Dr. Light is a scientist who has perfected the art of creating service robots to help run the infrastructure of the world. Among these robots are Rock and Roll, a pair of robots resembling young children who live with him and help with his day-to-day life.
One day, almost every robot in the world goes haywire. His service robots, under control of their leaders like Guts Man, Cut Man, Electro Man, have begun wreaking havoc across the planet.
Rock wants to help and has Light transform him into a combat robot, and Rock becomes Mega Man, the ultimate combat robot!
Mega Man Mastermix is a book dedicated to being a heartfelt send-off to the videogames that inspired it. In that regard, it’s easily a success. It hits all of the main plot beats of the original Mega Man game, Mega Man, Light, and Roll are all earnest and well-meaning characters, and the art appealingly expands on the design of the boss robots.
If you somehow didn’t know that Mega Man was a videogame franchise, the plot and flow would make it clear. Therein lies some of the problems. Mega Man Mastermix abbreviates some of the fights and details because it assumes you know how some of this will go down. The fight against Fire Man, Bomb Man, Ice Man, and Guts Man go by so quickly you may feel like you’re missing a page.
The original story was printed in 1997, this release being a remastered and colorized version of the story. So, this next criticism may feel a bit like beating up on something from 20 years ago based on a 30-year-old game for kids, but I do wish this comic would explain a little more about how the robots like Elec Man, Cut Man, and the others work. Do they have proper artificial intelligence? If so, doesn’t that make them slaves. Wily is abusing them with his programming of course, but wasn’t Light already hand-crafting them to be slaves?
I did do some research that surfaced something about “reploids” and Mega Man X being one, but that just feels like its lampshading the issue.
In the end that detail isn’t that relevant to the framing of the story and only really serves to feed my own curiosity and arrogant necessity to find plot holes.
In the end, the main flaw with Mega Man Mastermix is the breakneck pace with which it rushes through the action of the comic and the reduction of what could have been some cool boss fight sequences. I don’t even want to see him blast every minion; it would have just been nice for Elec Man to last longer than one razor-cut.
Hitoshi Ariga’s art does justice to the design of the world, and the retro-futuristic aesthetic of it all is quite wonderful. As already said, the expanded design of the boss robots is really cool. Fire Man, Elec Man, and Guts Man especially look really great. Ice Man oddly looks like a chibi-Captain Cold (so do the Ice Climbers now that I think about it). Josh Perez’s color art remastering of the comic gives it even more vibrancy and life. Everything is bright and gleaming, and it’s a great aesthetic for the Blue Bomber.
Despite a rushed feeling to the action beats, the harsh abbreviation of the story, and my need to turn this into Blade Runner, Mega Man Mastermix is an undoubtedly fun and upbeat recreation of the original game. Ariga’s original understanding of the world and setting, his rendition of the world of the game, and Perez’s popping color addition makes for an enjoyable read. I can recommend this one. Give it a try.
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