The Mega Man team is clicking this issue. Writer Ian Flynn starts out with a dramatic moment that the art team of Chad Thomas, Gary Martin, John Workman, and Matt Herms perfectly translate into a stunning visual.
Despite the helmet and armored arm, Mega Man looks very young and defenseless standing amidst the rubble as the boulder comes toward him. It’s a compelling image that makes the reader want to turn the page.
From the attention catching opening, Flynn and company segue into a classic “use of powers” scene that lets readers know some of what Mega Man can do while also revealing a bit of character, establishing relationships, and pulling a fast one on reader expectations.
One of my favorite moments, though, is when Dr. Light tries to reassure the aptly named Federal Agent Stern that he is a “man of peace and creator of tranquility.” A literal explosion and Roll screaming “Rock Light! I’ll tear you down to your server!” follows. It’s a great example of comic juxtaposition and leads into an extended scene showing that Rock/Mega Man and Roll are a normal set of siblings despite their being robots. Dr. Light’s facepalm is just the icing on the cake.
From this scene and another one in which Dr. Light explains Free Will to the curious Rock, it looks like Flynn is going to use robots to mirror aspects of humanity, in much the same way Osamu Tezuka did in his classic Astro Boy manga.
Speaking of Astro Boy, Greg Horn’s simple, yet striking, cover to Mega Man #5 seems to be homaging Rock’s robotic predecessor.
Intentional or not, I like to see the nod to one of the grand daddies of the “Boy Robot” genre.
Penciler Chad Thomas and inker Gary Martin keep the visuals simple looking. They don’t add a lot of unnecessary lines or busy backgrounds. This keeps the story and the characters’ reactions to events at the forefront of every panel. I also like their design for Stern. He reminds me a bit of Batman: the animated series‘s Harvey Bullock.
This original character is obviously meant to be a nemesis for Mega, a man who isn’t quite convinced of the place of robots in society. His partner, Agent Roslyn Krantz, gives off the same even-tempered vibe that Bullock’s partner Renee Montoya did and also has a superficial resemblance to the Gotham cop.
The Mega Man team gets how to make an intelligent “all ages” superhero comic. They provide readers with likable characters, humor, dramatic villains with big plans, action scenes that are easy to follow, and perhaps most importantly, a reassuring sense that everything will come out okay in the end no matter how bad it looks for the hero at the moment.
For the past thirteen 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.