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NOW! Comics Astro Boy - Issue Nine

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Welcome back, everyone. I'm still a little disappointed after the end of the previous issue, because I honestly expected the story to continue into this issue, where I'd open the book and see a variation of the riot at the end of Do The Right Thing. (This is because I've owned issue #10 for three years, and things were pretty hectic in that, so I thought the insanity never ended. It did.)

I don't know why I need to bring this up, but in these reviews, I am Shinji Ikari. In a tremendous machine (an IBM from 2003), I fight my way through a confusing and horrifying mutant-infested territory, with little to no encouragement from my family. Fighting with these comics hurts my whole body, but I need to fight them for the world.

So, Astro is now rehabilitating with Dr. Elefun, while the Robot Freedom Act is being implemented. Boynton is in a mental hospital. And those are the only major items. Wow, for the end of a story arc, this is a pretty lackluster roster of changes. Let's put on some badass action music and prepare ourselves. If my calculations are correct, the incredible voice of Ichirou Mizuki will calm you down and help you resist performing violent acts.

Oh, and Ken Steacy has taken over as writer. Brace yourself.

"Dammit, fist! Stop bothering me!"
 
We open with Astro being plagued by visions of Boynton, Simon, General Hawkins, Cacciatore and sugarplums dancing in his head. Dr. Elefun tries to calm him down, but Astro wants to know why everybody wants him. Elefun manages to explain with a huge paragraph that actually hurts my eyes to try to read. He breaks it down shortly after, saying that Astro is a super-powerful toy and everybody wants a piece of that action.
 
This man is so rich, the Alaskan Pipeline runs out of his mouth.
 
We cut to in a tremendously-tall skyscraper belonging to Megacorp, a typical cartoony superbusiness who will somehow lose billions if the "Roboright Bill" is passed. How would that happen, anyway? Are they full of robot workers? What the hell does Megacorp do, anyway? Well, the answer to that question, among with others, will elude us forever, but apparently Mr. Megacorp has hired I.Q. Plenty and Spud to help them.
 
Okay, I just...I just hate I.Q. and Spud so much. NOW! Comics seems to think that the readers love I.Q. Plenty, and they keep bringing him back. I hate him. He comes from one of Tezuka's obscure characters whom even Tezuka didn't take seriously. Why couldn't they bastardize someone like Lamp or Skunk instead?
 
This is the entire page. I'm serious.
 
As part of the neverending quest to test my patience, Elefun and Astro go to the hospital to visit Cacciatore, just like in Tezuka's original. Cacciatore is having a fit over the hospital food, to the point where he's hurling globs of it into the hallway. Astro doesn't get halfway into a sentence before Cacciatore starts yelling at him and demanding Astro return his circus robots. He claims he still owns them, using the grammar-punchin' phrasing of "There-ah mine!" Astro then leaves, grinning like a creepy little git.
 
One more thing I must point out...the only colours on the page were red for tongues and Astro's boots, peach for the human skin, and green. The entire page was green. The art is abnormally-awful for this page, so Steacy must've thought "Oh, I'll just drench this page in GREEN, so nobody'll notice." Comparing this to Steacy's professional artwork (i.e. the stuff he actually gave half-a-damn about), this is like something he'd scribble on a McDonald's napkin at a petrol garage while waiting for the attendant to come back.
 
 
Gee, Elefun. You're just full of bad ideas today.
 
On the way there, they pass a construction site, where a ton of bricks on a block that is probably not regulation-safe has snapped from a crane, with a guy getting into his car directly below it. Astro turns into a white blob, flies through the side of the car and pushes the guy out of the way. Do you see that? The guy was still getting into the driver's seat, but the car rotated 180 degrees.
 
Why would you park a rare car next to a reckless construction site, anyway?
 
The car owner, who looks like Mr. Kohli from the horrific Bride and Prejudice, has a stroke about his car being turned into a crepe. Astro lifts up the bricks to reveal his flattened car, maybe to rub it in his face. The police show up in an astoundingly horrible panel - like I said, napkin at a gas station - and Inspector Gumshoe goes to ask for Astro's ID code, so Astro drops the entire ton of bricks on his foot. Astro would never do that, but maybe everybody at NOW! Comics was so trashed on 1980's cocaine that it seemed funny.
 
 
OUT OF CHARACTER
 
Astro flies off, raging, leaving Dr. Elefun with three angry men and a flat car. Also, Chief McClaw is now called Chief McLaw, which is stupid. Elefun gets angry too, but a construction worker with "Riley Beeg Crane Co." written on his shirt runs out and sticks up for Astro. I'm pretty sure the thing on his shirt is a joke for "Really Big Crane Co.". Lay off the cocaine, everybody.
 
You guys see that stamp in the top corner too, right?
 
Astro goes back to the remants of the Robot Circus some hours later, where he runs into Bugsy the Oh God I Hate Him Too. Bugsy believes that Elefun isn't going to to anything to help the robots, despite stopping the fight yesterday, so he and the robot army got back together. All the characters in the comic, save for Elefun and maybe Tas Tamil, constantly fall out of character and forget things they've already done. Is everybody stupid? Wait, yes. Yes they are. Oh look, Astro's gonna fight a robot breast for three pages.
 
 
After pummeling him/her/it, Astro stops to call out everybody for being "as bad as the humans who built you!", disregarding the fact that his automatic response was to fight back. Bugsy, having learned nothing at all, goes on about how awesome a fight that was and how the robots are "really gonna paint the town red - know what I mean?"
 
"This is against everything I've ever said!"
 
Astro flies away. In the meantime, Tas Tamil has taken over the Institute of Science and is smoking a cigar in his office. (Why do they only smoke cigars in this comic?) Tas tries to relax, but General Hawkins insists he steal Astro, pushing him to do it with more or less the softness of "don't make me break my foot off in your ass."
 
HOLY COW! Doctor Who is on! And it's the one with the Clockwork Men and David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor! Hold on a moment, Terrible Comic, I have something good to look at for a change!
 
...Well, that was fun, and one of my favorite episodes. In the meantime, I.Q. Plenty just programmed a group of Cybersharks (remember them?) to attack the Institute. I'm glad I'm still saturated with the joy that comes from having just watched Doctor Who, or I'd lunge into a rant about how stupid this story is.
 
He visibly stepped in gum three panels before. I don't know how the above happened.
 
I.Q. sees Astro flying by overhead, so he pulls out a remote control that makes Astro dizzy and pass out. The boy hits the side of a building and falls, landing at I.Q.'s feet. This is when I.Q. drops the bomb that he designed Astro's inner workings, and that Boynton ripped him off somehow, so I.Q. becomes elated that he has Astro back. I'm pretty sure you could get police coming to your door at Mach 5 if you knock a half-naked child unconscious on the street and take him home.
 
 
Oh hey, Cybersharks! Eat him! Eat him!
 
Of course they won't.
 
 
 
 
I believe that this issue is actually worse than Issue Three, which actually left me burning with rage at the glorified war and crude response to Ms. Peta Little's letter. This issue's art is openly bad and riddled with obvious errors that Steacy didn't even bother to correct. The only real things that happened were Astro making some people mad, trying to kill some more people, fighting with a battery that looks like a breast, and I.Q. actually managing to be creepier.
 
How do I feel about this issue? No, how does Shinji feel about this issue? Like this:
 
 
 

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.