Before the Beginning ...

Yeah, I haven't gotten the notes ready for the last two issues of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles -- I had a long day yesterday and was pretty tuckered out when I got home. So instead, let's dig around in the past for a moment's reflection.

Two key moments in the lives of our Macross cast, focused through the lens of ROBOTECH comics.

Breetai loses his right eye courtesy of an Invid Scout, from Return to Macross #1 (January 1993) by Bill Spangler & Mujib Rahiman ...

Not sure if the modern canon's leaving that be; personally, I've never been a big fan of sticking Breetai on the planet Zor was seeding with the Flower of Life -- as a mere foot soldier, no less -- and then giving him his most identifying mark then and there. I've always thought that Breetai should lose his eye in a moment that defines him, not in a moment shoehorned into the event setting everything in motion, turning it into a mere footnote. On the other hand, Rahiman's depiction of the event almost sells it to me just on the basis of how damn cool the scene comes off. (Because I'm stingy I'm leaving out the moment immediately after, where Breetai skewers the Invid with the bayonet of his rifle. That shot is even cooler.)

Then on Earth, Lisa Hayes loses her mother, from Return to Macross #20 (April 1995) by Robert W. Gibson & Sean Bishop ...

The minister and his wife pull Lisa's mother's body back into the house, hoping that she'll be alright, but it's obvious how the story ends from Lisa's expression as the flashback fades back into memory. I suppose if you'd like to shoehorn this into the modern canon, you could say she survived but never quite recovered, but then there's the fact that in Return to Macross Lisa's parents' names are Nicholas and Christine and in the modern canon they're Donald and Sara.

That story was overwritten in Mars Base One Part 1, published in Robotech Invasion #1 (February 2004), by Tommy Yune, Omar Dogan, and Simon Yeung ...

The thing that bugs me about this scene, in light of its conclusion, is that Lisa's mother never gets out of the car -- she's merely a silhouette, a plot point rather than a character. Sure, it's a six-page backup strip, and it's more important to get the framing device in, and then set up Karl Rieber and Lang, and so on, but geez, even a token line of dialogue, a moment to see her face, to sell the moment emotionally. Both scenes are very cliche -- in the former, it's the foolhardy woman following her love into the danger while ill prepared, while in the latter it's a good ol' car bomb -- but in Gibson & Bishop's cliche you get to see some energy and emotion, you get to see the end of a character rather than a plot point ticked off a list.

I'll be talking more about plot points being ticked off of lists in the coming days, as we wrap up the notes on Prelude ...


  • wow. these sorts of post are great. I'm always enjoying them. keep up the good work!

    By Anonymous Arthedain, at 07 February, 2006 14:15  

  • Very intersting analysis. I think the the scenes from "Return" are just plain bizarre. I find the one from "Invasion" to be much more believable. I do agree with you, though that a teeny bit more about Sara Hayes would have been better.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 February, 2006 07:40  

  • Bear in mind that Return to Macross was operating under the belief that the world was embroiled in a nasty, nasty Global Civil War pre-1999, so the notion that, as happens a page or two earlier, a squadron of fighter planes would swoop over an American town and poison the air wasn't too terribly farfetched. As for Lisa's mother foolishly following Admiral Hayes outside, well, I guess she just didn't realize the danger.

    I also think it might read oddly because some of the context is missing -- the sequence is about six pages long, IIRC, and starts with a lengthy political discussion before we see the toxic air raid begin.

    The strangeness of it is also compounded by the fact that the poses and expressions are largely swiped from the ROBOTECH animation itself -- Sean Bishop did a lot of that in his ROBOTECH work, and while it results in characters being strikingly on model quite often, on the other hand it results too often in characters being in strange or awkward poses and sometimes looking slightly different from shot to shot as he decides to use a reference from the Macross movie style for one scene, then a reference from the TV animation for the next, etc. If you ever have a slight sense of deja vu when looking at pages by Sean Bishop, it's not just you -- you did see that pose made by a similar-looking character when watching ROBOTECH or Macross at one point. Amusingly, his last project for Academy Comics was a new adaptation of Boobytrap that was perfect, for obvious reasons ...

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 09 February, 2006 15:32  

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