Let’s pretend that the Power Rangers, Voltron, Ultraman or whatever other Super Sentai esque story… was real. Now let’s say instead of it being an undying TV franchise it was a bunch of normalish people who have retired for over a decade only to be called back into action. That is the bare-bones premise for MegaGoGo from creator and artist Wook Jin Clark. How could anyone not be interested at this point; man, woman or child. The genre of Giant Robots /Mecha fighting Kaiju is always popular in and of itself, but it’s the human pilot element that people really get attached to. After all, who wouldn’t want to team up with their friends to control a mecha and stomp some alien ass?
With that said the story doesn’t spend a lot of time with the mecha or fighting big ass monsters, one of which may or may not be a giant KKK member. Instead the tale begins in 1985, Georgia, where our team of heroes are taking on some freaking looking aliens. They’re gunning them down pretty easily, but for some reason the king (he wears a little crown that hovers over his head) needs to be cut in half. Adam is a young boy that answers the call and jumps out of the mecha with a Final Fantasy VII inspired Buster sword and chops the king in half… almost.
We don’t see the end of this scene as we move eleven years into the future following a hooded stranger. The person talks to themselves about people they’re going to wake up, people with names like “The Wolf Pack” or “Kid Crossbones.” Clearly this is an evil person conspiring with themselves about which villain to awaken.
As they re-ignite our first villains powers, it sets off an alarm in the MegaGoGo base (I’m not sure if that’s what the base is called, but it sounds cool). Jay the unknown immortal receives the alert and it’s just as he and Chip, a computer construct, feared… “They’re back.” Chip and Jay decide that they need to get the team back together again as well, but Jay has doubts that they’ll all return or that all of them should return.
After all this intrigue and mystery we meet Evan. He’s a fifteen year old kid that is woken up by his crazy father for school. He’s reminded by his father that it’s “Sam’s birthday” which of course is ominousness in its own way. After dealing with his father’s shenanigans he heads out to get his bike and hears a beeping sound. He finds the source, but we don’t know what he’s found inside the suit case at the back of the garage. We catch up with him again as he eats lunch by himself. He’s picked on by some kids until a big jock tells them to leave him alone, but not for the reasons you think. Evan and his family have a reputation for being cursed and bad luck in general.
How does Evan tie in with our MegaGoGo team? Why are the KKK after Evan and the other members of MegaGoGo? What happened eleven years ago that made the team break up? Well it’s a decent sized graphic novel so don’t expect this review to tell you everything.
Clark has created a story that has heart. There are themes like family, friendship and loyalty that are present all throughout the story. The other aspect that brings this tale to life and grounds it in reality is the humor. It may not seem like it, but you need both of these elements to have a strong Mecha vs Kaiju story. Without the heart the reader realizes how ridiculous what they’re reading/viewing is, but with the humor they can appreciate how ridiculous everything is. It is literally a double-edge sword.
The character Adam in particular was very humorous and so every time he was in the scene it was a good one. In particular though the final battle at the end was extremely funny; no spoilers here, but you’re sure to enjoy it.
Another aspect of the book is how diverse it is. There are people of different nationalities and it’s really great to see that no one gives a damn. The story never focuses on it in a way that’s awkward or self-praising and that’s what’s so tremendous about its approach. Some comics pat themselves on the back for having a minority, whereas MegaGoGo reflects the world we live in and never once asks for you to acknowledge it (even though I just did).
Since Clark handles everything in the book it’s important to talk about his artistic style. It’s heavily influenced by Manga in the character design and the fact that it’s presented in all black and white; even the grey that you see is actually a result of the Clark’s techniques and not grey scale. Clark’s style is very detailed with each panel having just the right amount of detail and blackness. Much like manga’s MegaGoGo is all about the contrasts.
The strongest aspect of Clark’s style is his character expressions and body language. The expressions control the mood of the scene either establishing the comedy or heart. Obviously there’s a ton of action in this story, whether it be in the Mecha or out. In fact there is plenty of fist-o-cuffs outside of the Mecha that steals the show. All of the action sequences are easy to follow and have a nice flow to them that keep the story exciting and entertaining.
Thankfully this looks like the first adventure in a series and while it would be considered strange for most stories to begin this deep within its own plot, it works for MegaGoGo. The fact is, now the world has history and weight to it that you would otherwise not have. There are legacy characters that have handed off their mantle and so in a way it finds the perfect home nestled in-between the familiar franchises that I listed in the beginning. More than anything, MegaGoGo is entertaining and heartfelt and has crafted a world that this reviewer would gladly explore again.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Wook Jin Clark Publisher: Oni Press Price: $19.99 Release Date: 2/26/14