Robotech II: The Sentinels (Eternity/Malibu Graphics, Academy Comics)
Based on the unproduced TV series by Harmony Gold in association with Tatsunoko Prod. Co.
I swear to exterminate Rick and Lisa Hunter, and Breetai, after I've made them suffer enough ... the rest of you will either bow at my feet or die!
THE LOWDOWNTen years have passed since the near-destruction of planet Earth at the hands of the Zentraedi and the subsequent annihilation of the Zentraedi Grand Fleet. On Earth, civilization continues to mend in the wake of this global apocylapse; while aboard the captured Robotech Factory Satellite in orbit, the Super Dimension Fortress Three has been constructed to complete a mission vital to the survival of the Earth. This vessel, manned by the greatest heroes of the Robotech war and a new generation raised in the war's aftermath, is to travel to the homeworld of the Robotech Masters, the moon Tirol, in an attempt to prevent a second Robotech war--a war which the people of Earth fear their world would be unable to survive. However, when the fortress arrives in Tirolspace, Tirol is found to have been conquered by a new foe--the slug-like Invid.
The Robotech Expeditionary Force's peaceful mission ends in failure, and a battle between the REF and the Invid begins. Our heroes manage to drive the Invid from the planet, but at a great cost--the SDF-3 is crippled, unable to return home and stuck in Tirolian orbit until full repairs can be made. And the Robotech Masters are already on their way to Earth.
Enter the Sentinels, a group of revolutionaries from several nearby planets that have been conquered by the vicious Invid. They have banded together to free their homeworlds from Invid rule, but are in desperate need of assistance in waging their war. Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes, along with a contingent of their fellow REF personnel, agree to help the Sentinels in their fight for freedom.
BACKGROUND INFORobotech II: The Sentinels was originally developed as a 65 episode animated sequel to the original ROBOTECH TV series, co-produced by Harmony Gold and Tatsunoko Productions, slated to air in the Fall of 1986. Unfortunately, due to a chain reaction of sorry circumstances, the animated version of this storyline was never completed. From April to August of 1988, Del Rey released five Robotech II: The Sentinels novels by the writing team of Brian Daley and James Luceno -- two men who had previously, under the pen name Jack McKinney, adapted the original 85 episodes of ROBOTECH into twelve bestselling novels. They were given the original concepts and outline for the Sentinels TV series and told to tinker with them to their liking. The end result was a product which bore a strong resemblance to the Sentinels story as outlined by ROBOTECH story editor and producer Carl Macek but slowly diverged from the original course as the storyline progressed and unfolded. It was a few months after the five Sentinels novels were on bookstore shelves that the Sentinels story began to emerge in comic book form, written by Eternity Comics editors Tom Mason and Chris Ulm and drawn by newcomers Jason and John Waltrip.
Along with Ben Dunn's Ninja High School, The Sentinels became one of the flagship titles of Malibu Publishing's Eternity imprint. Early on the story remained quite faithful to the original TV scripts, a fact that outsiders can tell only because Eternity published two books containing the first eight scripts in 1991 & 1992, but also included all-new ideas from Mason and Ulm. However, by the beginning of Sentinels Book II in mid-1990, the comic book series had veered more towards the course of the novels -- whether this was due to a lack of access to the remainder of the original TV series material, a desire to present a unified Sentinels front, or due to fan demand, nobody's ever said. Still, as the story progressed all-new elements still slipped in, including an entire new subplot revolving around an underground movement within the REF, featuring brand-new characters, at the start of Sentinels Book III in mid-1993.
Following the closure of Malibu's Eternity imprint in late 1993 and the ROBOTECH comic book license's move to small publisher Academy Comics, even more new, original ideas from the minds of the comic book writers -- now the Waltrips, having taken over those chores shortly before the move -- started to appear in the storyline, freshening up the then six year-old epic.
Ultimately, with the end of Academy's reign as the ROBOTECH comic licensee at the end of 1996, so ended The Sentinels with Book IV, Issue 13 and a dangling cliffhanger regarding the fate of the title characters, though there was at least a certain amount of resolution regarding events on the Robotech Masters' former homeworld of Tirol. Antarctic Press, the next comic licensee, made an abortive attempt to get the Waltrips to continue the series, but a satisfactory deal was never struck. While the Waltrips wanted to strike a deal with Antarctic and finish the series, the powers that be at Antarctic either wouldn't or couldn't pay them the same rates that Eternity and Academy did. Rumor is that Antarctic was more interested in giving the ROBOTECH saga to their own staffers to play with and develop, but these rumblings came from a disgruntled former employee, so heaven only knows how accurate they might be.
In the end, Antarctic wound up publishing a series entitled Sentinels: Rubicon with a different creative team, but it was set in the post-New Generation era and had nothing to do with the novel of the same name, nor did it have much of anything to do with the original Robotech II: The Sentinels property outside of a few side references. However, with the appearance of several of the Sentinels story's non-Macross cast members, including T.R. Edwards, Vince Grant, and Janice Em, in modern ROBOTECH projects, such as WildStorm Productions' first comic book mini-series From The Stars and the upcoming fourth generation of ROBOTECH in animation, The Shadow Chronicles, it seemed only a matter of time before a certain period in these characters' lives would have to be addressed.
In late 2004, Harmony Gold Creative Director Tommy Yune remarked that he really felt bad about how the Waltrips never got to properly wrap up their long-running adaptation of The Sentinels, so they were being brought back into the fold to work on the comic book lead-in to The Shadow Chronicles. During the summer of 2005, the true nature of this project was revealed; the Waltrips would only be writing the series, but it would pick up more or less where things had left off nine years ago, with T.R. Edwards making his escape from Tirol with a captive Minmei at his side. With only five issues to bridge the gap and deal with the dangling threads from The Sentinels, it would not be a perfect resolution, but considering that most ROBOTECH fans who had followed the Waltrips' adaptation of The Sentinels had long ago given up hope for any sort of resolution to the series' storylines, any sort of wrap-up bearing the Waltrips' names was good news.
More on Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles in its own entry here.
- Book 1 #1 - A New Threat
- Book 1 #2 - A New Threat Part 2
- Book 1 #3 - Preparations
- Book 1 #4 - The Inorganics
- Book 1 #5 - War Toys
- Book 1 #6 - The Best Laid Plans
- Wedding Special #1 - Wedding Day
- Wedding Special #2 - I Do
- Book 1 #7 - Good Morning!
- Book 1 #8 - Departure
- Book 1 #9 - Here, There, and Everywhere
- Book 1 #10 - Stranded
- Book 1 #11 - The Message
- Book 1 #12 - First Date!
- Book 1 #13 - Old Friends, New Friends
- Book 1 #14 - You Can't Go Home Again
- Book 1 #15 - The Battle For Fantoma
- Book 1 #16 - Victory?
- Book 2 #1 - The Coming of the Sentinels
- Book 2 #2 - Smooth Landings
- Book 2 #3 - Pursued!
- Book 2 #4 - The Hunted
- Book 2 #5 - The Invid Must Die!
- Book 2 #6 - Preparations (Again)
- Book 2 #7 - Farewell
- Book 2 #8 - Seek and Destroy
- Book 2 #9 - Karbarra
- Book 2 #10 - Over Their Heads
- Book 2 #11 - Battle Royale
- Book 2 #12 - Reflections
- Book 2 #13 - Cut Off
- Book 2 #14 - Missing Persons
- Book 2 #15 - Hooooooooowwwlll! ... in the Night!
- Book 2 #16 - Full Metal Planet
- Book 2 #17 - Assault on Karbarra
- Book 2 #18 - Operation: Karbarran Storm
- Book 2 #19 - Traitors in the Midst
- Book 2 #20 - Beware of the Handshake ...
- Book 2 #21 - The Slow Death of the Sentinels
- Book 3 #1 - The Dance of Death
- Book 3 #2 - The Hand at Work
- Book 3 #3 - A Ship Divided
- Book 3 #4 - When Worlds Implode
- Book 3 #5 - Into the Pit!
- Book 3 #6 - Return of the Native
- Book 3 #7 - Wild Card
- Book 3 #8 - Escape From Tirol
- Book 3 #9 - Into the Fire!
- Book 3 #10 - Of Enemies and Allies
- Book 3 #11 - Where the Wild Things Are
- Book 3 #12 - Dream a Little Dream
- Book 3 #13 - Scheme a Little Scheme
- Book 3 #14 - None But The Brave
- Book 3 #15 - Unto the Breach!
- Book 3 #16 - Where Humans Dare!
- Book 3 #17 - A Portion For Foxes!
- Book 3 #18 - Garudans in the Mist
- Book 3 #19 - To Walk Among Giants
- Book 3 #20 - Destination: Earth!
- Book 3 #21 - The Predator and the Prey
- Book 3 #22 - A Clockwork Planet!
- Book 4 #1 - World Killers!
- Book 4 #2 - No Man's Land
- Book 4 #3 - Specters in Midnight
- Book 4 #4 - Prisoners of Fate
- Book 4 #5 - Monkey Wrench
- Book 4 #6 - Clockwork of Doom!
- Book 4 #7 - Seraphim Avenging
- Book 4 #8 - Conquer and Divide
- Book 4 #9 - Disperate Paths
- Book 4 #10 - Dance with the Devil
- Book 4 #11 - Summit
- Halloween Special #1
- Book 4 #12 - Checkmate!
- Book 4 #13 - Requiem for Justice
COLLECTIONSRobotech II: The Sentinels Book One - A New Beginning
Published by Malibu Graphics, this hardcover volume collects the story pages from Robotech II: The Sentinels Book One #1 - 4 in their entirety. It features an introduction by Chris Ulm and Tom Mason (series writers) that explains how the Sentinels project came to be and how it came to be licensed by Eternity Comics/Malibu Graphics for comic book adaptation. Also scattered throughout the book are five original black & white group shots of the main REF heroes by Jason Waltrip.
Following the story material are five pieces of production art from the animated series (the SDF-3, an Invid Hellcat, a Tiresian cityscape, a Pollinator, and an Alpha Fighter in Fighter mode) and swimsuit shots of Karen Penn and Lynn Minmei by Jason Waltrip. Included with the book is an adhesive plate featuring a Jason Waltrip illustration of Minmei in a bikini, signed by Ulm, Mason, and both Waltrip brothers; this is limited to 850 pieces.
The back cover features a linked Alpha and Beta trying to recover from a blast while a Valivarre-class vessel (a single-boomed vessel similar to the SDF-3, designed for Sentinels but never used in any finished version) explodes overhead; this painting is by Steve Martin (no, not THAT Steve Martin).
Robotech II: The Sentinels Volume Two - The Marriage of Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes
Published by Malibu Graphics, this hardcover volume collects the story pages from Robotech II: The Sentinels Book One #5 - 6 and Wedding Special #1 - 2 in their entirety. It features an interview with the Waltrips in lieu of an introduction. The book also features two all-new illustrations by Jason Waltrip and four all-new pin-up/cover art style illustrations by John Waltrip of the Sentinels characters.
Included with the book is an adhesive plate featuring a John Waltrip illustration of an Alpha Fighter in Battloid mode, signed by Chris Ulm, Tom Mason, and both Waltrip brothers, limited to 500 pieces.
The back cover features a Jason Waltrip illustration of Rick Hunter in his old Veritech flight helmet looking to the sky against a similarly posed Alpha Veritech in Battloid mode, with an Alpha in Fighter mode taking off in the distance.
Robotech II: The Sentinels Volume Three - Operation: Tirol
Published by Malibu Graphics, this softcover volume collects the story pages from Robotech II: The Sentinels Book One #7 - 10, though a misprint in at least the first printing (1992) replaces page 22 of issue #8 with page 22 of issue #9. Also, the cover art for issue #7, by Dave Dorman (best known for his Star Wars paintings, though he previously did a number of ROBOTECH covers for the Comico adaptations), is replaced with the John Waltrip Alpha Fighter piece from the second hardcover collection nameplate. The omitted cover was the only one not drawn by either of the Waltrips during the entire Sentinels run.
This book features an introduction by then-Sentinels editor Dan Danko dated January 1992 regarding his ROBOTECH fandom and how he became involved with the property at Malibu Graphics. It also features a John Waltrip piece (previously used as a house ad for the Sentinels series during the end of Book One) on the first page, and two pages later a new Jason Waltrip cover-style piece (featuring the Sentinels aliens, who do not appear in the Sentinels comics until Book Two). The back cover features a previously unreleased John Waltrip illustration roughly contemporary with the material presented in this volume, featuring Rick & Lisa, Minmei & Janice, an Alpha Fighter in Battloid looming over them, and the battle-damaged SDF-3 in the far background.
Robotech II: The Sentinels Volume Four - Mission Impossible!
Published by Malibu Graphics, this softcover volume collects the story pages from Robotech II: The Sentinels Book One #11 - 14 in their entirety. Its bonus material is limited to a single new pin-up/ cover art style illustration by Jason Waltrip on the first page behind the front cover and a brief guide to the cast of characters. The back cover features a recolored version of John Waltrip's cover art to the second issue of Robotech II: The Sentinels - The Illustrated Handbook.
SEE ALSOOther works by Jason Waltrip:
- Fans! (webcomic) (regular artist)