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‘Everyday Hero Machine Boy’ (review)

Written by Irma Kniivila
Art by Tri Vuong
Published by Skybound/Image Comics

 

The parallel between the star character in Everyday Hero Machine Boy and Astro Boy is immediately obvious. I also recognize a bit of the video game character Mega Man. This story, though, has little if anything in common with those two characters’ stories.

This is one of those somewhat angsty teen novels about fitting in and making friends and dealing with family, and responsibilities, and struggling to find your way…only it’s all dressed up in science fiction trappings with a dash or three of manga styles and sensibilities.

The writer/artist team of Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong are a good fit, both to each other and to the storyline. It’s some kind of post-apocalyptic earth, with a domed cityscape populated by Japanese human survivors and what appear to be mutated animals.

This strange new world’s heroes are a sort of boy band JLA but they aren’t around when a small robot penetrates the dome, falling from…?

Instead, the violent robot encounters an aging karate master who was just trying to buy groceries. The man manages to save the world and at the same time activate the robot’s “heart,” at the ultimate cost to himself.

The robot—our hero—goes on to join the family of the man as he slowly morphs into a typical teenager, but in a most atypical setting.

This is another one of those books that feel like it could make a lovely animated feature. It has its deep moments, but lots of fun ones as well. I particularly like the concept of Orphan Universe, the superhero musical group, idolized by Machine Boy all along, but then needing him…or “using” him.

It’s continued, and I’m not a big fan of 200-page graphic novels that don’t even finish a story but this one pretty much does, I guess, although setting up an ongoing plot twist toward the end and leaving several questions unanswered. So, I liked Everyday Hero Machine Boy, and I can only imagine how much more I’d like it if I were its targeted tween and teen audience.

Booksteve recommends.

 

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