Robotech: Metal Swarm
(also written on the cover and publishing info as “MetalSwarm”)
Academy Comics, Ltd. (December, 1995)
WRITER: Bill Spangler
ARTIST: D.S. Villalovos
I kind of wonder if this was planned to be another issue of Warriors that for some reason became this one-shot. It teases another story for next issue, and Metal Swarm would have been an odd name unless the same threat somehow showed up again. It doesn’t matter since we’ve reached the first comic ended by Academy losing the Robotech license.
A Zentraedi ship brings in an alien probe, and later the ship starts attacking itself and the crew. Despite Exedore wanting to focus only on the mission to find the battlefortress, Breetai investigates only to have his cybernetic eye infected by the microscopic robotic insects that are responsible. They’re programmed to attack anyone who isn’t their creators. Thinking quickly and with Exedore’s assistance, Breetai manages to flush the swarm off of that ship and destroy it before it infects his or any other ship in the fleet.
What they got right: I rather like the idea of the Zentraedi dealing with a nanobot invasion. Exedore’s one track mind is in keeping with his character in Warriors.
What they got wrong: On a technical level the art is actually pretty good, especially the ships and mecha. However, Villalovos’ decision to try to give the characters realistic faces just doesn’t work, at least for me. They don’t really look like themselves and it comes across as ugly in a few panels. On another project this would just be personal taste, like the character models in the movie Rock And Rule, but for this franchise when we already know what they should look like, it just looks off.
Recommendation: If you want a good story of the Zentraedi prior to the events of Robotech/Macross, then this is a pretty good one.