Title: Mega Man Vol. 1: Let The Games Begin
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Patrick Spaziante
Inkers: Patrick Spaziante, Rick Bryant, Gary Martin
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: John Workman
Release Date: 9/7/2011
The super fighting robot Mega Man is back in a brand new, American-produced, comic series. While the Blue Bomber may have thrived in various Japanese stories and animated series, he’s largely been absent from the American scene when it comes to greater fleshing out of the character. Given how Capcom’s almost turned their back on the hero when it comes to games (not included directly in Marvel VS. Capcom 3, the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe), the launch of a successful comic book series comes as a surprise. Given that Archie, and in recent years, writer Ian Flynn have continued to make a certain other blue video game character a long-running facet of comic book stores, does the opening arc of Mega Man prove his worth in the distant year of 200X?
For long-time readers of Sonic the Hedgehog, artist Patrick Spaziante stands out; he’s done some of the most action-packed issues early in the run (look at Mecha Madness, with a Sonic-turned-evil laying waste to his home) to regular covers later on, “Spaz”‘s style has largely stood out above the others who might just draw a “talking animals book”. Good art is not a sign of a good book, as many issues with an incredible cover might actually belay a horrid plot inside; the only thing that stands out from the Sonic/Image Universe crossover is a sketch Spaz did of The Maxx and Amy Rose.
Thankfully, Flynn continues to prove his prowess. It’d be all too easy to go one way or another with Mega Man; the book could be too happy and cheerful, as the wide-eyed sprites might lead one to believe, or it could be dark and ominous, what with the concepts of free will and programming inherent in the franchise, especially down the road. The best path taken, and the one Flynn seems to have, is to take the Astro Boy route that so commonly is referenced. A robot with the mind and soul of a child, but the body of a weapon of mass destruction, has to take its toll on its psyche… if you even consider it to have one.
Let The Games Begin features Mega Man’s origin and first fight with the initial six Robot Masters. Later issues bring in the ‘bots from Megaman Powered Up. The external fight is for the kids and, honestly, those who just enjoy action. The internal fight, that of Mega Man straddling the road between unlikely hero and Death.exe, destroyer of robots.
End of Spoilers
This trade collects the first four issues of Mega Man. While it’s thankfully in a full-size format (unlike many digests that Archie produces, including some of the Sonic the Hedgehog collections), a minimal amount of extras (cover art gallery, character bios, and one page of sketches) and it’s higher price of $11.99 for four issues leaves a little bit to be desired. If the four issues are sold out for you, it’s worth the price of admittance; Mega Man looks to be one of the bigger sleeper hits of the comic book industry. Get past the concept that so many comic books based on video games are just simple cash-ins, look at the legacy that Flynn, Spaziante, and Archie have created with Sonic, and dive in headfirst into a book that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids.