Monday, January 16, 2012

Return To Macross: Issues 1-6

by Nathan Stout (of

In this post I will be covering Malibu's Return to Macross comic books (issues 1-6). If you don't know this is my year long Robotech Adventure! I am reading/watching the entire epic in order throughout all of 2012. You can read all about my plans in this blog. Feel free to join in and comment where necessary. Chris will be joining us on this journey as well and he will be dropping in from time to time.

Up to this point I have read The Legend of Zor: Genesis mini-series and the Graphic Novel. Those comics basically took place right up to the crash landing of the SDF-1 on Earth. Return To Macross takes place between this time and launch day of the SDF-1. There are a few flash forwards and flashbacks but it MOSTLY follows a timeline.

Return to Macross #1 (Malibu 1993)
The Death of Zor and the wounding of Breetai  begin this issue. It is a VERY QUICK recap of the events in Zor: Genesis but with the change that Breetai is wounded during the Invid attack that kills Zor. In all the other comics Breetai is already wearing the faceplate. The SDF-1 looks very un-alien like in this comic (more like the final, restored ship) unlike it looks in the Comico comics. The story switches to 2004 and Roy Fokker's arrival on Macross Island (for the first time in a long time). While Roy is waiting to land on the island he remeber's back to the exploration he, Gloval, Edwards, and some Marines did five years previous. It caught my attention that in one of these panels it closely resembles a panel from the Comico Graphic Novel. The artist was obviously looking at the Graphic Novel as a resource while working on this series.

Roy is overwhelmed that Macross Island is so changed since the last time he was there. There is a large population there now and an element of disharmony. Conrad Wilbur leads demonstations aganist the military and use of the alien technology.

Return to Macross #2 (Malibu 1993)

The Veritech is introduced in this issue. The artists who worked on this series really had a good grasp of the design and they look sharp.

Roy meets up with his old rival T.R. Edwards. In the years between the SDF-1s landing and Roy's return to Macross, Edwards has moved up in the new United Earth Government. He was sent to Macross to observe and report on the Veritech testing going on. Apparently he is up to more than that though.

Edwards contacts the dissident Conrad Wilbur with some scheme. Edwards only real goal is money, something is brewing and he wants to use Conrad to be his patsy.

The comic jumps back across the universe to Breetai and Dolza who have been giventhe task of finding the lost ship. They are attacked by Invid and Breetai finds himself in deep trouble.

The first time I read this series was really my first introduction to black and white comics. I had read the graphic novel Maus and enjoyed the simple black and white scheme and when I started reading this series I remebered how much I enjoyed it. I like drawing and this type of comic is basically that.

Return to Macross #3 (Malibu 1993)

Breetai gets himself out of trouble and Khyron is introduced in this issue. For some reason Dolza still has Zor's body. I guess this bit takes place not too long after Zor's death and they are just catching up on the storyline.

Edwards talks Conrad into sabotaging Roy's test flight so he can sneak off in the excitement and get some photos of the inside of the SDF-1 (for the highest bidder, ofcourse).

Once again there is a lot of Veritech art in this issue and it is done really well, very cartoon-like and all in porpotion... looks great.

Return to Macross #4 (Malibu 1993)

Conrad is ready to blow up the device on Roy's Veritech but is distracted when a fire breaks out in Macross city and Roy uses the Veritech in Battloid mode to save the people in the building. Conrad's wife died in a similar situation and Conrad changes his mind about the uses of Robotechnology and doesn't blow it up.

Edwards sneaks off in anticipation of the explosions and the ensuing chaos and goes spelunking inside the ship. He comes across someone (or something) and screams. Next thing he knows he is falling out of the ship as if it altered itself to kick him out. He plays it off and sneaks back like nothing happened.

From the panels it appears it is a Zentraedi that Edwards saw since there is a broken-open cloning chamber shown and what appears to be wet footsteps leading out of it.

I believe this is the first time (since the crash) that a living alien is shown inside the ship.

The comic shoots back across the galaxy to show the final rescue of Dolza and Breetai from the Invid thanks to the rescue mission (led by Khyron) sent by the Masters. Later Dolza assigns Breetai the mission of finding the SDF-1 and assigns Exedore to assist. In the Legend of Zor mini-series Exedore was already with Breetai.

Probably the most interesting bit of this issue isn't even the comic itself. It's on pages 25-27. The first thing is an advertisement/letter about Robotech Echo, the BBS for Robotech fans. If you don't remeber a BBS was a Bulliten Board System. You used your modem and dialed up the BBS and communicated with others. It was like a crude and very limited internet. I remeber using the Blasted Trumphet BBS out of Fort Worth, Texas about the time this comic was out. On page 26 was a list of BBS that had the Robtech Echo board on it. Good times...

On page 27 was a list of fan addresses. This was very cool. You could have a Penpal that was into Robotech. Right there on the page were several willing fans you could communicte with. This was great in a day and age when the Inetrnet hadn't connected us all yet. In some ways it seems that the Internet has taken that special feeling away from finding a like-minded fan. They are everywhere now-a-days on the net and most people could just take it or leave it, nothing special.

Return to Macross #5 (Malibu 1993)

This issue starts with Breetai and Exedore coming across something they think might be the SDF-1 but it isn't. Khyron is sent out and the something attacks him.

Back on Earth someone kills Roy's current love interest for some unknown reason (at this point). Did I mention that Claudia has shown up?

Isn't that a snazzy PC on page 15? That CRT monitor could be a boat anchor! Robotechnology at its best!

I found it funny that Claudia came to Roy to stop him from bothering her and by the end of the conversation the roles were reversed and he didn't want her to bother him.

Later we see the mysterious figure from issue 4 that Edwards found inside the SDF-1. We know this because it blurts out the name Zor and he is fairly large. Not a giant as I thought but larger than a normal man.

Finally someone is killing scientist off trying to stop the RDF from continuting work on the SDF-1.

I have commented on the art in this series before but I want to say it again. The artist; Tim Divar does an excellent job. The lines are sharp, the details are nice, and the characters drawn very well. The only issue I had was with Breetai in the first few pages. Tim seemed to miss the mark with Breetai's look there for a bit.

Return to Macross #6 (Malibu 1993)

Page 3 has an awesome drawing of a MAC II and a Gladiator! The artist seemed to have slight problems drawing Gretchen in the next couple of pages.

Roy looks like the lead singer of A-ha on page 7.

Page 23... You hear that?... It's a motorboat pulling Cark Macek up and over a shark infested pool.

Starting on page 27 there is a behind the scenes look at what's going on at Malibu/Eternity comics. Looks like a bunch of geeks to me... I'd fit right in!

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