Mission Log: AF1.04

[Cover of Atari Force mini-comic #4]
Atari Force mini-comic #4
16 pages

Creators & writers: Gerry Conway & Roy Thomas
Visual concepts & art: Ross Andru & Dick Giordano
Design:Neal Pozner
Lettering:John Costanza
Coloring:Adrienne Roy
Editor:Dick Giordano

The story opens as David Marcus is killed when the Malaglons destroy his Phoenix star-fighter. Six months ago Atari Force discovered the Malaglon controlling dozens of solar systems and enslaving the natives in a parallel universe. They decided to "put an end to their reign of terror," so the Phoenix star-fighter was created and the members of Atari Force put in charge. Now the eleventh pilot of Phoenix, Bob Marcus, David's little brother, is chosen to try to stop the Malaglon before they reach Earth. He has incredible success, eventually destroying the master base, but not without coming close to his own destruction.


  1. 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?
  2. This story appeared slightly modified as an "Atari Force Preview" in, amongst other comics, New Teen Titans #27 and DC Comics Presents #53. (Thanks to Johanna Draper, Jim Perreault, Michael R. Grabois, Paul Freitag, John Hardie, and others for leading me to/telling me this information.) It appears that the preview version came first, then this version. I say this because of the copyright dates and the first alien dialogue on page 14 (see below). The following changes were made from the preview version to the mini-comic:
    1. Roy Thomas is not credited in the preview for creating/writing.
    2. Neal Pozner is not credited in the preview for design. (He was most likely only involved in the mini-comic production.)
    3. The splash page (page one) title reads "Code Name: Liberator" in the preview, but "Phoenix" in the mini-comics. Furthermore, page two of the preview contains a second title, "Liberator Mission: Freedom--Or Death!"
    4. Since the preview has no cover, the credits appear over the art on page three.
    5. In the preview, page 2-3, panel one is a panel. In the mini-comic, it's full-bleed art with the other panels appearing on top of it.
    6. All references to the ship were changed from "Liberator" in the preview to "Phoenix" in the mini-comic.
    7. All of the Malaglon were redrawn from frog-like aliens in the preview to ugly, no-Earth-animal-equivalent aliens in the mini-comic. The tip-off that the frogs came first is taken from the dialogue on page 14, panel one: "Like tonguing flies from a net!"
    8. The final text box changed from mentioning the first three Atari 2600 games with Atari Force mini-comics to mentioning Galaxian.
    9. Note that the display on page eight resembles the game Phoenix in both versions, so DC likely planned to publish both versions of the story from the very beginning. Interestingly, no mention of the Liberator arcade game in made in the preview, even though the two are obviously related and were released the same year.

Back to the Mission Logs

ATARI FORCE is an expired registered trademark of the original Atari, Inc. Copyright on ATARI FORCE material belongs to either Atari, Inc. (formerly known as Infogrames) or DC Comics, depending on which issue's indica you examine. This web site, its operators, and any content contained on this site relating to ATARI FORCE are not authorized by DC Comics or Atari.

Lee K. Seitz (lkseitz@hiwaay.net)
Created: 1 Mar 1999; Last Modified: 3 Mar 1999