Robotech: The Graphic Novel
Comic The Comic Company (1986)
PLOT: Carl Macek
WRITER: Mike Baron
PENCILER: Neil D. Vokes
INKER/COVER PAINTING: Ken Steacy
COLORIST: Tom Vincent
LETTERER: Bob Pinaha
PRODUCTION: Bain Sidhe Studio
EDITOR: Diana Schutz
An alien scientist named Zor is tired of watch the energy source known as Protoculture being used solely for war with the Invid over its source, the Flower Of Life. He has been secretly seeding worlds and choosing one to send their seeing ship, the SDF-1, to a planet who could better use Protoculture and the technology it powers, a symbiotic connection between pilot and machine known as Robotechnology. During an Invid attack Zor sends the ship to that planet at the cost of his life. That planet is Earth and while the Robotech Masters send their giant Zentraedi soldiers to retrieve it the planet has its own problems. The year as marked by the Earthlings is 1999, and the planet is engaged in a huge civil war between numerous new groupings. It’s even caused the closing of Pop Hunter’s flying circus while one of their best pilots, Roy Fokker, has joined the war effort. Then the alien battlefortress crash-lands on the uninhabited Macross Island. Fokker and his commander, Henry Gloval, who were part of a plan to fake a crisis to bring the world together, are sent to investigate what might be the real thing, joined by enemy pilot and mercenary T.R. Edwards. The ship appears to be a death trap but it may actually be demonstrating the powers of Robotech…and warning that others may be coming to collect it. In ten years time the son of the circus owner, Rick Hunter, is going to visit the unveiling and initial launch of the SDF-1, as all their lives are going to be changed forever!
What they got right: Created after Comico completed adapting the Robotech TV show into comic form, this is their lone original tale, one that tells the story of how the SDF-1 came to Earth and the Robotech Wars began. It’s treated like the first every story, properly introducing all of the characters important to this story. Not just the Earthlings mentioned in the synopsis but Dolza, Breetai, the Robotech Masters, Zor, the Invid…everyone you need to know to follow the story, with only Pop and Rick being there for fanservice rather than being important to this particular story. Which makes sense given that the first war is essentially Rick Hunter’s story. It’s also interesting to see the SDF-1 using technology we’d see in both the Zentraedi and Robotech Master ships, one of the ways this story tries to further connect the three separate Japanese animated series into one US production. This is the backstory that pulls everything together.
What they got wrong: Maybe my memory is that dull, but I thought the Invid Fighters were a later creation of the Robotech Masters, an enhanced form of the Bioroids, first used during the Second Robotech War? And it seems a bit cruel for the “demonstration” including tearing a man apart surgically, and killing others with automated Bioroids. I mean, if you kill everyone you’re demonstrating to there won’t be anyone left to actually use the stuff. And how did the automated ship mess with the probe robot the way it did? Or how time suddenly ran differently inside the ship? Robotech isn’t magic after all. I’m also not sure the faked crisis subplot was needed since it was dropped rather quickly in favor of the crisis surrounding the series.
Recommendation: This is a must-own for fans of the series and the pre-reboot franchise. (I don’t know if Titan is going to change anything else so it might not match up, but it’s the first time anyone officially rebooted the series.) It pulls together the three shows, and it would also appear to be canon to the prequel, sequel, and spin-off comics produced by Eternity and Academy Comics, the latter or which we’ll begin our look at next week as journey into the odyssey of Robotech comics.