1J on the cover is a bit huge
, isn't it?
This issue was, almost two decades later, reprinted in the Robotech: The Macross Saga Vol. 1
trade paperback, published by WildStorm/DC Comics (January 2003). However, a few changes were made. The text of all six issues reprinted in the volume was relettered by computer. In some cases, especially in this
issue, that involved changing the content
of the text as well. That version of this issue features ALL of the proper ROBOTECH terminology (although some references to the ship as "Macross" remain) and also features a number of additional changes, including spelling and punctuation changes and the addition of certain bits of dialogue which brings it closer to the first episode of the ROBOTECH TV series. For instance:
Original: "The alien invasion began almost coincidentally. A mammoth interstellar fortress ripped through the fabric of hyperspace on a collision course with the Earth."
Revised: "In 1999, a giant alien battlefortress ripped through the fabric of hyperspace on a collision course with the Earth."
Original: "Most people interpreted the incident as though the Earth had been struck with a giant meteor. Most people had other things on their minds ... like trying to survive World War III."
Revised: "The general public interpreted the incident as though the Earth had been struck by a giant meteor. The rest of the world was preoccupied ... in the clutches of a global war."
Original: "When you start flying those fighter planes ... well something happens inside of you ... and nothing seems the same."
Revised: "When you start flying those fighter planes ... well, something happens inside of you ... it just gets in your blood."
(That seems a fair compromise, to be honest.)
Original: "Amazing Exedore. Primitive nuclear weapons. And it appears that they have not raised their partical beam shields."
Revised: "Very heavy resistance. But why are they using such primitive weapons? Our scout ships are breaking through."
(Note that this fixes one of my concerns above.)
Original: "With what? We have fired all missiles, sir. And the aliens are beyond the range of our lasers."
Revised: "Mayday! Mayday! This is Armor-2 space cruiser calling SDF-1. Come in, SDF-1."
This is merely a sampling
of the changes made, though I'm pretty sure this covers all of the major
rewrites for this issue. Just be aware that the version of Macross
#1 that appears in The Macross Saga Vol. 1
is not an entirely faithful representation of the comic book published back in the 1980's.Next issue
Robotech: Covert Ops #1 (of 2)
Art & Story - Gregory Lane
Edits, Typesetting, & Proofing - Doug Dlin
Cover Colors - Nathan Lumm
Published by Antarctic Press.
Release date - August 19, 1998
Cover date - August 1998
Estimated sales - 5,000 copies
Above the fourth moon of Saturn, Pandora
, a VF-1E reconnaissance Veritech makes sure the coast is clear in advance of the SDF-1
. Everything seems secure, until the sensor operator notices a large stationary structure of definite Zentraedi
origin on the moon's surface. As the operator sends the data back to the SDF-1, two Zentraedi Powered Armors rise from the installation to attack. As the crewmen try to escape, the pilot radios the SDF-1 to call for backup, but by then the Zentraedi are already upon them.
Meanwhile, inside the SDF-1, crews begin to work on repairing the damage made during Roy Fokker
and Max Sterling
's battle with the Zentraedi warlord Kohrah. "Well, Little Brother, looks like you moved into the barracks just in time," Roy tells Rick Hunter
as the younger pilot stares up at one of the ruined buildings.
"Yeah, I've got some luck with buildings," he tells Roy. "If I'm not crashing into them, mine gets blown up."
They start towards Claudia
's place for dinner, and Roy asks Rick how it's going with Minmei
. "I don't know," Rick says. "I can't seem to get any time to talk to her. There's always a crowd around her." Roy tells him just to do what he always did -- dinner, flowers, and a ride in the sky. Rick says it's just not his style.
Just then, Sammie
radios Roy from the bridge. Captain Gloval
and Commander Hayes
need him immediately. As he starts away, Roy tells Rick to try and explain to Claudia. "Don't worry," he tells Rick, "I doubt she'll kill the messenger."
A few minutes later, in Gloval's office, the captain informs Roy of an alarming transmission from a long-range scout "It appears the Zentraedi have established an outpost on Saturn's fourth lunar satellite, directly along our return heading to Earth." He shows Fokker some photos they've received, and tells him that the photos were followed by a mayday call and then silence. The scout is assumed destroyed, and the enemy probably knows the SDF-1 is in the vicinity. Roy notes that the base looks small enough that he could just take the Skull Squadron in and flush the Zentraedi out.
"We can't risk a frontal assault, Roy," Lisa tells him. "We're still down three anti-gravity units from our last encounter, not to mention the civilian casualties." Roy asks what the alternative is -- after all, a change in course would add months to the trip home. Lisa has another idea. "To avoid risking the entire ship, I propose we send in a small assault team to remove the base surgically. I've already got tactical working on the base layouts to determine where to plant explosive charges that will destroy the complex." Roy thinks it sounds dangerous, so naturally he volunteers. He is ordered to assemble his team and prepare to move out in two days.
At that moment, Rick rings Claudia's doorbell. "I hope you boys are hungry!" she says as she opens the door. "I've been cooking all--" She observes Roy's absence. Rick starts to explain, but she's tired of excuses and tells him to come on in.
Two hours later, Rick finds Roy in the hangar, working on Skull One, and tells him Claudia seemed really hurt. Roy assures him the call was important. "I'll patch things up tomorrow after she cools down. Right now, I need your help." He hands Rick a list and tells him to contact these pilots and have them meet the two of them in briefing room four at 0700 hours tomorrow.
At the Zentraedi base on Pandora, Lord Buran
orders his men to make their report. One of his patrol groups has captured the crew of a Micronian scout ship alive. "The nearest Micronian base is on the fourth planet, which they call Mars," Buran notes, "and it fell easily. A Micronian presence here must mean the SDF-1 is near." He orders his men to bring the captives to him, so that he might interrogate the Micronians personally. "And request an audience with Supreme Commander Dolza. These Micronians are our opportunity to escape this desolate rock and return to glorious battle."
The following morning, in briefing room four, Roy explains the mission to the gathered personnel. "Before I go into mission specs," he tells them, "I want to make it clear that chances are good some or all of us won't be coming back from this mission, so if anyone wants out, speak up now. We won't think any less of you."
Max, sitting in the front row, asks Roy if he's kidding. "This is what I've been waiting for," he says. Roy mentions that he didn't think there'd be any takers, but he prefers to ask. He explains that they've determined that the Zentraedi base is in a mountainous region on Pandora's surface.
"The mission is simple. Our strike force comes in low, using the terrain for cover. Zentraedi are accustomed to all-out warfare, not stealth attacks. Two fighters stage a bombing run for diversion while a second team infiltrates the target and plants explosive charges to take it out. The tech boys have already pinpointed the locations of the power generators from the surveillance photos. Everything goes according to plan, we're in and out and back in time for cocktails in the officers' lounge -- on me." Max worries that two fighters might not present much of a problem for the Zentraedi and asks if they'll have enough firepower. Roy tells him they've got it covered -- all the Veritechs will be equipped with the new VF-1X armor they've been testing. "The extra missile packs they carry should be plenty. Plus we'll need the extra fuel and booster packs to reach the target." Fokker then explains the breakdown of the teams -- he and Max will pilot the fighters and provide the diversion, while Rick and Hansen
will pilot retrofitted trainers and assist in planting the explosives. The back seats of the trainers will be used by Jones
, the demolition specialists. "We leave at 06:00 tomorrow. I want all gear checked and ready by 05:45," Roy tells them. He informs them that they'll be off duty until then, and should go spend the rest of the day with their loved ones, though the mission information is classified as they don't want a panic among the civilian population. The personnel are dismissed.
Rick comes up to him after the meeting, feeling unsure that he's qualified for this mission since he's had no experience in combat yet. "Are you kidding?" Roy asks. "Rick, you're one of the best pilots on the ship. I handpicked each member of this team for his distinctive skills. Relax and enjoy the day. You'll be fine." Rick tells Roy he's got a lunch date with Minmei, which reminds Roy that he's got to do some "damage control" with Claudia.
A few hours later, with five minutes remaining until the shift change on the SDF-1's bridge, Lisa calls Claudia out into the hallway for a quick chat. The other bridge girls are certain there'll be some sort serious friction.
In the hall, Lisa tells Claudia that she doesn't see why she's to blame for Roy volunteering to lead the mission on Pandora. "Oh, come on," Claudia says, "you and Gloval knew he would jump in as soon as you told him." Lisa reminds Claudia that Roy is the senior combat officer, and HAD to be told about the mission. "Just because you lost your man doesn't mean I want to!" Claudia snipes. As the words leave her mouth, Claudia starts to backtrack, telling Lisa that she's sure Karl made it out of Sara Base and is waiting on Earth right now. Lisa returns to the bridge, and Claudia begins to worry how the rest of the day is going to turn out. She pushes the button for the elevator, and as the door opens she finds herself face to face with Roy with a picnic basket under his arm. He invites her for lunch.
Back on Pandora, the elder member of the VF-1E crew tells the younger to give up trying to escape. The younger man asks why they haven't been killed, and the older one says the Zentraedi probably want information. "My guess is we can expect a very unpleasant interrogation. I've been in this spot before back during the war in South America. I wouldn't talk then, either." The younger crewman insists he won't talk either as the Zentraedi commander Buran enters. Buran introduces himself and demands the location of the SDF-1. "You and the rest of your Jolly Greens can all go straight to hell!" the older crewman tells Buran. "You're not getting anything out of us!" Buran orders one of his men to remove the shield from their prison. It is done, and Buran picks up the younger crewman. "We have observed the strange concern Micronians bear for each other's lives. Provide the coordinates of the SDF-1 or this one will be terminated," Buran tells the older crewman. The young guy tells his fellow crewman to tell Buran the coordinates, but he refuses. "Very well," Buran says as he crushes the younger man.
Back in Macross City, Rick enters the Chinese restaurant in search of Minmei. She seems happy to see him, and tells him she'll just be a couple of minutes while she changes her clothes. In the meantime Uncle Max asks Rick if he's seen any combat yet. "Just in the simulator," Rick says, "but it won't be long."
As she returns, Minmei grabs Rick by the hand and tells Max she'll be back in an hour. "Don't be late this time," he warns her.
In the park, Roy and Claudia relax over lunch. She tells him that she has to admit he did well. "This was a beautiful picnic. You'd better lay off the wine, though. You've got an early mission tomorrow." Roy reminds her he does some of his best flying tanked. Claudia asks to what she owes the pleasant afternoon. Roy admits, "I figured I owed you some quality time." She tells him she was pretty steamed and took some of it out on poor Rick. "I hear you took a run at Lisa, too," Roy says. Claudia says she blamed Lisa for him going on the mission, but realizes she was just feeling too hurt to consider that Lisa was just doing her job. Roy doesn't get why Claudia's so steamed about this particular mission -- after all, it's no more dangerous than some of the others he's been in. Claudia realizes this, but has an unnerving feeling that something terrible is going to happen. "I don't want to lose you," she tells him. Roy assures her that she won't, and the two embrace.
Elsewhere in the park, Minmei tells Rick she always enjoys coming here because it reminds her so much of Earth. She takes him down to the stream to feed the ducks, and adds that she sometimes even forgets that they're out in space. As Rick looks up at the high metal ceiling above he remarks that there's always something there to bring reality crashing in. "I'm glad I got to see you today," he tells her. "I've been wanting to spend some private time with you for a while, and this might be my last chance." He tells her that he's going on a mission tomorrow and might not come back. At that, Minmei shoves him over, and tells him to stop being so gloomy. "You should be like me," Minmei tells him, "and make the best of the situation. Think about happy things -- like my birthday, for example." She tells Rick that her uncle's planning a sweet sixteen party, and she was going to invite him, but now she doesn't know. "On the other hand," she says, "if you cheer up a bit, you might get a special invitation." Suddenly she realizes she's running late and, as she bolts off, wishes him good luck on the mission.
Moments later, Lisa is standing on a bridge overlooking the park. "The end of another shift and no one to go home to," she thinks. "Claudia didn't mean it, but she was right -- I've forgotten what it's like to have someone in my life." She wishes that Karl hadn't volunteered to go to Sara Base, but remembers how he always put his pacifistic ways above his personal life. At the same time, Rick passes by, worried that Minmei seems more concerned about her birthday party than his mission. He absent-mindedly runs into Lisa, and they both apologize. Realizing who he's face-to-face with, Rick quickly salutes, but Lisa reminds him that they're off duty. She asks if he's taking a walk, and tells him that she often comes by here to think before a big operation. Rick tells her he was just on his way home, and finds her behavior odd -- usually by now she'd be at his throat. Lisa asks if that was Minmei he was talking to, and asks if they're dating. He says he's not sure yet, and tells her he's got to go over the mission specs, so he has to get going. As he races away, Lisa notes that while he acts so odd sometimes, he is
kind of cute ...
Back on Pandora, Lord Dolza
appears on Buran's monitor and asks what he has to report. Buran informs him that while he has not located the SDF-1, he has captured the Micronians who were scouting his secto and he believes they are from the ship. However, he is having trouble extracting its coordinates. Dolza tells him to continue his efforts. Meanwhile, the Robotech Masters
have a new Protoculture weapon to be used against the Micronians, and Dolza informs Buran that he is sending the Boturu fleet under Lord Khyron
to Pandora to test it. Buran finds this unnecessary, but Dolza will not be questioned. "Upon successful completion of the tests, your squadrons will accompany his fleet to Earth for final victory," Dolza orders. "You will provide whatever assistance he requires. Am I understood?" Buran acknowledges, and Dolza signs off. The minute his image has faded, Buran smashes the monitor with a shout of, "HAJOCA!" He knows of Khyron; the Backstabber will probably test the weapon on Buran's own battalion. He orders the prisoners to be prepared for further interrogation.
The next morning, aboard the Prometheus
, Roy arrives to find his team assembled, with all their gear checked and ready. He tells them to mount up, and asks Rick how he's feeling.
"Armed and dangerous," Rick says.
When each crewman is on-board his craft, the flight crews engage the grapple cranes for the fighters and open the bay doors. Skull Group launches from the SDF-1 and proceeds to Pandora ...
- While this story is set during The Macross Saga
with no overt references to any dates or concepts native to the McKinney novels (i.e. Thinking Caps), it relies on the previous Antarctic Press story Megastorm
for certain plot points. It also directly contradicts the original TV series (specifically episode #6, "Blitzkrieg") and features iconography native to the Macross
movie, Do You Remember Love
. As a result, it doesn't work in ANY ROBOTECH timeline.MAJOR CHARACTERS
- Roy Fokker (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #3 "Megastorm Part 3")
- Rick Hunter (last seen in The Macross Saga #5)
- Henry J. Gloval (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #3 "Megastorm Part 3")
- Lisa Hayes (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #3 "Megastorm Part 3")
- Claudia Grant (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #3 "Megastorm Part 3")
- Max Sterling (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #3 "Megastorm Part 3")
- Sammie Porter (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #2 "Megastorm Part 2")>
- Kim Young (last seen in Robotech (Antarctic) #2 "Megastorm Part 2," next in The Macross Saga #7)
- Lynn Minmei (last seen in The Macross Saga #5, next in The Macross Saga #7)
- Uncle Max (last seen in The Macross Saga #5, next in The Macross Saga #16)
- Hansen (first appearance)
- Jones (first appearance)
- Lambert (first appearance)
- Buran (first appearance)
- Dolza (last in Return to Macross #4, next in The Macross Saga #11)
Let me lay this key continuity problem out a little more clearly ...
At the end of Megastorm
, the SDF-1's overdrive maneuver sends it from Jupiter to the asteroid belt, from which it should
proceed to Mars, returning us to the TV series narrative. In Megastorm
, three of the SDF-1's anti-gravity modules are destroyed, which is cited as one of the reasons the SDF-1 doesn't just charge into battle over Pandora; this directly ties the two stories together. Yet
, for some reason the SDF-1 has doubled-back towards Saturn, given the need for a VF-1E to scout ahead
to its moon Pandora. Roy suggests that going around Pandora will cause them to add months to their voyage -- but it looks like they've already covered that
Making matters worse ... Max Sterling is removed from active duty to cover up the testing of the VF-1X Super Veritech equipment at the end of Megastorm
, yet is hand-picked by Fokker (and gung-ho to go) in Covert Ops
at odds with his nervous, never-flown-in-space portrayal in episode #8, "Sweet Sixteen." Rick looks at him like he's crazy -- maybe when he sees Sterling later he doesn't put two and two together? Certainly the nervous, sickly-looking young guy he meets in "Sweet Sixteen" is totally
at odds with the confident, eager young pilot he meets here.
Even more problematic ... Rick tells Uncle Max that he's never flown a mission
before, and makes sure to remind Fokker of the same after the mission briefing. Megastorm
works best between episodes #6 & 7. Episode #6, "Blitzkrieg," is
Rick Hunter's first action, at the Battle of Saturn's Rings. Roy's internal narration in "Blitzkrieg" notes it, Minmei mentions it enthusiastically when she and Rick meet at the park where she's wearing the dress they picked "together," and while this has all the feel of a "top secret" mission squeezed between episodes, Rick tells Minmei it's happening
. How can he tell his not-quite-girlfriend that he's going on his first mission twice
What's clear is that as far as Rick's story goes, this is supposed to either fall before "Blitzkrieg" or maybe instead
of it. Lane spends a lot of time making references to events that will occur in the near future: "Bye Bye Mars" is set up extensively
, with references to Sara Base, Karl Rieber, and Khyron. "Sweet Sixteen" is set up in the scene with Minmei, where she talks up her birthday party. The only piece of the puzzle reflected here that's missing if "Blitzkrieg" happens after this story (or not at all) is Rick and Lisa's antagonistic relationship -- Lisa recognizes him and knows he's a pilot, which she didn't
until Fokker properly introduced them the day before Rick's first action -- you know, the scene where Sammie calls Rick "Mister Lingerie."
The other major continuity problem with the book is that nearly every single design in the book
is taken from the Macross
movie Do You Remember Love
, starting on page 1 with the VF-1E recon variant Veritech Fighter. The RDF was still using Cat's Eye recon planes at this point (see episode #7, "Bye Bye Mars," and episode #10, "Blind Game"), if they ever did
wind up with the -1E variant in the ROBOTECH universe (hey, it's always possible
). The Zentraedi Powered Armors that attack and capture the fighter's crew are the Do You Remember Love
variants, though in the next issue the different mecha and combat armor designs are explained away as a sort of tribal difference.
Almost all of the RDF uniforms and weapon systems feature Do You Remember Love
designs and detailing -- the little buttons on the collars, the multiple rank stripes, the pilot jumpsuits, the slightly different VF-1A head -- heck, even the Coca Cola machine Roy passes by as he runs away on page three is a Do You Remember Love
design. And yet there are occasional reminders that we're in the ROBOTECH universe -- the demolitions experts are wearing TV series uniforms, a character on a video billboard at the top of page three is wearing a TV series-style intra-atmospheric flight helmet (no visor and chin), and most importantly, the SDF-1 still has the Daedalus
attached and NOT two ARMD space platforms. (Which makes the crane launch on the last page really strange -- when would they have had time to add that
functionality to the Prometheus
? And better, WHY?)
Despite the Do You Remember Love
styling of all the Zentraedi equipment, our heroes are still facing TV series-style Zentraedi -- they still have hair and round ears. (Do You Remember Love
's Zentraedi are all bald and pointy-eared.) I am struck by the fact that on page six the Zentraedi seem to be equipped with helmets and shields far more reminiscent of the Masters' Bioroid Terminators' equipment -- unless that's Do You Remember Love
equipment I'm not familiar with, which is highly
Aside from very rough inks, the art throughout is beautifully detailed and solid -- Lane clearly knows these characters and designs backwards and forwards, inside and out. His Minmei looks a bit old for her age (sweet sixteen coming up), but that's probably just because he's using the movie character design. Buran strikes an imposing figure -- no wonder Lane wanted to use the Do You Remember Love
uniforms, he wouldn't look quite as impressive
in anything else -- and doesn't look out of place next to more familiar faces.
Especially sharp-looking are the last three pages, where Lane cracks out the gray tone patterns, giving those pages a very manga-flavored feel. Those pages feel a lot sharper, a lot less inky.Question:
As our story opens, Roy tells Rick that he "moved into the barracks just in time." Is this a sarcastic remark, with the building they're standing in front of being the barracks Rick just moved into, or is Lane suggesting that Rick was living in this building before he enlisted? Because right before he enlisted, Rick was temporarily living above Minmei's aunt & uncle's Chinese restaurant (see episode #5, "Transformation").
Until the publication of "Mars Base One," the backup strip that ran in WildStorm's Robotech: Invasion
series, it was considered a misconception
that the Zentraedi destroyed Mars Base Sara -- after all, in "Bye Bye Mars," Exedore says it was destroyed "in a battle with their allied forces," meaning other humans. The story now
is that Sara was wiped out by Zentraedi long-range scouts, though it was hushed up, and the scouts never made it back to Dolza with a report, meaning the Zentraedi shouldn't know it was taken down by their fellows. Buran says it went down "easily" -- and according to "Mars Base One," that wasn't the case. But of course, "Mars Base One" was published six years later ... and until that point, Exedore's statement in "Bye Bye Mars" should still have stood as what really went down.
The Super Veritech equipment, as in Megastorm
, shouldn't be in use yet, though at least this time there's a story-related reason for using it. The very same month as this was published, the first issue of Lee Duhig's two-issue mini-series Wings of Gibraltar
has the Super Veritech equipment just under development
much farther along in the timeline, post-"Paradise Lost" (episode #20). Where in the blue blazes was the editorial oversight? (Answer: nowhere
. Why do you think Antarctic Press lost the ROBOTECH license?)
Fun fact: outside of Robotech The Sentinels: Rubicon
, this is the only
time Minmei appears in an Antarctic Press ROBOTECH comic book story. Also, the way that she and Uncle Max's remarks toy with Rick's emotions is quite
reminiscent of the way Minmei's words played with his feelings in "Transformation." Lane has some trouble with the words
, but boy does he have the melody
I was positively ecstatic when I saw Lane using the Zentraedi term "hajoca," one of the words created by long-time ROBOTECH comics writer Bill Spangler way back in Eternity's The Malcontent Uprisings
. While that's a rather strong term to be throwing at the Supreme Commander of all Zentraedi forces, it was still a pleasant sight to see in an Antarctic Press publication.
Also, kudos to him for writing Buran as an honest-to-goodness character
rather than a monster-of-the-week like Megastorm
's Kohrah or Wings of Gibraltar
's Calen. The mega-weapon that Dolza describes doesn't even arrive
in this story -- Buran doesn't get a gimmick to fight his foes with, like a fancy kewl new mecha or cloaking shields. He has to get by with traditional Zentraedi tools -- albeit Do You Remember Love
-styled Zentraedi tools.Next issue
Labels: Covert Ops, Macross
Robotech: Covert Ops (Antarctic Press)
Mini-series / August - September 1998 / Story & Art by Gregory Lane
Everything goes according to plan, we're in and out and back in time for cocktails in the officers' lounge -- on me.
In the aftermath of Kohrah
's devastating attack, the crew of the SDF-1
is faced with an enemy force located on the fourth moon of Saturn, Pandora
. When a VF-1E recon plane goes missing, Robotech Defense Force intelligence discovers the culprits hiding out on Pandora and, taking a suggestion from Commander Hayes, devises a strategy to destroy the base with a small team of specially equipped Veritech Fighters. Roy Fokker
, Rick Hunter
, and Max Sterling
lead a demolitions team to the target, but find themselves confronted with a desperate foe hungry for glory.
Out of all the people who worked on ROBOTECH comics for Antarctic Press, Greg Lane
probably had the second most experience with the property after Megastorm
writer and Rolling Thunder
writer/artist Fred Perry
, who inked and toned the first issue of Cyberpirates
and several issues of Invid War
back in the day. Lane had penciled a few issues of The Malcontent Uprisings
in the early 1990's for Eternity, and since then had done a number of anime-style comics for smaller publishers, including Mecharider
and Danger Girls
(not to be confused with J. Scott Campbell's more well-known Danger Girl
Despite his qualifications, however, Lane's first two issues of ROBOTECH material for Antarctic, a side-story set during the SDF-1's long trek back to Earth, crossed a very vexing line. As if it wasn't enough of a black mark that he was writing and drawing a sequel to Antarctic Press's incompetently-produced debut outing Megastorm
, almost all of the character and mechanical designs Lane used in Covert Ops
were from the 1984 motion picture Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love
for short) -- from the bridge uniforms, to the flightsuits, to the SDF-1's bridge layout, to the Zentraedi base and armor design, right down to the Coca Cola machine on page 3 of the first issue. I understand that it was his preference to do so, as he's more partial to those versions of the Macross
character and mecha designs -- buuuuuuuuuut
The problem is that DYRL
is not a part of ROBOTECH. DYRL
is a fancy, redesigned retelling of the original Japanese Macross
television series, but it was never adapted into ROBOTECH. Consequently, at no point should Rick Hunter
be wearing a DYRL
flight suit, nor should the ROBOTECH version of the SDF-1 be launching Veritechs via crane-arm. Moreover, at the time, Harmony Gold didn't even possess the rights to the DYRL
designs -- I'm pretty sure they do now
, thanks to a licensing agreement with Tatsunoko Productions earlier in the 2000's, but in 1998, this was not
It's worth pointing out, though, that Lane does not use DYRL
designs all the time in this series -- indeed, on page 7 of the first issue, you get an eyeful of the contrast that appears throughout Covert Ops
. The SDF-1 body we see is based off of the DYRL ship design, while the Daedalus
are straight out of the TV series. Hence, the SDF-1 gets the intricate detail treatment, while the deck of the Prometheus
gets TV animation-level detail work. The Zentraedi soldiers at the base on Pandora are all dressed in DYRL
Zentraedi gear, but when Dolza appears on Buran's video monitor, it's the TV series bald-guy-in-a-robe that appears, not the movie's weird piecemeal floating torso jacked into a plant-like fortress. That dichotomy is rather pervasive throughout -- Covert Ops
is a story which in so many ways tries to be true to the TV series, despite the fact that the author insists on using much of the movie's eye candy
If Covert Ops
weren't tied into Megastorm
, and didn't have the non-canonical art design, and as a separate issue didn't have the SDF-1 doubling back to Saturn (they passed Jupiter while heading towards
Earth -- according to Megastorm
itself, they should have passed through the asteroid belt by now), it would actually be an excellent side-story. To tell you the truth, as it stands it's actually a fun ride. The characterization is excellent and the artwork is very well done -- Lane does a good job emulating character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto
's style to a degree (though the inking, as Lane himself admitted at the time, is not that great), and the mecha action is about as solid as you can get when gray tones are few and far between. There are only a few confusing fight panels, mostly those without a dark space background for contrast.
To sum up, it's not a terrible Macross
-era mini-series -- in fact, it compares very
favorably to the rest of Antarctic's Macross
-era offerings due to the strong characterization both visually and verbally, some excellent scene staging, and -- best of all -- the little touches that recall the Eternity and Academy days (Zentraedi villain Buran's furious shout of "HAJOCA!"). It just doesn't work very well as either a sequel to Megastorm
or even as a side-story in proper ROBOTECH TV series continuity. Well worth a read if you're in need of a quick ROBOTECH fix, but from a pedantic fanboy standpoint -- as an interlocking piece in the grand tapestry of ROBOTECH -- quite a mess. (Lane's follow-up, the New Generation
one-shot Class Reunion
was better on several counts.)
Robotech (WildStorm) #1 (of 6)
"From The Stars"
Plot - Tommy Yune
Script - Jay Faerber
Art - Long Vo, Charles Park, & Saka of Udon
Letterer - Jenna Garcia
Asst. Editor - Kristy Quinn
Editor - Ben Abernathy
Special Thanks - Tom Bateman & Erik Ko
Published by WildStorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics.
Release date - December 18, 2002
Cover date - February 2003
Diamond order number - OCT020801
Estimated sales - 53,023 copies
It is the year 1999
. Somewhere in rural northern California, on the fields of Pop Hunter's Flying Circus, young Rick Hunter
races excitedly towards his mailbox. Inside is a letter from his dear friend Roy Fokker
, currently flying fighters for the military out in the Pacific. He rips the letter open and sits down in the grass beside the mailbox, smiling as he reads the latest from his mentor:"Dear Rick, sorry I couldn't call you, but my latest mission requires the entire carrier group to maintain radio silence, so this letter will have to do. Has Pop let you fly in the circus yet? I know you've been dying to strap yourself in the cockpit and contribute to your family business ... but remember that flying can be dangerous. Take it from me. So stay sharp and remember everything your pop and I taught you, and I have no doubt you'll be flying rings around me in no time."
Somewhere in the South Pacific, aboard the U.S.S. Kenosha
, Roy Fokker returns from his latest run untouched, a feat which doesn't go unnoticed by his fellow fighter pilots. What also doesn't go unnoticed is the fact that he's gone through four wingmen in the last three months, including the one today. "And in all that time," one of the pilots says, "he's never even taken a serious hit."
"Well, he's been flying since he was a kid, right?" a younger pilot, Steve
, says. "I heard he was part of a flying circus. I guess it's in his blood."
One of the other pilots tells Steve he can ask Fokker all about it, because he's his new wingman. "Been nice knowin' ya!" he adds.
Steve shrugs it off. "Go ahead and laugh, guys. This guy managed to become a double ace faster than anyone else in Skull Squadron history. Frankly, I'm honored
As Steve walks down to meet Fokker, Admiral Hayes
looks down from the ship's bridge and asks the Kenosha
's captain if he thinks this new wingman is going to make it. "I don't know, Admiral Hayes. That's a good question. Fokker sure has blown through his share of wingmen ... but this new nugget got top scores at the Academy, so let's just say I've got my fingers crossed, sir." Hayes laughs, asking if he carries a rabbit's foot as well. "I don't mind telling you, sir, considering our latest mission, it probably wouldn't hurt. Do you really
think the Russians would be so careless as to sell their Oscar-class nuclear subs to a foreign power?"
Hayes is quick to respond. "Captain, considering the shape the world is in today, nothing
would surprise me. Our orders are to follow the Russian sub that was spotted in these waters, and see if we can find any truth to the rumors. The Pentagon's suffered too many setbacks with all the recent hot spots around the globe. Let's see if we can carry out a mission that they can put in their "win" column."
Meanwhile, aboard the aforementioned Russian sub, the SSGN Minsk
, Captain Henry J. Gloval
asks his first officer Poruchik
if there's any sign of the Americans yet. Poruchik says there's no sign yet, but the sonar station is on alert. "Good, good. If our information is correct, the American Navy has probably dispatched an entire carrier group to follow us by now. They must really think we're so desperate that we'd even sell our most prized vessels ... vessels which could then be used against us! I must say, it's been ages since I've heard a more ridiculous notion. It just goes to show you how strange the world has become. Our military forces are already stretched to their limits, trying to maintain a grasp on the many conflicts which have erupted all over the world. And something in my bones tells me this is going to get worse before it gets better." Just then, the sonar operator informs Gloval that an American helicopter just dropped objects into the water above them. "Sonar buoys. I should've guessed ... Admiral Hayes is a slave to traditional American tactics." He gives the order to go quiet, and Poruchik relays the order to bring the sub to a full stop.
For a moment, all is quiet except the "ping" of the sonar. Then, above the waters of the Pacific, a volley of missiles strikes and destroys the American helicopter. Gloval is immediately informed of this development. He asks if it was one of theirs that hit the chopper, but it wasn't.
Above the water, aboard the Kenosha
, Hayes asks if it wasn't the Russians, who shot their helicopter down? He looks out with his binoculars, seething, when the captain tells him the Pentagon is on the line for him. "I'm just a little bit busy right now, Captain," he grumbles. The captain informs him they said it was important. He takes the call. "This is Admiral Hayes, what's -- Well, I'm in the middle of a situation, can't -- I see. Okay. Yes, sir." He hands the captain the phone and tells him he's in charge. "I'm needed back at the Pentagon, ASAP. I want you to send sub hunters after the Minsk
, and scramble a fighter squadron to chase down those bogeys." The captain asks why Hayes is being called away. "I honestly don't know," Hayes says. "But what if it is, it's big
On deck, Roy and Steve rush to their fighters. Roy asks Steve if he thinks he can keep up. "You can count on it, sir!" Steve says with a big thumbs-up. As Roy looks at a photo of himself and Rick in happier times, control tells him he's cleared for takeoff. "Skull One-Eleven here, ready when you are. Let 'er rip, tower!
" He shoots off into the sky.
Elsewhere, on the shuttle back to Washington, Admiral Hayes gets a call from the Pentagon. "Admiral, this is Secretary Dellinger. I know you're probably curious about why we're calling you back." Hayes says "curious" is a good word. "Well, I didn't want to keep you in the dark for your entire trip bacl. You'll recieve a full briefing upon your arrival at the Pentagon, but in short ... we've detected a massive unidentified object that appears to be heading straight for Earth's atmosphere." As he takes the words in, Hayes's eyes widen in sheer and utter shock.
Back in the skies over the Minsk
, Skull Squadron comes into the range of the fighters that shot down the American chopper. "I count fourteen bogeys, dead ahead," Skull Leader reports. "We've got our work cut out for us, Roy. Lead ahead with Steve and try to break up their formation ... and save some bogeys for us this time!" Roy tells Steve to follow him. When cannon fire begins to come their way, Skull Leader orders them to fire at will. Steve misses with one of his missiles and asks Roy if those are Russian SU-37s they're flying. "No, it's something else ... now pull ahead of me, kid. We're gonna weave a basket!" Steve is unsure -- he points out that he's got a bunch of the enemy craft on his tail. "Absolutely!" Roy responds. "This is an old trick. They're a sucker for this every time!" A short bit of quick maneuvering and gunfire later, and Steve is astonished that it worked like a charm -- the enemy's been torn to shreds. "Would I lie to you, kiddo?" Roy asks.
"Uh oh, Roy -- they got a lock on me!" Steve says, spotting a missile on his trail. Roy tells him he won't outrun it, so he has to outmaneuver it.
"Head for the deck and then pull up at the last second. The missile won't be able to duplicate that move." Steve tries, but goes too low. His nose touches the water, and the missile catches up with him, blowing the plane to scrap.
After a brief moment of shock and horror, Roy recovers and resumes his fight with renewed conviction, tempered with anger. "All right, you bastards, playtime's over," hs snaps. In a matter of moments, three enemy craft are full of holes and going down. He then spots the one that took out Steve. "I wanna see the look on his face when he realizes his ticket's about to be punched. Wait," he says, pausing to get a good look at the enemy fighter, "those aren't Russian markings. Who are
these guys?" As his thumb hovers over the trigger to fire his missiles, Roy decides there's no time to worry about that now. "We can sort this out once these guys are taken out for good."
Just then, Roy spots something shining out of the corner of his eye. He looks up ...
Just as the sub hunter aircraft sent to track down the Minsk
prepares to launch its torpedoes after it, a blazing light draws towards them. As it draws ever closer, the aircraft is torn apart. On the Kenosha
, the captain orders all hands to brace for impact and the deck to be cleared, but it's too late. The incoming blazing object tears past them, and the shockwaves behind it knock the Kenosha
on its side, spilling aircraft into the ocean; its escorts are tossed about like bath toys by the tsunami created by the unidentified incoming object's entry. Roy kicks in his afterburners, gaining altitude to avoid a burning death as the flaming object from the stars crash lands on a nearby island.
Beneath the ocean, Gloval is told there are some strange readings coming in. He takes a look at the monitor and orders the ship to dive deeper immediately.
Back in the sky, Roy tries to radio the Kenosha
and Skull Squadron, but to no avail. He takes a look towards the island and wonders what the hell is going on.
rises to periscope depth and Gloval takes a look outside. He is stunned by what he sees. "Take us to the surface, Poruchik." Poruchik tells him they could be looking at nuclear war here, but Gloval insists. The sub rises, and Captain Gloval gets a look for himself at Macross Island, smoke steadily billowing from its flaming surface, marred by the presence of a massive twin-engined monstrosity.
"This," Gloval says forebodingly, "is a whole new war."
- Modern Robotech.com
- Roy Fokker
- Rick Hunter
- Steve (first and final appearance)
- Admiral Donald Hayes (last in flashback in Return to Macross #20, next in Invasion #1 "Mars Base One")
- Henry J. Gloval (last in flashback in Return to Macross #30, next in Robotech: The Graphic Novel)
- Poruchik (first and final appearance)
- Secretary Dellinger (first and final appearance)
Personally, I wouldn't suggest reading Admiral Hayes's and Captain Gloval's storylines in chronological order based on how things fit -- or rather, how they fail to -- in the events prior to and following this issue. The appearances that Admiral Hayes is between are two separate, distinct stories explaining how his wife died. Even better, in each story both he and his wife have different names ("Nicholas" and "Catherine" in Return to Macross
, "Donald" and "Sara" in "Mars Base One"). The latter story is the one that is currently considered valid.
On top of that, Lisa is already with Karl Rieber in the Return to Macross
story, while in "Mars Base One" they meet for the first time. In the Return to Macross
flashbacks, the SDF-1 hasn't crashed yet, while in "Mars Base One" it's explicitly stated that it's taking place in 2001.
Gloval is in a stranger fix, temporally between events that in no way could have had any impact on his storyline according to the modern take. While the story told here appears to be very slightly
derived from the old pre-Robotech.com
novels and comics -- maintaining Roy Fokker's participation in the conflict raging across the Earth prior to the crash of the SDF-1 and his assignment to the carrier Kenosha
-- it shakes up the old storylines quite a bit. For instance, it scales back the nature of the pre-SDF-1 conflict, turning it from one huge conflict called the "Global Civil War" into an explosion of smaller conflicts across the globe. Unlike earlier works, the lines between countries seem to be about what they were in the REAL 1999. In the Comico Graphic Novel, Fokker was a pilot for the "Western Alliance;" the novels and Bill Spangler's Return to Macross
referred to him as having been a pilot for the "Internationalists"; here he seems to be flying for the U.S. Navy.
Further -- and this is what throws Gloval's story continuum out of whack -- it takes Captain Gloval and puts him on the opposite side of the conflict from Fokker and Hayes. This is a major difference from all previous pre-Macross
era ROBOTECH works, which had put Gloval in command of the Kenosha
with Fokker flying under him during this era of war. The only major problem with the new setup is that it has the potential side effect of effectively bolluxing the story Gloval tells Lisa Hayes in episode 15, "Homecoming". As Gloval tells her:"When we were serving together, a problem came up once about inadequate rations for the men. When he couldn't get any action from headquarters, he ordered our entire division to raid the food supplies of the commanding general. The general thought spies had infiltrated the regiment. He kept sending down orders for us to find them."
All I can figure is that this must have happened in some joint U.N. operation of some sort in the early '90s (the Gulf War perhaps?); McKinney figured about the same, though he had the luxury of a nearly decade-long Global Civil War to explain it away and didn't have the problem of Gloval and Hayes being on opposite sides immediately prior to the crash of the SDF-1. The one thing that helps fit Gloval's story in "Homecoming" into continuity with this issue is the fact that here Gloval does know Hayes by name. The way he speaks of him it seems the two have a history, and the TV series does nothing to suggest that it was always a friendly one, especially considering the way things go in the TV episode in question.
This issue had two different covers, neither of which have much of anything to do with the contents. Cover #1 is a rather nice but fairly stock piece of The Macross Saga
art conjured up by Long Vo and his pals at Udon. It's unfortunate that the ROBOTECH logo covers up the top of the image; it would have worked better on the bottom, since there's no important characters' faces there. Heck, the logo covers Gloval's face, and he's one of the few characters on the cover to appear in this issue! Otherwise, though, not bad; the VF-1J isn't even too Super Poseablish. My only other complaint would be that Fokker seems to be wearing a Macross The Movie: Do You Remember Love?
pilot's jumpsuit, not a ROBOTECH uniform. Notice how he has no stripe on his shirt collar and the jacket collar is the wrong color.
Cover #2 is also nice, though it's obvious that the model for the VF-1S was the "VF-1S Roy Fokker Last Stand" action figure that was a mail-away exclusive at ToyFare
magazine in the summer of 2002. Also obvious from their flatter-than-normal appearance is the fact that the Battlepods were modeled off of the video game Battlecry
for the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube. While not a good representative piece of art for this series, it's a really nice piece. Why don't we have a poster of it, or maybe a wallscroll?
Unlike the Comico Graphic Novel and the flashback scenes in Return to Macross
, everyone's wearing uniforms that, as far as I can tell, hew pretty close to the present day uniforms of their respective countries, though with a few liberties taken here and there (notably the RDF-style striped shirts underneath the U.S. Navy pilots' flight jackets). I also think Roy's flight helmet probably should have a visor of some sort, but anime-style creative license seems to have been taken so we can more easily identify him in the skies.
On the first page they appear, Hayes and the captain's name badges are blank; on all subsequent pages, they do appear. Hayes is identified only as "Admiral Hayes," though later issues do identify him as Donald Hayes -- as remarked above, this is the second
first name the character has been given, though Hayes was only originally given a first name during the Academy run of Return to Macross
, so I can very easily forgive Tommy Yune & Co. for not being aware of it. The captain serving under him's name badge appears only in one panel, in such small type that I can't read it -- it's on page 8, and it's slightly askew. Anyone out there able to read it?
The Russians' dialogue is written in a faux-Russian-looking font, which I think is a nice touch. Yes, Gloval was Russian in the ROBOTECH TV series. Yes, I know the character was originally supposed to be Italian in the Macross
TV series. Quiet, you.
The fighter that shot Steve down has the same markings that T. R. Edwards's plane had in the old Comico Graphic Novel (which also happen to be the same markings seen on the fighters in the flashbacks in episode 33, "A Rainy Night"). For those of us who know our ROBOTECH, this is foreshadowing; for everyone else, the beginning of a mystery that really doesn't pay off.
When this was released, there was a discussion about the physics of the SDF-1's arrival on one of the ROBOTECH on-line forums. Ironically, it was pointed out that while the tsunami generated by the shockwaves of the SDF-1's arrival would only move the aircraft carrier group around and not utterly destroy them, it would have created enough force to crush
, especially if it dove into deeper water. I suppose that's something of a major "oops" given the outcome presented, though I doubt most readers would catch it.Previous issue | Next issue
Labels: From the Stars, Genesis
Robotech (WildStorm) #0 (of 6)
Story - Tommy Yune
Script - Jay Faerber
Art - Jim Lee, Ale Garza, Carlos D'Anda, Lee Bermejo, Trevor Scott, Richard Friend, and Sandra Hope
Colors - Udon Studios
Letterer - John E. Workman
Editor - Ben Abernathy
Published by WildStorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics.
Release date - December 4, 2002
Cover date - February 2003
Diamond order number - OCT020800
Estimated sales - 47,880 copies
"At the dawn of the new millenium, the human race discovered they were not alone in the universe when an abandoned alien vessel crashed into the Earth. The bounty of advanced technology within would alter the course of human history. This alien technology was known as Robotech. A powerful alien race, the Zentraedi, would bring an age-old war to Earth. However, aided by the miracle of Robotechnology, the human spirit would prevail ..."
It is the year 2015. Veritech Wolf Squadron is in pursuit of a team of full-sized Zentraedi rebels who have stolen a cache of GU-11 gun pods. Wolf Leader Jack Archer radios headquarters and assures them that his team will intercept the rebels and recover the goods. As he tells his wing that they don't have authorization to use deadly force the Veritechs transform to Battloid mode and follow the rebels into what appears to be a drained resevoir. Suddenly, one of the rebels lets loose with a surprisingly loaded gun pod and the Battloids take cover. One pilot notices some approaching Monster Destroids. "Oh," he says, "looks like reinforcements. Guess base didn't think we could handle these stragglers on our--"
One of the Monsters fires -- and not at the Zentraedi. The blast takes the head off of a VF-1A Battloid. "Those are Zentraedi markings!" another pilot shouts. Indeed they are -- shoddily-painted blue Zentraedi insignias adorn the "noses" of the squat Destroid mecha. The Veritech team has been led into an ambush. The Destroids let loose on the Veritechs, firing everything they've got at the team. "Wolf Leader to base! Wolf Leader to base! We're taking heavy fire! We need back-up now! I repeat, we --"
"I heard you the first time, Wolf Leader ..."
A sleek new model of fighter plane with familiar yellow and black trim and skull & crossbone fin flash flies into the oncoming fire. "This is Skull Leader. Hold on, I'll have you out of there in no time!"
In the cockpit of his shiny new YF-4 Veritech Fighter, Rick Hunter pulls down on a familiar control lever marked "G." The jet begins to respond to the command, but it registers a malfunction. Instead of swooping down in Guardian mode, Rick is forced to lock onto the two Monsters with his missiles and knock 'em out the quick & dirty way. He fires and dives between them as the Monsters' weapons systems explode. "The Destroid Monsters have been neutralized," Rick tells Wolf Squadron. "We've deployed a full assault team to assist you in containment and clean-up." Wolf Squad thanks him as they take the full-sized Zentraedi rebels into custody.
Rick returns to Macross City with the YF-4 prototype, flying by the mounds that will stand as a monument to the fallen SDF-1 and cover over the rubble of that ship, Khyron's battlecruiser, and other remains from the Battle of New Macross City. As the Veritech touches down and screeches along the runway, Doctor Emil Lang runs up to demand a word with Hunter.
"Hello, Dr. Lang!" Rick says cheerily as he removes his flight helmet. "We're going to need a complete rundown of the YF-4's new transformation system ..." Lang demands to know what he was thinking, taking the prototype into battle.
"Had you been shot down, all of our research would have been lost ..." Lang says. Rick goes on about the transformation system, pointing out that the configuration actuators appear to seize up during a hard dive. "... and the Veritech advancement program would have suffered an enormous setback!" Lang finishes. He asks Rick to take the matter more seriously, but Rick counters that he takes this all very seriously; after all, if it hadn't been for the YF-4, some men's lives would have been lost. "Spoken like a true fighter pilot, I must say," Lang notes. "I wonder who taught you your priorities. Surely, it wasn't ..."
Rick is no longer listening; he's noticed that the VF-1S Skull One is in the hangar in Battloid mode. He asks what it's doing here. "Now that we're phasing out the first Veritech series," Lang explains, "we're preparing to disassemble Skull-One to perform a structural analysis of stress and fatigue. The data vould be invaluable since it is the oldest surviving VF-1 in our inventory." Rick says he must have missed it on the schedule. He apologizes for risking the prototype, and asks if they can continue at another time. Lang agrees, then adds that Admiral Hayes wanted him to remind Rick about his appointment tonight. Rick thanks him., then runs his hand along the mecha's canopy. "Well, old girl, Roy told me once that he thought you'd outlive him. But knowing Roy ... I thought he was just being dramatic."
Rick flashes back sixteen years ... it is the year 1999, six months prior to the arrival of the SDF-1. At a small air circus in the southwest, it's pouring rain outside, and the announcer is telling the audience that the it doesn't seem to be letting up so they're going to have to close up early. "Hey, waitasecond ..." he says as a small yellow biplane soars through the dark clouds towards a bolt of lightning, "maybe the show ain't over yet! Look, folks -- that's death-defyin' Roy Fokker up there! Looks like he's gonna make sure you get your money's worth, rain or shine!"
After the show, Fokker climbs out of his plane. Two people are waiting for him: a young boy of around nine and his father, a square-jawed old-timer in a bomber jacket. The man is one "Pop" Hunter, the owner of the air circus. As Roy boasts about his flying, Hunter chides him. "Part of being a good pilot is knowing when to take intelligently calculated risks. But flying stunts in a thunderstorm is plain stupid even for someone with your raw talent." Roy assures Pop that he can take care of himself, but Pop already knows that. "But one of these days ... you're gonna get someone else killed."
A day or so passes. Young Rick Hunter races across the field to the front office of the air circus in search of Roy. Roy and Pop are watching the news, and Rick asks Roy if he's really going to go fight in the war. "'Fraid so, little brother," Roy says. "Can't put it off any longer." He turns to Pop. "I know you're anti-war, and I"m not exactly eager to kill anyone myself, but I'm a damn good pilot, and my country needs me." Pop puts his hand on Roy's shoulder. "I can respect that," he says. "Every man's gotta make his own way in this world." Roy thanks him, then takes Rick outside to talk.
Rick asks if he can come with him, but Roy tells Rick that war's no place for little guys like him. "When I get older, then?" Rick asks. Roy assures Rick that when he's old enough to be a fighter pilot, this war is going to be a distant memory. "Then will you come back and fly for the circus again?" Rick asks. "You bet," Roy replies, "and I'll be back for good."
"Yeah, I promise."
- Modern Robotech.com
- Rick Hunter (last in The Macross Saga #36, next in Robotech (WildStorm) #6)
- Jack Archer (first and final appearance)
- Dr. Emil Lang (last in The Macross Saga #6, next in Robotech II: The Malcontent Uprisings #7)
- Roy Fokker (first chronological appearance)
- Mitchell "Pops" Hunter (first chronological appearance, next in Robotech: The Graphic Novel)
- Rick Hunter (first chronological appearance)
While "Pops" Hunter has a different first name in the old Comico Graphic Novel (one of three, collect them all) and a more feeble appearance overall, that doesn't change the fact that the scenes with Rick's dad (and Rick, for that matter) in that story don't contradict anything in this mini-series. Everyone else
(the Earth-based characters, that is), on the other hand ...
This was the first all-new published
story set in Harmony Gold's revised ROBOTECH timeline, which throws all of the old, previously published material out and starts fresh with the original 1985 TV series as its only basis.
I have to agree with a friend of mine when he says that the opening narration is missing a little something, namely, "In the year 1999 ..." The date does come up later, but honestly, it should have been in the narration, if only for nostalgia reasons. Besides, the "at the dawn of a new millenium" stuff (which became the standard opening for all the WildStorm ROBOTECH comic series) gives me nasty flashbacks to the Robotech 3000
Note the use of the ROBOTECH: Battlecry
video game's VF-1R Veritech Fighter (three-lasered head) as Wolf Leader's craft. The Battlecry
storyline was, at this point, the only other all-new story material in the revised ROBOTECH timeline. Wolf Leader Jack Archer's cameo here would not be the only
cameo by a ROBOTECH video game character in the comics; Dr. Osmund from ROBOTECH: Invasion
would appear in the last two issues of the comic series of the same name. However, Osmund gets to be referred to by name, while Archer is not.
Bear in mind, Wolf Squadron was referred to in the first episode of ROBOTECH and reappears in Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles
, setting up its appearance in the Shadow Chronicles
animation. It's been set up in the new material as the other
premiere Veritech squadron, alongside the Skull.
Despite the reboot, traces from other earlier "secondary canon" works do shine through; notice that one of the primary established characters in this story is Doctor Emil Lang, who first grew to prominence in ROBOTECH II: The Sentinels
and works designed to set the stage for that aborted television project (i.e. the original Comico Graphic Novel). If you'll recall, originally he only appeared in episodes 5 and 6 of the TV series. The scenes with Roy and Rick's father also seem to draw heavily from the portrayal of "Pop" Hunter in the aforementioned Graphic Novel, though "Pop," while clad in a very similar outfit, is much younger-looking here than his Graphic Novel counterpart.
Rick's craft in this issue is the YF-4/VF-X-4. He played with a model of it in the opening scenes to episode 36, "To The Stars". There was some chatter about whether or not Harmony Gold could legally use that design prior to this issue's release. Since it does appear in the show, at least in model form, I would assume they do. However, I assume that the mecha was unable to transform in this story for legal reasons; Harmony Gold does not own the rights to the design of the Guardian or Battloid modes for this mecha since it only appeared in Fighter mode in the material they have the rights to. In fact, no such forms were designed by mecha designer (and Macross
co-creator) Shoji Kawamori for this particular revision of the design. A refined version of the mecha called the VF-4 Lightning
was later developed for the 1987 combination music video/epilogue Flashback 2012
and further refined for the Bandai video game Macross VF-X
, only the latter of which actually featured a GERWALK (Guardian) and Battroid (Battloid) mode for the craft. I suspect a Battloid and Guardian mode would have to be designed for this mecha in-house at Harmony Gold before it could be used again in ROBOTECH for any period of time.
The two-page spread on pages 7 & 8 depicts the construction of the three mounds that appear in the Masters episodes of the ROBOTECH TV series (a.k.a. SX Point 83
). Easily seen behind the unfinished framework of the one in the forefront are the remains of the SDF-1; in another, Khyron's downed battlecruiser. The third one is almost complete and thus we don't get a look inside. Harmony Gold has been awfully noncommittal about what exactly is in that third mound. Series story editor & producer Carl Macek has long claimed that he intended for the SDF-2 to be standing back-to-back with the SDF-1 in the final episode of the Macross portion of ROBOTECH, "To The Stars," so that its remains could be the contents of the third mound. However, since no SDF-2 actually appears in the footage, some have argued that the references to the SDF-2 in "To The Stars" had to be referring to events at another location and thus it cannot be what is inside that third mound. Since the Daedalus
arm of the SDF-1 was sheared off in Khyron's final suicide attack, I suppose that could
be the contents of the third mound. (In the trade paperback collection that contains this story, From The Stars
, a reference drawing of the under-construction mounds appears and does identify the third mound as the SDF-2. However, that's merely preproduction material, and the finished art remains noncommittal.)
Speaking of that location, it appears that New Macross City is relatively intact below the mounds. Since the passage of time between Rick's thoughts about that fateful day in New Macross and his final approach for landing is indeterminite, it's not clear if he's landing at New Macross or at nearby Monument City, but if he is landing at the former locale, this flatly contradicts all earlier licensed material, which swears up and down that New Macross is so terribly irradiated by the destruction of the SDF-1 and Khyron's battlecruiser (and possibly the SDF-2) that nobody should ever go there ever again ... or at least until an insubordinate Dana Sterling decides to ride out there in 2029.
I have a qualm with Lang's accented dialogue (not reproduced in the quotes above, for clarity's sake), written out like, "vhat is dis?" which strikes me as a trend that should have been given up by comics writers years ago. Nobody had ever
written Lang's dialogue that way before, at least not in any published officially licensed story, despite the fact that he spoke in a German accent in the show. While I could hear Lang's voice the way I remember it from the series a shade more easily with the accented dialogue, I still think it reads like a bad stereotype in an obnoxious kind of way.
Notice that Rick is still "Captain Hunter;" he has apparently not recieved a promotion since the end of the Macross
episodes of ROBOTECH, wheras Lisa is referred to as "Admiral Hayes." This is another aspect that flies in the face of previous licensed works, which brought Rick up to just under Lisa's rank after the destruction of the SDF-1 and -2 (hence references in the novels from "The Zentraedi Rebellion" onward to "the Admirals Hunter"), but makes good sense. After all, Lisa's last words to Minmei concerning Rick before she and he took off to fend off Khyron's final attack were, "He's a pilot! That's his life!" This very point is made by Rick early in "The Zentraedi Rebellion," and the fact that Yune and Faerber didn't go down that route in this story proves that they were paying better attention to that line than Lisa was in that particular story.
The appointment that Rick has with "Admiral Hayes" appears at the end of issue #6.
The twelve story pages of this issue were handled by seven different artists. It's not clear who did what, or who served in what capacity; only a person familiar with each artist's style and what each person tends to do (as in "pencils or inks?") would be able to tell, and I'm not that familiar with most of these names. Oh sure, I know Jim Lee, WildStorm's founder and Editorial Director, but the rest of the names aren't totally clicking. I think Lee did the first page or two; and even then I'm not totally sure, since it's possible that different artists may have worked on the same pages.
The mecha art appears to be strongly based on the Toynami Super-Poseable Veritech action figures. The hands on the Veritechs are more mechanical-looking than those in the show, and the neck and leg joints are more detailed and mechanical-looking as well. The large kneecaps are definitely taken from the Super-Poseable toy design; Veritechs' knees are generally NOT that pronounced. The shoulders, though, are very much those of a transforming Veritech design; they're more boxy and less pointy than those on the Toynami Super-Poseables. Very, very slight but noticeable liberties were also made with the VF-1A's head; it's not as rounded as it used to be. Despite the numerous nitpicks, though, the mecha art looks excellent -- much better than most of Antarctic Press's hand-drawn mecha art -- but it does have certain hallmarks which reek of revisionism rather than nostalgia. Then again, revisionism seemed to be quite the order of the day during the 80's nostalgia boom.
The character art is another matter. Dr. Lang is the spitting image of his anime counterpart, despite some weirdness on his lumpily-drawn jowels. Rick, on the other hand, is barely recognizable. He bears a much closer resemblence to the toned-down and kind of hideous Matchbox action figure from the 1980's than his big-haired anime counterpart. He actually somewhat resembles the early test drawings for the character done by Macross
character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto during the two years of lead time prior to the beginning of production on the TV series. Between the story and the pin-up art in the back of the book, I swear that I've seen more Rick Hunters that don't actually look like Rick Hunter in this book than anywhere else ever. Usually artists at least try to replicate his big and weirdly-pointed hair; the artists on this book didn't even seem to try.
And the noses look kind of weird, too.
Somehow, though, Roy manages to look sorta like Roy. Perhaps it's that his hair is more generically anime-styled and his face shape more specific than Rick's. Looking at it now, the final shot of Roy actually bears a striking resemblence to the He-Man
character design from the 2002 relaunch of that property, with a longer chin. Maybe it's just that I've seen so many weird-looking versions of Roy (due to the revolving door of artists on Return to Macross
) I'm much more tolerant of weird Roys than I am with weird Ricks.
Speaking of He-Man
, Rick's dad looks a lot like Man-At-Arms from the '02 relaunch as well. Same age lines, same moustache, same face shape, same predeliction for wearing protective headgear ...
In "Boobytrap," Rick says, "You promised my dad you'd return to the air circus when the war was over ..." The only person he promises here, however, is Rick. I assume Roy made that
promise before he made his promise to Rick; otherwise the line from "Boobytrap" either doesn't make sense or, feasibly, you could claim Rick decided to bring up his father in "Boobytrap" just to stick a nice, sharp emotional knife in his "big brother" -- after all, it does come right after Rick calls Roy a "killer."
The pin-ups in the back are something of a mixed bag. For the record, they are:
- Rick Hunter and Lynn Minmei with a VF-1S Super Veritech behind them, by Adam Warren (Gen 13, Dirty Pair, Empowered) on character art and Joe Wight (Twilight X) on mecha. Please note that this is the most correct-looking Rick Hunter in the ENTIRE BOOK. Also note that Wight was a regular cover artist on the Antarctic Press ROBOTECH anthology title in the late '90s.
- Exedore, Breetai, and Khyron along with a small fleet of Zentraedi ships and a few Zentraedi mecha, by Troy Nixey (Grendel: Black, White, & Red, Jenny Finn) and Jeromy Cox.
- Claudia Grant, Lisa Hayes, and Lynn Minmei having a picnic with an extremely Super-Poseable Figure-looking VF-1S Skull One giving a "V" hand-sign in the background, by Randy Green (Witchblade, Tomb Raider, New X-Men: Academy X), Rick Ketcham, and Omar Dogan.
- Max and Miriya's video game battle with a CG rendered showdown between their REAL mecha in the background, by Kaare Andrews (Spider-Man: Reign) on characters and Tipatat Chennavasin on mecha renders. Scratch my comment above, the Rick Hunter in the background HERE is the most correct-looking Hunter in the whole book. Also note that Chennavasin also was responsible for at least one render that appeared in Antarctic Press's Vermilion mini-series and the cover art for the third issue of the Antarctic ROBOTECH anthology title from the late '90s.
- A "poster art" style piece with Rick Hunter, Lynn Minmei, Zentraedi Battlepods, and the VF-1S Skull One in Guardian mode, by Dustin Nguyen (Wildcats 3.0, Manifest Eternity).
- A decidedly non-anime piece featuring a horrifyingly well-endowed Rick Hunter carrying a spherical flight helmet, Lynn Minmei, and two Skull-marked and sleeker-than-usual VF-1 Veritech Fighters, by Keron Grant (Son of Vulcan), Rob Stull, and Udon.
- An all-out mecha battle with proper anime-style VF-1's (yay, no Super-Poseable knees!) of various sizes in front of the SDF-1, by Long Vo and Saka.
Moving a little away from the art to other visual elements of the book, on one of the readouts when Rick is attacking the Monster Destroids, the screen says that the glitch is with the "transportation system", not the "transformation system". Easy mistake, corrected in the trade paperback collection.
This also appears to have been otherwise hand-lettered, one of the very few hand-lettered books put out by a major publisher that I've seen in so many years. Kinda nice, though the lettering is not as clean as the lettering I recall from the days when all books were hand-lettered. Does lend it more of a nostalgic feel, though.Next issue
Labels: From the Stars, Genesis