It’s been too long since we opened up a toy and read the comic it came with. I mean, what do we need toys for when there’s a comic to read?
I thought the next installment would be a return to Etheria for the Princess Of Power minicomics, but I looked on the list. Apparently somewhere along the line I learned that ManTech had a minicomic that came with it’s six figures. What’s ManTech?
Being only slightly less terrible in this gimmick than LEGO’s Galidor a few years later (not that the show it was based on was any better, mind you), ManTech attempted to be the Centurions to the punch of a franchise with part-swapping as a feature. Considering The Centurions is best known for the show and not the action figures based on the show tells you how well that went. Only The Centurions, while not a toyline I was interested in despite liking the parent show, was actually a decent looking toy. ManTech really wasn’t. Outside of six cyborgs, the good humans and evil aliens, who could exchange limbs and weapons I really didn’t know anything about it. Apparently a cartoon was planned but given how quickly Remco’s toyline phased out of existence it never got the chance.
Apparently it did have a short-lived comic from Archie and tonight’s mini-comic, so join me in visiting I remember as “that thing that existed”.
“Siege Of The Robots”
WRITER: Rich Margopolis
PENCILER: Dick Ayers
INKER: Jon D’Agostino
COLORIST: B. Grossman
LETTERER: R. Ollerenshaw
EDITOR: Vic Gorelick
I’m guessing these were too long a name to fit into the credits box. It’s why my pen name is just “Troy A.” in my comic work
The story opens on our three heroes working on some kind of space platform. Solartech (I’m hoping these are codenames or something) sees the evil robots about to attack and calls his team into action. Aquatech whines about having just put in a power generator and wondering why Solartech is barking orders, while Lasertech just wants to blast some robots. Again, these are our heroes. They are not winning me over and we’re only one double-sized splash page in.
It doesn’t take long (even by minicomic standards) for our villain robots to break in. Behold the terror that is Negatech, Doomtech, and Terrortech. Maybe it’s a good thing we never got more than six action figures because the naming gimmick is less impressive than the GoBots, which is why I like the GoBots and barely remember these existed. Lasertech, proving how smart he is, jumps in head first with lasers blazing so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of his arms that blasts Solartech’s mechanical arm off. To show off the gimmick, Lasertech destroys Doomtech and tosses one of his arms to Solartech. So do these robots have multiple versions? Are there like five other Doomtechs running around outside waiting to be spare parts for the cyborgs? Otherwise you just wiped out one of the toys for your line. “Here’s Doomtech, kids. He dies before you get to play with him.” And yes, Solartech is still complaining, though having your arm shot off because your colleague is a robo-psycho at least is something worth complaining about.
Solartech, aka the apparently competent one but we’ll see how long that lasts, tosses his shield to the still complaining Aquatech to call their creator, Doctor Jackson Goode in the underwater Tech 3 station on planet Mekka, who is worried that if the bad bots take the station it will be a victory for their creator, Tyranik. It was the 1980s, folks. Being this blunt was how we still named people and things back then. So how did this combat begin? Don’t worry. It’s short but dumb.
Some time after a 1000 year war on Mekka Goode and Tyranik found an ancient tomb of robots. While repairing the computer they’re both zapped with a ray that makes them immediate roboticists. Goode wants to combine robots with humans to be the next step in evolution while Tyranik wants to wipe out humans and replace them with robots he can rule. Is it okay to root for both to fail? Goode is sure Tyranik went insane after being hit by the beam, though one has to wonder if mister “let’s make everyone into cyborgs” is any more sane. While Tyranik runs off to play Doctor Wily, Goode finds another chamber with…three NASA astronauts from Earth in suspended hibernation? Sure, why not. We already had a planet of humans and it’s not like we’ve seen worlds in these minicomics where humans didn’t come from Earth, right Sectaurs and Commandrons? Apparently Goode didn’t learn medicine but did learn how to create robots, so with the astronauts dying his first thought is to make them all into cyborgs. I don’t like this remake of The Six Million Dollar Man.
Using the ship’s “data-puter”, Goode learns their names…not that he cares since he just gives them lame new names. Although continuing our trend, “Lasertech” used to be Lt. “Laseray” Larson, the only one to have a nickname, the pilot and weapons expert. “Solartech” used to be solar energy specialist Colonel Solomon Sunn and was the captain of the failed mission, which actually answers Aquatech’s question about who put him in charge. Apparently NASA did. So was aquatics specialist Cliff Stone, a name that sounds more like a ground specialist, always a putz? You know, the Centurions’ names were ties closed to their specialties as well (Jake Rockwell, Max Ray, and Ace McCloud) but at least I could buy their names. They had to give Lasertech a nickname because even ManTech had their limits of stupid naming conventions.
Solartech’s first thought after they wake up is “oh my god we’re robotic freaks now!” and Jaxon takes all of a minute to convince him to help fight Tyranik’s robots he doesn’t have yet to the point he signs the other two up without even taking a vote. Maybe that’s why Aquatech is so pissy? Nah, I’m still going with he’s a jackass. After all, back at the battle he suddenly decides he knows why Tyranik isn’t leading the charge and takes off without explaining himself. Solartech notes that he never wanted to be a robotic freak and is even convinced he might have switched sides…to the dude who hates even half-humans and wouldn’t exactly accept the fleshy mechanoid on his team. I don’t have high hopes for Mekka’s future.
Credit where it’s due, though. He does realize that this is a distraction so Tyranik can attack Jaxon directly. I mean, he could have radioed his comrades or even just said “he’s after our supposed savior so I’m going to go save him while you two get shot at” and he does at least privately admit Solartech is a good strategist but he’s still a jerk about the whole thing. Tyranik hits him with a freeze ray but that lasts one panel and Tyranik makes a run for it, recalling his troops. Reunited with no apologies from anyone, Jaxon notes his old friend will return and Solartech assures him the ManTech are ready…to be even more obnoxious in the future.
So as you can no doubt tell I wasn’t impressed with this story. Our heroes are shown arguing or being stupid, the origin didn’t need to have both aliens and Earthlings, there’s no explanation for WHY there are three random NASA astronauts on this planet, and when you combine this with how underwhelming the toys themselves are I can see why this wasn’t successful. ManTech really needed a good backstory to make these toys interesting, though that would require actually buying one of these things and they didn’t look that good on the pegs. Maybe the six issues of Archie produced shelf comics did better but given how many Archie creators were involved with this, thus meaning they made this comic as well, I kind of doubt it. If you want to see if I’m exaggerating or maybe this is more your speed than mine, the comic is currently available over at Virtualnaut for download. Tell them I said hi and thanks for at least showcasing these minicomics. This is the last one but we’ll be back there for the Starrior minicomics, plus he mentioned wanting to add the Robo Force minicomics, so if he gets those or I find them elsewhere we’ll check them out as well.
Next time according to the current alphabetical list however (this was under miscellaneous), we should be heading back to Etheria as originally intended. At least their bonehead decisions are more fun to read.
I only ever had one of the figures so I never could try to mix and match all the parts as intended, but I had the weird nostalgic urge to read the comic that came with it again and tracked it down on ebay.
I’ll let ya know if I ever get all the Robo Force ones someday…
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According to my list, Princess Of Power is next and then would be Robo Force, wherever I end up finding it. Probably won’t get it by then (maybe two months depending on what happens in life). I also just saw that they’re redoing them as more normalized robots but I just saw the video thumbnail so I don’t know the details. Would be good timing, and I’ll still be using you for Starriors at the very least. 🙂