By: Rachel Freeman
Mech Cadet Yu is published by BOOM! Studios. It is written by Greg Pak with art by Takeshi Miyazawa.
If you can’t tell by the title or giant robot on the cover of this debut issue, this is a story about mechs. MECHS! I. Love. Mechs. Or mecha, if you prefer. Or simply, “giant robots”. In particularly, I love mecha anime; Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam Wing, Iron Blooded Orphans, pretty much all variations of Mobile Suit Gundam, Gurren Lagann, Full Metal Panic, the list can go on and on. The whole mecha genre is generally just epic and full of awesome space battles with high-tech weapons and lots of explosions. So, basically I saw this cover and this title and immediately got excited. I was not let down in the least. I mean, it’s pretty hard to ruin mechs for me, but it’s also written by Greg Pak who has done like a million things for Marvel and DC and is crazy talented. It’s pretty safe to assume if he’s writing it, it will be good. Takeshi Miyazawa has also been on a number of Marvel titles and if you haven’t seen his fantabulous art, just Google him or look up his Instagram…Go ahead, I’ll still be here…
…It’s great, right?!
I hope my excited, senseless babbling has you at least half as excited as me. Mech Cadet Yu is about a young boy, Stanford Yu, who works with his mom as cleaner at Sky Corps, the facility where cadets are trained for their future piloting “robo mechs”. And while he wants nothing more than to be a pilot, Standford Yu doesn’t seem to have a chance of getting in to this elite school. In this future world, a robo mech appeared on Earth one day 60 years ago and befriended a young boy scout named Skip Tanaka and together they defeated the alien force known as the Sharg. From then on, every 4 years, a group of cadets (in this case 3, but I don’t know that it’s always that number) are chosen to go to the first robo mech site and await new robots to descend for them to “bond” with. However, this time is different. This time only two robots come down. And the conceited, bitchy cadet with a superiority complex doesn’t get chosen by either robo mech. Meanwhile, an upset and frustrated Stanford is biking near the robot site when he stumbles across a large sheet of metal. He gets off his bike to angrily clean it up when he notices something…a large blue robot, with a missing piece, watching him curiously. Upon returning the robot’s piece, the robot chooses him. And everything is perfect. Until Standford and his new giant robot fly into a restricted air space. And it turns out something secret is going on at Sky Corps that may seem good, but you can tell it’s going to end up bad.
This was a fantastic first issue. The history of this future world was explained succinctly and in a way that was completely logical – during a celebratory assembly to announce the newest chosen cadets. And it didn’t take up a huge chunk of the comic. I immediately liked Stanford’s character. He’s young and ambitious, but he’s stuck at the bottom of the food chain with little hope of ever achieving his dreams until he meets his robot, who I also love. I love that even though he doesn’t have facial expressions or words other than “veee”, you know exactly how the robot is feeling. The general dialogue made it easy to understand each character and the art is just fabulous. It has a very anime-like feel to it but it’s not overbearing and it’s still very clearly comic art and not manga.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.8 / 10
While I could sing the praises of this issue for days, I do need to say that I totally called the plot twist. I mean, it’s not quite a “twist” but I can’t go in to much detail without giving away spoilers. But I called it. I guess maybe I have a bit of an advantage because I watch A LOT of anime and this is very reminiscent of that genre, so maybe I’ve just become accustomed to this kind of plot twist. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good plot twist and I’m totally on board with it. I just wish it had been a little less obvious or maybe the obvious part happened toward the middle instead of right at the start? Oh, well. Even so, this was a great first issue for this series and I have incredibly high hopes for the next issue.
Make sure you pick up a copy of Mech Cadet Yu #1 from your local comic store!