Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles is a five-part comic book mini-series written by Tommy Yune along with the Waltrip brothers, who were previously the art-and-writing team of the Robotech II: The Sentinels comic series. It was published under DC Comics' Wildstorm imprint. It bridges the gap between The Sentinels and the new movie Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, and also features characters from the Robotech Masters Saga. The series is important, in that it provides an explanation and deepened background for many of the events seen on screen in the movie, and clears up many supposed contradictions within the original animation.
Admiral Lisa Hayes-Hunter aboard the SDF-3 attempts to prevent Edwards from leaving, but finds they are unable to get a lock on his ship or his Ghost Squadron fighters, which are using Shadow Technology. As Edwards' ship escapes, the Invid Regent's ship defolds and fires on the SDF-3, crippling it and causing extensive damage. Lisa, in command of the SDF-3 is seriously injuried in the attack but is soon stablized and taken to Tirol for recovery. A few days later, Dr. Jean Grant and her husband, Captain Vince Grant, meet with Rick to tell him that Lisa will survive. Rick, thankful for the news, states that he was looking forward to Lisa resigning her commission after she found out she was pregnant with their first child. It is then that Jean is forced to tell Rick that Lisa's injuries were so severe that she has miscarried, causing Rick to nearly collapse is shock and sadness. The tragedy takes its toll on Rick and Lisa - in the year for the REF to rebuild, Rick's once black hair turns grey and Lisa is still in a wheelchair with braces on her legs.
Back on Tirol, Dr. Emil Lang and his android assistant Janice Em try to investigate the Shadow technology, which is making Edwards' ships impossible to detect. The Sentinels pledge to help the REF rebuild and prepare for their next encounter with the Invid. Particularly the Karbarrans, who help rebuild the fleet, and the Haydonites, who help reverse-engineer the Shadow technology, an area they excel at. One year later, Vince Grant leads the newly refitted capital ship Tokugawa against Edwards and the Regent at Optera. Lisa and Rick are still struggling with the death of their unborn child but nonetheless find the strength to continue to lead the REF in its efforts to track down and stop Edwards.
Upon reaching Optera, the Tokugawa is severely damaged by a surprise attack by the Icarus. Edwards uses the battle as a chance to dispose of the Regent and Breetai while they are engaged combat. The death of the Regent gives him and his living computer control over all of the Invid forces. Grant's ship is left crashing into Optera's atmosphere. Edwards rounds up the survivors, including Vince, and brings them to the Invid hive, where he reveals his plan to use the Regent's army to "liberate" the Earth from the Invid Regis. Rick arrives in the now rebuilt and upgraded SDF-3, and leads a team to rescue Minmei and the survivors of Grant's party. They capture Lazlo Zand and rescue Minmei, but Edwards is pushed into the Genesis Pit by Janice, where he and the living computer are fused and mutated into one monstrous being. Janice tells the rest of the team to escape, and uses herself as a beacon for the SDF-3 to lock onto so it can destroy the Edwards-creature. Janice uploads herself to a new body created by Lang and the Haydonites so she can act as a liaison, but the upgrade is only partial, and Janice's memory is damaged.
From Edwards, the REF gets the Neutron-S missiles, which the Haydonites help them to replicate. After confering with his officers, Rick orders all available REF forces to assemble at Moon Base ALUCE to prepare for a one final assault on Earth to dislodge the Invid with the use of the new shadow technology obtained from the Haydonites. Reluctantly, Rick orders the use of the Neutron-S missiles, which will wipe out the Invid and most or all life on Earth, but only if the attack in unsuccessful. Some of his officers believe the Neutron-S missiles should be used immediately, as an attack against the Invid forces on Earth will likely result in very heavy losses to the REF. However, Rick refuses this request and orders that the missiles only be used as a last resort. Before the SDF-3 joins the attack, Rick asks Max Sterling to join him on the SDF-3 and appoints his daughter, Maia Sterling, to lead Skull Squadron in his place.
While on Space Station Liberty, Maia meets up with Commander Daryl Taylor, the leader of Wolf Squadron, who points out two of his new pilots: Marcus Rush and Alex Romero. As they are talking, Dana Sterling walks up to Maia and the two sisters stare at each other for a long moment before Dana, without saying a word, walks away with a sad look on her face. The reason for the tension between the two sisters is unknown. Louie Nichols, at tech wizard who served under Dana during the Second Robotech War, is also seen briefly.
At the end of the comic, Lisa, now fully recovered, implies that she will resign her commission, stating that one Admiral Hunter is enough for the fleet. Lisa joins Rick on the bridge of the SDF-3 as they prepare for a test firing of a Neutron-S missile in the Omicron sector. However, the test goes horribly wrong as the true power of the missiles become apparent.
The comic ends here and paves the way for the movie Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.
The fate of Dr. Emil Lang is debated, On argument is that Dr. Emil Lang was killed aboard the Deukalion during the Neutron-S missile test and events in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles). However, some fans have stated that he was aboard the SDF-3 during the Neutron S missile test, not the science ship Deukalion as stated. The comic book art is vague in this aspect as Lang is never shown in a frame with Exedore and Janice. Neither does the art indicate whether he is on the SDF-3 or the science vessel. Therefore his fate, like that of the SDF-3, is currently unknown.
The Prelude comic also retcons the fate of some characters who were known to have been killed either in previous comics or the novels. Most notably, Lazlo Zand and Professor Miles Cochran were shown to still be alive.
A number of characters from the First Robotech saga and The Sentinels were not shown in this comic series and their fate as of the Shadow Chronicles remains unknown.
In the Jack McKinney novel "Rubicon" (book 17 of the Robotech series), most of the these characters (except Nova and Dennis) are confirmed to be alive. However, due to the relegation of the novels to secondary continuity, it is unclear which, if any, of these characters are still alive in the rebooted timeline.