The blue bomber will always have a special place in my heart. From tugging at my mom’s sleeve pointing out the newly released Mega Man 3 to spending countless hours dashing through Mega Man X on my SNES, the robot-master-vanquishing hero remains a cornerstone of my video game fandom – and now that has expanded into my comic book obsession as well.
BOOM! Studios has been releasing some real big hitters lately, and while I doubt Fully Charged will gain the same amount of steam as some of their more notable titles like Something is Killing The Children or We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (which is headed into its 4th printing…phew!) there’s still plenty to enjoy in the opening issues.
Fully Charged is actually an adaptation of the cartoon that was aired last year, which received less than stellar reviews due to its choppy, 3-D animated approach. The adaptation to comic form will hopefully give it an opportunity to share its narrative with a different audience, and the artistic styling of Stefano Simeone is infinitely more palatable, I can tell you that much.
The story takes place in a setting familiar to most Mega Man fans: after the advent of robots in broader society, a rebellion leads to a bitter conflict between robots and humans – otherwise known as the Hard Age. From the wreckage, humans emerged victorious, and robots resumed their role in largely subjugated roles.
The narrative path diverges slightly with the central protagonist: a young man named Aki Light, who lives with Dr. Light and his human sister Suna Light. Aki is actually Mega Man, and transforms into the Blue Bomber to protect citizens when the occasional radical robot-master appears to cause trouble. One such antagonist is Skull Man, who clashes with Mega Man in the first issue, and complicates his relationship with his “Father”, Dr. Light.
In the first issue we also get a cameo from Protoman. Fully Charged seems to have no problem being upfront about their relationship from the start, with the rebellious Protoman calling out Mega Man as his brother in the closing pages of issue 1.
Sure, the dialogue can be a bit stiff at times…but it’s important to remember that Mega Man has largely been a series aimed kids. That’s what helps to make the dramatic arc of an eccentric Dr. Wily bringing Aki in to talk about how Dr. Light doesn’t understand him and the way he so obviously is trying to manipulate him more believable. From the outside looking in, it’s almost painfully obvious who’s doing the real manipulating in that exchange, but kids and young adults would likely draw a bit more authenticity from the conversation.
I would note as well that the Fully Charged cartoon was panned not only for its poor animation style, but also that it went a little too far when it came to the kid-friendly reputation.
Returning to the art for a moment, the action sequences are…pretty awesome. Simeone utilizes an interesting blurring effect to really add that feeling of movement and speed to Mega Man’s attacks, combining martial arts with the tried-and-true blaster attacks to deliver an overall deadly rendition of the blue bomber.
Overall, I’ve really been enjoying the Fully Charged adaptation in comic book form, and am looking forward to the remaining issues. You can find them at your local comic book shop, or pick them up on Amazon: