Robotech Masters #5
Comico The Comic Company (January, 1986)
ADAPTATION: Mike Baron
PENCILER: Neil D. Vokes
INKER: Keith Wison
COLORIST: Tom Vincent
LETTERER: B.J. Gurley
EDITOR: Diana Schutz
While the 15th enjoy some fun in the city the military brass gather to decide what to do about the Robotech Masters’ ship after the Bioroids attack another city. Supreme Commander Leonard suggests a full attack, which the brass agrees to over Emerson’s objections, and he’s proven right when a new defense field leads to the attack fleet getting slaughtered. Looking over notes on the battle Louie sees a potential way to damage the enemy ship and Dana convinces Bowie to use his ties to Emerson to get them to attempt the plan. Said plan is successful and the enemy ship crashes to Earth.
What they got right: Despite numerous minor changes (the norm I’ve noticed) most of them do not alter the events or characters. There’s an added scene during the battle, and they even removed a scene at the end of the episode that for no reason shows us Dana buying a dress with Nova and Marie jealous over the dress. It seems pointless to me unless they had to pad out the episode to edit something out of the Southern Cross footage (probably more Jeanne showering…isn’t she 16 in that version?) so I don’t miss it here.
What they got wrong: I did say most of the changes don’t alter things. For some reason Leonard actually looks worse at some points and yet better at others. Emerson’s objection was after he was called on to give his opinion, not interrupting like he does in the comic. It’s basically all the scenes with Emerson and Leonard whose alterations don’t work for me personally.
Other notes: Outside of the cobbled together footage for “Dana’s Story” this is our first look at Leonard. The comic makes him look more like the “toss everything at them” type we see later than he does in the story but countered that by him trying to find something positive while acknowledging he made a mistake, which doesn’t happen in the episode. It’s also the first time the Robotech audience is told of Bowie being connected to Emerson, calling him “uncle” at one point but Dana also notes that Emerson promised to watch after him when he parents left. This was expanded upon to his parents joining the attempt to reach the Robotech Masters and form a truce rather than the second war we got and later stories would state that Emerson raised Bowie like a foster son. Also, in the episode they know the “Big Red” pilot’s name is Zor, which I don’t know how because he hadn’t been named anywhere else. If they know his name is the same as the scientist who invented Robotechnology as I’m pretty sure the Zentraedi shared that part of Robotech history. (Later stories confirmed that.) The comic removes that though.
Recommendation: Despite the changes it’s still one of the better episode adaptations. Worth a read.