Monday, August 20, 2012

Retro Review: Megaman #1 (2003)

I am super fucking amped for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man crossover from Archie next year. So I thought it would be worth taking a look at an earlier and much less successful foray into American comics by the Blue Bomber, his 2003 Dreamwave series.

First, let's take a moment to talk about Dreamwave. Dreamwave was a company that broke off of Image in 2002. Dreamwave was run by brothers Pat and Roger Lee. In it's short history this company saw both incredible success and abysmal failure. According to Wikipedia Roger was in charge of the business end of things and apparently Roger Lee is such a terrible business man he couldn't run a bordello in a gold rush. DW published a few original titles but saw the biggest sales from its many licences such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, Ninja Turtles, and of course Mega Man. In fact DW had a licence for a shitload of Capcom characters and had plans to put out a lot of Capcom books before DW folded. DW had a lot of problems internally and even supposedly stiffed some of the creators who worked for them. This has left a major black spot on Pat Lee's career he will probably never recover from.

Anyways let's talk about this issue itself. Let's start with the cover shall we? It's pretty bad. This isn't the artist on the series it's Skottie Young. The composition and layout are terrible. It just looks like it's fan art sent in by a 13 year old. Compare this to the other cover (these boys came from Image, of course there's two covers) by Mic Fong.

Wow, that's much better. Great lay out, much better job on the characters and even a good grasp on perspective rather than just a montage of characters. Well, enough wasting time on the covers. The interior art is, thankfully, also by Fong.

The story is pretty much Dr. Light wants Mega Man to start going to school, so as Rocky he encounters your typically cliched bullies, a dorky kid who makes friends with him, and a tough, strong willed cute girl who shows interest in Rocky after he stands up to the bullies.
I guess she's cute, hard to tell with this Manga style. Though that's not the artist's fault that's just what Mega Man is. Also the other plot of the book is someone is sabotaging the traffic control system Dr. Light has designed for Mega City. And Mega Man fights some random robots. At the end we ask the question who is sabotaging the city infrastructure. And we get these panels of Proto Man staring out over the city, I guess we are to understand that this was his doing.

Alright I admit my knowledge of Mega Man games is mostly limited to NES games, but since when was Proto Man a bad guy? I thought he was more of a rival, like Knuckles to Sonic. Proto Man is the first self aware Robot Dr. Light built and is sort of Mega Man's brother. But is Proto Man really this much of a dick? Maybe it's more like Data and Lore from Star Trek TNG than Sonic and Knuckles.

So anyways how does this issue hold up all and all? Well, in an earlier post I complained that the new Archie Mega Man comic mostly regurgitates the games and doesn't add anything new to it. This comic sought to add an 80's teen movie to things with the school subplot. To be honest, I actually think that should have worked. Mega Man having to go to school and fit in could be an interesting concept. But it just falls flat here and I'm not entirely sure why. Mostly I guess it's because none of these school mates really make you care about them, they have no distinguishing character features beyond the cliched role they are meant to fill. Granted this is just the first issue, so maybe this writer did more, or planned to do more(the book was canceled at issue 4, DW was sinking fast) with these characters. But so far I just don't care about any of these characters in this. Hell, Proto Man's mysterious cameo at the end proved to be the most interesting thing any character did in this book.

It's not awful, and if your a fan of the Blue Bomber it's worth checking out, but it's no where near the quality of the Archie series.

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