Well, here we are, kids...we're at the end of our review series.
We could continue immediately after, but with a lack of issues eight-thru-nine, there would be too large of a jump. (Besides,
Boynton goes super-crazy during those issues, and I doubt we should miss that.) So people, things are gonna be crazy in the
next issue, and you should all keep your eyes on Toontown as we continue to be the site for information on NOW! Comic's
It's March 1988. The Halabja poison gas attack has occurred,
the Birdy the Mighty manga is about to be cancelled, and NOW! Comics is a year and a half away from folding like
the house at the end of Poltergeist. Astro chooses to ignore this and stares lustily at Maria from Metropolis
on the cover. But what's really bad is how some people had to go to a comic shop counter, set down this issue and
"I want to buy this one. This is right up my alley."
"I'm sorry, I must fill the emo quota."
Meanwhile, Astro and Simon are standing directly out of the
arena, and Simon wants to know why Astro isn't happy. But wait, remember that electrocuting, part-bomb spider that just so
happens to be in Astro's chest? Well, he's still there, and Astro's afraid of what Bruno'll do next. Simon suggests luring
Bruno out, given how it would otherwise blow up Astro if tampered with directly.
What's going on in that first panel, with the whirl
lines? Is the booth spinning around?
In the meantime, Cacciatore is at a payphone, waving around
like a maniac and fighting over his name's pronounciation with the Institute of Science's "Vid-Com" operator. Suddenly, Lance
runs into frame, coated with crud and screaming things that usually get the police called for the wrong reasons:
Sludge runs back into the room to presumably pound the vinegar
out of Lance, and in the meantime, Rebecca is bickering with I.Q. Plenty. Apparently, Lance looked like the "fish on the bottom
of the barrel", which makes me imagine a rotting, bug-eyed fish face. Now I am sad.
I didn't edit this. Maybe Tony Caputo's budget could
only afford the bubble.
So, Rebecca literally renders I.Q. speechless, and she demands
that he call off Sludge. I.Q. and Spud's counter is that Lumiere deserves being mutilated by a slime monster; they assume
he's taking the credit for Rebecca's "jewel-studded" necklace.
I think she's laughing at the necklace part.
In the meantime, Simon has decided to have a tiny robot go
into Astro's chest cabinet and lure out Bruno. Who is this skillful robot that has been specially-selected for the job?
No, you mop da floor wit YOUR bum.
Um, yes, it's Bugsy, a tiny green bug that looks and acts
like a 1930's cartoon character. Apparently his last best "scrap" was with the "Mighty Micro-Dot", he proclaims as he jumps
into Astro's chest. That's pretty much the whole page...and on the next, we see I.Q. and Spud walking away with Rebecca's
necklace. I.Q. proclaims that someday he will be worshipped on a pedestal by thousands of beautiful women. They prepare to
go get lunch when Spud realizes he never put the "neutralization coil" into Sludge. Whatever it means, they are strangely
terrified. O yay.
In the meantime, Elmer and Boynton are leaving the offices,
obviously talking about something that would be revealled in later issues. Lance runs up the hall, still coated in crud, begging
for their help. Of course, Sludge steps up behind him just as the other men turn.
Now, the following page contains two panels simply jammed
with the two worst lines I've ever read in this book. I'll simply drop them off and let you judge them for yourself. (Also,
when I typed "judge", the song I was listening to said "judge" at the exact same time.)
I don't care if he's cheating on his diet. Who carries
a salt shaker around with them?
Sludge melts, and Lance begins to kiss Boynton's shoes in
a goofy fashion. The same Vid-Com droid from before hurries up to Boynton and gives him a note from Cacciatore:
Flashing in and out of Bugsy and Boynton's viewpoints, Bugsy
is being chased down by Bruno, and Boynton is running up to his lab. Boynton searches for a remote control in his office while
Bugsy leads Bruno out of Astro. Just as Simon reaches for Bruno, Boynton presses the button marked "Emergency Detonation".
I have a feeling this is going to give Astro Shinji Ikari
Syndrome, if you know what I mean.
Tas chose to ignore that he had run over a midget.
In the meantime, Cacciatore is chain-smoking on the front
lawn, waiting for Boynton. Tas Tamil shows up and offers to bribe Cacciatore into handing over Astro. But guess who happens
to burst out of the circus building ceiling and buzz Tas and Cacciatore...
This is to Osamu Tezuka what Heavy Traffic
is to Disney.
In short, Astro picks up Cacciatore and throws him around
in mid-air for a few panels. When he lands, chucking Cacciatore to the side, Tas holds out a contract and declares that Astro
was built for use in the military, and that robots are to obey human command. Cacciatore goes to count his bribe money behind
the tent. Bugsy appears, yanks on his mustache, and turns Cacciatore's attention to both the cluster of hostile robots with
Brooklyn accents and the circus burning to the ground.
Tas orders Astro to go drag Cacciatore out of the fire, but
the robots tell Astro to stay back and let him die. Astro hesitates, then tears up his military contract. The robots cheer
him on and begin to try and Tas in the fire, but then everyone notices Astro has left and is...
Yes. Yes, they finally did it. Even if it took so long, NOW!
Comics has brought back our Astro Boy. This moment really happened in the 1960's anime, and it's wonderful to see
Astro's philanthropist side once more, even if we might not see it again. This issue ends with the above image, somber and
In the meantime, the letters column has been named "Astro
Grams" for no good reason, and this one letter segment particularly entertains me...
What the heck?
People, I'm sad to say that this is the last of the reviews
until I get those two issues. I don't feel right about skipping that material, since it seems extremely interesting, and Tenma
packs a machine gun. When I come back, I want to see people drawing parodies of the NOW! Comics style. Use scenes from any
Tezuka material...or, anything you want...and feel free to send them in. I would love to see what you'd come up with. Just
to show you what to do, here's my contribution...