Noble A.R.M.O.U.R. Halberder #1
Academy Comics LTD. (January, 1997)
WRITERS/ARTISTS: John & Jason Waltrip
That’s it for credits? Okay…well, here’s some history. This comic was originally solicited as Cyberknights and to be honest this title works better. The Waltrips have shown a quasi-manga style both as writers and artists, especially in the Robotech comics they produced for Eternity and later Academy Comics. When Academy lost the Robotech license I’m assuming they had to find something similar and this is pretty close to that franchise, but going in their own direction. Okay, that’s good enough space for the homepage. Let’s review this.
In a far off galactic region called the Star Realm battles are fought with giant mecha suits called All Range Mobile Offense Unit Robots, or A.R.M.O.U.R. for short. The king of Heraldaan is attempting to forge an alliance with Duke Raymond of Paladan against the evil Baron Darkwell and his Darkwell Knights. However, Darkwell’s forces, themselves allied with a band of pirates and the infamous Black Knight, and attacks the Heraldaan fleet. They manage to board the lead ship and steal a tribute, containing certain secrets King Adric (no, Whovians, not him) was planning to share with Duke Raymond. As the Heraldaan forces chase after their enemies, another group appears. With their sensors damaged, our heroes cannot determine if they are friend or foe, so the Royal Knights, led (against his father’s wishes) by Prince Aerin, go out to meet them. Battle is joined until the Lady, an ethereal being that occasionally appears to Heraldaan warriors, appears to Aerin and warn him that his opponent is not his enemy. In fact, it’s the Paladans, come for their meeting. Aerin meets the pilot who challenged him, which turns out to be Raymond’s daughter Rieann. The two forces move out together to continue to chase their mutual foes and retrieve the stolen tribute.
What they got right: The Waltrip brothers’ run on Robotech: The Sentinels and various one-shots in the Robotech Universe shows they know how to do a mecha series, and here they show they can make it original. The original title of Cyberknights certainly fits as well since British knights and royalty are used as the basis from the designs of the ships (called Swordstars and shaped like swords) to the mecha to the outfits worn by the Paladans and Heraldanns. Aerin is immediately shown to be a good character, a prince who likes to help and learn from the people under him, as he helps out in the cargo bay at the start of the book and says he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty while his father tries to remind him of his royal status. The idea of “the Lady” is one I’m sure they would have built on and we might have discovered what her deal was.
What they got wrong: I think at least two other issues were solicited but for whatever reason never came out. Academy Comics folded after this so I guess we can assume why, but I can’t find any evidence of the Waltrips even continuing this as a webcomic, which is too bad. I’d really like to see where this story was headed.
Recommendation: Oh what might have been. If you want a complete story this didn’t last very long. If you want to see a really cool concept, however, this may be worth checking into.