Robotech: Covert Ops #1
Antarctic Press (August, 1998)
WRITER/ARTIST: Gregory Lane
COVER COLORIST: Nathan Lumm
EDITOR/TYPESETTING/PROOFREADING: Doug Dlin
I messed up the location in my collection’s timeline as this takes place just before the SDF-1 gets to Saturn. A scout ship is sent to check the area out and they’re captured by a Zentraedi unit who have a base on the moon of Pandora. Unaware that the crew is alive, Captain Gloval wants to send a team out to destroy the base before the ship reaches it, a plan of Lisa’s. Of course Roy volunteers and Claudia takes it out on Lisa, going a bit too far when she mentions Karl. Roy’s team includes Rick, as well as a certain blue-haired wonder pilot we’ll be meeting soon enough. Rick tries to spend some time with Minmei but when their not-date is cut short Rick runs into Lisa and they have their first non-confrontational encounter as Lisa is still hurting from Claudia’s comments. The next day the covert strike team head for the Zentraedi base while base commander Buran learns he’s going to be testing a new weapon courtesy of Khyron, who we’ll see has earned the nickname “backstabber” for a reason. Needless to say Buran isn’t happy about this order.
What they got right: Lane takes advantage of wording to give Rick a mission before his first combat mission. We get some good character moments in keeping with their personalities and relationships in the show at this point in time in the story. The black and white art actually works, and Antarctic Press was always pretty good in imitating the traditional Japanese art style, and real manga style artwork wouldn’t be a normal part of American artists for years yet. Now finding someone in the West who can draw at least one of the various manga/art styles is pretty easy but it was still just gaining a foothold in the drawing and comics world at this point.
What they got wrong: There is one continuity error, in that Rick may not be teaming with Max but the two never met at all until a few episodes after this takes place, when Rick was made a group leader. Instead Lane really wanted to have our favorite best pilot so I kind of understand but I had to mention it. It also sounds like Minmei is a serial dater according to her uncle, which just makes her look worse.
Recommendation: This issue is starting off on the right foot. If the rest of the miniseries continues along this path it will be easy to recommend.