Robotech: From The Stars (WildStorm/DC Comics)
This is a whole new war.
THE LOWDOWNIt is the year 1999. Across the planet Earth, chaos reigns. As armed conflicts erupt between nations all over the globe, a rumor reaches the Pentagon that Russia is selling off a nuclear sub to a foreign power. The U.S. sends a carrier group into the waters of the South Pacific to investigate.
Between the arrival of a mysterious fighter group and a phenomenal event in the sky that soon alters the course of human history, only U.S. Navy pilot Roy Fokker and group commander Donald Hayes survive the encounter.
Six years later, both men find themselves thrust into the spotlight of history when they become involved in the further investigation and development of the technology that fell into the lap of humanity on that fateful day in the South Pacific.
BACKGROUND INFOLike Bill Spangler's earlier Return to Macross, WildStorm Productions' first ROBOTECH mini-series is a look back at the dawn of planet Earth's involvement in the ROBOTECH saga. It is also designed, for the most part, so that someone without a PhD in ROBOTECH history can read it, but not in such a way that most long-time fans will be grimacing at the liberties taken -- unless, of course, they were weaned on the novels by Jack McKinney and still consider them gospel. A fan with a clear understanding and a certain level of acceptance at the way Harmony Gold is handling ROBOTECH these days should be fine throughout the bulk of From The Stars.
Harmony Gold Creative Director Tommy Yune and Noble Causes creator Jay Faerber's storyline overwrites the classic and infamous Comico Graphic Novel, "Genesis," and Return to Macross with more realistic and far less cartoonish storylines, hewing as close to the way things were in the real 1999 as possible without compromising the integrity of the ROBOTECH TV series -- which, of course, is the only backstory Harmony Gold actually cares about at this point. The inclusion of such elements as the carrier Kenosha and Sentinels villain T.R. Edwards shows that Harmony Gold isn't throwing the backlog of stories created between '86 and '98 out the window entirely, but is rather refashioning their base elements to try and create something better out of them -- or at least something less out of step with the original animation.
The frustrating thing about the resulting storyline (besides its frankly bizarre characterization of Roy Fokker as wide-eyed, clueless, and embarrassed around women) is that it sets certain precedents that the next two mini-series by WildStorm follow pretty slavishly; the framing sequence for this series is set in the post-Macross era and introduces at least one plot point that is incongruous with the tale told in flashback throughout most of the series' six and half issues. Later series spend a lot of time on framing sequences, flashbacks, and confusing epilogues that would serve only to confuse casual ROBOTECH fans; this practice was broken by Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles presumably only because it needed every page to blaze through all the story it could possibly cover.
It is important to note that despite a legacy in comics that lasted from 1984 to 1998, this ROBOTECH series was considered part of the '80s nostalgia boom that struck the American comic book industry beginning in 2001 with Devil's Due's G.I. Joe and rolled on in 2002 with Dreamwave Productions' Transformers revival. As such, it was treated with great disdain, especially in light of the fact that WildStorm's previous '80s revival book was Thundercats of all things.
This series had a Sourcebook issue covering all its major characters and mecha with pin-up pieces, some of them two-page spreads, by a virtual "who's who" of WildStorm talent and brief write-ups by Tommy Yune and Tom Bateman. This issue was released in January 2003 and was partially collected along with the series in the From The Stars trade paperback collection.