Robotech: Return To Macross #19
Academy Comics Ltd (March, 1995)
“Sorry I Missed You”
WRITER: Robert W. Gibson
ARTIST/LETTERER: Sean Bishop
It’s amazing how small the creative team was on these comics.
Also, notice that we have black text on the nighttime sky for the issue number. I was right, this is a trend this week.
Two people with destinies intertwined, failing to meet yet so close by. One a pilot looking to visit his “big brother” (who’s away on a mission in space) along with his high-strung friend who unknowingly predicts his romantic future. The other a new recruit to the Robotech Defense Force Academy (which her roommate and long-time friend isn’t happy about) looking to avoid her father’s shadow while someday hoping to be rejoined with her true love on their Mars base, instead spending time with her friends, one of which is already in the RDF, two already in the Academy, and one waiting to be old enough. An air show pilot and a cadet twice in the same spot but never meeting, since this was not the day that changed the lives of Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes.
What they got right: This and the next issue (which I assume was Gibson giving Bill Spangler time to complete Warriors) are actually setting up the spin-off title Robotech: Academy Blues, which Gibson was the writer for. It does this very well. You get a good introduction to the future SDF-1 bridge crew and where they are at this point in the story. I also like how Bishop (unlike the artist we’ve been seeing) is trying to match the style of the anime rather than a Western redesign that is at least faithful to the characters. (Of course, even Titan’s artist, with his “dull surprise” people got that part right.)
What they got wrong: I wasn’t as impressed with Rick’s visit. They only see the base hoping to find Roy, although he’s on a mission which if memory serves we’ll hear about in a later issue, and the movie theater. We do get to see more of Rick’s skill when he lands his plane without gas, and a recurring gag about him not having a map to and from Macross Island, but while that was a funny moment it doesn’t really add much to the story. Unless Gibson was pushing for a series, miniseries (a la Warriors), or one-shot featuring how the circus was reacting now that the war was over and everyone was in awe (or scared of) this new alien technology and I admit that might be interesting, then his half of the story is superfluous to the story. It’s also not mixed in. The first half of the comic is Rick and his friend (who I don’t think is even named despite being a potentially great character if they did do a Rick Hunter story at the air show) goofing around and admittedly being interesting (which means even in the “got wrong” section I’m saying good things about the story) and the other half are the future bridge crew, both told separately and it just seems to be an excuse to have a gag where the two groups show up in the same area more than once but never even see each other.
Recommendation: I’m giving praise in the got wrong section, so that has to say something good about the comic. It’s also a prelude to the other spin-off from this period and worth picking up. And we will be getting to Academy Blues as soon as it comes up in the rotation.