Robot versus robot action? Check.
Snappy patter? Check.
Outgunned human and robot boy showing outstanding heroism? Check.
Gleefully chortling evil scientist? Check.
Warm family moments? Check.
Yup, it's the end of another Mega Man arc, with writer Ian Flynn and the art team giving readers the elements they want and expect, along with some fun twists and turns along the way. While smarter readers than I might predict one of the major plot twists, I don't think it will take away any of their enjoyment. Flynn and company have already ensured that we're reading this book for the appealing characters and their relationship to one another. Yes, even the villainous Dr. Wiley is someone we like to read about. As Flynn writes Wiley, he's like a hybrid of Doctor Doom and John Glover's early take on Lionel Luthor, a mixture of the grandiose and petty.
The secret of their evil genius is in their hair.
You have to admire the man's sheer determination to prove his genius, even if he is going about it the wrong way. "I will push the limitations of robots beyond what you could ever dream!" indeed. You can practically hear his voice change from a thunderous bass to a pouting whine as he declares "I should have the world in the palm of my hand…and I should be ruling from this castle, not using it as a hideout!"
The heroes aren't neglected either. As the hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned Mega Man and Agent Krantz face their former allies the Robot Masters, they exude confidence and determination.
You have to admire Krantz especially. She's completely human and yet she's running gauntlets of laser fire, energy bolts, bomb blasts, and a half dozen other things, trying to protect a robot.
The art team of Chad Thomas, Gary Martin, John Workman and Matt Herms does a superb job of making the book reader — especially young reader — friendly. The page design is easy to follow. Pages have three to seven panels, with the average being five. Thomas changes the viewpoint on the scene, but never goes for such an extreme shot that the reader is confused as to what's happening. In fact most panels feature an eyelevel point of view, varying only a few degrees up or down. The layout of each panel is also reader friendly. The eye is drawn naturally from one element to another.
Thomas also does a nice job of moving in and back to suggest extreme moments. The characters are bold figures with non-fussy designs that stand out against the background. Herms shades the figures' colors, giving them a rounded appearance.
Mixing action, humor and solid characterization, Mega Man #8 is a book fans of the video game franchise and superhero comic book fans alike can enjoy.
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.