Mech Cadet Yu Volume Two

Mech Cadet Yu Volume Two
Mech Cadet Yu Volume Two review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Boom! Studios - 978-1-68415-253-7
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2018
  • UPC: 9781684152537
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Stanford Yu is the son of the cleaner at a cadet training base, smart and a skilled engineer, and as seen in Mech Cadet Yu Volume One, the person with whom a giant robotic battlesuit chose to bond in preference to a trained cadet. That was just as well when alien invaders the Sharg came calling, but Volume One ended with the four new cadets awaiting their fate having disobeyed orders to save civilians from the Sharg.

Greg Pak surprises to start Volume Two, finding a place for a character who might otherwise have been doomed to repetition and a necessary lesson on how it’s not just the very visible Mech pilots in their battlesuits who’re important. Skip Tanaka, the first human to bond with a Mech continues to prioritise practicalities over orders, which is important when Pak drops his big surprise, and he delivers an inspirational speech near the end.

Takeshi Miyazawa seems to have taken the cinema Aliens as his starting point for the Sharg, but modified that concept enough to create something different. They’re lumpy, multi-limbed beasts with teeth and claws whose personality seems set to savage, and in context here they’re terrifying. Miyazawa’s a great artist, one whose manga-influenced style doesn’t necessarily stand out at first, but everything is there from page layout to visual characterisation.

Pak pulls the rug away halfway through. It’s a bravura performance on his part. He changes the focus in every one of the four chapters, the energy never falters, and there’s no predicting where anyone will be from one chapter to the next. The cast are in a different place, literally and metaphorically, by the end, and it’s been great. The only downside is the cliffhanger ending. Bring on Volume Three.