Sunday, April 19, 2015

Robtech II: The Sentinels Book I: #1-5

by Nathan Stout (of

Welcome to the next part of our chronological trip through the Robotech universe! We now begin with the Robotech II: The Sentinels comics (Book I).

The Sentinels #1 (eternity 1988)

Jason Waltrip begins us off on our journey with the same characters we know and love... only looking very different.  

Separated at birth (new Exedore and Colin Fay from Men at Work)
Sorry, where was I?
I always felt that new Lang doesn't look 'anime' enough.
So far we haven't gotten to see Rick's face yet. A big reveal is coming... then boom! Page 8, we see a much more confident looking Rick Hunter. Let us call him... Rick Hunter Prime.
On page 13 there is a cool shot of an Invid troop transport disgorging it's wrathful army! Although in the cartoon they are in little launch bays inside the big clam ship.
The attack on Tirol makes me wonder just how Carl Macek would have pulled off the Invid being the overall bad guy in The Sentinels cartoon (if it was to continue). I thought he couldn't get the rights so would we forever have been seeing the Inorganics? Suck.
Cabel says that Rem is a 'young Robotech Master'... really? I know the whole Zor connection but I never remember him ever being called a Robotech Master. Interesting.
You know, out of all of the different 'quests' in Robotech, the only one that actually worked successfully was the Invid's discovery of Earth. The Zentraedi failed to recapture Zor's battle fortress, the Masters failed to find the protoculture matrix, the Sentinels failed to find the Masters... but the Invid did find a world where the flower of life would grow...
The Invid scientist are drawn to represent 'smaller' versions of the Regent, but in the show they looked to be formed different. The RPG shows the scientist to be the Invid form just short of the evolution of the Regent. Just noticed that.
On page 25 Ben Dunn does some Robotech for us in an ad for Ninja Highschool. My fellow blogger (Chris) and I are business acquaintances of Ben. He has done some work for us on a game we made (and failed to Kickstart) called Zombie Death Squad, Go!
The Sentinels #2 (eternity 1988)
On page 4, Jean Grant's uniform looks very RDF. I don't remember that in the show.
The Tirol troops facing the Invid's Inorganics appear to be in a normal cockpit but in the show they are simply sitting in a spherical cockpit, simply using their minds to control the mecha. I guess that wasn't exciting enough.
On page 9 Rem and Cabel are talking about the flower of life, saying it hasn't been in that sector for generations but if you will remember in previous comics they talk about the discovery of the flower (as a source of power) and the rise of the Masters as if it only happened within the last 15 years or so. I'll just choose to play along...
The shot of the SDF-3 on page 12 is great. It really conveys the size of the ship and the size of the factory... something I didn't see the show do.
The display table on page 17 looks like something out of Return of the Jedi.
Benson is a jerk-hole. Edwards rubbed off on him real fast.
Did you see that guy get blasted on the last frame on page 22? Wicked!
The last page of the comic (once again) does what the show didn't. We see the Invid's Inorganics herding the population of Tirol. It's an awesome shot. Bravo.
In the letters column a fan writes in and he and editor talk about getting a letter writing campaign started to get Robotech re-broadcast. Oh those were the days. When you got to see something it was a treat. Something like Robotech (or any show) wasn't an instant satisfaction thing, it was an event and you were soooo lucky to get to see it on TV.
The Sentinels #3 (eternity 1989)
Some cool shots of Alphas open this issue. I have mentioned this before but the helmets (and uniforms in general) of the REF have no pizazz. They are DULL. It would have been cool to see a little more New Generation inspired uniforms.
The VR battlepods during Baker's training are not the REF versions like in the show.
Page 13... Minmei... hubba hubba (wait, what did I just say?!)
On page 15 we see a Petite Cola machine! Also I'd just like to say that I am really enjoying Jason Waltrip's attention to detail. We see the Zentraedi factory and a living-breathing home for so many (something the show didn't do). It's kinda like revisiting Macross city on the SDF-1.
Page 20, Edwards looks a little 'The Shadow'...
Just sayin'...

Once again there is an advertisement towards the end of this comic for Protoculture Addicts, one of my all time favorite magazines (up till issue 10 at least).

The Sentinels #4 (eternity 1989)

Wow, the Regent is HUGE. Way bigger than he is in the show. I need to find some sort of comparison chart of 3rd war and Sentinels characters.
What's up with this big brain? There is nothing in the Robotech universe like these Invid brains. Even when watching the New Generation episode where they blow up the big brain thingy, I was always wondering... 'what the heck?'.
The 'on the ground' Invid transport ships look cool. We have never seen them like this.
On page 15 the schematic of the Inorganic... looks a bit... dirty.
On the next page we scene right out of the cartoon but wait... where is the great 80's moustache?! It's missing!
The Sentinels #5 (eternity 1989)
Harry Penn is such a worry wart! It doesn't help that Lang openly pours salt in the wound by telling Karen he wants her on the mission as a fighter pilot... jerk!
What's up with Cabel's head? It's so misshapen.. true, not as much as Exedore's was but still...
On 14 Minmei shows up again in her 'not suitable for outer space' clothing.
When Bradley drops off Baker's invitation to the wedding, it is on some sort of cassette (that he puts into a PC that looks a lot like a TRS-80 (or trash 80 as we used to call them in middle school). In the show it is on the traditional note card.
All in all not much happened in this issue other than the flight test accident.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Robotech II: The Sentinels

by Nathan Stout (of

You know, I'm not fancy... I don't wax eloquently about stuff using 'ten dollar words'. I'm no analyst of content... I'm here to have fun.

In my research for covering The Sentinels I have run across many websites/blogs/etc... where would-be Shakespeares go on about each and every detail of Robotech. They do it good and in depth... well that's not what you are going to find here. You are going to find 'Robotech-lite'... "tastes great, less filling". Quite frankly I begin to read these sites and get overwhelmed and bored quickly. We live in a society of speed and short attention spans and that's what I am trying to do here. I don't give you big synopsis (you already read/watched/listened to it, why do I need to retell?) or in-depth analysis. I give you what I think is funny and/or interesting (and I do it quickly). That's why you will be and out of my each of my blog posts in a matter of a few short minutes.

Carry on...

The Sentinels! Woohoo!

I am using (as my source here) the E3 bonus disc of the original release of the Robotech DVD set. Also on this disc is the bonus 'commentary' by Carl Macek. It really isn't commentary (he is reading a very short book he wrote about the making of The Sentinels). It is very interesting to learn how The Sentinels was made, and how ground breaking it would have been (in the business of Japanese/American animation collaboration) so give it a listen if you can.

On with the fun stuff!

At the beginning of the first episode Jack is in his training module and a new version of the Zentraedi battlepod comes up out of the water. For some reason I never really noticed it (being a different design of battlepod). Refer to the Robotech RPG Sentinels Sourcebook to get a good look.

Edwards is sitting in his quarters watching the press conference, his mask is off. He doesn't look bad at all! Why wear that monstrosity of a mask?! It's just a flesh wound...

Minmei shows up at the dress shop... she looks pretty close to her Macross original design.

I guess they couldn't get the same narrator from the original series. Although the new guy isn't bad at all.

Doesn't the Invid's Inorganics look a bit (ok, a whole lot) like Zillion's baddies?
Ok, why doe the cougar mecha explode on contact with the cliff face when they fall but you can drop a mountain on the Odeon and they are fine? The Invid really short changed the cougars when they made them.
Back on Earth the gang prepares for space travel to head up to the satellite. That sure sounds like Kyle's voice in the control room! And look at that one guy, he looks like old Max! Infact there are a lot of re-used voice actors placed here and there and it can throw you off sometimes.
Now I know they didn't get the rights to use the Macross character designs but somehow they got the rights to use the Macross footage, that is odd.** Ok, so after listening to Carl Macek commentary, it wasn't that they didn't get the rights... apparently Macross is just one of those series you don't touch, a revered show and the designers didn't want anyone to think they were working on a sequel to Macross (they even went so far as to use code names for characters... which doesn't make much sense since the American version had totally different names). That is why everyone looks so different (most of all Breetai and Exedore).

In the flash back that Rick has we see a bit of footage that was cut from the original Robotech cartoon. Rick fires on the Zentraedi solider several times but you never see the shots go in... here we see the full scene!

Rick's memory is very hazy here. Lisa looks dismayed after she is grabbed by the Zentraedi solider (because originally she dropped the video recorder). That important fact is not here. Then after Rick saves her, she is crying and says that she didn't know what she'd do without Rick... uh... that is NOT the way it happened. She was crying because the video evidence was lost when the recorder fell. Rick was just remembering with rose colored glasses I guess...

It is a true pitty they didn't get the original voice actors back for Breetai and Miriya. They 2 new people just don't so the characters justice. Miriya might as well be someone totally different.

When Edwards goes on and on to Benson about Rick Hunter, Benson looks far less naive than in the comics. I was on the fence about him being coherenced into working with Edwards... now, not so much.

Lang (among others) keep saying RDF, not REF. There are a couple of other messed up bits of identification later too (like when Shock Troopers are called Enforcers).

Rick asks Breetai and Exedore about the physical size of the Masters... really? I know it is simply exposition but still...

Rem getting into that Invid Shock Trooper is pretty cool. Where the heck is the Invid who was in it though?

The REF flight helmets are pretty unimpressive. Also, the wings of the Beta look too long.

Was it just me or did the Invid Regent keep changing the number of fingers on his hands (sometimes 4, sometimes 5).

On Jack's wedding invitation is says Lisa's real name is Elizabeth! It also says Rick's middle initial is A.

The Invid invasion of the capital of Tirol is pretty awesome. Great animation and lots of action.

There is a large amount of shamelessly re-used animation from Max and Miriya's wedding during Rick and Lisa's wedding. There is even a shot of the bridge of the SDF-1 from that old footage! For shame!

If The Sentinels had continued and no other source (comic/RPG/books) tipped it, what a cool surprise it would have been to discover Janice was an android!