Robotech: Vermilion #1
Antarctic Press (August, 1997)
WRITER/ARTIST: Duc Tran
COVER COLORIST: ARNie
3D rendering: Tipatat Chennavasin
by Joe Weltjens
In the main story, new Vermilion squadron trainee Hiro Amano is on patrol when he comes across RDF pilots entering a Zentraedi ship. One of them, a pilot named Raven, shoots him down. There’s a plot going down in the SDF-1 and since Rick Hunter just lost one of his men, you can be sure he’s about to get caught up in it.
I have to double-check to see if they were even there for 10 days and this may reflect where this actually should go in continuity with the adaptations, but this four-issue miniseries will take the place of the adaptations until it’s done. Then I’ll have a better idea of timeline placement.The back-up is an illustrated prose summary of the first few episodes of the New Generation period told from notes in Scott Bernard’s journal. The art is good but it doesn’t feel all that necessary when more pages could have been devoted to the main story.
What they got right: I know I complained about conspiracies being stuffed into the Titan re-imagining of Robotech but I think it works better here because it doesn’t damage the regular characters. The conspiracy involves Raven’s squadron and of the members of the brass. (If Antarctic Press were treating the Academy Comics run as part of their expanded canon you could believe it’s one of the guys who tried to stop the Battloid upgrade project from Macross Missions.) Instead there’s different characters who are doing something with the Zentraedi or their ship that our good guys have to look into. This works better in my opinion and nobody has to die before they’re supposed to. The art is a bit lankier than I’m used to with this series but still pretty good. Also, they’re finally giving Rick some more people under his charge besides Max and Ben. Three fighters is a pretty small squadron, and in-continuity they’ll be moving to Skull Squadron when Rick takes over so while we could ask why it took so long we don’t have to worry about why it takes longer to get another fourth member. Raven could make for an interesting villain for this story.
What they got wrong: I could see a few other approaches that could have been used but they would only tell the story differently, not better, so I have no complaints beyond the aforementioned unnecessary back-up. And the third war is my favorite arc of the series so that tells you how unnecessary it is.
Recommendation: I haven’t read the rest of the issues since I first bought them but the miniseries seems to be starting out okay. Hopefully by the time I’m done it will be something to recommend but it’s too early to tell at this point.