Bite-Sized delightfully dances through waves of nostalgia to deliver a familiar, but original story of robots, family, and humanity that is fitting for child and adult alike. Colorful, bright, and engaging art leaps off the pages and takes on a life of its own, displaying the horror and wonder and the personality of every single character. A solid series that leaves the reader begging for more.
One of the best things that a story can do, especially a shorter one, is hook you in a way that leaves you craving more. That is exactly what AWA Studios’ Byte-Sized does within the span of four issues. So much that goes down in the conclusion of this mini-series is familiar in a nostalgic sense, a beat we have seen before, which is by design to mirror the Amblin-like children’s films of old full of wonder and horror. This familiarity does not take anything away from the story, it just enhances the tale and makes it work solidly.
Nelson Blake II and Snakebite Cortez continue their stellar work throughout this issue, the bright and colorful animated-like style just continues to come alive on each page. As the action promised at the conclusion of the previous issue kicks into high gear, this chapter quickly switches from standard vertical page layouts to horizontal, packing even more action and story into the issue. The confinement of the story to this family’s home gives a tighter feeling to what is happening, making the danger that much more real as the family fights back against the drones of the robot named Spud.
Sal Cipriano continues to bring his own sense of style to the lettering within the book, a style that comes off as perfectly ‘imperfect’ as the shape of the balloons and words don’t worry about fitting any so-called ‘normal’ standards. It is a style that fits the book and fits with the robots and how they are presented.
There is a lot more to do for each of the characters, human and robot alike, as they all tackle the issues in their own unique ways. All too often it’s easy for characters to have personality and follow the plot, but feel like a prop to the story. That’s not the case here. Through Blake and Cortez’s art and the work of Cullen Bunn’s writing, every single character is fully fleshed out to a degree that almost feels impossible within just four short issues, but they achieve it.
While much of the story is familiar in that aforementioned style, it wisely sidesteps the usual trope that often comes with these stories of pitting the family against the government and its agents. In fact, the government agents responsible for the creation and torture of these robots only appear briefly in the first issue and this last one. Within these pages, they only show up at the end to try and find the escaped robots, who outsmart them and head out into the world to learn more about the potential for human kindness (which they learned from young Katy).
An open-ended conclusion begs for more stories to be seen at some point, even though it likely would not feature the family from this series.
Another bonus to this series as a whole, speaking as a BIPOC person, is the wonderful choice to focus this story on a BIPOC family rather than the traditional white families featured in so many of those Amblin/other type stories. Representation is one of the most important things out there, and more stories like this are needed. For young kids to be able to open these pages and see kids that look like themselves, it’s a powerful feeling. I know that were something like this either available as a comic or even as one of those Amblin-style films, I devoured as a child, it would have meant the world to me.
Byte-Sized #4 is now on sale from AWA Studios in print and digitally.