The complete Prelude solicits thus far ...

Here's the solicitation text for all the issues of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles so far. Interesting how much they reveal ...

Written by Tommy Yune, Jason Waltrip & John Waltrip
Art and cover by Omar Dogan & Udon Studios
The legendary Robotech saga continues! After 20 years, the mysterious circumstances behind the disappearance of Admiral Rick Hunter will be revealed in this 5-issue miniseries featuring much of the original Robotech cast as well as a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the upcoming Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles DVD!
In 2022, an Expeditionary Force departed from Earth in search of the homeworld of the Robotech Masters. However, its discovery would spark an interstellar conflict that would last decades. An uneasy alliance is finally reached, but a secret pact with an enemy within the ranks threatens to start a new war that could destroy the Expeditionary Force and the human race!
And in issue #2, the treachery of General Edwards is revealed, but not before the SDF-3 is nearly destroyed! When betrayal harms the very ones that he loves, how far is Admiral Rick Hunter willing to go to take retribution? With their flagship in ruins, Rick sends Captain Vince Grant with the upgraded battlefortress Tokugawa in hot pursuit to the Invid homeworld of Optera, but will it be enough to take on Edwards's new alien technology?
On sale Oct 5 and Oct 19 o 1 and 2 of 5 o 32 pg, FC, $3.50 US Edited by Ben Abernathy

Written by Tommy Yune, Jason Waltrip & John Waltrip
Art and cover by Omar Dogan and Udon Studios
The legendary Robotech saga continues! As the SDF-3 undergoes the final stages of its reconstruction at Space Station Liberty, Admiral Rick Hunter himself makes preparations to pursue the treacherous General Edwards. Will Janice and Doctor Lang be able to reverse-engineer the Shadow Technology in time to save the Robotech Expedition? And what of Captain Grant's assault on the Invid Homeworld?!
On sale Nov 16 o 3 of 5 o 32 pg, FC, $3.50 US

Written by Tommy Yune, John Waltrip & Jason Waltrip
Art and cover by Omar Dogan
An audacious invasion gains the upper hand for the Robotech Expedition. But with mysterious Invid technology still in General Edwards's grasp, will the clash explode into an outright civil war? Secrets that have driven a wedge between Rick Hunter and Edwards for an entire generation are finally revealed!
On sale Dec 21 o 4 of 5 o 32 pg, FC, $3.50 US

Tidbits ...

  • member Treiz has assembled a spiffy fan trailer for the Shadow Chronicles animation which can be found here courtesy of fellow member Vanger. WMV file, nearly 23 megs, and very cool.

  • Once upon a time -- about four months ago, actually -- there was a very cool personal collection of Robotech merchandise and production material that was showcased at Project A-Kon in Dallas, TX. You can find pictures of it here. Now the whole shebang is being sold off on eBay. Kind of sad, showing off this fantastic collection over the summer and then having to sell it all off in the fall. And on the other hand, I wish I had enough money to buy it off the guy ... there's some stuff in there that brings out my jealous, greedy collector side, and makes me hope whoever does wind up buying it decides to make some of his money back by trimming it down ...

  • Nobody seems to be at the wheel of the main page anymore. In a thread started by Darkwater, it was pointed out that there's a clip from a "news" segment about Robotech's presence at Anime Expo 2005 by Comcast's digital cable VOD anime network, Anime Selects. The video can be seen here.

I am suddenly reminded why I stopped visiting the forums -- because when I do visit them, I wind up writing long-winded posts that nobody cares about and fail to get any work done. *sigh*

Unless I manage to post sometime in the afternoon, when next we meet here, I'll have read the first issue of Prelude for myself and will be delivering unto you my impressions. So be watching for that. And to tide you all over, here's that two-page spread I was supposed to have ripped apart tonight in a size suitable for putting up as a desktop picture. (Click it for that.) Enjoy!


Taking Inventory ...

If you were to wander into a comic book shop, chances are fairly good that you could take a sneak peek at next week's first issue of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles. DC is sending it among its "First Look" titles, the books they really want to push out of next week's offerings, which is how Comics Continuum had the finished cover and first three pages up at their website yesterday; obviously they got their shipment of books from the distributor and immediately set about scanning in those pages for all the 'net to see.

I could have pushed my friends to swing me by the nearest comic shop yesterday to peer at the book myself, but I didn't. Obviously I am an idiot. However, reader Shane did manage to swing by and flip through, and in the interest of assembling the dramatis personae for the book, I will let slip a sliver of what he told me.

SDF-3 commanding officer Lisa Hayes-Hunter does appear in Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles. This makes her the second living, major Macross character to appear in the series in the present tense. I add all these stipulations because ...

A) Lynn Kyle appears, but he's dead.
B) Minmei has appeared, but only in flashback. (She is also mentioned, but does not appear in the unfolding events of the first issue, based on Shane's observations.)
C) Dr. Lang is confirmed as present in the series by the solicitation text for issue #3, and I believe Shane said he saw him somewhere in the first issue (don't have the e-mail in front of me), but in any case he's not a major Macross character.

So returning Sentinels mainstays include Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, Jack Baker, Vince Grant, Dr. Jean Grant, T.R. Edwards, Dr. Emil Lang, Janice Em, and possibly Lynn Minmei. She appeared in the flashback, so I have hope. As I've been saying, a certain amount of the drama of the Rick Hunter-T.R. Edwards confrontation that will most likely be the climax of the storyline hinges on the fact that he's got Minmei in his clutches. Mind you, he then proceeds to throw oil on that fire -- hit your local comic shop and demand the FIrst Looks for next week to see what I mean -- but it's still a crucial part of the hatred Rick has for the man at this point. (I keep asking myself, "They can't kill her, can they?")

Oh, missed the Invid Regent. He's on the cover of issue #2. Wonder how he's gonna die if Breetai's not around. My guess would be Edwards kills him. That would make a lot of sense.

The characters I haven't recieved confirmation on that have me curious are the Zor-clone Rem, the Tiresian scientist Cabell, and the ever-evolving Invid scientist Tesla, who has been eating the fruit of the Flower of Life on each planet of the Local Group and continues to transform himself into a more and more human-like configuration. He had two fruit to go, that of Spheris and Peryton, when Sentinels ended, and considering his rivalry with the Regent (who he has now evolved beyond, to his delight), he's the other character I would expect to kill him. However, his subplot isn't so important, especially when you take into account the fact that the Waltrips weren't going to kill him off the way McKinney did in the final Sentinels novel, and they were just going to have this Invid that's nearly as evolved as the Regess get zapped away to Earth for New Generation. (Mind you, if you kept him as-is, that'd make for a great New Gen side-story ... Tesla setting up his own hive somewhere out in Asia, carrying on this parallel war, and the Expeditionary Force troops don't know they're fighting an altogether different foe. Or even better, he takes over but is really nice to the people after his time among the Sentinels, but then some Expeditionary Force freedom fighters charge into town. Somehow the light tone of the Waltrips' Sentinels comics has me picturing "Great Leader Tesla" propaganda posters all over the place ...)

More to come ...


Let's get this out in the open (UPDATED)

In the comments below, Darkwater points out that Comics Continuum has the actual honest-to-goodness cover and first three pages (with text/dialogue) of Prelude up. I'll get into it in detail later today, but first, the linkage, courtesy of Darkwater &'s BlaqChaos ... - cover - page 1 (what has gone before - new!) - page 2 (preview page 1, examined here) - page 3 (preview page 2, examined here and here)

My one remark about this so far is that the implication in the narration on page one is that the struggle on Tiresia was much longer than it was in the Sentinels story. Weird.

Update (12:35 p.m.)
Stole a few minutes to take a closer look, so here's what I see.

Issue #1 cover art Rick (sans UEEF logo on his chest, Photoshopped out badly, as Darkwater notes in the comments below) doesn't look as old as Issue #4 cover art Rick, but looks younger than interior pages Rick. That's interesting, and I think supports my theory that the five issues will take place over some time. (I think.)

There is no year mentioned, which is weird, since the other three WildStorm Robotech series were very explicit about years. Despite what it is explicitly said, I still think 2027 works best based on what I've seen so far. (Later pages will obviously have a major bearing on whether I stick with this. You'll probably see what I mean when the book's in your hands.) The narration says "decades of struggle," but you tack even one decade onto 2022 and suddenly Rick (who was 19 when he got into this whole mess to begin with, back on Macross Island) is forty-two. Tack another on, and suddenly he's fifty-two, and as a bonus we're knee-deep in the Third Robotech War. I don't think that's where we're at now. Obviously the opening narration is not very well written ...

Also noticed, they changed the color of the shoulder bits on Jean's uniform to better match her uniform colors. Red trim is reserved for people whose uniforms had that color, like Rick & Lisa. I don't remember Jean's uniform having purple on it, but it's a better match anyway.

Speaking of Lisa, not a word about her in the opening narration. Interesting, that. Hmm.

Rick notes that the uniform the dead man is wearing is that of a pilot from Edwards' Ghost Squadron. I wonder, if we see other soldiers under Edwards' command, will they be wearing classic Sentinels Expeditionary Force uniforms, too? Hm. (That also explains the monochromatic coloration, to a certain extent.)

Also, I guess that control panel is hooked up to the Invid Brain, since when Edwards pushes the button, the brain burbles. Maybe it's been hooked up to a new control panel aboard Edwards' ship? Though interfacing an alien technology with an Expditionary Force ship control panel ... hmm ... I think I'm overthinking this.

In any case, it's nice to see the good ol' SDF-3 again on the first page, even if it is obscured by really murky colors. Then again, it should be kind of a murky color, a sort of dark radish red as seen in the animation. (NOT those awful browns and greens that always appeared on the Sentinels covers.) I think that's what they used here. And I assume it'll be much easier to see on the printed page.

We don't make it to the two-page spread, so it's still fair game for tonight.

What's Past is Prelude Again: Examining the Shadow Chronicles Comic Preview (Part 4)

Sorry I didn't post some new panels yesterday. I'll try to bring it on home tomorrow, but I've got plans for the evening. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime ...

Panel #4 of page two, and ah, Blogger's not acting up tonight. Fantastic. Cyclones tear through the streets of Tiresia. Well, for one thing, last I checked, the Expeditionary Force on Tirol was using Hovercycles.

See? The same kind Dana & Bowie use in Robotech Masters -- and for that matter, the same kind Matchbox made a toy of for their 12" doll line back in the day. And the reason for that goes back to Daley, Luceno, and the fact that Scott Bernard calls it a "new emergency vehicle" in episode #61 of Robotech, "The Invid Invasion," when he pulls it out of that hatch on his Alpha Fighter. And gee, what year does that take place in the current timeline, 2042? My current estimate for Prelude, which I came to when doing some quick math this afternoon, is 2027, which by golly is the right year for these events according to Sentinels Book IV #0. But then, it was adhering to Daley & Luceno's timeline from the back of Rubicon and The End of the Circle -- the line about Sue Graham that I present is, I'm pretty sure, verbatim from the back of the McKinney novels -- just as it does here when it says that Cyclones didn't come into being for another three years.

Then again, I show you my favorite blunder from Sentinels Book IV #0, the portrait of Sue Graham. Ah. Just to show you all, obviously that source is not infallible. But then again, none of them are. Read on.

Obviously the current timeline isn't taking Bernard's remark in "The Invid Invasion" into account. In last year's Invasion #2, taking place in 2038 -- four years prior to Scott Bernard's arrival on Earth -- Lancer points out to the men under his command that all of their non-transformable space fighters are equipped with Cyclones in case of emergency, proving this shouldn't be a new concept to Bernard in 2042, especially if he has as much experience as he claims to in certain episodes -- his claims about being in the Wolff Pack in "Eulogy" spring to mind. Alpha Fighters, by the way, were allegedly "new" in 2038, according to Lancer during his mission briefing. Alphas keep appearing on the covers to Prelude, including that first one. If my year is right (it would make Rick thirty-seven years old -- any later, and his physical appearance in the preview pages is being WAY too generous), this is also a poor choice of words, because's own profile on the standard-issue green Alpha Fighter (VFA-6I) claims that, "The Veritech Alpha Fighter is Earth's premier third-generation transformable fighter, serving the REF through its mission in deep space and the reclamation missions to Earth." (Emphasis mine.) This suggests to me that it was around for a while prior to the so-called Third Robotech War. Of course, the model that appears on the cover of Prelude issue #1 has a profile that claims it was introduced late in the Third Robotech War, so go figure. Check it out.

Oddly enough, if you go to to brush up on the subject of Cyclones, there is no profile for the VR-052 Battler model, the one shown here and famously used by Rand in The New Generation. However, the VF-038, the light one Rook uses in The New Generation, is referred to as "one of the older Cyclone designs", and it is said that it "soldiered on throughout the 2030's." So I guess it's possible that, according to the current timeline, Cyclones could have been in service in the late 2020's -- that would carry them "through the 2030's," wouldn't it? The overall design of the VR-052 has always suggested to me that it's the oldest, but the model numbers don't seem to support that (it's got the highest of the three), nor does the fact that Scott Bernard arrives in it from space, the cache Rand steals one from appears to be from a more recent crash landing, and the other models are already in place when we arrive (Lancer's, according to Invasion, is the one from his plane). I will shrug at this right now and investigate further later.

As for the streets they're riding on ...

Looks close enough to me. *shrug*

The last three panels of page two feature T.R. Edwards in his current character design and a more Shadow Chronicles style uniform, complete with the new United Earth Expeditionary Force logo (the one you see behind the Shadow Chronicles logo) on his shoulder. The character design is based on Long Vo's tanned, muscular, nearly white-haired character design appearing in the 2002 six-issue mini-series From The Stars.

Interestingly, I glanced down and noticed a strong resemblance between panel #5 and the cover for Sentinels Book IV #12. Take a look.

Sure, Edwards is less freakish and creepy in the Prelude page, but really, that doesn't take much. It also makes me wonder if the three LEDs in his new cowl were inspired by that weird glowing red spot in this image ...

In the Book IV #13 panel, the one at the bottom right, notice how Edwards is bloodied and missing his cowl due to his brawl with Lynn Kyle. If he just shot Kyle dead in the new version of events, as suggested by the flashback panels on page one, his crisp, cool, clean appearance here makes sense. But if we're hewing to the way things happened back in Sentinels, he should be a little more haggard. His cowl was also destroyed in the fight, which is why I'm not losing too much sleep over the new one he sports here, except for the issue of the three LEDs, which I really hope are just there for intimidation purposes.

One thing in these panels sure as heck follows from the events of Sentinels. In fact, it follows from the order given in that very same Book IV #13 panel! Edwards has the Invid Brain on his side, and thus controls the Invid Inorganics in Tiresia. The Invid Brain, also known as "the Living Computer," is a device originally introduced in the New Generation episode "The Fortress." It's basically what it says on the wrapper, a giant organic brain used as a computer by the Invid. When properly hooked up, it can serve as the "mind" of the simple mechanical constructs known as the Invid Inorganics. While we don't see the whole thing in panel seven, it doesn't look massive enough to me -- as you can see in the panel to the bottom left, from Book I #16 (when Edwards first seized it) it's about as tall as he is. During the intial fighting to save the city of Tiresia from Invid occupation, Edwards engineered events so that he would be the one to bust into the Royal Hall, take out the Invid commander, and seize the glory of victory. Much later, in making his escape from the Expeditionary Force, he contacts the Invid Regent and asks for help -- he had opened a line of communication with the Regent to make the pretense of peace talks and to gain help in disposing of Rick Hunter and his friends and allies. The Regent points him to the Invid Brain and the inert Inorganics that weren't scrapped. Whoops -- Expeditionary Force should have scrapped those Inorganics when they had the chance, 'cause they're alive again! Ha-ha!

My only comment on panel six is that I hope that's not supposed to be the Brain's own control system. Perhaps he is lowering it into a holding area aboard his ship. You can clearly see the Brain's proper controls in the panels from Book I #16 and Book IV #12 (top left) -- they're on the big sphere in front.

OK, onto the big two-page spread tomorrow! Again, if you see anything I missed or have any comments to make, please do so either in the comments area or via e-mail.


The Shadow Chronicles Release Date Thing ...

So our Shadow Chronicles composer Scott Glasgow spilled to his alma mater that New Line would be distributing the film in 2006, which resulted in A) a big "no comment" from Harmony Gold and B) that information magically being retracted from his bio, despite the cat leaping out of the bag and scampering from hidey-hole to hidey-hole, leaving its mark all over the place.

Meanwhile, Darkwater, of the currently hibernating Shadow Chronicles News pointed out to members that the DVD sure as heck ain't showing up in comic shops this year according to the Diamond Comic Distributors catalog for December, to which I say, that's probably true, but remember, the first Robotech Remastered box set never appeared in a Previews catalog, and there's a Batman animated series box set in that same Diamond catalog that ships to the big chain stores in November. So until someone says otherwise, if someone asks me when the heck Shadow Chronicles is coming out, I'm still saying, "Ohhh, anywhere from December to the first quarter of next year ...

"... hopefully." >_< (Hey, I'm not stupid. I'm used to Harmony Gold jerking us around. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

The Double-Edged Blade of Continuity

While I should be turning in for the evening, as I closed up after posting the latest installment of my examination of the Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles preview (see below), I noticed something I left open to fact-check a remark I'd made in the earlier, lost draft of my post. I think the remark bears saying, so here it is.

What the preview shows us is two characters running around in uniform designs that appeared only ever before in a series of black and white comic books, published almost ten years ago, with print runs that evidence shows us was in the three thousand copy range. (Look at that November 1996 figure that rtsurfer provides at the link -- that was Academy's best selling book that month, and they shipped an issue of Sentinels every month.) The only reason these designs appear is as a nod to those less than three thousand people who faithfully followed Rick, Lisa, Max, Miriya and the gang month-in and month-out for eight years.

And yet, if my analysis of these pages is correct, just about everything else is inconsistent with the events that occurred in those last few months that those very designs first appeared during. It's like a grinning slap to the face for those people who have been long waiting for a proper cap to be put on the Waltrips' unfinished Sentinels run.

"Oh, we've changed all the pertinent story details around, but look, here's some costume designs you might be familiar with!"

"Hey, there's supposed to be a line right there ..."

"Shut up."

Seriously, I hope some of this is cleared up when the words get here, but I sincerely doubt it. Reminds me of something I read in a comments thread over at Fanboy Rampage a little over a week ago ...

You know, having Giffen on 52 is like Yune bringing in the Waltrips to script Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles- "look, we brought in a guy you like! Now will you buy it even if it's contrived as hell and sucks out loud?"
Dan Coyle | 09.15.05 - 4:29 pm

Explaining the project he's comparing Prelude to would take the better part of the evening, but the point is, with a couple of nights of research under my belt here, my own feelings here are starting to mirror Mr. Coyle's overly cynical remarks. Sure, I'm having fun throwing darts at preview art, but really, I shouldn't have to ... everyone should have done their homework, like good little boys.

Or maybe they just shouldn't have used those uniform designs. One or the other.

What's Past is Prelude Again: Examining the Shadow Chronicles Comic Preview (Part 3)

Folks, digging through comics and scanning stuff and clipping it out JUST right takes time, and I've got work in the morning, so this one might get cut a little early. I hope you understand. Feels nice to be flexing these muscles again, but on the other hand, I'm starting to remember why I put all my Robotech-related projects on the backburner ...

The first three panels of page two give us a good look at our two heroes in Haydonite armor. One of them is obviously the newly redesigned Dr. Jean Grant. I've provided a Tommy Yune piece of her in her Shadow Chronicles garb that appeared in the Robotech 20th Anniversary/Robocon 20 promotional folder for comparision. But as for the fellow with her ... well, as you can see, it's got to be Rick Hunter. One continuity tidbit I've been assured hasn't been screwed up is that anyone who appears in one of those Haydonite armors is someone who recieved one of those armor discs on Haydon IV in the Waltrips' Sentinels comics. We never see Jean recieve one, but then again we never see Max and Miriya recieve them either, but when they walk up to Rick and Lisa to tell them that they're not coming along to Spheris, they are wearing the discs on their standard Expeditionary Force uniforms. Those leaving for Tirol (Breetai, Vince, Jonathan Wolff -- remember, they left to stand trial) didn't recieve them, but those staying behind apparently did. Jean Grant also stayed behind, so she's fine here. But if we see Vince suited up ...

At the same time, Rick Hunter is the only character out of those who recieved a Haydonite armor disc who has the right hair color, age, build, etc. to be this other armor-clad person we see here. And look at the screen grab from the Macross animation as compared to the image of this guy from the next page over. Who else has hair that does that, seriously? So yes, this strong-chinned fellow who looks to be in his thirties or so appears to be Rick Hunter. He certainly looks more like Rick Hunter than the guy who appeared in the framing sequence in WildStorm's Robotech #0 ...

And hey, is it just me, or do those Haydonite armors look really silly outside of the streamlined world of the Waltrips' Sentinels comics? Super anime hero Rick from the cover of Sentinels Book IV #10 looks pretty slick, but "big chin dude" Rick on panel #2 looks totally out of place in that outfit.

This also brings to the fore the issue of the man identified as Rick Hunter on the cover of Prelude #4 (see below). This Rick has extremely light brown hair. The other two Rick Hunters I've presented here, TV series and Waltrip Sentinels, have black hair. The Rick Hunter on the cover of Prelude #4 has light gray hair. (He also has it spiking out at the bottom again, which means yeah, it's probably him.) So again, deliberate misdirection, coloring mistake, or are we looking at a five-issue mini-series that takes place over five-to-ten years? I guess only time will tell.

With these two characters positively identified, we now turn to the issue of, should these people be here?

Behold the Ark Angel, a Haydonite starship gifted to the Sentinels at the same time as the armor discs. As I've scrawled across the bottom of this image, this is from the first page of the next to last issue of the Sentinels comic book series. The Ark Angel is in orbit around the planet Spheris, the next to last planet that the Sentinels have to liberate in order to have fully spread freedom throughout the Local Group. They really don't get much farther than this in their quest -- they begin a skirmish on the surface of the planet that leads to a cliffhanger at the end of Sentinels Book IV #13. The main reason for this is that these last two issues are strongly focused on the political goings-on back on Tirol, as well as the violent aftermath.

Based on the fact that Rick gets to sit in the "Kirk chair" on the bridge of the Ark Angel, he's probably the Admiral Hunter being talked to in this panel. In any case, though, this is where he is when Edwards makes his escape, kills Kyle, grabs Minmei, and takes off. (More on where he went tomorrow.) Now, the Ark Angel is equipped with a proper fold system, so Rick could speed back to Tirol if need be, but considering the fact that he's starting a campaign here and he still hasn't found out how the trial went -- remember, it just blew up in everyone's faces -- that just doesn't sound right.

Even worse is the situation with Jean. As I noted, Jean stayed behind on Haydon IV after the liberation of that world. She stayed there to help Miriya through her childbirth; Max and Miriya are having their second daughter soon, the one Dana connects with psychically in the last episode of Robotech Masters. Since this hasn't happened yet in the Waltrips' Sentinels comics, that's where Jean should still be. But no, she's right here at Rick's side looking over a dead man. This has bugged me ever since I saw some early rough work on Tommy Yune's Powerbook out at Anime Expo, and continues to bug me in ways I'll explain in further detail when an issue or two of the series is in my hands.

As an aside, that dead man's uniform needs some more color. I've never seen a Sentinels era Expeditionary Force uniform with that much white. Obviously somoene failed to give the colorist a proper reference, which is a bit of a shame, given how totally spot-on the Haydonite armor designs are color-wise.

I really need to sleep now, so Cyclones & T.R. Edwards will have to wait until tomorrow night. Let me know if you think I've missed something -- I've kind of rushed through this, since this is the second time I've typed all this (and I'm sure you can guess why by my irritated tone). Sooooo, more later. Ciao.


What's Past is Prelude Again: Examining the Shadow Chronicles Comic Preview (Part 2)

And, we're back. Let's take a look at the first page of DC's preview of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles and see how it jibes with its truest progenitor, the Waltrips' Robotech II: The Sentinels comic book series.

Panel #1, a sepia-toned image of a gavel striking a table. This is a reference to the storyline going on back on Tirol during the final three issues of Robotech II: The Sentinels (Book IV #11-13). Following the liberation of Haydon IV, Colonel Jonathan Wolfe, Vince Grant, and Breetai returned to Tirol to answer for charges alleged by T.R. Edwards in his bid to seize further power. Expeditionary Force Plenipotentiary Council chairwoman Justine Huxley can be seen banging her gavel in the first of the two Sentinels panels provided. The second panel illustrates the result of the trial. In issue #11, Dr. Emil Lang tricks Edwards into baring his soul and, despite Edwards' belief that he has systems in place to prevent Lang from recording his megamaniacal monologue, finds an opportune time at the trial in the following issue to play back his venom-filled rants for the Plenipotentiary Council. So, after Edwards picks his jaw up off the floor, he makes a run for it.

The rant is pretty great:

Here's the oath I'll serve ... I swear to kill Wolff. I swear to exterminate Rick and Lisa Hunter, and Breetai, after I've made them suffer enough! The rest of you will bow at my feet or die! I swear to have Huxley and Obstat and the entire council as my personal slaves! I swear the Earth ... and the galaxy will be mine! I swear revenge!

On the one hand, most of the time during Robotech II: The Sentinels I was screaming at everyone, "WHY DON'T YOU NOTICE THIS GUY IS EVIL?!?" On the other, sometimes it's pretty darned entertaining having someone who will rain on everyone's parade and rant like this around. I am suddenly reminded of a scene early in Book II where Rick and Lisa are sharing a disgustingly cute romantic moment on the battlefield and Edwards grumbles something about a distinct lack of professionalism on their part. Gotta admit, the man's right ...

Beyond the fact that traditionally the Waltrips and their colorists portrayed Edwards' cowl as silver instead of black, the one noteworthy difference between their rendering of it and the animation model is the way that the Waltrips very much accentuate the fact that the bit over his eye is a sort of reflective substance, like glass. This will become noteworthy in a bit. As you can see, in Omar Dogan's reinterpretation of Edwards' character design, he makes the cowl more form-fitting and gives him three red sensors where the eyepiece traditionally goes, which I suppose act as an artificial eye. I wonder if he can still remove the cowl or if it's fixed there now ...

Panel #2, a gunshot. Hey, wait, that's not the same model of gun the Waltrips drew! However, I'm 98% certain this is the scene the Waltrips & Dogan are referencing in Prelude. When Edwards escapes from the Expeditionary Force after the trial, he makes one stop before making his grand departure -- to seize Lynn Minmei from her cell. Book IV of The Sentinels began with a mysterious benefactor whisking Minmei away; she had just finally rejected Edwards once and for all, and wanted to get as far from him as possible. Her benefactor stole a prototype Veritech and tried to use it to take her offworld, but they were forced down by Expeditionary Force fighters under Edwards' command and the mysterious man made his escape to try again later, while Minmei, perhaps starting to realize the identity of her rescuer, started to go a little crazy and was sedated and locked away. This is the end result of Minmei's guardian angel's second attempt to save her. He clobbers Edwards good, but is ultimately killed by the raging psycho.

Panel #3. Whoa, it's like Dogan had the original panel for reference. Neat. Minmei freaks out as Edwards kills her protector, who, yes, is actually Lynn Kyle, her cousin and former manager. He's been skulking around the SDF-3 for a really long time to keep an eye on Minmei and make sure she doesn't get in any trouble -- and yes, I realize that doesn't make any sense since Minmei wasn't originally supposed to be aboard the SDF-3 (she intentionally let history repeat itself, flying a shuttle into the SDF-3's fold bubble as it took off for Tirol), but I'm sure Kyle, having been spurned before due to Minmei's continuing fixation on Rick Hunter, knew she'd tag along after Rick, even after singing at the man's wedding to someone else. He knows -- err, knew her well enough.

Panel #4, Kyle falling dead. For brevity, I understand why we've got this simple image here, but Kyle's death was a slightly more complex sequence. Note that he was lunging at Edwards when Edwards shot him. He lands on top of Edwards, and has to be shoved aside, so when they leave him beside, he's facing up. This detail will be important shortly. Certainly by now you've also noticed that the falling body and lunging Kyle are wearing different uniforms. Kyle is wearing a Sentinels version Expeditionary Force flightsuit. The falling body, oddly enough, is wearing a Sentinels version Expeditionary Force duty uniform. Why is this odd? Because, if you look at the rest of the pages, everyone's already decked out in Shadow Chronicles uniforms! There's nary a Sentinels outfit in sight ... well, with two exceptions, but we'll get to them in a moment.

For the two of you out there who don't know a Sentinels Expeditionary Force uniform, here's some lineart of Max Sterling from Eternity Comics' old Sentinels Illustrated Handbook. I've shaded him in shades of gray to match the dead guy on the ground. Not that it's Max, y'know -- I assure you, it's Kyle, unless we're being given a sort of bait & switch here -- but he's in the right style uniform and has the right build for comparison. Max, if you're wondering, should be safe and sound on Haydon IV waiting for his new baby.

Oh, I forgot to mention the plot reason why Kyle has to be wearing a flightsuit ... he's been using a visor on the flight helmet (an eyeshield, like the one Rick flips down in the Robotech opening theme sequence) to hide his eyes so nobody knows who he is. So not only do we have a uniform that appears to have been retconned out here, but it's the wrong one! Oy!

Panel #5 features Expeditionary Force security officers busting in on the "scene of the crime." One of the few times we've previously seen Expeditionary Force security officers is the panel above from Sentinels Book III #2. I've helpfully provided a red arrow pointing to just about the best shot there is of this uniform/armor design in the entire Sentinels run. The faceplate on the helmet appears later on troops under Edwards' command, producing a sort of "nameless stormtrooper" effect.

The new uniform design feels like a transition uniform between Sentinels and The New Generation/Shadow Chronicles. The colors bring to mind the Shadow Chronicles palette, but the lines and color breaks have a very strong Waltrip Sentinels feel, as do those helmets.

The security officers are wielding Mars Gallants (the standard sidearm in the New Generation episodes of Robotech), though I don't think the Waltrips had introduced the Mars Gallants in the comic series yet -- Edwards' troops were all wielding conventional-looking rifles (Wolverine assault rifles?) at the end of Sentinels.

Panel #6 features the security officers beginning their search of the premises -- looks to me like the Waltrips & Dogan are shooting for the Plenipotentiary Council chambers (see the circular table at the bottom right corner of the panel). However, the trial of Wolff, Vince, and Breetai didn't take place in the actual council chambers, as they couldn't accomodate Breetai. I seem to recall they put some tables into a large room in the Tiresian Royal Hall. On top of that, however, Lynn Kyle wasn't killed at the trial -- in fact, short of maybe one nameless security officer Edwards zaps, nobody was killed during Edwards' initial escape. Lynn Kyle was killed in Minmei's cell beneath the Expeditionary Force headquarters on Tirol. If this is supposed to be the scene of that crime, there should also be the bodies of one of Edwards' men and the Expeditionary Force investigator he killed, Lt. Rebecca Nicks, who had been helping Kyle rescue Minmei.

The thing that makes all these discrepancies so aggravating are the uniforms the two people farthest in the back are wearing. To your left you'll see Sentinels Rick Hunter wearing it, in an image from Sentinels Book IV #9 which I have colored based on the cover art for that issue. See how short of one single line across the belly it's perfectly reproduced by Omar Dogan in the Prelude panel here? This is a Haydonite armor that the Sentinels recieve for leading the liberation of Haydon IV from the Invid. Affix the disc Rick is touching to your uniform, and it generates a light armor of similar design around the uniform. This was an invention of the Waltrips -- this did not appear in the Sentinels novels or the original plans for the animation. If you're going to shoehorn these into the storyline wholly intact, why are all these little niggling facts so inconsistent?

More tomorrow as we delve into the next page, which reveals the identity of our Haydonite armor-clad Expeditionary Force heroes, reintroduces T.R. Edwards, and further entrenches us in Sentinels continuity while openly denying it. Fun stuff!


What's Past is Prelude Again: Examining the Shadow Chronicles Comic Preview (Part 1)

Today we're going to stare deeply at the four-page textless preview that DC Comics has posted of the first issue of the Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles comic book mini-series, due out in a few weeks. Primarily, what I'm going to be detailing here is how this series, based on the preview art, is probably going to tie in with what's come before in the sprawling mess of Robotech's so-called "secondary continuity" -- all the stuff Harmony Gold and its licensees threw at loyal Robotech fans between 1986 and 1998. This includes the existing Robotech II: The Sentinels animation (1986) and the Robotech II: The Sentinels comic book series (1988-1996). The reason I'm focusing on these two pieces of "secondary continuity" most closely will reveal itself very shortly.

Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles (Oct. 2005 - Jan. 2006, 5 issues) is being written primarily by Jason & John Waltrip, the twin artists who spent over seven years writing and drawing comic books based on both the aborted Robotech II: The Sentinels television series and the very loose novelizations of that storyline written by Brian Daley & James Luceno under the psuedonym Jack McKinney. Like all Robotech comic writers in this modern era, they are being assisted in their task by Harmony Gold's Robotech Creative Director Tommy Yune, who is doubtless doing everything he can to make sure that the series stays true to the upcoming Shadow Chronicles animation that it's supposed to be leading into (to be released on DVD sometime between December 2005 and the end of the first quarter 2006, by current estimates). Why are the Waltrips writing this? Because this series serves a dual purpose -- to guide us into The Shadow Chronicles, while at the same time capping off The Sentinels. This is quite problematic.

What we have here is the cover to the first issue of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, drawn by series artist Omar Dogan. (Click on it to make it bigger.) It features a lot of faces that are kind of familiar if you squint at them hard. As you can see, I've provided some handy visual aids, all but one screen-grabbed from the original 1986 Sentinels animation, to help you out.
  1. Rick Hunter - Hero of the First Robotech War (2009 - 2012), military leader of the SDF-3 Expeditionary Mission (2022-20??), and husband of the mysteriously absent Admiral Lisa Hayes-Hunter.

    Rick of course, has a big question mark plastered over his face because Harmony Gold thinks it's a lot of fun to leave you guessing what Rick looks like THIS time. If you've ever looked at the scripts for the Sentinels TV series, you'll see that this is something Harmony Gold likes to do whenever they're about to debut a new look for Rick -- they were planning on stringing out Rick's first appearance in Sentinels, too, leading up to this big moment where he turns to face the camera. This has always struck me as really, really silly.

  2. T.R. Edwards - Power-hungry mercenary-turned-United Earth Defense Force General. Knew Rick Hunter's mentor, Roy Fokker, before the First Robotech War. Currently has a mad-on against Hunter for reasons unknown.

    Despite some major differences to his design, T.R. Edwards stands out as one of the most recognizable figures on this cover. Naturally, Dogan has to work from his last appearance in the modern canon, From The Stars (2002), where artist Long Vo made him tan, muscular, and practically white-haired. However, once you snip that long ponytail he had and add the classic cowl (subtly redesigned by Dogan), anyone who's even remotely familiar with The Sentinels gets the idea. Notice he's wearing a Shadow Chronicles-era uniform. We'll give it a closer look once we get inside the book.

  3. SDF-3 - Flagship of the Robotech Expeditionary Force. Originally commanded by Admiral Lisa Hayes-Hunter; left in the care of Captain Raul Forsythe following her departure as a member of the Sentinels.

    The SDF-3 (shown in its finest artistic hour, the famous cover of Jack McKinney's infamous novel The End of the Circle) is already featured in its new incarnation on the Prelude #1 cover. However, I have seen interior art that confirms that the first time we see the SDF-3 in Prelude it's still the good old "Trojan Horse" psuedo-Zentraedi design. Unlike the characters, the Expeditionary Force flagship only winds up in its Shadow Chronicles form after sustaining some major damage and then undergoing serious repairwork. Everything else, though, is retconned, such as the character design for ...

  4. Jean Grant - SDF-3 Chief Medical Officer, mother of Private Bowie Grant of the 15th ATAC.

    Jean is one of two visible characters who were redesigned for The Shadow Chronicles, and thus has one of the more radical redesigns of the bunch. She foregoes her really boring paint-by-numbers "this is what a Japanese character designer thinks black people look like" Sentinels character design for a lighter skintone and a much more interesting violet hairdo. Since she's Shadow Chronicles, she also gets to be really big on the cover, even if her role here isn't so big. Mind you, she's on all four preview pages, so maybe she gets a lot more to do in Prelude than she did in Sentinels. We'll see.

  5. Jack Baker - Overconfident hotshot pilot, tempered by the continuing war with the Invid into a fine young leader. Usually seen at the side of attractive young ace pilot Karen Penn, who is as mysteriously absent as the female Admiral Hunter.

    Jack does not get to be in Shadow Chronicles, and has not appeared in anything at all since the end of the Sentinels comic book series, so he winds up tiny on the cover, though not as tiny as the guy standing next to him, who I guess is somebody we'll meet again in the Shadow Chronicles animation. Jack is inexplicably older here, but otherwise looks pretty much like the same character we've followed in The Sentinels; I guess that's a handy side-effect of being a character who nobody wanted to use before or after in the modern canon. Not like ...

  6. Vince Grant - Admiral Rick Hunter's right-hand man, former commander of the GMU (Groundbased Mobile Unit, a ground-based battlefront fortress, destroyed on the amazon planet Praxis), brother of the late Claudia Grant (bridge officer, SDF-1), father of Bowie Grant (15th ATAC).

    Thankfully, Vince no longer looks like a grown-up version of that negro child from Will Eisner's The Spirit. Obviously this has been in the cards since day one of the new charge forward; Vince appeared with a a younger version of this more handsome, less simian character design in From The Stars back in '02, which makes me wonder just how long Shadow Chronicles has actively been in production. At Robocon, as I was showing off my own collection of Robotech animation art and generally making a nusiance of myself, Tommy Yune pointed out as I was flipping past my Southern Cross cels that the main reason for the major change to Vince's character design was to make him look more like his son, The Robotech Masters' Bowie Grant. Otherwise, I figure they could have always just gone closer to the larger, more muscular and squared-off design the Waltrips went with for Vince in the Sentinels comic book series. They obviously knew a bad thing when they saw it ...

In our next installment, we'll charge right into the first page of the preview, which features a pounding gavel, a shrieking woman, a dying Macross supporting character, and a room that looks nothing like the last place we saw T.R. Edwards fleeing from way back in December of 1996.

Thoughts so far?


What do you MEAN there's news? woke up and pointed out the full box set coming in November. Preorders are open, and right now it's just shy of a hundred bucks. But hey, it's two bucks cheaper right now at Right Stuf! Me, though, I'll probably preorder it through, because y'know, they're such swell guys there.

I'm sorry, did that sound like I was sucking up? Really? Hrm.

This does make me wonder who in their right mind would go ahead and buy the individual sets through when the big box is right there next to them. I guess if someone REALLY, REALLY hates one of the generations, or just HAS to have that Robotech fix right now ...

Welcome one and all ...

Hello and welcome to my Robotech blog. It might not look like much now, but just wait 'til the evening, or maybe tomorrow, when I'll make it all pretty.

Hey, did anyone notice that Darkwater's Shadow Chronicles News is down? Geez, I really need to get out and pay attention more. Ugh. Will someone warn me when things like that happen? I actually had to go into the DC website and find the link to the Shadow Chronicles #1 preview (always frustrating -- the DC website is too glitzy and cluttered to my eyes) for the post below. Bye bye, handy link.

Speaking of which, it's a few months out of date, but I think I'm going to jot down my page-by-page comparison and breakdown of the preview alongside the end of the Sentinels comics before the week is done ... unless someone's already done it before me. And I mean, with illustrations and such. Hey, I'll have to do it when I start working on the Robotech comics site again, best to get it out of the way, y'know?

Robotech comics for December ...

Yoinked from Comic Book Resources.

So, was the preview art miscolored? Or is the series (perhaps just the first issue, even) set over a number of years, and by this point the Expeditionary Force's fearless leader is all old and gray? Because seriously, I swear the guy with the brown hair in the preview over at the DC Comics website (see here) is Rick, but on the other hand, the fellow front and center (and armored up on the front lines here, in a shot that brings to mind many a Robotech II: The Sentinels cover, like this one and to a certain extent, this one) has to be Rick as well. I mean, his uniform and armor are color-coded red and white, for crying out loud ...

My question now is, when do we get to see the cover for the first issue without the stupid question mark over it? I know I've said it before (though perhaps not here), but that first issue question mark reminds me of the script of the first episode of the Robotech II: The Sentinels TV series, where the inner circle of the REF is all having this discussion on the shuttle headed to the Zentraedi Factory Satellite, and it's written so that Rick is looking away and has his face in shadow until he has this dramatic turn-around. Rick "Whiny-Boy" Hunter doesn't deserve a dramatic reveal! I remember the day I was explaining the synopsis of The New Generation to a friend of mine who was just getting into Robotech. When I spoke the words "Admiral Rick Hunter" her jaw dropped open, and a second later she was laughing. Then again, I think she'd only watched the first twelve or so episodes of The Macross Saga at that point, so I guess her disbelief makes sense.

Then again, go back and rewatch "Broken Heart," Macross Saga #32 of 36, and tell me that guy deserves to be an admiral. Go ahead. Do it. "Hm, reheated emotions, duty, reheated emotions, duty ... hm, which to go with ..." Idiot.

Once again, the solicitation information reads like a new issue of the old Sentinels comic series, which to me is a good thing:
An audacious invasion gains the upper hand for the Robotech Expedition. But with mysterious Invid technology still in General Edwards's grasp, will the clash explode into an outright civil war? Secrets that have driven a wedge between Rick Hunter and Edwards for an entire generation are finally revealed!

Will we see the scene from the novels of Rick leaving Edwards behind at Alaska Base, or have Tommy & the Waltrips come up with something better? I guess we'll just have to wait 'til December 21st to find out.

My only question at this point ... if we're still dealing with Edwards in issue #4, is that what the series is really all about? Is this all about the final fate of T.R. Edwards, acting as both companion piece to "From The Stars" (where he was reintroduced) and capper to The Sentinels (where he was the ever-present "nyah hah hah!" overplayed traitor-villain, a cross between Skeletor and Starscream)? Hmm, reminds me of how back in the Eternity days you had The Malcontent Uprisings and Invid War bookending Jonathan Wolff's career, only this isn't quite of that caliber, and those books were both written by the same exceedingly talented author, Bill Spangler. I do so wonder what ever happened to him. Of course, as Tommy Yune pointed out to me a few months back, it's not like you can make a good living as a comic book writer anymore, unless you're Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, Frank Miller, etc. -- that is, someone who either writes twenty different books or has so big a name that they don't HAVE to write twenty different books.

I think that's all I've got on that subject. Your thoughts and conjectures?