(w) Greg Pak (a) Takeshi Miyazawa (c) Jessica Kholinne
For what was originally solicited as a five issue mini-series, Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa’s Mech Cadet Yu is leading up to its finale with an emotionally charged penultimate chapter in its eleventh issue.
The issue picks up right where the last ended- with Stanford and Park in swapped Robos. Despite this, Park on the move to charge Skip’s Suprarobo to finally defeat the Sharg invasion. Meanwhile, Stanford commandeers Hero Force in order to prevent Park from not only sacrificing Buddy’s life, but also her own. The rest of the issue primarily revolves around the two cadets not only fighting with one another, but also fighting for control of their respective mech partners, calling out to them, and trying to get the other to stand down. Stanford believes the conflict can be resolved without human or robot lives being sacrificed, while Park is prepared to sacrifice herself. It becomes clear early in the disagreements that neither pilot want their mech to be injured in any way.
It is revealed later in the issue that Buddy nor Hero Force want to see their pilots risk their lives as well, with neither of them listening to the other’s commands. We soon discover the dangerous situation the human pilots are currently in is having an adverse effect on the Robos, weakening them, and jeopardizing the mission. This added layer of conflict makes this issue that much more emotional, setting up for what will no doubt be a powerful finale to the series. It should also come as no surprise that the issue ends with a serious cliffhanger, which will leave fans of Mech Cadet Yu eagerly waiting for its September 12th release date.
Miyazawa does an excellent job with his art to make the arguments between Stanford and Park flow despite the fight between the two robots being the focus of the issue. In a handful of panels, for example, both characters are shown as if they are standing back to back even though they are physically in two different spaces. By positioning the characters on the page in such a way, Miyazawa makes it appear as if they are taking up the same physical space. This allows the conversation throughout the issue flow easier than it would otherwise.
Overall, the choreography of the fight scenes is very easy to follow. The directions of fists, feet, and flying charges brings the readers eyes in the same direction, allowing a lot of action to happen without being lost. Even when Sanford, Park, and Skip’s faces are included (enclosed in what look like speech bubbles) in the same panel, different colored borders for each characters bubble prevents the panels from becoming cluttered or hard to make out what is happening. Although page layouts, expressive characters, and mech designs are definitely Miyazawa’s strengths, the backgrounds used rarely deviate from single color backdrops with occasional speed lines.
For what has already been described by Pak as a “bittersweet ending” to his beloved series, Mech Cadet Yu #11 successfully sets up an ending that fans will agree will be worth the wait!