Robotech: The Macross Saga #36

"To The Stars"

Adaptation - Markalan Joplin
Artwork - Mike Leeke & Mike Chen
Lettering - Bob Pinaha
Colors - Trishie Schutz
Editor - Diana Schutz

Published by Comico The Comic Company.

Release date - February 21, 1989
Cover date - February 1989


It has been two weeks since the Zentraedi warlord Khyron's attack of Christmas Day, two weeks since Lynn Minmei declared her love for Rick Hunter and the two began living together. However, as Rick gazes wistfully out his apartment window, he realizes that something isn't working, something just isn't right. Minmei watches him and hopes that he isn't sick of her. "I've already lost my parents and my career and Kyle," she frets. "I can't lose him, too!" I just can't!"

Minmei speaks up and tells Rick how much she appreciates him taking leave time so they could be together for the holidays. "Don't you wish it could go on forever?" she asks. "What if I could give up my career and you could quit the military, annd we could be together like this for always?"

Rick finds the notion ridiculous. "You must be joking! With Khyron on the loose and millions of people depending on the RDF for protection ... I'm supposed to just chuck away my responsibilities, so we can run away together? No -- I'm sorry, Minmei. My personal life has to come second. I can't -- I won't -- ignore my duty. And you! How could you possibly consider giving up your career? Don't you know what you mean to those people? When the SDF-1 was exiled from Earth, whose Thursday night concerts gave those hundreds of thousands of frightened people the hope they needed to face the unknown? Your voice brought Zentraedi and humans together! Your voice helped save the world from Dolza's armada! My god -- don't you realize what a gift you have?!" However, Minmei isn't joking. She tells Rick that the war could go on forever, and that they may grow old never knowing what else life has to offer. She asks Rick to marry her.

Meanwhile, on a balcony overlooking the lake surrounding the SDF-1, Lisa Hayes fears that she's lost Rick forever, and she realizes that the only person she has to blame is herself. "I should have come right out and told him, that night he came looking for me! But I just couldn't! Because ..." Lisa just can't think why. "... and anyway," she thinks, "because of my stupid hesitancy, Minmei got up the nerve to tell him first -- and who wouldn't take her up on an offer like that?" Lisa believes she can't deal with working alongside Rick every day and watching him go home to Minmei, and when Claudia comes looking for her, Lisa tells her that she's decided to resign from the service.

"Oh, grow up, Lisa," Claudia tells her. "Look at you! A military woman, born, bred, and trained, carrying on like some simpering schoolgirl!" Claudia tells her that while it's her decision to make, if she's going to throw her life and career away to run and hide, she's not the woman Claudia thought she was. As she walks away, Claudia tells Lisa that Admiral Gloval wants to see her on the bridge for a new assignment.

On the bridge, Lisa tells Gloval that in her current state she just can't take something new on, that she needs to get away. "All the more reason to accept the assignment," Gloval tells her, "since it will involve a certain amount of travel." Lisa tells him she's going to resign, but Gloval tells her that's just nonsense.

"All of us have known heartbreak in the last four years, but we can't simply abandon our duties for it -- and certainly not for some silly unrequited romance!" Gloval tells her. Lisa asks if he's known about her and Rick all along. "I have eyes, don't I? In fact, I'd say that the last person to know about it ... was you." Lisa apologizes for her foolishness. "Well," Gloval says, "let's not have any more of that, then! After all, foolishness would be an unbecoming thing for the commander of the SDF-2." Lisa is shocked, but Gloval asks who would be better equipped for the job. However, he tells her that this is a long-term commitment. She quickly accepts, and Gloval gives her the details of her mission: "Our Earth is starting to recover her former beauty -- but she couldn't possibly survive another holocaust like the last one. Too, the time has come for us to leave our cradle behind -- to go forth and claim our place in the universe. That is the purpose of the SDF-2 ... and the reason for your new assignment. You will be taking the new battle-fortress into space. Your mission: to find the home world of the Robotech Masters. Breetai and Exedore will accompany you -- although it might be easier to simply follow Khyron's lead."

Lisa is momentarily confused by Gloval's remark, but he explains that they let Khyron seize that tank of Protoculture during his Christmas raid to allow him to rejoin the Robotech Masters. "... and through him, we can contact the Masters ourselves. We must try to make peace with them -- for the sake of both our races. And if peace isn't possible -- then I intend to make certain that the next battlefield will be on their home planet." He tells her that the reflex engines from the SDF-1 will be transferred to the new ship tomorrow, and asks if she can be ready by then. Lisa salutes and tells him she simply needs to say a few good-byes.

Elsewhere, Khyron's battlecruiser lifts off. Grel asks Khyron if they should set course for Tirol, but Khyron considers the mission incomplete. "Before we leave ... we are going to destroy the SDF-1!" he assures his crew. Azonia asks if he's serious. "And what are we to do, then -- let the micronians have Zor's Protoculture Factory? Let them have the power they need to the Robotech Masters? No -- if we can't have the SDF-1, then nobody will!" At Khyron's command, Grel lays in a course for New Macross City.

Back at Rick's apartment, he plays with a model of the prototype next generation Veritech Fighter and mulls over his future. He can't see giving up flying and all his responsibilities for Minmei, even if she would make such a wonderful wife. He realizes that he just can't think of settling down now, with so many people relying on the RDF for protection from the Zentraedi renegades, and the one person he knows would understand is Lisa. Just then, his doorbell rings. Minmei, busy cleaning the dishes, tells Rick to get the door. Who else could it be but Lisa, come to say her farewells?

"New orders have been handed down -- I'll be going back into deep space soon." Rick is shocked and begins to stammer a response. "It's true -- I can scarcely believe it myself," Lisa says, "but Admiral Gloval has given me command of the SDF-2! Isn't that wonderful? Aren't you happy for me, Rick?" Rick simply asks when she's leaving. "As soon as the reflex engines have been transferred from the SDF-1 ... probably in a day or so." She explains the mission to Rick, and he remarks that it could easily take years. That very fact begins to hit Lisa as she begins to cry and struggles to get the words she so wanted to say out: "Rick Hunter -- I love you! I always have -- and I always will!" She turns to Minmei, now standing at Rick's side. "Oh, please forgive me, Minmei. I know it's too late for me -- I know I waited too long ... but I may never see him againn -- and I had to tell him!" Lisa turns and runs away, telling them that her crew is waiting, but Rick finds himself running after her, telling her that it's not too late. Minmei follows behind, screaming, "Come back, Rick! What about me?!"

Just then, an explosion hits the city, knocking all three down. That explosion is the result of fire rained down by Khyron's ship. Aboard that vessel, Khyron gleefully notes how unprepared the micronians are. "The SDF-1 will be a smoking ruin before they even know what hit them! Fire another volley!" Azonia tells him that the SDF-1 will be in firing range in a few minutes.

Rick finds Lisa laying on the ground, motionless. He rushes to her side, picks her up, and prays she isn't dead. "I d-didn't know -- I didn't know until now .. but I swear I'll make it up to you! I'll make you happy -- I'll take care of you ... I love you ... please, Lisa ... I love you ..." Rick tells her. At that moment, she begins to regain consciousness, and as she sees his face, she asks if she's dreaming. She tells Rick that she just got the wind knocked out of her and asks what happened. "It's a Zentraedi battle cruiser -- probably Khyron's!" Rick says.

"The usual perfect timing," Lisa says. "Seems our relationship has always been interrupted by Zentraedi attacks. Either that," she says, seeing a figure approaching in the distance, "or Minmei would show up ..." Minmei urges Rick to join her in the shelter, but Lisa tells her that she and Rick are soldiers, and they have their duty to perform.

"Listen to me, Minmei!" Rick says. "If you love me, let me do what I have to do! I'm a pilot -- a soldier! This is my life!" Minmei is shocked that he'd even call this a life, this constant string of battles until everything is destroyed. As another explosion rocks the city in the distance, Lisa tells Rick that she has to get to the SDF-2, and he tells her that he'll be there, too. Minmei is still trying to prevent him from going, asking him if he still loves her, but Rick tells her that he can't just think of himself, not when the stakes are so high. "If you still can't understand that, after all that's been said," he says, pulling away from her, "then there's no chance that you ever will!" As Rick leaves her behind, Minmei swears that she'll never understand.

Lisa arrives on the bridge of the SDF-2 just as Khyron's ship comes into range. Vanessa tells Lisa that the enemy ship is twenty-seven miles out and closing fast. The booms of the Zentraedi vessel open like a great maw as Veritech Fighters close in on it. Kim reports high-level radiation readings, and as Sammie tells Lisa that the enemy ship is firing, the blast strikes the SDF-2 dead-center.

Rick's Veritech Fighter flies by the listing SDF-2 as he tries to radio the ship. There is no response. He swears vengeance and tears into the oncoming waves of Battlepods with his fighter's autocannon.

However, all hands are still alive on the bridge of the SDF-2. Despite this, when Lisa asks if anything's still functional, Kim and Vanessa report that the computer's down and power is out. Lisa asks herself what Admiral Gloval would do, and suddenly realizes exactly where they need to be. Lisa tells the trio to follow her, and leads them down a service corridor that takes them directly to the bridge of the SDF-1.

"Welcome aboard, ladies," Claudia greets them. "What took you so long?"

The four women return to their familiar stations. Lisa asks if it'll fly. "Well, now," Gloval says, "there's only one way to find out, eh?" Vanessa reports power levels at maximum, and Claudia reports that the drive is operational and ready for liftoff. "All right, then ... take her up!" The SDF-1 lifts off from the lake, leaving its crippled newborn sister ship behind. The citizens of Macross leave their shelters, aghast at the sight of their city, their world's defender, risen again.

In the air, Max radios Rick to ask if he's seeing things. Rick radios the bridge and asks the SDF-1 what they're doing. "Well," Lisa replies, "we're preparing to fire the main gun ... so I strongly suggest you get your afterburners out of there!" Rick is happy to hear her voice, and calls the Skull Squadron away from Khyron's battlecruiser.

Back on the bridge, Claudia reports the main gun locked on target and Lisa reports only enough power for one shot. Gloval gives the order to fire. The blast from the SDF-1's booms cripples Khyron's ship, but doesn't kill it.

Aboard the dying vessel, Khyron is surprised to still be alive. Azonia tells him that all systems are dead except for navigation. However, the SDF-1 is dead as well. "They're powerless!" Khyron is pleased by the news -- with no power, they can't raise a barrier. "Yes! They're helpless!" Azonia says. "Let's get them!"

"We both will, my love -- but it will require a sacrifice. Will you face it with me?" Khyron asks.

"Yes, Khyron -- yes. It will be glorious."

As Khyron's ship bears down on the helpless SDF-1, Sammie reports not enough power to fire the main gun. Vanessa reports no helm control. Claudia tells them there's no reserve power. Gloval orders the ejection modules readied, but Sammie grimly reports that only one still works. "Only one of us can escape," she says.

"Only one of us," Claudia says, "the one who has the most to live for." She approaches Lisa. Lisa tells her she can't be serious, but Gloval approaches her as well ...

"What is he doing?!" Rick screams from his Veritech as he watches the enemy ship closing in on the SDF-1. "Stop him! Somebody stop him!" Khyron's ship falls dead center between the SDF-1's crippled booms as Rick screams his beloved's name. As the remaining members of the SDF-1's bridge crew huddle together, a family 'til the end ... and as Khyron and Azonia hold each other tight in a passionate embrace, the Zentraedi cruiser crashes through the head of the SDF-1, taking off the bridge and main gun, and comes to a violent rest as a javelin through the heart of the SDF-2. The explosion wipes out the surrounding cityscape.

Max begins the rescue operation for the survivors of thrice built Macross, allowing Rick some time to say good-bye. His Guardian-mode Veritech sits on the edge of the irradiated lake as he thinks the words he would say to Lisa were she still there.

Only, she is right there. "Say, soldier-boy ... give a girl a lift?" she says. Rick leaps down from his cockpit and runs into her arms.

"I--I thought I had lost you ..." he says, grinning. Lisa tells him that Admiral Gloval and Claudia shoved her into the only remaining ejection module.

"They wanted me to live -- now that I have something to live for," she tells him.

"You do, Lisa -- we both do now. And I swear, nothing's ever gonna keep us apart again."

Right on cue, however, a voice calls out from afar. "Rick! Thank heaven you're all right!" Minmei calls out. Rick tells Lisa that he'll handle this, and as he begins to tell her, Minmei interrupts. She knows that he's really in love with Lisa, and he asks her to forgive him. "If you can forgive me for trying to force you into being something you're not," Minmei says. "I ... guess I do understand, after all. My music means as much to me as flying does to you. Kyle's gone. My career is probably in ruins -- but I can't give up my music." Lisa invites Minmei to come with them, to use her talent to help them bring peace between the humans and the Robotech Masters, but Minmei tells her she'll have to think about it. "Right now, though, I want to try and find Aunt Lena and Uncle Max -- and see if there's anything of my past left." She says good-bye to Rick and asks him to say he'll never forget her.

"I could never forget you, Minmei."

Some time later, the Robotech Defense Force regroups and Lisa addresses the remaining personnel. She tells them the mission laid before them by Admiral Gloval -- peace between Earth and the Robotech Masters. "We've lost the SDF-1 and SDF-2 -- but we still have the Robotech Factory Satellite and the remaining ships in Breetai's fleet. With them, we can build the SDF-3, and make good on the admiral's assignment. There's no guarantee whenn -- or if -- we'll return to Earth, so anyone who undertakes this mission must do so voluntarily. Although there are a few people we'd specifically like to request come along." She turns to Max and Miriya. Max agrees, but tells Lisa that Dana won't be coming with them.

"I know how important having a human-Zentraedi child would be to your mission ... but we might not ever come back -- and I want Dana to grow to adulthood and live a long, happy life. If we fail -- if we're killed by the Robotech Masters or even those Invid that Exedore talked about ... I want to die knowing that my daughter lives on." Rico tells Max that he, Konda, and Bron will gladly take care of Dana. Miriya tells him to accept -- that while she'll be raised human, she'll know her Zentraedi heritage as well. Max tells Lisa that they're in. From the crowd behind them, others agree to come along.

"Then, together, we'll realize Admiral Gloval's dream!" Lisa says. "Together we'll go ... to the stars!"


TIMELINE - Jack McKinney novels timeline.

  • Rick Hunter (next in Robotech (WildStorm) #0)
  • Lisa Hayes (next in Robotech (WildStorm) #6)
  • Lynn Minmei (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels #3)
  • Henry J. Gloval (final appearance)
  • Claudia Grant (final appearance)
  • Vanessa Leeds (final appearance)
  • Kim Young (final appearance)
  • Sammie Porter (final appearance)
  • Max Sterling (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels - The Malcontent Uprisings #1)
  • Miriya Parina (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels - The Malcontent Uprisings #1)
  • Khyron (final appearance)
  • Azonia (final appearance)
  • Grel (final appearance)
  • Rico, Konda, and Bron (final appearance)
This is one of the few issues of the Comico adaptations of the original TV series episodes to be written in full script format ahead of the artist going to work. Most of the adaptations were done with the artist setting the pacing, laying out each page while reviewing a videotape of the TV episode, and the writer coming in later and adding the captions and dialogue. No, in order to properly capture the apocalyptic finale of The Macross Saga, Markalan Joplin took the story as presented in the TV series -- and more importantly, in Jack McKinney's novel Doomsday -- and laid everything out for Leeke and Chen. The resulting issue feels a lot more open than the typical Comico adaptation, and hits all the highs and lows far more sensibly and spectacularly than, say, the somewhat off-kilter adaptation of episode #27, "Force of Arms."

In the first shot in the issue, there's clearly a bottle of Petite Cola on Rick's desk. I didn't even know it came in bottles ...

And of course, that model Rick's playing with is a YF-4. He later test pilots a real one in Robotech (WildStorm) #0; his Japanese series counterpart Hikaru Ichijyo goes on to lead a squadron piloting the production model, the VF-4, aboard the SDF-2 Megaroad.

The angle that Gloval really just let Khyron get the Protoculture during the Christmas raid so that he could lead the way to Tirol comes straight from the novels.

Speaking of the novels, they also provide the idea that the SDF-2 requires the reflex furnaces from the SDF-1 before it can lift off "to the stars." Throughout this issue the two ships actually appear back-to-back, as described in the novels and producer Carl Macek's own remarks when asked where the SDF-2 is in the final battle.

Khyron's remark about letting the humans have Zor's Protoculture Factory is more than a little odd -- how would Khyron know about the Protoculture Matrix being aboard the ship? He was a mere battalion commander during his service with the Zentraedi. Wouldn't that be privileged information?

A lot of the dialogue throughout the issue is very strangely different from the TV series and even the novelization. For instance, it's Rick who tells Minmei that he's a pilot, and this is his life, when in the TV series and novels it's Lisa who delivers the line. There are also a lot of additional lines added throughout, clarifying actions and feelings where there might have been some ambiguity in the TV series or where something might have been covered in the narrative of the novelization.

On the rare occasion when all the details of the SDF-2 can be seen, it can be seen to have two ARMD carriers for arms and actually has details inspired by the unused SDF-2 Megaroad design originally drawn up by Kazutaka Miyatake for the Macross TV series. However, to my knowledge there is no art of the Megaroad in a humanoid configuration.

Unlike the scene in the TV animation, the SDF-1's booms don't disintegrate after firing their last shot. However, it does clearly lose its head (and those booms with it) to Khyron's ship instead of its arm, explaining how the crew of the SDF-1 is killed.

It's not just me -- the dialogue during the scene after the SDF-1's destruction is awfully glib considering these people just lost friends as close as family, right?

Rick and Lisa appear in the final scene in command uniforms -- Rick in the same high-collared coat that Gloval once wore, and Lisa in the captain's uniform that was designed by the staff of the original Macross animation for when she was to take command of the SDF-2. So Rick has already gotten his promotion by this point? The two wear the same uniforms in issue #6 of Robotech (WildStorm) and in the framing sequence of "Mars Base One," the backup strip in the Invasion mini-series, so I guess Harmony Gold has decided that this is the correct depiction of post-Macross Saga and pre-Sentinels Rick & Lisa.

In The Malcontent Uprisings and the novel derived from that work, The Zentraedi Rebellion, Max and Miriya only decide to join the SDF-3 mission after a number of trials and tribulations in South America fighting against Zentraedi terrorist cells. But that would really put a damper on this optimistic epilogue here, wouldn't it?

Previous issue