I shared the above image on Twitter the other day. L-R: Marie Crystal, Dana Sterling, Nova Satori. Commissioned from Neil Vokes in 2005 for my own art collection and to be contributed to Emissaries Vol. 2 as either a cover or filler image for my friend, editor Jonathan Switzer's use. The piece had no given name, so I considered its details for inspiration... The three principles are emerging from a fiery maelstrom or explosion of some type. Notice Marie and Nova's hair? Nova's skirt, the bits of rubble and ash and streaks of atmosphere? The inferno is acting as a vacuum, pulling everything towards its epicenter. The definition of a firestorm. The guns our heroes are toting are unlike anything seen in the TV series. Created by tech-whiz Louie perhaps? I like to imagine this illustration as a scene from the suggested-at guerrilla war staged against the invading Invid in the months following the end of The Masters saga. ('Out of the frying pan, into the fire.') The diva citizens of the Robotech saga kicking ass -- no matter the odds.
Ever since I was a kid, the Second Robotech War and its characters were my favorites. Although arguably the weakest parts of the original television series, they promised so much in worldbuilding and characterization potential. Extrapolating from its source material, I agree with the following observation from Protoculture Addicts #50:
It is ... easy to deduce from the fact that the series recounts the war from the perspective of three young women, that [Southern Cross] was probably created with a teenage female audience in mind. This gives the original show a very special flavor that was somewhat lost in the Robotech adaptation. This is just too bad, because this feminine touch was what made the series interesting to us. (1998, p. 40)
Especially Dana -- "the daughter of Miriya and Max Sterling," a so-called disgrace to her uniform and her heroic parents' memory. Specifically this image -- from the cover of Robotech Art 1 (thanks, Dad) -- captured my imagination back in the day...
Conflicted. About her identity, her purpose, her position. A lively young woman in a devastated world. She's an outcast by nature, neither Human nor Zentraedi. She's striving to live up to the ideal of not just one highly-esteemed parent, but two. And her parents? They left her behind on Earth as a child when they departed on a mission to the stars. Talk about issues -- she puts Marvel's mutants to shame. And yet...
And yet Dana keeps smiling, keeps reaching. She carries with her the poignant memory of something her mother once told her: "Be brave while I'm away. Always remember, you've got the best of Earth and the Zentraedi inside you." (Malcontent Uprisings #4, 1989, p. 3) Appearing in an in-continuity comix story soon after the events of my imagined "Firestorm," she's referred to as "the symbol of allied worlds." (Love & War #1, 2003, p. 3) There's a story there, amiright? Lots of stories.
What a complex, interesting character.