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Book Review < Back

Astro Boy vol. 1

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Commentary

It's about time ASTRO BOY has been published in English, given that he's one of the most recognised cartoon characters in the world, and his creator is one of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived.

Here's a little boy robot of the future who can fly and has all sorts of neat powers. He's powered by nuclear energy. He was built by a grief-stricken scientist to replace a son lost in a car accident. When the scientist realised that this robot substitute would never grow up, he sold him to a circus. There he languished until a kindly robotics professor saw him for his uniqueness and took him home. Under the tutelage of the kindly professor and a detective, the robot boy takes on the name of Astro Boy and vows to fight evil robots and protect the world.

In this first volume, Astro has to battle an evil duchess and her army of cyborgs built with dogs' brains as she schemes to invade the moon in search of priceless diamonds. But the commander of her army has the brain of the beloved dog that belonged to Astro's detective mentor, Mr. Mustachio.

Then there's a short story about Astro fighting evil robots from another planet who want to steal Earth's water supply to replenish their own world, with only a rebel from the planet who will pay a heavy price for helping him.

Tezuka's art demonstrates the unique knack Japanese comics have for shifting from slapstick to melancholy without skipping a beat. His simple, cartoony drawings have an emotional directness that exceeds more realistic art styles, and the stories have a real understanding of pain and fear and loss, friendship and longing with a surprising emotional intensity.

Constantly surprising, wildly inventive and moving at a furious pace, these are children's graphic novels with real bite.

-- Adi Tantimedh

 
Adi Tantimedh is a screenwriter and filmmaker who writes comics when he has the time. He has recently completed JLA: The Age of Wonder for DC Comics, and written and directed Open House, a short film for Studio FP in Italy. His current projects include the forthcoming Blackshirt for Moonstone Books, Anna Passenger, a novel being serialised on Opi8.com, and various film and television projects.

 


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