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NOW! Comics Astro Boy - Issue Nineteen

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Welcome back to our second-last review in this series. I never thought it could be possible, but did you know this is...my favourite issue?

I know, it's hard to even consider something like this, especially not if I were thinking this months ago. In our previous era, I'd have to read through my copy of a Steacy issue while pumping Miki Matsubara's entire discography consistantly into my ears to prevent myself from maiming someone in my house. NOW! Comics' series at the moment now plays out like tainted Halloween candy...you get something cool and great to look at, but deep inside somewhere are like seven razor blades.
And yes, let's assume Tony Caputo is the handful of razor blades.
We open with a bit of expostion on the history of Cybotics...a made-up word that makes me feel gross and dumb, like I'm squatting in a bucket of buttermilk, and I know Thomas would've retconned the term if he had an opportunity to do so. Regardless of whose ass is in buttermilk, we get some more of Thomas's Boynton, possibly a reward for any eyes that did not have merciful forks put in them some issues back.
What appears to be John G. Diefenbaker with glasses stands up and calls Elefun out on Astro's existence, and Elefun quickly explains that Astro lives like a normal human, despite having enough power to crush a car. At the same time, Astro is heading to the Institute to "borrow" some machinery for a project.
"I can't wait to see your atom smasher!"
On the way there, he's spotted by a familiar man and his gang, who...who...well, I'm suddenly so thrilled that the only way I can show my utter enthusiasm is to grind my nose on the keyboard and let you interpret it from there.
gyghgh hg ghv vggf
"If it-a does, my beret is-a going to lay down 'de pain."
CACCIATORE! And he actually looks like Tezuka's Hamegg, rather than a Hamegg that was attacked by piranhas!
The Black Zoo Gang sets forth to pull the security personel out and steal their uniforms, and mechanically shut off the phone and security systems. I don't know about you guys, but I like these dudes. If Steacy made them, they'd be blocky-looking and utterly intolerable, and their plan would be summed up as "Hurngle-durngle, I got me a gun an' big robot feet."
But then there's this part that bothers me.
Who's Cacciatore talking on the phone with? It can't be Mr. Megacorp, because Thomas already shut off access to him and his stupid son. Is it Skunk Kusai?! Oh Thomas, I wish I could just ask who this was supposed to be...
In the meantime, the Black Zoo Gang is hiding all the unconscious human security staff in a back room, while they determine the only activity in the building is Elefun's conference, which is on the...er, 300th floor, which doesn't just break my suspension of disbelief, it punches it in the face.
I mean seriously, Thomas. That building would be over three thousand feet tall. At that point you're not even making a building, you're trying to make a mighty man-made penis to penetrate the snootch of the sky. Buildings that size get made by Middle Eastern countries just to say, "Check this out, we have a crap-your-pants-high tower." Besides, in the future, everybody will most likely have domes and underground labs.
"Ping Ping" is Astro's special mechanical sound for "useless git".
Astro talks to the front receptionist, whom tells Astro that Elefun isn't in the building and somehow doesn't know he's on the top floor, before she runs off to go get something for Tas Tamil's assistant. Astro takes a look at her computer, runs through Elefun's schedule, and takes a moment to decode a secret message showing the location of Elefun's meeting.
Astro flies towards home, tapping into the Institute's security line, discovering a conversation between a few members of the Black Zoo Gang. He looks to the side and sees Watchdog climbing the giant-ass tower, whom then engages in battle.
And the battle actually looks cool.
Astro leads Watchdog into the building and hides around a corner, while Monk goes out on foot to search for Astro with a gun. The two cross paths, and despite Astro being unable to shoot him ("Monk quickly brags about his "REFRACTORY COATING!"), Astro punches his face off.

Astro avoids being shot at and flies off into a nearby elevator shaft. Watchdog steps in to look, and calls for teammate Rizzo to try and shoot Astro down. Astro hides in a vent and cuts the elevator cords with his hand lasers, sending the elevator car down on Watchdog, effectively killing both him and Rizzo.

They picked the wrong day to pick with Steve Dallas.
The remaining security staff in the building hears the explosion and goes out to check on it, only to be greeted by the rest of the Black Zoo Gang. Outside, the police are gathering after hearing the elevator explode, while inside, the Gang starts loading their captive humans into another room. The spiky robot - his name is never mentioned, so I'm gonna call him Heavy because he's the heavy of the group - goes out on his own to shoot Astro for Monk, Watchdog and Rizzo.

Astro comes up from behind and stuns him, fends off some small projectiles through a wall, comes back up from behind and beats a hole through Heavy's chest.
"And don't you DARE try and roll out of here!"
Astro, using the sensor on Heavy's gun, finds the location of the rest of the gang, but bashes through the wall to find all the captive humans. The police are suddenly able to get through on the phone lines, and at the same time, Inspector Gumshoe and Chief McClaw are studying Monk's fried remains in the hall. Suddenly, another robot I'm just going to call "Beany" stuns the cops, and a huge robot arrives to literally hug Astro to death.
"I love you, you love me, GENDO IKARI NOW
Astro won't stand for this, so he fires his butt guns on Beany and shoves Tank through the wall, incidentally crashing through the wall into Elefun's conference and then through the other wall, sending the two plummetting to the ground.
Wait a second...
It's Claudia Grant dressed as Melmo!
An African-American woman is at the conference! The last time a non-Caucasian person was present was back in issue two, and any woman of power had to look like Grandma Giles by default. But no, this mystery woman is here, and it makes me happy.
Wait a second, Diefenbaker's utterly pissed at Elefun that Astro broke the wall.
Astro returns unharmed to go help all the captive humans get some medical attention. Elefun concludes with the following...
"Astro helps. Not because he's ordered or forced or threatened, but because he honestly wants to help. He feels that it's his responsibility, as a free citizen, to improve the welfare and preserve the freedom of every citizen. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an example we can all follow."
Brian Thomas, you hit the nail right on the head there.
If you believe this, you are ultimately the best person to write anything for Astro Boy.
This issue was seriously intense, and imagine what things would have been like if Brian was working on the series from the start!
Oh, wait, the whole series ends next issue.

All written material here is 2007-2011 Fauna Crawford, along with any images identified as such. All other copyrights belong to their respective owners and creators. Permission is required to use any original material from this site.