The Second Sharg War has begun and the cadets from the now destroyed Sky Corps Academy have been called into Central Command. At first it looks like they’ll be fighting the good fight against these alien invaders, but then we see the larger plan at work, which forces Stanford and the others to make some tough decisions. One thing is for certain though. The Sharg threat is very real and it is coming fast.
The size and scope of the Earth command force is massive. This is a fine-tuned military machine. Large airships swoop in to pick up the cadets, soldiers, and all of their mechs. Mech Cadet Yu was already a fun sci-fi comic featuring giant robots. Now we’ve got big spaceships and large futuristic bases to house them all.
This issue has a colder feel to it with the larger military presence. Although Sky Corps Academy was part of the armed forces, it was focused around the kids and it was out in the boonies, away from any real action. It was sheltered. Now they’re in the thick of it and there is an emotionless precision that comes into play that is directly at odds with how Stanford sees the world.
Much of this comes through in Triona Farrell’s colors. There are a lot of cool greys and blues, like everything is made of soulless metal. Ironically, this lack of emotion is on the military personnel, but not the mechs that came from Sky Corps Academy. They feel like people, even if they’re ten stories tall and only emit strange robot noises.
This realness leads to the most shocking moment of Mech Cadet Yu to date. It’s a harsh reality check and it reframes the military complex that Stanford has joined. I let out an audible gasp when it came up. Artist Takeshi Miyazawa captures both sides to this event as well, including the uncaring attacker and the helpless witnesses. Just writing about it now gives me chills.
Even faced with such an atrocity, Stanford finds enough inner strength to soldier on and do what’s right. This is a really special kid who sees the positive qualities in a world full of negativity. When I grow up, I want to be like Stanford Yu. He’s full of heart and he’s a genuine good kid. This has inspired those around him too.
Mech Cadet Yu has always been a fun, somewhat light-hearted adventure series. This issue takes a major step into a larger, science fiction world that’s a bit more grown up, but still suitable for a younger crowd. We’ve seen the dangers Stanford has faced get darker and deadlier as the comic moved passed its initial four issue run and into the ongoing series territory. Writer Greg Pak has an epic comic on his hands and I cannot wait to see where he goes next.