Robotech: Vermilion (Antarctic Press)
By Duc Tran
After witnessing the true power and vastness of the Zentraedi fleet, I am convinced it is only a matter of time before the Earth is destroyed. Your problem is the SDF-1. I can deliver it to you, for a price ...
THE LOWDOWNThe SDF-1's journey back to Earth is at an end, and all's been quiet over the Pacific for a week now. Lt. Rick Hunter of the Vermilion team has been spending some of his time breaking in a new Veritech pilot, Hiro Amano. During a training session in the skies far from the SDF-1, Hunter leaves Amano behind to continue practicing his manevuers, a critical error in judgment that results in Amano's disappearance. With some help from his mentor, Roy Fokker, Hunter is given access to an experimental long-range radar plane to find his missing trainee. What he finds instead is a conspiracy involving a traitorous general more interested in maintaining his family's military legacy than the survival of mankind, a like-minded Veritech squadron equipped with deadly new equipment, and the defectors' unpredictable ally ... the Zentraedi warlord Khyron.
BACKGROUND INFOWhen the first issue of this series hit the comic racks shortly before Labor Day of 1997, I'd never even heard of it. The first issue's cover doesn't say much except that it apparently stars Rick Hunter, taking fashion tips from Megazone 23's Shogo, in the good old First Robotech War days. Indeed, aside from issue 2's cover, the covers only feature Rick Hunter and either an orangish VF-series Veritech or the SDF-1. Nice art, but not much meat there.
While the first issue of Duc Tran's four-issue story runs a mere thirteen story pages (the remainder is a clunky New Generation recap), it does manage to capture a very traditional manga-style feel, down to the speedlines, the effective gray tone work, and even the shape of the word balloons (nubs pointing to the speaker rather than the pointed tails that American comics have). The character designs are also fairly impressive, suggesting what the Macross cast might look like were they redesigned by Evangelion's Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. The new characters are interesting, if shallowly scripted -- like many of the new characters that Antarctic's books introduced, they left me wanting at least some additional background on them, or better, further adventures featuring the cast along the lines of Cyberpirates lead Terry Weston's appearances in McKinney's The Masters' Gambit or his short-lived return in Bill Spangler and Tim Eldred's Invid War.
Like many other ROBOTECH mini-series, despite a number of logistical flaws and a very rushed ending that juxtaposes a disturbing death with super deformed nonsense, this is a fairly entertaining little tale, even with the stigma of being an Antarctic Press Macross side-story.
- Issue 1 -- Vermilion
- Issue 2 -- Vermilion Ver. 2
- Issue 3 -- Vermilion 3
- Issue 4 -- Vermilion 4
- DAMAGEd -- The personal website of l0cke, the artist formerly known as Duc Tran, featuring comics, illustrations, and more.