Mega Man Vol. 1: Let The Games Begin is the first trade paperback edition for the Mega Man series published by Archie Comics. It is based on the video games of the same name developed by Capcom. It contains the first four issues of the title written by Ian Flynn and penciled by Patrick Spaziante (who also inked the first issue). Rick Bryant inked the second issue and Gary Martin inked #3 and #4. Rounding out the creative team are colorist Matt Herms and letterer John Workman. Cover price for this book $11.95. It carries an all-ages rating.
This book tells the story of helper robot, Rock, as he is transformed into the “Blue Bomber,” Mega Man. He was built by Dr. Light with his “twin sister” Roll. In the beginning, Dr. Light worked with Dr. Wily, the series main antagonist, to create six Robot Masters. They are Bomb Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Fire Man, Guts Man and Ice Man. They were designed to make the world a better place. This is back-story and told in the opening issue.
The series takes off with Dr. Wily re-programming the Robot Masters for his own nefarious deeds. At this point Rock answers the call of duty and is transformed by Dr. Light into Mega Man. The theme of morality as Mega Man does not want to harm anyone, but realizes he must in order to save others. This plays out across the first couple issues as he faces the Robot Masters, one by one. One of Mega Man’s main abilities is a chip that allows him to copy a Robot Master’s power. Eventually, he saves the day with the help of Dr. Light, Roll and his newfound powers.
There are also some nods to the video game series. In the games, there is an unwritten order to taking on the stages and defeating the Robot Masters. This is referenced when Mega Man asks Dr. Light whom to take down first. There is also the idea of the bosses having weaknesses. In the games, players use previously acquired weapons to take out the next bosses. Fans of the games will appreciate these touches to the story.
Spaziante’s pencils are matched with his, Bryant and Martin’s inks. The book comes to life with Herms’ colors. It has a cartoony look which is perfect for the book. Despite being robots, they display various expressions which exhibit Spaziante’s range. He also nails the transitions as Mega Man switches to each of the powers he has taken from the Robot Masters. The unique layouts are noteworthy as well. There’s no wasted space and a cool interconnectivity between panels.
As is standard with many collected editions, this trade packs in some bonus material. There is a short image gallery containing the variant covers for the issues included. There are four one-page stories, one of each I believe were in each of the individual issues. To finish it up are bios for all the characters.
In a time where many books given press appear grittier and adult-oriented, Mega Man is a welcome treat for all ages. What makes it standout is that while it may be geared towards a younger crowd, it can be appreciated by readers of all ages. Also, it’s an all-ages title that’s not “watered-down” and is actually a quality book; both in script and art. With all of that, I can recommend this to anyone interested in the material as well as anyone just looking to try out a new book.
This book was purchased with my own funds.