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.