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I originally posted this in the comment room a few weeks ago when I finally got the chance to buy the first issue of Mecha-Nation from my local comic shop. Bad timing had the Ask Greg question queue already closed. Nevertheless, I thought I'd post my review and comments here, as I've been genuinely excited and eager for some Greg Weisman/Vic Cook/Greg Gular material all summer (I blame the lack of a complete second season DVD of SpecSpidey . . . I reckon I'll just buy the last four volumes after a few more paychecks come in *sigh*).
The first issue starts 'in media res' with First Wave fighting . . . well, our heroes with a to-be-determined team name.
Team-themes aside, the Mecha-teens go by Stealth, Blast! Tank, Charge, and Fahrenheit. First Wave on the other hand consists of Flood, Grunt, Crane, Velocity and Pulse. As you probably can tell, each individual's name relates to their particularly unique power (like Fahrenheit able to wield fire and Stealth being able to be camouflaged in his surroundings).
They're still shopping for team names mid-battle as a matter of fact (well, at least Blast! is), which rightly leads to some standard obligatory banter . . . which is SO a rule, according to Blast (his profile at the end of the issue lists Dragonball and X-Men as favorites of his, though I wonder and hope if he's seen Spectacular Spidey, hehe).
The battle ultimately cuts short and just as Charge calls it out for what must be an entirely pointless battle, First Wave tells our new heroes that in coming out to fight nearby a Glass Lake Senior High Bowlathon so quickly, they've quite possibly just slipped their hand and given away their non-Mecha-identities. Cue a few Dun Dun Duns.
The story moves on to the next day with Kevin (Stealth), Marcus (Blast!), Zahra (Charge), Ray (Tank), and Fahrenheit (Susie) making their way to school, still somewhat shaken from last night's events. Determined not to out themselves as Mecha-Sapiens, they promise not to 'Metal-out' for any reason to varying successes. We're soon treated to a funny side effect when maintaining one's human form for too long ('the itches' . . . I can only imagine).
While the five try to hide in their metal shells, we get some fun social interactions at Glass Lake Senior High, where Susie is very much a popular and can never-be-seen by the "freaks and geek." Zehra, a 'freak,' meanwhile has connections at the school she would prefer to ignore, given her (and her teammates) current troubles.
The rest of the issue has some fun introductions with the science teacher (who's got a particularly annoying verbal tic) and the school principal, all the while with the blooming mysteries of who the First Wave folk are (and have we already seen them at school?) and what "The Factory" is (evidently First Wave's . . . employers?) Clearly the questions are rhetorical; no doubt I'll get a better sense of the answers in the next two issues . . . <Heh Heh> d:
Tangent -- One issue in, and already with the Shakespeare references? Granted, its Romeo and Juliet which seems to be the typical standard selection for all high schools these days (in my own case, I read it in Eighth Grade and thus begged my freshman English teacher if we could do another tragedy -- Macbeth, I wonder why I recommended that? haha -- instead of his initial selection of Romeo and Juliet). Still, as a long time fan of your work, this brief mention made me chuckle. :)
Overall, a fun first issue that makes me want to see more very soon.
Glad you liked it. We're really proud of Mecha-Nation and hope it catches on...
ACT ONE: FIRST BELL
WORD UP: There be spoilers in this review. So everyone should read with caution. Also, go buy Mecha Nation.
SUMMARY: After a superheroic battle that didn't go too great, the identity of the "Second Wave", five teens with superpowered robotic forms, seems closer to being compromised. As the kids try to live out their high school lives as normal, they're more than a little worried about the new teacher who seems a little...alien.
REVIEW: So, I'll admit upfront that this was pretty goddamn rad. I'm actually kind of upset that this property has had to sit dormant for so long because even this one issue shows what kind of potential this really has. It's a LOT of fun.
I'm not gonna give a play by play of what happened in the story. Rather, I'm just going to explain how much I liked a bunch of out of context things that will make people buy this so they know what I'm talking about.
So I'll do that.
OUT OF CONTEXT THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME AND WILL MAKE PEOPLE BUY THIS COMIC:
-I adore The Factory. I don't care if we've barely seen them; I sincerely believe they're among the better villains you've written (and you've written numerous characters who hold honorable titles as great villains, most notably David Xanatos and Demona but more personally my all time favorite Thailog). So this is saying something. But The Factory accomplishes two villainous extremes in the span of one comic book issue and does so with an inner genius. We start with a battle atop the bowling alley that ends in a First Wave Tag that could compromise the identities of the Second Wave with little effort. And then we see the "mysterious" Professor Gear, who is more than a little blatantly not human. But that, in of itself, is kind of genius: the public doesn't know about Mecha Sapiens, so at most the students are just going to mock Gear outside of class. The few people who'd actually take this weirdo seriously and not joke about him are probably the Second Wave. The Factory used Saturday morning 80's villainy as a PROACTIVE STEALTH MECHANISM. THAT IS WONDERFUL AND I LOVE YOU.
-I like that Marcus is pretty upfront about his geek pride. I always thought that was a tad more realistic than the shy nerd. I know I never hid my sexynerdiness.
-I love that Ray isn't the Broadway homage I idiotically assumed he would be; the little we see of him show he's pretty different from the big lug.
-My favorite character, so far (besides Professor Gear, who is a God among men) has to be Susie/Fahrenheit. She'll fight crime with the rest of the Second Wave, but she doesn't really seem to actually SPEND TIME with them. Don't answer this question, but how exactly does she go about getting grouped into fighting with the rest? WHY would she? There's a lot about her I want to know.
-The chalk drawings are cute.
-As is Kevin's lab partner. She's nerdydorable. I bet she's a robot.
-A nerdydorable robot.
-Sexuality plays a big part in this story, and I like that you're fairly classy with it. It ranges from the admittedly blatant but fun (a buncha kids pent up for not "metalling out" in days...WHAT COULD THIS MEAN?!) to the much more subtle (Using Romeo and Juliet as part of a free will/fate discussion-I LOVE Romeo and Juliet, largely because it is essentially a story of two impulsive, hormonal teenagers doing things and making stuff go nuts as a result. It's a very classy, subtle allusion that both sets up what I assume is a main, existential plight of a Mecha-Sapien but also very concisely serves as a push/foreshadow for the most sexual undercurrent of the story's theme). It's an element of teenage sexuality that manages to actually serve a point and not just be there for the sake of being there. Stuff like this is one of many reasons why you're my favorite writer. Well done.
-On the opposite side of the spectrum, I adore the art. Campo and de Payevsky did a great job. Looks like it'd really lend well to animation.
-Zehra's family life should prove pretty interesting. I immediately liked it because it'd seem like the opposite of what you'd expect, but with a bit of reflection I realized I liked it because it actually makes perfect sense even in theory.
-I'm amused that the character profiles mention that Marcus is a fan of Dragonball. X-Men and Star Trek make sense as mainstays of their genre, but I would've expected Dragonball to be replaced by something either a little more current (Bleach, Naruto) or something a bit more franchise-y and bluntly sci fi (Gundam). I'm not really a fan of Dragonball (or any of those other shows I rattled off, though Gundam's alright), but I liked this little detail. It has a fascinating nuance.
-I like the normal guy (the blond kid who was bowling) and his significance or lack there of intrigues me.
OVERALL OPINION: This was a really cool start, and I like this comic a lot. I wish this property a lot of prosperity in the future and I sure as hell know I'm going to count myself in as a fan. Thank you for this.
SOME QUESTIONS, IF YOU DON'T MIND:
1. So the title intrigues me. "Androidology-First Bell." Spectacular Spider-Man, also run by you and Mr. Cook, used similar academic titles for both arc names and individual story names. But, as I understand it, that evolved out of the marching orders that required arc based storytelling. My question: was the academic title scheme something that evolved out of the Mecha-Nation development and was fitted onto Spectacular Spider-Man when you saw that it seemed to fit, or was Mecha Nation's faux-academic titles borrowed from Spectacular Spider-Man?
2. Does...Kizoic have any kind of standards and practices department? I mean, the themes regarding sexuality are subtle enough that I could see that not being a big deal. But I thought Kizoic was an all ages line and...there're a few damns in here. Not to mention the blond kid's reference to certain substances.
Thanks again for a great comic and I look forward to it continuing!
1. I know this may sound ... astounding... but I didn't connect "Androidology" up with what we did on Spider-Man until your post. We developed this story AGES ago. The title was slightly different, but basically set. Androidology is the title of the entire three-issue mini-series. Then each issue has a subtitle. Since everything's set in and around a high school, the titles are all school related. That's coming from a slightly different place than the thematic titles of Spider-Man, but the end result, I guess, isn't that different.
2. Well, this book was written before Kizoic existed. But I'm my own standards and practices guy. Working in kids programming as long as I have, I try to do what I think is right for a general audience that's kid safe but fun for adults too.
I'm glad you liked Mecha-Nation! Thanks for buying it!!
I'm finally all caught up on the ASK GREG queue. Gonna take a short break, but we'll open the queue again on September 27th, 2010 in preparation for the release of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse which also contains the DC Showcase Green Arrow short that I wrote.
As always, I urge you guys NOT to flood ASK GREG with questions. Check the archives. Check the FAQs. Ask questions of the loyal fans in the Station 8 comment room.
AND, please, THINK BEFORE YOU POST. I am NOT, for example, going to SPOIL "Young Justice" before it airs. I'm not going to SPOIL "Gargoyles" either since I still have hopes of bringing that back. I'm not even going to "SPOIL" Spectacular Spider-Man, because I don't see any real point in revealing future plans and ideas independent of their execution.
Happy to talk process. Happy to talk about what's ALREADY aired or been published. Happy to talk about Mecha-Nation and many other things. But. NOT. GONNA. SPOIL.
You wrote that the first issue of MechaNation came out in July. I saw the solicitation, but my comic book shop, (Midtown Comics in Manhattan- they tend to get everything), never got it. Their computers don't show it having ever arrived. Did the book go out on time to regular shops or is it just available through the publisher?
It's been available through the publisher since Comic-Con. I'm told it's NOW available through stores. Check with your store again.
Here's a link. Check it out:
if you do another comic book which one will it be and when will it be out and why it would be a spin off
The comic I'm doing now is called Mecha-Nation. The first issue came out this past July and is available from Ape Entertainment/Kizoic.
Well, I've finally caught up with the backlog here at ASK GREG. I'm going to take a short Ask Greg vacation, and then we'll be reopening the site soon... i.e. on the Monday (July 26th) AFTER San Diego Comic-Con 2010.
As always, I ask that before you post a question you do your best to make sure it's not a question that's been answered in the archives already AND that it's not a question that someone posted just before you. You can also try asking your question first in the Station 8 Comment Room, as the fans know a LOT of answers already.
We're just trying to avoid flooding the site with so many questions, that I'm immediately backlogged again.
Meanwhile, I will be at Comic-Con next week. Subject to change, here's my current schedule:
THURSDAY, JULY 22, 2010
10 - 11:30am - Mecha-Nation signing at the Kizoic Booth. (We'll be premiering the first issue.)
FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2010
10:30-11:30 am - Brave and the Bold/Young Justice Panel. (We'll be premiering our first Young Justice footage in a mini-panel jam-packed with revelations!)
2 - 4 pm -Mecha-Nation signing at the Kizoic Booth.
SATURDAY, JULY 24, 2010
11:30am - 1pm - Gargoyles signing at the SLG Booth.
3 - 4 pm - DC Showcase panel. (We'll be previewing some footage from the Green Arrow DVD short that I wrote.)
5:30 - 6:30pm - DC Showcase signing. (Location TBD).
SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2010
10-11am - Mecha-Nation signing at the Kizoic Booth.
11am - 12:30pm - Gargoyles signing at the SLG Booth.
Please stop by and say hello!
Just got this message from the folks at Ape Entertainment:
Just a heads up to let you know that MECHA-NATION #1 is now available to order from the February edition of the Diamond PREVIEWS catalog!
Tell a friend!
Had a fun convention. We had 100 copies of Clan-Building Volume Two on sale, and they went like hotcakes. David Hedgecock and I did multiple signings.
Also did a signing at the Ape booth for Mecha-Nation with Vic Cook.
And Vic, Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, Josh "Spider-Man" Keaton, Robert "Vulture" Englund, Kelly "Sha Shan" Hu and myself had a successful Spidey panel on Sunday.
Saw friends. Ate meals. Bought a Captain Atom action figure.
Wanted to write in and say that I'm looking forward to reading your new comic work in the coming year.
I think you are getting the Red Tornado at a great time after what Brad Meltzer and Dwayne McDuffie have been doing with him in JLA. I am interested in seeing where you take one of the most unique characters in comics. Reading your latest responses Chuck Logan asked about when DC announces when books will be published. The best answer I can give him is to keep up with the solicits every month. DC solicits three months ahead, as I write this it is the end of August and they have previews up for November on their site. Every month, usually the 3rd Monday they release new solicits. So check their website - http://www.dccomics.com/dcu/comics/ or www.newsarama.com for the latest and look for Red Tornado :)
I am also very interested in Mecha Nation and Progeny (or is it Prodigy.. I've seen it spelled both on various sites). I'm always interested in new characters from my favorite creators.
Also, just read Gargoyles: Bad Guys #4... wow the hang em high aftermath of the jailbreak... you couldn't get away with that in any cartoon. Very solid issue though, I'm enjoying all of the Gargoyles comics. Sad to see that #12 of the series and #6 of Bad Guys may be the last, but I have high hopes... Kingdom Comics was just formed so i doubt they would let an established comics property like Gargoyles go to waste.
I have to confess I haven't seen Spectacular Spider-Man yet... but I have all 13 episodes on my DVR... thank goodness for that invention. I plan on sitting down and checking them out soon though as I have heard nothing but good things.
Keep up the great work, you keep writing I'll keep buying.
Unfortunately, DC cancelled the Red Tornado limited. It's a shame. The first issue and the designs for characters new and old, penciled by Joe Bennett, were just gorgeous. And I was very happy with the three scripts I wrote before the cancellation.
Oh, and it's Mecha-Nation and Progeny.
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