Robotech: The New Generation #6
Comico The Comic Company (March, 1986)
ADAPTATION: Jack Herman
PENCILER: Reggie Byers
INKER: Tom Poston
COLORIST: Kurt Mausert
LETTERER: Bob Pinaha
EDITOR: Diana Schutz
The group’s trip takes them near the canyon city where Rook grew up. She left when her boyfriend decided to break up their gang and she was attacked by the rival gang alone. After avoiding an Invid scout Rook sneaks off to return to the city to find her the rival gang has gained more power in town and her old boyfriend is now involved with her little sister. When she finally confronts him the sister tells her that he was captured and wasn’t able to come to her rescue. While Rook believes her she still wants some payback and challenges the gang’s leader to a “chicken race” across a beam between two high buildings, which Rand (who went after her) makes sure he goes through with it and without outside interference. Rook wins the race just as Scott is pursued into the canyon by Invid forces, which she helps clear out. Convincing the ex-boyfriend and sister that Rand is her new squeeze the duo returns to the squad and the mission against the Invid.
What they got right: The general beats of the story are there from the episode, though the episode itself was better for reasons I’ll get to in the next sections. It’s a good Rook-focused story as we learn where she came from and why she is the person she is. We also see Rand at least has some respect for his usual squabbling partner, but this story is mostly about Rook, giving us insight into the character as well as a good story.
What they got wrong: As I’ll get to in a moment scenes were missing from the episode between translations but the space cuts transitioning to comic really hurt the presentation when you see the episode. For some reason Herman decided to make one of the girls Fuke/Rook saves her first night back into a former Blue Angel member who joined the Red Snakes and was in on the harassment of the other girl rather than being someone also saved. Missing entirely is the brief encounter with Rook’s mom at the end. While it doesn’t hurt the story overall since her parents weren’t part of anything, it’s a nice moment that I’m sorry they took out. They also made Rand’s kiss a bit more confrontational in the comic than the episode did, where Rand has to sneak an insult in for no good reason, ruining the bit of minor bonding they had in the episode.
What they changed: Surprisingly none of the names are changed outside of Fuke/Rook’s. The boyfriend (Romy), the sister (Lilly), the gangs (Blue Angels and Red Snakes), and the rival gang’s leader (Snake) are all the same between episodes. For some reason Rand tells Rook’s mom to “get a job” before leaving which was totally inappropriate given how he and his Japanese counterpart Ray had a good meeting with the mother in the episode and not what Ray told her as they left. Robotech unfortunately suffered from the 80s problem of not knowing when to keep dialog out of a scene, weakening a few moments with unneeded explanation (yet it’s the comic that notes that Rook didn’t notice how close Rand was from her when driving into the city with a reason why), and for some reason had Scott call out Marlene’s name when fighting the Invid in the city. I know both versions tried to briefly connect Rook’s romantic woes with Scott’s but it didn’t work there. There are even some minor bits like Yellow using his girl voice to joke with Jim a couple of times that didn’t translate well since Lancer uses his same voice as Yellow Dancer, and we don’t get to see Annie morn her dirtied supper the way Mint did. Ultimately Mospeada had the better presentation.
What did I think overall: I can respect what Herman was thinking with things like some of the former Blue Angels joining the Red Snakes and some of the dialog changes at the race but in the end I prefer the way the episode did it and the translation errors mixed with the limited space between episode and comic means you should try to watch the episode instead.
I should also note there that the Robotech comic reviews will be switching days with the Sonic The Hedgehog Monday reviews. One of the reasons is continuing to compare the comic and the episodes, though I only have two episodes/issues left that I can do that to and I’m not sure what I can track down. Still I’m oddly waking up late on Wednesdays and it would be easier for me to watch the episodes on Sunday. The other reason you’ll find out about tonight, which will be more fitting to put them there.