Robotech II: The Sentinels #1
Eternity Comics (November, 1988)
“A New Threat”
WRITERS: Tom Mason & Chris Ulm
ARTIST: Jason Waltrip
COVER COLORIST: Scott Bieser
LETTERER: Clem Robins
I was hoping to have the video review done in time to explain all this so here’s the short version. With the original Robotech a success, Harmony Gold wanted to create a spinoff series that would allow Macek to fill in the necessary gaps to bring the three anime together into a new continuity. Where did Scott Bernard and Johnathan Wolfe come from and what happened to Admiral Hunter’s fleet? Why weren’t they there for the events of the Second Robotech War. How did Zor gets his hands on the Invid Flower Of Life and why did he act against the Masters later? All this would have been revealed in an original series with no Japanese footage outside of flashbacks, produced by the same Japanese studio that created the original three shows. However, due to various circumstance the series was canceled with only a handful of scripts completed and only three episodes produced. I’ll get more into why it failed when I get to the review of those episodes, edited and released as a movie on VHS, and was one of the remastered projects.
At least nine years after the end of the First Robotech War (aka The Macross Saga) the Robotech Defense Force sets up a daring mission to Tirol, home of the Robotech Masters, in the hopes of averting a second war. However, Admiral Lisa Hayes and Vice Admiral Rick Hunter have one extra concern…their upcoming marriage. While T.R. Edwards, Roy’s old rival from the third World War, plots to use this to take over the military the Invid launch an attack on Tirol, seeking the Flower Of Life. However, the Masters had already left, leaving a few easily defeated and killed civilians behind as well as the scientists Rem and Cabal. The failure to capture the Flower Of Life only deepens the divide between the Regent and his wife, the Regiss. I hope Rick and Lisa’s marriage fairs better.
What they got right: It’s nice to finally be getting the lost tale of Robotech. Due to various rights issues the character models for the characters had to be altered for this series (although the Invid mecha and the Regiss got away with their designs) and the designs here match up perfectly with the Sentinel redesigns.
What they got wrong: The story was not so lucky. I own the original VHS movie release and there are a lot of changes. The spirit of the story is there but the dialog is different, some events were added here or put in different orders and ruins for example Edward’s reveal as the obligatory military antagonist (who in this case may be as evil as the Invid without the sympathetic angle since the source of his existence wasn’t stolen from him). We don’t get to meet Jack Baker, see Minmei’s return, or future Supreme Commander Leonard be a xenophobic jerk. Why are the character and even “set” designs the same but the story only follows the spirit? Were they not allowed access to the few scripts that were written but were allowed to the final concept art?
Recommendation: I haven’t read the novels but you’ll see I love the comic attempts to continue this series via Eternity and later Academy Comics. It’s hard to find and probably not cheap depending on where you find it but if you can I recommend tracking this series down, even if it does end on a cliffhanger. There’s a lot of issues before you get that far, and I’ll be covering the ones I was able to find before learning about the series during the Academy run.