The world needs more video game tie-in comics. Gamers can be just as geeky and obsessive as comic book readers, and so comics based on their favorite video games can be the gateway drug that converts more readers to the cause. I have faith in this because the Gears of War comic was the best-selling comic of 2008. NEVAR FORGET.
It also helps if they strive for producing quality books. Ubisoft was smart enough to get Cameron Stewart and Karl Kerschl on the Assassin's Creed comic and that stood tall as a proper comic book and not some dashed-off cash-in. Society's come a long way since the PCP-addled Doom comic of the '90s. A looooong way.
I know this because I've read Archie's new Mega Man comic, and it does everything that you could ask of a Mega Man comic.
For one, it has all the characters you'd expect in a Mega Man comic, save the robot prog-dog Rush, but he's at least on the cover. Wisely, writer Ian Flynn starts off with an origin story -- Dr. Wily has stolen Dr. Light's Robot Masters and reprogrammed them to use their helpful powers for destruction, so the boy robot Rock dons a helmet and a handheld cannon called the Mega Buster to blast them until they die. Starting at the beginning is a great idea, but not because Mega Man's origin is poignant and compelling or anything so lofty. More importantly, Mega Man's origin story involves the iconic first group of Robot Masters from the original Mega Man game, including Cut Man, Ice Man, Guts Man and Elec Man.
Flynn also wisely dispenses with any mystery: fans know what the deal is already and even a child could tell Wily's the bad guy because of his wicked skullet and mustache, both of which take the shape of a bat. Also, he's called Dr. Wily. Dr. Light conversely looks like Santa Claus with a mullet and a lab coat. Which is fine; the game is an 8-bit sidescroller -- there's no time for subtlety. By the end of the issue, we've got all the setup out of the way and now Rock's in his adorable Mega Man outfit and ready to bust on some evil robots.
Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante and Matt Herms make Mega Man the comic book look like something that wouldn't be out of place in Udon's publishing lineup, which is perfect -- those books are known for their glossy, high-quality manga style and Mega Man, despite being an Archie book, would fit right in with its hyperkinetic art, faithful character designs and bright, eye-pleasing colors. There isn't a whole lot of action in this first issue -- just enough to keep a casual reader from getting bored -- but the bits we get promise some really awe-inspiring fight scenes in the next few issues.
Also, I think Ripot the propeller-equipped news robot deserves his own spin-off.
And it's all done without a lick of irony or self-awareness. In the opening flash-forward, we see that Wily's lair, as a fan might hope, is indeed a giant skull-shaped building with the mad scientist's logo on the forehead. While it'd be funny to point out the patent ridiculousness of the whole thing, there are enough comics that do that with the ironic distance of an embarrassed adult. Some of our comics have to be pure, for the children's sake. And Mega Man #1 promises pure, fun robot adventure comics, with slick art to match.
What did you think of this book?
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