ADVANCE REVIEW! Mega Man #7 goes on sale Wednesday, November 9, 2011.
It's mega, wily action as Mega Man, Ice Man and Cut Man fail in their first attempt to rescue the kidnapped Roll and Dr. Wily launches the next stop of his nefarious scheme.
As demonstrated in his Sonic the Hedgehog books and now Mega Man, writer Ian Flynn has a talent for making video game characters accessible and enjoyable for non-game playing readers. He displays their personalities through their actions, keeping the story moving, but also gives readers an incentive to come back beyond the "what happens next" reason. We like these characters and want to see how Flynn develops them. For instance, Cut Man is a showoff and makes terrible puns and yet he's not obnoxious. He offers encouragement and comfort to a distraught Mega Man.
Elec Man is a natural leader, a big brother type, but he'll defer to Mega Man when necessary. Even the villainous Time Man and Oil Man are more than just smug bullies.
The human detectives assigned to the case, Stern and Krantz, are also developing into fascinating characters. Stern, whose personality fits his name, is grudgingly coming around to the idea that Dr. Light might not be a criminal. His deadpan common sense attitude leads to some fun dialog. His partner Rosie Krantz (and I really like Flynn's play on Hamlet's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) gets to shine this issue as she joins Mega Man and company as they make a second attempt to save Roll. When Elec Man tells Mega Man to protect her, MM's response is "Right. (I don't think she'd really need me, though.)" and he's right. She's a tough, intelligent woman who can hold her own with the best of them.
Flynn does an excellent job of filling in the reader on what's going on through the use of dialog. He starts the story in medias res, with a dynamic battle scene. It's not until page six that readers find out why these robots are fighting as Mega Man explains what's going on. The reason the explanation doesn’t sound clunky or expositional is because Flynn has firmly established that Mega Man is very young. He sounds like an elementary student. His reiteration of what's been happening is very true to life for that age group. There's also some rather clever foreshadowing of the issue's end in the dialog.
The art team of Chad Thomas, Gary Martin, Matt Herms, and John Workman give the issue an energetic, animated feel. They capture both expression and movement.
Something they're especially good at is showing leaps from heights to lower elevations. In one panel we see MM, Cut Man, and Ice Man jumping down into a pit. The placement of MM's body, with his foot landing first and a puff of dust spurting up around it and the placement of his arms creates the sense of a heavier body landing. On the next page, Krantz leaps from a wall surrounding that same pit, catches a support beam, flips, and lands in front of the surprised robots. It's not flashy, but it showcases her abilities in an easy to absorb way. The one problem with it is that in lightening her colors to suggest a figure in motion, she ends up looking like another person entirely. I don't think it will be too confusing for younger readers though.
Mega Man #7 is an entertaining, action-packed issue that will appeal to readers who enjoy a mix of adventure, humor and heart.
For the past 13 years, Penny Kenny has been an elementary library paraprofessional in a rural school district. For the seven years prior to that, she headed a reading-math program designed to help first grade students with learning difficulties. Her book reviews regularly appeared in Starlog from 1993 to the magazine's unfortunate demise in 2009 and she has published several e-novellas under a pen name. She has been a reviewer with Comics Bulletin since 2007.