Robotech Invid War #2 (of 18)

"Salvation Run"

Story - Bill Spangler & Tim Eldred
Pencils & Letters - Tim Eldred
Inks & Tones - Fred Perry
Cover Painting - Robert Chang
Publisher - Dave Olbrich
Editor-In-Chief - Chris Ulm
Editor - Dan Danko

Published by Eternity Comics, a division of Malibu Graphics Publishing Group.

Release date - June 17, 1992
Cover date - June 1992


The Invid Invasion of Earth begins has begun. Their first act is to wipe out all planetary defenses in orbit, including the recently returned Robotech Factory Satellite. They then turn to planetside defenses. Communication lines between terrestrial bases are shattered by electromagnetic pulses from above, and the few remaining Southern Cross forces that rise up to stop the new menace are crushed by the Invid's overwhelming might. Watching from above, the crew of Moon Base ALuCE II, an underground base constructed shortly after the defeat of the Robotech Masters, could do only that without communications from the mother planet. In a way, the Invid overlords returned a lost sense of stability to the fractured and factionalized world. They put the survivors work in their hives, where the Invid began their Great Work.

It is now a cold, dark March evening in the year 2033 C.E. At the former United Earth Government base known as Vahalla, Jonathan Wolff's slumber is interrupted by a call informing him of a strong transmission coming from a lone fighter returning to Earth. With no sign of Invid interference, Wolff heads down to establish contact.

At the communications center, Wolff asks Major Carpenter how they're doing. "So far, so good. She's at 900 kilometers and descending," Carpenter says. Wolff radios the fighter, designated Legioss 3, and identifies himself. The transmission is kind of hazy. "What's the status of Moon Base ALuCE?" Wolff asks. Legioss 3 tells him they're holding their own, but it's a long story. She was intending on landing at Pinnacle Base, but she says Carpenter told her that wouldn't be safe. Wolff tells her that they haven't heard from Pinnacle since the night of the invasion; for all they know the UEG no longer exists. Legioss 3 isn't surprised.

At that moment, a team of Invid Shock Troopers rise through the atmosphere to attack Legioss 3. She switches her Alpha to Battloid and blasts one with her gun pod. Another one passes her by, swiping at one of her boosters and frying it. Legioss 3 jettisons the others and they detonate, destroying two Invid.

Back at Vahalla, Wolff asks if they can supply any backup, but he's told they can't do it fast enough. Legioss 3 radios back and tells she can probably lose the last of the Invid in reentry. Radio contact is lost as the Alpha descends into the atmosphere, and Wolff asks if they can figure out where Legioss 3 is going to touch down. "I think so ... grid reference MK-41." Wolff recognizes that as the territory of the Defoliators, an anti-Robotechnology group.

The following day, Wolff, Carpenter, and a pair of foragers take a jeep out into the wastelands in order to find Legioss 3. "We need to get in, get the pilot, and get out without attracting any attention," Wolff says. Norvell, one of the foragers, asks Wolff what will happen if the Defoliators get the pilot first. Wolff fears it won't be as simple as a mere trade; the leader of the Defoliators has a personal dispute with Wolff. "When I left for Tirol back in 2020, I left my wife and son here on Earth. We had split up, although we never officially got divorced. When I returned last year, I tried to contact them ... but they had moved out of our old home. I didn't know whether they were dead or alive ... and before long, I got bogged down in trying to create an anti-Invid resistance. The remainder of the United Earth Government had moved to an underground complex in the Rockies called Pinnacle Base. We decided to hold a summit conference there, with as many factions as we could. The Defoliators was one of the factions. They believed that Earth would be safe if we destroyed all our Protoculture and all our Flowers of Life." Norvell asks how this got personal. "My son, Johnny, is the leader of the Defoliators. He didn't arrive until after the conference officially started. On the SDF-3, Dr. Lang had told me what to expect, but I really didn't believe it until I saw it. When I had left Earth, Johnny was six. I had aged only a couple of years aboard the SDF-3, but thirteen years had passed on Earth. Johnny was now a man. What's more, he was his own man."

Carpenter interrupts Wolff's story to point out that they've got company -- an old Cestus battlesuit, probably from the Defoliators. Norvell floors the accelerator, and the Cestus tries to blast them. As the foragers argue, a shot strikes right in front of them. Carpenter asks if they fight or run, but Wolff says neither. "If we surrender, we stand a better chance of being taken to where they're holding the pilot." They stop the jeep, raise their hands, and the Cestus pilot radios for another vehicle to pick them up and take them the rest of the way, as prisoners. Staring out at the barren land behind him, Wolff thinks back to his encounter with his son. "How can you possibly believe this?" he had asked. "Protoculture is the only weapon we've got against the Invid." "But the Protoculture is what's drawing the Invid to Earth!" Johnny countered. "You said that yourself! If we destroy the Protoculture, they'll go someplace else!" Wolff asked Johnny for his help to try and pull the factions together before the Invid, but Johnny refused. "You ran out on Mom and me! You left us here to face the Masters, and the gangs and metrobosses. And now you expect me to treat you like my father! You're not my father! I don't even know who you are!"

Carpenter taps Wolff on the shoulder and tells him they've arrived. Their destination appears to be a temporary camp made up of a few tents and a large military transport. While the Defoliators have found the Alpha, the pilot's location is a mystery. The Defoliators lead Wolff, Carpenter, and the foragers to their transport, when Wolff suddenly recognizes one of them as Gary Hauser, a colleague of Johnny's. Wolff asks how Catherine and Johnny are. Hauser has some bad news. "John and his mother were captured in an Invid raid on Cutlerville ... we don't know whether they're alive or dead." Wolff begins to tear up, but Hauser says there are more pressing concerns. "I want you to tell me everything you know about that Alpha." The foragers act like they're in some sort of bad comedy routine, but Hauser demands to know if the Alpha is one of Wolff's, and more importantly, where the pilot is. Just then, someone blasts the Defoliators' transport, knocking Hauser unconscious. Carpenter quickly grabs a gun and orders the team to move, when another blast strikes the transport. Wolff suddenly notices a soldier in Cyclone armor behind them -- the pilot of Legioss 3, Bekka Cade. She tells the four to get into the truck. Norvell takes the wheel and as the Alpha goes up in flames, the truck speeds away.

The following morning, with the Defoliators off their tail, Wolff and company stop the truck and rendezvous with Lt. Cade. She tells Wolff that she's sorry about his family and asks if there's anything she can do. "I'm not sure there's anything anyone can do. Catherine and Johnny may be dead. They may be slaves at one of those Protoculture farms. The Invid may be planning to use them to reach me. I've fought the Invid before. Anything is possible." Carpenter asks if they can expect any help from ALuCE II. She tells him that's why she came down to Earth. "When the Factory Satellite started up again last year, a percentage of all the mecha produced were sent to ALuCE II as a reserve force. We hated just sitting and watching during the invasion, but those were our orders. But now that the situation's stabilized a little, we want to launch a full-scale assault on Reflex Point, the Invid headquarters. My mission is to reestablish contact with ALuCE II and to coordinate an attack with the United Earth Government ... or what's left of it." Wolff notices a shimmering of light in the distance and realizes what it is. He leaps out of the way and tells Bekka to look out as a shot rings out. She lowers her visor and speeds off after him. Wolff tells her to take him alive if possible.

Mere minutes later, Bekka leads her prisoner back to the truck. It's Gavin Murdock, former leader of the ex-Southern Cross unit known as the Stone Men. Wolff explains to his companions that Murdock believes Wolff betrayed him to the GMP. While this isn't the case, Wolff has no way to prove it. Carpenter asks what to do with him, and Wolff says to take his firearms from him and let him go. "I never intended to hurt him or his people," Wolff says. "Maybe now he'll believe it." Murdock's still pretty angry. "You are hard to please, aren't you?" Wolff says. "Suppose I gave you another choice. Suppose I give you a chance to do something good with all that anger ... there's a big assault against the Invid coming, and I'm going to need men. Men I can trust. You in?" Murdock hesitates for a moment, but joins up. Carpenter asks if this is a good idea, and while Wolff has his doubts, he does want to convince Murdock that he's telling the truth. "Besides," he adds, "we're going to need all the help we can get."


TIMELINE - Jack McKinney novels timeline.

  • Jonathan Wolff
  • John Carpenter (last seen in Robotech Masters #10)
  • Bekka Cade (first published appearance, last seen in Invid War #6)
  • Norvell
  • Parkes (final appearance)
  • Gavin Murdock
  • John "Johnny" Wolff (last seen in The Malcontent Uprisings #9, final appearance)
  • Gary Hauser (first chronological & published appearance)
Actually, while this is the last we see of the forager who has, up to now, been referred to as Parkes, the next time we see Norvell he's calling himself Parkes; he goes by that name until the last time we see him in Invid War #4.

Much like most of the pre-Return to Macross work of Bill Spangler, this takes place firmly within the timeline of the ROBOTECH novels by Brian Daley and James Luceno working under the pen name Jack McKinney. The most obvious touchstone is Wolff's quote of 2020 as the year he left for Tirol, taken from the Sentinels novels. The destruction of the Factory Satellite at the hands of the Invid early on also comes straight from McKinney, specifically their adaptation of the New Generation TV series. At the same time, due to the date quoted by Wolff as well as the use of McKinney's "five year fold" plot point to make Johnny Wolff as old as he is compared to his father, the story doesn't work in the context of the more modern material. I've never been a big fan of the idea that the fold drives used by the Expeditionary Force keep taking five years, but Spangler and Eldred use it very effectively in this chapter of Jonathan Wolff's most unfortunate story arc.

The Cestus Battlesuit that appears here is a Shoji Kawamori creation, designed for Super Dimension Fortress Macross when it was still in the planning stages under the title Battle City Megaroad, back in 1980. It's actually a very early predecessor to the VF-1 Valkyrie, and is even supposed to be able to transform into a sort of Fighter mode with the cannon on the right arm as the nose of the jet. If you look closely at the art here, there's an "MPM" on the left arm, which I think stands for "Macross Perfect Memory," the artbook that Eldred and/or Spangler would have most likely seen it in back in 1992.

For the few of you who aren't aware by now, the term "Legioss," used here as Bekka Cade's callsign, is actually the proper name for the Alpha Fighter in the original Japanese TV series Genesis Climber Mospeada, the program that was dubbed into English and rewritten to create the New Generation episodes of ROBOTECH. Later material, most notably the novel Before The Invid Storm, appropriates the term as the name of a docked Alpha and Beta Fighter, but here Bekka is using a generic booster pack.

This issue introduces Moon Base ALuCE II, which presumably corresponds with the base seen at the end of the ROBOTECH TV series and referred to simply as ALuCE in the Shadow Chronicles film. Despite being equipped with Cyclones and Alphas, here it is a Southern Cross installation, as its predecessor was following its seizure by the military.

I have to give Spangler & Eldred points for their clever use of the Factory Satellite as a plot point; since it was the staging base for the SDF-3 mission, it's only natural that it might still contain machinery capable of producing Alpha Fighters. On the other hand, I'm not too keen on the idea of bringing back the Factory Satellite only to have it destroyed by the Invid. Then again, as I pointed out above, Spangler was only following McKinney's lead with that one. It does beg the question though, if the Factory Satellite met such an end, what then of Space Station Liberty? Did it just fold away (unlikely, as McKinney implies that only the REF had fold-capable ships during the Second Robotech War), or was it destroyed as well?

As an amusing aside, in the ROBOTECH TV series both Jonathan Wolff and John Carpenter are played by the same actor, Thomas Wyner.

Previous issue | Next issue

Labels: ,