Robotech Masters #1
Comico The Comic Company (July, 1985)
ADAPTATION: Mike Baron
PENCILER: Neil D. Vokes
INKER: Rich Rankin
COLORIST: Kurt Mausert
LETTERER: Bob Pinaha
EDITOR: Diana Schutz
As mentioned in last week’s Scanning My Collection on Robotech Special: Dana’s Story this is the second episode of Robotech during the Masters arc (episode 38 of the full series, and not season 2 as some internet sources claim…there was only one season made of the three shows), the first episode being a clip show brought together from various episodes of Southern Cross as well as flashbacks to Macross.
Now in charge of the 15th, as apparently “Dana’s Story” the comic version leads back around to this story (some dialog not here ended up there), Dana decides to run a scramble drill by taking the hovercycles through the city and to a nearby airbase. Unfortunately they get into some trouble (though honestly Marie’s team kind of started the fight, the 15th have a few things to answer for as well) and flee, Dana spending the night on the street before being found by Nova Satori and her MPs. However, her time in the brig is cut short when the Masters launch another attack, not helped by a zealous officer ordering a missile launch despite not having orders to do so. The 15th head into battle and barely hold out until an errant shot hits the Bioroids’ ship and the alien force quickly departs. Sean Phillips is demoted to Private (first class in the episode, buck in the comic) and Dana is now officially the CO of the 15th ATAC.
What they got right: I’m not going to be comparing every episode to the Southern Cross counterpart, but since I’ve seen the original episode as well as this one I will do so here. The show tries to clean up Dana’s image as best they can from Jeanne’s more ditzy personality. While Dana still makes jokes she is willing to own up to her mistakes. During the fight Jeanne was encouraging it while Dana was trying to stop it, which is why she looks so weird calling for them to stop. However, there’s only so much they can do, even reworking the footage so Dana is only in prison once and honestly asks for a second chance. The comic does try to clean things up a bit more, not saddled with Jeanne’s body language, trying to make Dana more sympathetic and less like a party child, which for the most part it succeeds at.
What they got wrong: Emmerson’s caution about attacking the Masters in both versions of the show is not as present here. In the show he didn’t want to be the first attacker, in the Japanese version not even sure that the Zor are the same ship that attacked the moon base. This is ignored entirely as Colonel Maori (who we’ll see again) launches the missiles without orders but nobody makes it a problem. We also don’t see Fredericks stating that he wants to ensure Dana’s 15th is part of the fight in the hopes of her learning something, but does keep in the line about him guarding a “teenage romeo” (Philips, who the comic ignores got in trouble for romancing a colonel’s daughter, something added to “Dana’s Story” in the special released at the end of the Comico run).
Recommendation: A good start to the story and I give credit for at least trying to clean up Dana’s image without being as restricted by Jeanne’s actions. Worth looking at but I still recommend the series over it if I had to choose one.