The IDW comic publisher has made it their business to produce continuing stories and adventures of some of the cinema’s most celebrated characters and franchises. They are chiefly known for continuing such franchises as “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe,” “Star Trek,” “Doctor Who,” “The A-Team,” television’s “Angel,” “Ghostbusters,” and most recently “Astro Boy,” to name a few. They excel at being faithful to the origins of their properties which is why readers continue to flock to their properties.
With last year’s release of the updated Osamu Tezuka’s most beloved property Astro Boy the company decided to release this prequel to the animated film – “Astro Boy: The Movie – Official Movie Prequel.” Written by Scott Tipton and with art by Diego Jourdan & Jorge Santillan Studios this story is less a prequel to the film and more like a standalone story from the film. In this story Metro City is being plagued by earthquakes. When he witnesses the Ministry of Science disappear into the underground after an earthquake, all Astro can think about is saving his father and Dr. Elefun from being swallowed up with the building but something goes horribly wrong. When Astro tries to save the building he is knocked unconscious. When he wakes he finds himself in an underground cavern with no memory of whom he is or why he is there. It isn’t long before Astro learns the truth about what is causing the earthquakes.
It seems that Astro has stumbled upon the citizens of the Kingdom of Chiazza who are in a desperate race to flee their greatest enemies the Lucertos people who they claim want to steal the Gemstone of Chizarra, which is a powerful entity that gives power and life to the Kingdom of Chiazza. Astro decides to help the people of Chiazza against the attacks of the Lucertos people as he tries to regain his memory of who he is and why he is in the underground caverns in the first place. But like typical Tezuka style stories all is not what it seems between the people of Chiazza and those of the Lucertos and Astro must decide who and where his allegiance ultimately lies.
Like typical Tezuka fashion the story deals which the theme of how looks can be deceiving as the Lucertos people are the lizard like monstrous looking people whereas the Chiazza people are the “cudley” multicolored “fun” looking people. This is a theme prevalent in the classic Astro Boy stories whereas Astro was always misunderstood by others and he himself had to discover the true intensions of others from their actions and not their looks.
Despite the simplified (and sometimes cliché) nature of the story Tipton presents a “reboot” of the character to bring new readers to such a classic character. This is a good “episodic” story to do such a thing as it is not bogged down by trying to explain the backgrounds to all the characters in the Astro Boy universe.