September 30, 2012

The Robotix Comic

This piece was also going to feature a piece by Tony covering the toylines for the three shows covered as part of our special Sunday series, but he's on vacation this week, so I told him to relax and save that section for next week. As for the comics, Robotix was the only series to get a full issue, and it's only a one-shot. There was nothing for Bigfoot, and Robo Force had a number of mini-comics packaged with the toys. You can learn about them at the blog RoboPlastic Apocalypse.

The single issue of Robotix, titled "A World in Chaos", was printed by Marvel in February 1986. Surprisingly, it was put out under Marvel instead of their kid-friendly Star imprint. Given a few of the slightly darker themes in the story, I can understand that. It was both written and drawn by Herb Trimpe, a popular Marvel artist during the 70s, most notably for a long run on The Incredible Hulk. He does an admirable job on both fronts, keeping the story moving and exciting, with a nice amount of detail to the art that captures the odd designs of the robots well. His dialogue kinda sucks, though, resorting to bad puns and one-liners that don't follow the more restrained teleplay he's adapting.

I won't go into a full synopsis because this is a largely faithful adaptation of Chapter 1-3 of the serial, as well as a few parts of Chapter 4. The differences are:
  • The ship the humans are on is a scouting vessel that's part of a large fleet moving away from Earth. Whether this is an exploratory mission or an escape from a dying world is never explained.
  • The vessel that shoots the humans down belongs to a species called the Enjoorians. The human ship unknowingly strayed into their space, and the Enjoorians have a "shoot first, ask questions later" philosophy, and once the human ship was shot down, it was no longer a threat and they left.
  • All of the humans wear identically colored jumpsuits, making them even harder to tell apart.
  • Kanawk is Exeter's lieutenant commander.
  • When Zarru sneaks about Nara and we first learn about the interface, Steggor is watching from the rocks and reports his findings to Nemesis. The Terrakors attacking again is due to Nemesis wanting to wipe all the humans out before the Protectons can exploit their advantage. The humans immediately interface, removing the plot thread of Bront running off for the humans and being mistaken as a traitor.
  • During the flashback, we learn the sun of this world, instead of going bad, collided with a stray sun.
  • There was no radiation leak which triggered Compucore to transfer essences to the Robotix. Instead, this was the time the people were rightfully supposed to rise, but its circuits went bad and it put them in the wrong forms. I'm assuming a faulty Comucore would continue to be explored in this version.
  • We see the Terrastar, which is a golden rocket instead of the pterodactyl design of the show.
  • The only element from Chapter 4 is the battle between both sides, now each with their own interfaced humans.
It's a fine adaptation which captures the opening of the serial, but doesn't do anything better or different. It's still dry with a bland cast of characters, but it is exciting and nice to look at. If you like the show, check it out. If you don't, this won't change your mind. And while the story does end on an empty note, instead of teasing the next issue at the end, all we get is the caption box "Finis?"

The majority of first issues of this type of comic from the era, where they adapt the first episode of the tv series before branching off into their own continuity, typically credits the writing of the teleplay it's based on. As I pointed out in our reviews of the show, the series doesn't have a writer credit, and, frustratingly, we're denied a "based on a teleplay by" credit here, as well. Which confuses me, given how closely it follows the show.

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