“I don’t want to work. I just want to bang on this drum all day.”

The Original Astro Boy #2

NOW Comics (October, 1987)

Sadly this isn’t a reprinting of the manga, which would have better fit the title. So I don’t know why it’s called “The Original” Astro Boy.

WRITER: Michael Dimpsey

ARTIST: Ken Steacy

After losing his arm during something last issue, Astro Boy is in hot water with his father/creator Dr. Boynton. Despite being told to stay in the lab, Astro Boy (Or “Astor”, Boynton’s dead son, who he’s built to resemble–I looked that up but it’s in keeping with the original Mighty Atom origin in Japan) sneaks out, seeing IQ Plenty and Elmer Dobbs vying for a lady scientist named Rebecca, in both cases to the annoyance of her boyfriend, Lance Lumiere. IQ’s talking dog Spud pulls Astro aside to talk before the kid is captured by one of the military’s robots. Astro is sent down to a place where robots are being trashed by a robot named Cybershark, with some soldiers talking about they’re sending this “Cybershark” to retrieve a robot called Mighty Atom, not knowing they just left that robot in with Cybershark, which Astro proceeds to tear apart before sneaking back to the lab. Boynton’s planning to erase his memories to erase the failure from last issue, and Spud sees Boynton take him away…and that Astro Boy isn’t offline just yet.

What they got right: Note that I’ve never read the original manga by the late great Osamu Tezuka. I’ve also seen few episodes of either incarnation of the show. All I’ve seen is the few issues of this series I own, some random episodes of the aforementioned shows, the IDW run based on the recent CG movie, and that movie. So I’m going to judge this based on the property itself, not as an adaptation. And on its own it a neat little tale. It’s just “Astor” looking around the Institute, which gives us a look at the supporting cast and hinting that in this world something isn’t quite right about the military stationed here. And apparently “Astro Boy” is part some Boynton/military group project called Mighty Atom, the translation of his original Japanese name, which is a nice nod to the source material.

What they got wrong: If Rebecca already has a boyfriend, why are these two guys courting her, one right in front of them? Is their relationship secret? And evil militaries are a dime a dozen, especially in Japanese and Hollywood works that aren’t about the military so I’m disappointed that’s here, source material or not.

Recommendation: I don’t know how the manga/anime fans react to an Americanization of a legendary work like Mighty Atom/Astro Boy or a legendary creator like Tezuka (who was inspired by Disney) but it seems like a fun little story. I’ll be jumping ahead because I think I only have one or two more issues and there are big gaps. I don’t even remember why I picked them up but it’s worth checking into.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Sean says:

    Thanks for posting about this issue. I don’t remember having issue 2. I know that I had issue 1 and a few others, not the whole series. Because I don’t remember issue 2, I probably didn’t own it. Because I would have remembered that unique cover of Astro Boy playing that big Japanese drum (I’m forgetting the name of that drum at the moment…..the Tako?).

    I first learned about Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka from those huge Robotech Art books that used to exist in the late 80s. That particular Robotech Art book contained a background article about Japanese anime and manga. That intro to early Japanese creations from Osamu Tezuka sparked my curiosity and led me to get some Astro Boy comics when NOW produced them in that time period. Osamu Tezuka truly is a major part of anime/manga history. I also learned about Kimba the White Lion and Gigantor from that Robotech Art Book.

    On a side note, I got to read my Last Starfighter comics yesterday. It was totally awesome! Now I want to watch the actual movie in order to compare the two. Plus, I want to see if the main character’s girlfriend is as hot in the movie as she was depicted in the comic book (she was wearing Daisy Duke shorts in the comic). Lol! Gee…I guess I’ve been single too long.


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