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NOW! Comics Astro Boy - Issue Two

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After a God-only-knows-how-long absence from our NOW! reviews, we find ourselves at Toontown being the only dedicated source to these crazy comics. Of course, I attempted to add to Wikipedia's page about the series (but all changes were reverted because I added a link to our first review!) and our actual most popular page is this one....but what hey? I'VE GOT THE SECOND ISSUE! I'VE GOT THE SECOND ISSUE! AND IT'S NOT TOO BAD!
Compliments to AAA Comics and Collectibles, of whom sold me the issue, with 40 cents off the Canadian shipping, too!
Note...everybody will be referred to by their comic names, not the Japanese ones. Or, I could switch to the Canadian dub and start talking about Slippery and Professor Peabody, and freak you all out.
"Let me tell you 'bout a dream that I have every night..."
We open with Astro staring blankly into space, possibly in response to the confusing battle scene from yesterday. We snap back into a lab with Boynton and Astro...Boynton and Astro? That's right! The two are still together! Unlike the animated versions, Astro hasn't been sold to a circus, OR lost on a cruise ship and kidnapped by a circus man!
"You will NOT question my fashion sensibility!"
Boynton's pretty ticked that Astro blew off his arm without a reason, although we saw it come off in that battle with Metal Sonic the prototype. Boynton decides to get something outside the lab, and Astro stays safely in the room.
I am going to walk forward with PURE, BRAIN-BURNING RAGE
Of course not.
Allow me to point out how Boynton's irises have turned from brown to blue. Blue eyes. Pwetty bwoo eyes.
This is a realistic depiction of a research institute.
Anyhow, Astro looks out and sees a couple stereotype scientists, Betty Cooper, a pizza man, and a robot. Everybody's non-favorite midget I.Q. Plenty walks by with a bouquet of flowers and a hockey stick, as Spud sings a bebop version of "Row-Row-Row Your Boat". Spud sees Astro looking, and...
That rebuttal is so starkly-different from what he said.
Geez, Dr. Plenty...if you're gonna let your dog talk, at least acknowledge what it says! Anyway, Astro follows the two, and finds them chatting with...
Let it be known that never, not even in the manga or anime, have I ever enjoyed seeing Foola. Something about him reminds me of Emperor Pilaf...
If anybody ever reminds you of this guy, it's a bad sign. Making matters worse, Lance Lumiere comes out of nowhere and puts the moves on Rebecca. Astro watches in awe as I.Q. takes his hockey stick and goes, then Mario Elmer comes by with more flowers.
Elmer always hated public speaking, due to his rare Triforce Blush Syndrome.
He shoots a dashed arrow at Rebcca's breasts, assumes Lance gave Rebecca the flowers, then walks off in a huff. I'd like to point out how Rebecca appears to be the only female researcher within a two-mile radius, and seems to be bathing in pheromones. Also, she reminds me of Bulma.
She'll hold your balls for you. YA-HOWZA-HOWZA-HOWZA
But with less degrading sexual jokes, of course. No wonder Emperor Foola is quick to flock.
That's some nice lip gloss you have there, Elmer.
In the hall, Elmer's forehead blushes, and he meets Astro and calls him "Astor", clearly showing that he knew the human Astor from before. Instead of asking why he's wearing a skintight metal speedo, he mentions that he snipped with genetics to make the flowers extra-purdy. Ah, 1987.
If this were published in The Beano, the flowers would have the sound effect "RUSTLING FLOP".
Astro says the thing that he says, and Elmer makes a hint towards the "ACCIDENT?!!!32?" I know they're trying to make Astor's death a mysterious element, but 3/4 people who read this comic already know Astro's origin story.
Anyhow, Spud secretly talks with Astro about seeing him before. Spud gets the hint that Astro is Astor, and is about to mention the DEEEAAAATTTTHH when a big robot comes in, grabs Astro and leaves Spud stranded in the halls.
Metro City Rage!
We're pulled to an office where an angry guy is mad at the robot for not taking Astro to a certain room where the army can test on them. Allow me to point out that throughout this seemingly xenophobic comic, this is the only African-American guy for miles. Unfortunately, we don't even see his eyes, and he's inexplicably angry. And is that a cigar, or a joint? Because it looks in-between and it's starting to bother me.
So begins a slightly disturbing scene...
Behold, Tick and Tuck, if Ken Steacy had created them.
Astro's in queue downstairs, about to be "taken care of", as the fat guy reads "Playbot". That would imply that he's reading robot porn, which is creepy. Exceedingly creepy. But anyways, Astro starts up a conversation with a little robot in front of him, and the robot goes frantic about losing his job to a newer, more energy efficient counterpart.
If you're in the military and aren't offended by that fat soldier's remark, congratulations! You're a zombie.
I'd totally take him home. Maybe to school! Everybody would love hi...oh? Right. Ahem.
One of the officers wants to collect Astro's information, so the little robot gets sent through. And it's obvious that he's gonna die somehow. The tall officer takes Astro's name and hints that he's got escorts booked for the evening, then leads Astro into the room. They start talking about The General's secret project...
"In ya go, laddy. The pastor will see you soon..."
After chucking in a tip-off to Tezuka's original title, Astro is stranded and surrounded by dead robot bits. He walks around and accidentally kicks into the previous little robot's head, looking at it merely with a "what dat, foo" look. But suddenly, behind him comes...

S! T! U! V! W!
We're taken on a magical, three-page battle with the trash pile shark, which includes sound effects like "?", "!", "THOOM!" and "BZZZT!" In short, Astro circles it and causes it to fall over, is grabbed and almost eaten, then he bashes out its teeth and shoots off its hand.
B-b-badass, b-b-badass...
I wish the battle were really exciting to show, but no. This is the best picture, though. Right after, Astro shoots Cybershark into slices, stops and yells "FATHER!" then flies through the scrap room door.
"Just put one foot in front of the oooother!"
We cut back to upstairs, where Boynton is walking in after Astro's hyper torrent through the halls. He assumes "Henderson" is stoned or something and tells him to go home.
Your nose is rising! What does that mean?
Boynton goes back into his lab and finds Astro sitting there comfortably, like he never fought with a robot shark, watched his friend die, and flew up the middle of a hallway. Or maybe he knows, and that's why he's telling Astro to open his "access panel". I dunno...when I was a kid, I always called it "the little door on his chest". And hey, look! Ken Steacy drew Astro to look like Astro!
We reopen with Astro standing blankly in the back alley. Spud comes out of a trash can and asks if Astro is "sore", even though the last time someone used "sore" in that context was the mid-fifties. While Spud keeps trying to strike up a conversation, Boynton gets out of his car and kicks Spud in the butt. Then he picks up Astro and drives away, paranoid and/or crazed.
Wait, how does that work...?
And so ends the second issue of The American Astro Boy.

That actually wasn't so bad. Excusing that panel where Boynton looks like an angry condor, Rebecca being the Overly-Token Female, all the lame jokes/stereotypes and I.Q. Plenty in general...this was pretty good. The art is also more consistant than the previous issue, and tidier than the later issues I have. Thank you, Michael Dimpsey.
And so begins our quest for the third 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.