The Original Astro Boy #17
NOW Comics (March, 1989)
“Slaves Of The Cy-Bots”
WRITER: Ken Steacy
ARTIST: Brian Thomas
LETTERER: Marc Hansen
ORIGINAL STORY/CHARACTERS: Osama Tezuka
Astro Boy and a group of clones are using an experimental Transwarp Drive to find a group of lost ships. Unbeknownst to them Astro Girl (Astro’s robo-sister), as well as IQ and Spud, have stowed away aboard their ship. Despite a transwarp mishap, they manage to reach the spot where the ships disappeared but between a fake monster and asteroids the ship is damaged and they crashland. There they find a group of robots who fled after being tired of being used as slave labor and now plan to destroy human life on Earth before returning. Astro Boy tries to convince the leader that humans and robots are now friends but he can’t believe it until a weaken Astro Boy uses a back-up battery to save Astro Girl but short-circuits himself in the process. The mourning humans convince him of Astro’s words and they decide to return to Earth as friends, freeing their other prisoners, while IQ says he can fix Astro Boy.
What they got right: I’m with Astro Girl, I like happy endings. Even cheesy ones. Astro only fights because he has to in order to protect his friends but he tries to convince the leader of the Cy-Bots that they can all be friends. I like that.
What they got wrong: I wonder if this story could have used a third issue to really show how serious a threat the Cy-Bots are while also understanding their plight. As a result the side switch feels a bit fast. IQ and Spud really do nothing in this outside of IQ saying he can fix Astro (while lying about designing him), which could have been done on Earth, while Astro Girl does almost nothing since Astro’s “second wind” is the result of switching to a faulty battery pack rather than being determined to rescue his sister.
Other notes: The first time I remember hearing “transwarp drive” was Beast Wars, a 1990s cartoon. But here’s a 1980s cartoon adapted from a 1960s manga using it first. Note that I picked up this comic well after it was published, but I don’t remember where. Also, this particular copy has two covers for some reason.
Recommendation: I haven’t seen part one, but part two was a cute little story, and not a bad sendoff for Ken Steacy as writer. Worth giving a look. This is also the last of the Astro Boy comics in my collection. I might consider getting more depending on how well I can cut down my bloated comic collection but it’s not a priority currently.