Robotech CCG VF-1J

Robotech CCG VF-1J (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to my friend Sean we have two more issues of Titan’s run on Robotech to look into. They seem to have jumped right to a two-issue re-imagining of the episode “Bye-Bye Mars”, in which the ship lands on Mars and psycho Khyron sets a trap. I’m curious but as I prepare to read these issues I’m admittedly not as interested as I want to be.

On the one hand it’s a different take on the show, but on the other what have they really changed? One character that survived a lot longer than this was killed and some personalities were altered, and not necessarily for the better. Add in the dull expressions and I’m not really seeing the advantage here. And now we have Simon Furman added to the mix. You know, the guy who has robots forced into sex changes because he doesn’t think they should have gender naturally, has multiple plotlines whenever possible, and loves as much death and destruction as he can put into a story. I’m not all that fired up right now. In fact this two-part story is this comic’s last chance to keep me interested in this book. This could end up being my last look at this series. Let’s find out for certain.

She doesn’t want to actually be in charge. She just wants to wear that hat.

Robotech #5

Titan Comics (January, 2017) Um…shouldn’t that be 2018?

PLOT: Brian Wood & Simon Furman

SCRIPT: Simon Furman

ARTIST: Marco Turini

COLORIST: Marco Leski

SELECTED COVER ART: Blair Shedd

LETTERER: Jim Cambell

EDITOR: Martin Eden

After another battle Rick’s eyesight seems to be getting worse…or is it better? Minmei forces him to see the eye doctor…wait, are they a couple now? Somehow this romance was less developed than the show…and it wasn’t until the last third of the first Robotech War that they were a couple. That was Macross‘s fault but it still is more clear than it is here. Rick liked Minmei, she was too flighty to realize it and by the time she did Rick developed feelings for Lisa. At any rate, and I’m combining plotlines here, Rick’s eyesight is somehow evolving. Natural tissue damage is nonexistent and something else is going on. So Rick is kept out of the fighting…is the span between issues the problem? Am I just forgetting that Rick joined the RDF or did we just skip his early piloting years in favor of giving him superpowers or whatever is happening to him? Did Rick need superpowers?

Plot #2 involves Lisa, and is probably closest to the show outside of what Khyron is planning. Now acting captain of the SDF-1, Lisa decides that they need to refuel and get some R&R (as well as give Captain Gloval a proper burial) if they’re going to make it home, and the nearest place is the Mars base. It seems like they know the base is abandoned but in the show this was a surprise. And Lisa possibly has an ulterior motive. Year ago her lover (I don’t think they were engaged in this continuity but I could be wrong), Karl Riber, left to escape the war, hearing of the supposed good that was being done on Mars, new research that would benefit all of mankind. In the original story he just took space duty to get out of the war. Here he’s more worried that he’s losing his humanity and as much as he says he doesn’t want to leave her he may lose that part of himself she loves. A bit more dramatic than I think it needs to be (sometimes simple works) but I don’t have any major issues with that.

However, what we end up seeing here is that Lisa is, intentionally or not, misusing her authority to investigate if her dead boyfriend ever really loved her. Considering how bad facial expressions are I couldn’t tell you what it seems to be. Even Lisa shedding a tear lacks any emotional heft to it. When the ship lands she does have the place checked to make sure the coast is clear, unaware of the enemy’s plan, which I’ll get to in a moment. She finds Karl’s old quarters, and a series of messages…and here’s where the old Furman insistence on multiple stories comes in. There’s a conspiracy involved. Because of course there is. Karl’s final entry says that he’s found out the Mars project isn’t all it appears to be (by the way, if this is a scientific research station instead of an interstellar listening post for the military, why would they have access to ammunition for spacefaring fighter jet robots?), then cuts abruptly, followed by a hologram in the room of Karl pointing, surprising Lisa. Why is this here? Really, the story we have of three interstellar wars (assuming we get the other two) over Robotechnology and Protoculture isn’t enough for you guys? You need conspiracies and secrets, plus killing one main character and turning the other into Daredevil?

I guess so, but while this is going on Roy and Claudia go to where Gloval died. Why? Because like me they can’t figure out why Gloval came out here in the middle of the city instead of just going to the bridge during a crisis and the ship’s first transformation to robot mode. Apparently this is another plotline (because it’s Simon Furman) as Roy and Claudia, two of three people who know…something… came down to investigate, by taking the secret recording footage from a hidden camera in one of those moving robotic vending machines. Again, why is THIS here? I realize Titan and Furman come from England, and London is wired like the Big Brother house these days but why is a simple space war story now dealing with optical anomalies (probably caused by Rick’s exposure to fold space) and one if not two secret conspiracy plotlines being shoved into this?

Probably the only story that seems unaffected by this semi re-imagining is Breetai ordering Khyron’s group in to help reclaim the SDF-1, and Khyron more interesting in blowing stuff up real good. You know, despite the writers having enough hindsight to know not only how badly the Zentraedi want the battlefortress, but their masters, the Robotech Masters (if we’re still getting them). He got ahead of the Earthlings and seeded the area with gravity mines that are about to go off, ending the issue at the halfway point of the story.

The closest she got to actually having an action figure if 2 minutes of research is to be believed.

Robotech #6

Titan Comics (February, 2018) hey, they fixed the year! I guess its like how some people mess the date up on their checks for the first week.

PLOT: Brian Wood & Simon Furman

SCRIPT: Simon Furman

ARTIST: Marco Turini

COLORIST: Marco Lesko

SELECTED COVER ART: Blair Shedd

LETTERER: Jim Campbell

EDITOR: Martin Eden

Breetai is not happy about the gravity mines as they could damage the ship, which is unable to take off. Meanwhile, Lisa is still surprised to find Karl alive…despite him also being blue and see-through. Really, you can’t just assume it’s a hologram if you don’t want to believe it’s a ghost? And is it a ghost? He leads her to a previously unknown reflex furnace and later to a stash of written journals he kept, which she says is about them but something she looks at later shows a hologram of what I think is Gloval so I’m not sure what happened here. I don’t think the story needs the supernatural anymore than it needs this conspiracy…which includes Claudia decoding the footage from the vending camera and she and Roy seeing him being murdered by someone with blue military sleeves. I ask again…do we need this subplot in a simple “love and war” story? Why does everything have to be so darn complicated?

At least Rick and Minmei’s story, where it seems Minmei actually has feelings for Rick and may be ready to act on them much sooner than in the original Macross/Robotech story. Of course there’s still the issue of Rick’s eyesight, but thanks to some unexplained device he finds a way to compensate and get back into the battle, promising to be back in time for her birthday party. So at least for this story the subplot is pretty much pointless. Glad you wasted our time guys! Of course they only did it because in the original it’s Rick that pulls Lisa out of the exploding base. At least this time she stays behind to gather the notes for the conspiracy we don’t need rather than wallowing in her lost love, but she ends up being angrier at Rick because now she thinks she lost Karl again without saying sorry to his hologhost for the fight they had before he left. Did Rick need to be the one to rescue her this time? It’s not like they’ve had the same contentious association they had in the show by this point. They’ve barely interacted. I imagine next issue when Rick is promoted (the next time solicit seems to indicate they’re keeping that from “Sweet Sixteen”, the next episode) she’ll have a different reason to be upset, and I guess even though she’s captain now (which means staying to die so soon after losing their last captain was actually a bad idea for the crew) she won’t be fighting his promotion to full lieutenant and group leader. Next issue teases Max and Ben joining the series. Gloval finally gets his funeral and burial…in space I presume since they had to leave the planet.

Overall I can’t call the story bad. The art I call bad since everyone is still in dull surprise mode, but not the story. My problem is pretty much the same problem I always have with a Simon Furman story…too much going on. Gloval didn’t need to die, the conspiracy angles (plural) are unnecessary, and I just enjoyed the original more. At this point I wouldn’t steer anyone away but it’s less and less interesting to me. If I continue to review this it’s more because you folks want me to than my retaining any interest. I don’t mind the changes, but they don’t really interest me as much as I would like to. So what say you? I’m sure Sean won’t mind getting them until I have money of my own (points to donation link in the sidebar unless I find other means of income) but I liked Robotech just fine the way it was.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Sean says:

    Tronix, I do admit that I can detect the changes in Titan’s Robotech now that Furman has come on board (no pun intended). You’re quite right about the emergence of multiple plot lines and conspiracies starting to spring up in this particular Robotech tale. But it has caught my curiosity because now I want to know who murdered Captain Gloval. The ghost/hologram of Karl had me confused. Was he a ghost or a hologram? It was never made clear enough. In fact, it seems like there’s a lot of things in issue #6 that aren’t too clear. Is that supposed to be Simon Furman’s style? I agree that some of the artwork with the humans and Zentraedi are odd. For instance, what’s up with Captain Gloval’s and Captain Breetai’s teethy facial expressions? At some points, Breetai almost looks like a vampire. On the other hand, I’m impressed with how others are drawn in the comic. For instance, Minmei in this version really does look like a realistic looking attractive Chinese woman. Many plot lines and events have been very much condensed and sped up in this version. I wish the creators didn’t feel the need to do that here. I’m pretty happy with how the various mecha and space ships are drawn. For example, the Destroid is my favorite mecha (I had a Macross model of the Destroid that I put together when I was a kid), so I was impressed with how the Destroids were drawn in issue #6. I’m still ok with Titan’s Robotech comics and plan to continue to pick these up. I’ve accepted that it will be different from the classic 80s Robotech. So I look upon this one as another person’s reinterpretation of the original Robotech. As long as the story doesn’t get too out of hand (for example, like when Dynamite Comics had King Zarkon originally being a human scientist who lived in the suburbs), I will stick with it. Whenever I need a dose of classic Robotech, I can look back at my Comico Robotech issues (they’re awesome!) and go on Crackle to watch the episodes.

    Like

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