From: email@example.com (Lee Seitz)
Copyright 1995 Lee K. Seitz
The five Atari Force mini-comics (AF1) were included free with Defender, Berzerk, Star Raiders, Phoenix, and Galaxian cartridges for the Atari 2600, respectively.
Each issue of the full-sized Atari Force series (AF2) had 32 pages (including ads) and a cover price of $0.75. They all list Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, and Jose Garcia-Lopez as the creators of Atari Force.
The Atari Force Special (AF3) had 48 pages (no ads) and a cover price of $2.00. It did not list anyone as creator of Atari Force.
The Star Raiders graphic novel (SR) had 62 pages. It was DC's first graphic novel.
Subject: 7. ANNOTATIONS
AFM#1, AFM#2: Champion says the lunar colony was attacked on 18 October 1998 and the war broke out a few days later, but O'Rourke says the war actually began on that date.
AFM#1, p. 43: So, is ATARI related to Atari, Inc.? They're both in Sunnyvale, CA.
AFM#2, pp. 2-5: If O'Rourke can't hear the director until she puts her bug on the dome, why is she thinking in response to his opening statement?
AFM#2, p. 15: Champion claims to have spent six years in Marine training. If he joined when he was 18 (1992), he would not get out until 1998. This would not leave him time to win three gold medals in the 1996 Olympics, fly four lunar missions for NASA, and get degrees from four different colleges and acadamies. Actually, he could have gotten the degrees if he were a child prodigy, but that doesn't fit his profile. Okay, it's possible a) (some of) the degrees are honorary or b) he earned them after the war, except he supposedly flew a Mars mission then (see AFM#3, p. 48). The gold medals and lunar missions are a problem, regardless.
AFM#2, p. 27: Take away a zero, and you have the Atari 800 computer, which was released by Atari in the 80's.
AFM#2, p. 30: An approximation of an American flag appears on the shoulder of O'Rourke's uniform and then disappears again for the rest of the flashback. Furthermore, it's a U.N. taskforce and O'Rourke is not an American!
AFM#2, p. 40: This looks like a possible tie-in with the SwordQuest series. We certainly have earth, fire, and water present.
AFM#2: The Atari 8000 speaks as if it's sentient and makes a lengthy speech. It is given a very few lines in the next few issues of the mini-comics and never speaks in the series. According to AF#14's letter column, the voice was transmitted through the mainframe on Old Earth.
AFM#3: There are lots of contradictions between this comic and the _Star Raiders_ graphic novel. See the SR annotations for details.
AFM#3, p. 40: For this page only, the aliens are called "Krylons" instead of "Zylons." I believe that in the Atari 8-bit versions of
Star Raiders, the aliens *are* Krylons instead of Zylons. Why they changed it for the 2600 version, I don't know, but the change was apparently made after this issue was completed.
AFM#3, p. 48: The "fact file" for Martin Champion says the lunar colony rescue was in 1999, not 1998.
AFM#3, p. 48: The fact file also says Champion flew a Mars Mission. This is never mentioned anywhere else and is probably best ignored.
AFM#4: Although it's very nice for Atari Force to want to do something about the Malaglon, don't they have more pressing problems? True, the Malaglon are making their way to Earth, but was that before or after they were attacked?
AFM#5, p. 12: Leaving the void between universes is called "breakout," which was also the title of a popular Atari video game.
AFM#5, p. 47: According to this issue, six months passed between the discovery of New Earth and the launch of _Exodus One_, but according to Martin Champion's fact file in AF#2, New Earth was discovered in June 2006 and he and Lydia Perez were married in August 2005. They were obviously not yet married in AFM#5, so which is right? [Note: For the purposes of the timeline, I've used the information in the fact file in AF#2.]
AF#1: In AF#1, the freighter whose captain kidnaps Babe is called the _Kilos_. In all later issues, it's the _Kylos_. I guess it depends on how you translate it.
AF#2, #6: Nothing but Chris and his special suit can survive his multi-dimensional fields, right (AF#2, p. 7, panel 2)? Wrong; they changed it so that other objects can survive as long as they are in contact with him (AF#6, AF#9 letter column). Notice, however, that this means his suit doesn't have to be special. Nice try, Andy Helfer.
AF#3, AFS1: According to her fact file, Dart attacked a group of kids that taunted her about her illegitimacy (which her date of birth bears out) but in AFS1, they're taunting her about her mutant genes.
AF#3-6, #8-10: It's rather ironic that Atari Force would have ads for the Intellivision on the back. (The Intellivision was the Atari 2600's biggest rival at the time.) All right, so Atari does usually have ads on one of the inside covers; it's still ironic.
AF#4: According to the interview in Comics Interview #12, this was originally planned to be the first issue. This explains why a) Blackjak had to be killed, b) the original Atari Force (except Martin Champion) don't appear until this issue, and c) Morphea was drawn so ominously on page 8.
AF#5: Doesn't the nav-chip seem fragile for something so important? All Martin did to smash it was drop it on the deck. On the plus side, they're still calling it "break-out" when they reenter a universe.
AF#6, p. 23, panel 1: The writing on the wall says "Do not disturb," "Watch out for the beast," "Torture chamber," and . . . "Zorturas"?
AF#7: Psyklops was actually designed by Ernie Colon to use against the original Atari Force. (AF#11, letters column)
AF#7, p. 10, panel 5: Note the aliens say "Holy Moley!" and "Yoiks!"
AF#8, p. 8, panel 1: Taz says, "Gibber ish hah!"
AF#8, p. 14, panel 4: The first enemy alien says something about "new gibberish." The other says, "Oh my god!!"
AF#8, p. 18, panel 3: Does charging into battle with a corpse over one shoulder sound like a good idea to you?
AF#8, p. 20: Taz uses the word "bad," but the only time Babe has been shown to use it was p. 19, panel 1, just a few moments before. It's pretty interesting that he was able to pick up that one word from a single use moments ago. On the other hand, Babe certainly used the word "hurt" a lot during this issue.
AF#10, p. 5: Tempest's sling disappeared. Guess his arm magically healed on his last jump through the multiverse.
AF#10, p. 17: How did Blackjak get aboard _Scanner One_ without tripping off their sensors?
AF#10, p. 18: The captions say Dr. Lucas has never proven their mothers' exposure to the multiverse gave Dart and Tempest their powers. Apparently a plot element that was lost.
AF#10, p. 23: If they're arresting Tempest, how come everyone but Hunter has their guns on Dr. Orion? And he isn't pointing his gun at Tempest, but is holding it pointed at the ceiling.
AF#11:, p. 7, panel 7: Someone must have reminded Gerry Conway about Rident, who hasn't been seen or mentioned since AF#7.
AF#11, pp. 9-10: Everyone else is in full surgery gowns, masks, etc., but Martin Champion is only wearing a mask. Don't they usually make the father put a gown on over his clothes? I guess that uniform just looks too nice to cover up. 8)
AF#11, p. 11: Note the Dark Destroyer mask shape across the panels of this page.
AF#11, letters column: Throughout the third letter and its reply, Psyklops is misspelled, "Psyclops." Geez, what's an editor for if even *he* can't get it right? 8)
AF#12, letter column: It states that Jose Garcia-Lopez is leaving to do the _New Teen Titans_ for five months. He "promise[d]" to return with #18, but he did not, although he continued to work on the covers for several months.
AFb#12: This story would appear to take place during AF#8. When else would both Hukka and Babe be on an alien, life-sustaining planet together?
AF#13, p. 5: Not only did the Destroyer rapidly age himself, but he's kept himself from aging since. If he hadn't, he would now look exactly like Martin instead of a younger version. And don't forget, this means that the Destroyer's body and Tempest are almost exactly the same age.
AF#13, pp. 7-13: The Destroyer easily dispatched Tempest, even with his phasing powers, yet he only manages to get in one punch against Martin. Even keeping in mind Martin's marine training, he's still fighting "himself" at about half his age. Helfer responds to this in AF#17's letter column by saying Tempest is young, inexperienced, and was scared while Martin has been waiting 20 years for this.
AFb#13: This story most likely took place during AF#8, too. Hukka came from a desert planet with little life (lots of Hukkas and Zeke), not a grassy world full of all kinds of life.
AF#14: What a coincidence that Pakrat and Rident would crash-land on the same world in the same universe. At least there's one good thing about a new writer: he wraps up some earlier threads. We last saw Rident in AF#7 and he was last mentioned in AF#11.
AF#14, p. 16: Rident must have been using more than a typical science fiction tractor beam for it to pull him through the multiverse.
AF#14, letter column: In the response to Joe Walker's letter, Andy Helfer calls it the Atari 26000 computer instead of the Atari 8000. The response to Dave Kapple's letter reveals Martin Champion has kept _Scanner One_ stocked with dehydrated rations. The jives with AF#5 where Orion notes that Martin is probably responsible for _Scanner One_ still having energy.
AFb#14: How did Babe learn to talk?
AF#14-15: Not as ironic as Intellivision, but now Activision is advertising on the back of Atari Force.
AF#15, p. 8, panels 6 and 8: Where is the spot on Blackjak's glasses that his replacement eye attaches to?
AFb#15, p. 4, panel 1: Note J'onn J'Jonzz (the Martian Manhunter) on the right.
AFb#15, p. 5: The alien that says "No more Draconian loose juice?" looks like E.T.
AFb#15, letter column: According to the answer to the final letter, there were some tales of the original Atari Force sitting on their shelves. They were never published. He also promised more Klaus Janson Babe stories, and a work from Mindy Newell that never materialized.
AFb#16, p. 6: The newscaster is a Sontaran from Doctor Who.
AF#16, letter column: Although the credits say Carl Gafford colored this issue, Andy Helfer still thanks Tom Ziuko instead.
AF#17, cover: Ed Hannigan misspelled his own last name?!?!
AFb#17, p. 2: Rident says he is "an ATARI security man," but according to the early issues he is a customs agent with NO extradition treaties with New Earth. This mistake is perpetuated throughout the story. Shame on you, Andy.
AFb#17, p. 4: Rident and Pakrat's flight is number 666. Not only is this the sign of the beast, it was DC's street number at the time. (666 Fifth Ave.)
AFb#17, pp. 5-7. Mike and Fred (see their badges on p. 3) seem to disappear after p. 5, panel 1. You think they'd help Rident sort things out and prevent Pakrat from leaving. It also might have made more sense to send a guard through before Pakrat and Ferra.
AF#17, letter column: In the final letter response, it says Andy Helfer and Bill Willingham are working on Dart's origin. Bill Willingham was not one of the artists of AFS1.
AF#18, p. 4: Professor Venture threatens to bring charges against Hunter for an illegal search. She has holos as proof. This is never followed up on.
AF#18, p. 8: "Giant ants"? Perhaps the same ones as from AF#15?
AFb#18, p. 2: Apparently the Big Wheel is still around in 2018 (panel 2). Also, they've brought back the Super Powers collection (DC's toy line of the time, based on the Super Powers Saturday morning cartoon (a replacement for the Super Friends); panels 2 and 5).
AFb#18, p. 3, panel 1: Note Robby the Robot and a pair of toys that suggest C-3PO and R2-D2.
AFb#18, p. 8, panels 3 and 5: Note the back of Daffy Duck's head.
AF#19, p. 14: Prof. Venture says ATARI is trying to develop a phase weapon, for which they'll need Tempest and her notes. Atari Force is not shown doing anything about this (other than Tempest leaving).
AFb#19: This story takes place immediately before AF#8. Anyone wishing to translate all the dialog is welcome. I will include the translations here.
AF#20, cover: Intended to be a juxtaposition of the first issue's cover. That issue had Atari Force in the foreground ready for action with Martin Champion bringing up the rear. Now Champion is in the foreground, head bent while Atari Force looks on in the background.
AF#20: Although this issue is titled "Trial . . . and Verdict," we never get a verdict.
AF#20, p 4: Dr. Orion says this is the first time he and Prof. Venture have been allowed to visit Champion. He should have said "I've" instead of "we've" because Prof. Venture visited Martin in AF#19, p. 15.
AF#20, p. 14: Blackjak is shown handcuffed, but has not been shown since AF#19, p. 16. It would be interesting to know why he is incarcerated when he was presumed dead at the time _Scanner One_ was taken.
AF#20, p. 17: Champion sets course for Old Earth. It must be in the "other" direction from New Earth from the universe the Dark Destroyer obliterated. Otherwise they'd never make it through without a ship with thrusters.
AF#20: One interesting question that I've had in mind since AFM#5: Are there any humans left on Old Earth? Did only those that were "loyal" to or paid ATARI go, or were members of the Co-Op (see the last question of section 2.1) allowed, too? They speak mainly of a drought causing starvation, meaning that if enough people left, it should be possible for the rest to sustain themselves.
AFb#20: This is quite possibly the funniest backup of them all.
AF#20, letter column: No letters, just Andy Helfer saying they knew from the beginning the series would end eventually. Is this the truth? Who can say.
AFS3: It may be a fill in story they had in stock, but who knows. The only time it could take place is between AF#8 and AF#9 because a) Taz is present and b) Blackjack is not. (Note that Taz seems to appear and disappear, though.) If this is the case, Tempest's arm should still be in a sling from his fight with the Dark Destroyer. He should also have weakened phasing abilities.
AFS3, p. 1: Note the Klavian crown jewels on the first page. Also a notebook labeled "Plan 9" (as in the cult movie _Plan 9 from Outer Space_). The man's face on the wall may be one of the creators.
SR: For the entire graphic novel, even though they're referred to has Hukkas, not once does one of them say "Hukka."
SR, p. 1: The on-screen graphics on this page and others are actually adapted from the Star Raiders video game.
SR, p. 7, panel 5: Atari Force is "a group of mythical time travelers"? That's pretty good considering their encounter with the Zylons was their first mission. Also, they're dimension hoppers, not time travelers. (Yeah, yeah. Time and space are one and the same. Blah, blah, blah.)
SR, p. 7: This Zylon could never fit in the empty spacesuit Dr. Orion found in AFM#3. It has four arms. The spacesuit had two. And why was it empty, anyway?
SR, pp. 11, 20-23: Apparently the mind-jewel Atari Force found was totally off-base on a lot of things when comparing what it told them to what Zeke tells Jed and Tommy. First, it claims the Zylons appeared 15 billion years ago, while Zeke says they attacked just 600 to 800 years ago. Second, it shows the inhabitants as green humanoids, not seemingly normal humans like Zeke. Third, it says the inhabitants never got a chance to launch the Star Raider cruiser, but Zeke has footage of it in action. Finally, it seems to claim the Dark Destroyer created or sent the Zylons. Here, the queen says the Dark Destroyer usurped her control over them. I'm much more inclined to believe the graphic novel. Perhaps the mind-jewel was planted by someone or something to warn the original Atari Force. (Don't believe everything you read, and only half of what alien mind-jewels tell you. 8)
SR, p. 19, panel 5: The scene and the first word balloon are adapted from the movie, _Casablanca_.
SR, p. 23: The way Zeke dodges the question of who the pilot was, coupled with his comments on how well he remembers it, implies that he might have been the pilot or at least closely involved.
SR, pp. 27-28: The Atari symbol and lettering can't possibly be the same ATARI from Atari Force. The closest it might be is a parallel universe version.
SR: It's possible DC was trying to leave the door open for an on-going Star Raiders series. Here is a list of possible dangling
1. Why did the (assumedly) radiation make Zeke immortal?
2. Who was the original pilot of the Star Raider cruiser?
3. What is the story of each of the recruits? Except for Skrimsh, they're hardly important to the story.
[END PART 3 OF 4]
Lee K. Seitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) (http://iquest.com/~lkseitz/)
Dare to be stupid. Do the Donkey Kong. Don't panic! Fnord.
Live long and prosper. May the Force be with you. Up, up, and away!