Robotech: Vermilion #1 (of 4)
Story & Art - Duc Tran
Cover Colors - ARNie
3-D Renderings - Tipatat Chennavasin
Published by Antarctic Press.
Release date - August 6, 1997
Cover date - August 1997
Estimated sales - 8,300 copies
THE STORYThe SDF-1 has finally returned to Earth following its lengthy exodus and constant battle with the Zentraedi fleet. It's been over a week since anyone aboard the space battle fortress has seen combat.
Lt. Rick Hunter and pilot trainee Hiro Amano are flying their Veritechs over the Pacific on a training run. When Rick finds that he's running low on fuel, he decides to return to the SDF-1, and leaves Hiro practicing a rolling mechamorphosis maneuver. As Hiro practices, a Zentraedi battlecruiser appears out of nowhere, but does not appear on Hiro's radar. A squadron of Veritechs streaks past, and while Hiro thinks they're here to back him up, he spots them going to Guardian mode and entering the enemy ship! Squadron leader Raven notices Hiro's lone Veritech and decides to take care of him. With his radio jammed, Hiro tries to flee to inform the SDF-1 that there are traitors in their ranks. However, Raven's Battloid stops him single-handedly. His craft is equipped with an Electro Magnetic Frequency bomb, which paralyses anything electronic that touches its armor. With his engines out, Hiro is helpless as Raven drops the fighter and blows the young trainee away with his gun pod.
Back on the SDF-1, Rick and Roy are at the shooting range remarking on how quiet things have been lately, when Lisa informs Rick that the SDF-1 has lost contact with Hiro's Veritech. A recon chopper is sent out to investigate his disappearance, with Rick on-board, but they find no sign of the young pilot.
Veritech Crimson Squadron returns to the SDF-1 from the Zentraedi ship, and Raven meets with General Golic, who asks if he "made the delivery." He then remarks how lucky Raven was that the lost Veritech's wingman left early and begins to threaten the sinister squadron leader, but Raven reminds Golic that he's in this up to his neck. The recon helicopter returns shortly thereafter, and Rick asks Raven if he or any of his squadron saw anything. Raven shoves Rick aside and walks away.
NOTESTIMELINE - Since 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 is compatible with any ROBOTECH timeline.
- Rick Hunter (last seen in The Macross Saga #13)
- Roy Fokker (last seen in The Macross Saga #13
- Lisa Hayes (last seen in The Macross Saga #14)
- Hiro Amano (first and final appearance)
- Raven (first published & chronological appearance)
- Thomas Golic (first published appearance, last in flashback in Vermilion #2)
The art style, gray tone work, and word balloons really put me in the mind of a Japanese manga serial, and a lot of the fiddly bits of mechanical detail and costume design is reminiscent of late 1980's sci-fi/mecha anime. However, the first shot of a Battloid is missing some important details, and the Veritech flight suits are slightly off -- probably just a case of not quite enough source material, or perhaps just not paying enough attention to detail.
The notion of traitors within the RDF joining up with the Zentraedi is still a neat idea (hey, if some of the Zentraedi turned traitor, why can't some of the humans?) and while Raven is given an obvious "bad guy" design, he's at least cool looking, if kind of a shallow villain in the classic T.R. Edwards mold. At least co-conspirator Golic is later given some kind of depth.
My only problem with the story is the stealth technology angle, and that's probably got something to do with the fact that the Shadow Technology in the third generation is supposed to be so very new and cool. However, that's more of a "big picture" problem; within the context of a quick little Macross Saga action romp that's trying to do something new without resorting to the "kewl new mecha" angle, it works.
Big problem: it's only thirteen pages! The rest of the book is filled up with a lame "crying soldier" recap of the first eight or so episodes of The New Generation with decent enough artwork drawn from animation stills. Blech.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
- Mospeada Diary