Review in a word: FUN!
Review in two words: WEEEEEEEEEEEEE ZZZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMM!!!
OK, let’s expand on this thesis.
Admittedly, the idea of a boy and his robot isn’t a new one, but the magic of most any story these days is breathing new life into an old trope. Greg Pak has done this with his trademark solid story development and humor. We are introduced to the Sky Corps, a training academy for the best and brightest young people who show the potential to be both leading citizens and potential bonds for the alien robo mechs that arrive once every four years in the Arizona desert. The students are strong, smart, confident, and occasionally total assholes. Cleaning up after them is Stanford Yu, a young boy working with his mother as janitors at the Sky Corps training facilities.
Stanford is taught that there’s an “us vs them” difference that means if he ever wants to amount to a position of respect, he’s got to “work five times harder than anyone else.” It’s in this that we start to see hints of something greater that adds to the boy-and-his-robot storyline. This first issue touches on the nature of bullying and the prejudices of a socio-economic class separation. What I expect to see is a morality tale of Hard Work being as blue collar as it is academic and being a Good Person is not determined by your job status.
But that’s all pretty high-minded. Again, at its core this is a story of a kid who deserves something awesome and, by virtue of being a good person, is rewarded with something awesome – and it doesn’t get much more awesome than a giant robot friend. Awesome.
By the end of this initial issue, Stanford has connected with his robot alien friend, and his rival with the super-sized ego, Cadet Park, has been handed the keys to the first human-made and human-controlled robo mech (Neon Genesis Evangelion inspired edition).
Greg Pak has earned my fandom. His smart story planning and humor can be seen in titles like the Planet Hulk run of The Incredible Hulk (a partial inspiration for the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok film) and The Totally Awesome Hulk, which brings super genius and snarky teen Amadeus Cho to the forefront of the Marvel U. Pak has a natural and fluid writing style that can instantly welcome in readers and have them cheering and raging at all the right moments.
Takeshi Miyazawa’s art is new to me, but hopefully I’ll get much more familiar with it, soon. Stanford is a young man, and drawing kids in age-appropriate ways that still express their joy and frustration is a genuine talent that Miyazawa succeeds at. Also, how do you make an expressionless robot look like he’s befuddled, kind, or a jerk? I’m not fully sure, so ask Miyazawa because he’s nailed the body language to make it happen.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Mech Cadet Yu from BOOM! Studios. It’s a genuinely fun adventure that promises to be a good story to add to your collection of boy-and-his-robot tales.
Overall Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars