Review of Mega Man Gigamix vol. 1

Mega Man Gigamix is a whole new series from famed manga artist and writer Hitoshi Ariga. Whereas the original Mega Man Megamix was done in Japan years ago, Mega Man Gigamix is much more recent. We fans can be thankful for not having to wait nearly as long this time! The following review is written by my pal AWD! who is a big Mega Man fan, and a big Hitoshi Ariga fan. In my mind his point of view is one of the best to take on reviewing this new series. Mega Man Gigamix vol. 1 is on sale in comic stores now, and should be available at online retailers very soon. And now the review.

I don’t think it should be surprising to you that even before I was able to pick up Gigamix, that I had already had an appreciation and love for Ariga’s Megamix series.

The first chapter “Asteroid Blues” is a take on the storyline of Mega Man 3, a game I personally hold really close to my history as a gamer. It touches on the games main storyline where Dr. Light and Dr. Wily join forces to create a robot named “Gamma.” It’s an interesting take because it not just takes the concept, but adds to it in a very epic continuation. It’s actually more of a prequel to the Megamix series if you’re going to try to figure out continuity.

Even more telling of this is the focus of the main eight robot masters from MM3, who all really show off unique powers that are reminiscent of the creative take Ariga gives them. I’m also a bit relieved that the whole “yelling out your move” trend that was in the earlier Megamix books is less prominent in this as the robot masters fight against Mega Man.

The most surprising element is the inclusion of Break Man, a character I could never really fit into the story of MM3 myself, however, he was given a very interesting part given a certain other characters origin. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think if you’re familiar with the series, you know what you’re going to get.  The whole point of this series is to create something new with something old, something I rarely see when it comes to video game emulated comic books. Instead of creating a point A to point B storyline, Ariga’s Gigamix goes all over the place in a good way.

The second chapter: “Burning Wheel” takes on the Megamix tradition of a sillier take on the storyline. The story is teeming with silly interactions with characters, making it seem more like a television episode than anything. Which is not a bad thing, it’s still epic in its own right, and even has some menacing elements to it. It just seems like the more comedic approach to me than the first story, and that’s probably the point.

This story focuses mainly on Battle & Chase (a very rare game unless you count the inclusion in the Mega Man X Collection) and the Mega Man 7 robots, which honestly does not fit except for the fact that Turbo Man plays a tremendous role in the chapter. I feel as though things are a little tacked on just for the sake of including Battle & Chase elements, like “Look, there’s Guts Man” “Look, there’s Guts Man in his car.” It’s not terrible, but it’s a little forced at times. Nevertheless I can see why it was added as it’s only to add more comedic value to the storyline.

However in this case, the fact that so many other characters from other sequels of the series take part in the story is what gives Ariga’s series its individuality and charm. It’s not limited to one focus of the series and that the whole world of the series is given a part is what I always appreciated and wanted to see. It’s nice to see it continued in this chapter.

There are several cameos and nods to other series, especially the Battle Network series. There’s even a several cameos of Reaverbots from Mega Man Legends, which only fuels my appreciation for the mystery of these crazy ruin protectors. That’s what I want in my comics, something that prolongs my appreciation for a particular subject and even adds more to that fascination, not just emulating the original product.

I’ve always been very inspired and appreciative of Ariga’s original take on the characters designs, and seeing more characters in his style just makes me giddy, especially the revealed look of Gamma, the giant robot that is created by both doctors. Gigamix seems to have taken a more movie like storytelling compared to the Megamix series, which only shows Ariga’s evolution in comics. It still has edge, a more serious tone, but that’s what is really spectacular and compelling to read, but it still manages to keep a sort of Saturday morning cartoon feel to it. I’m just saying, if they were to make the Mega Man movie like Ariga’s comics, then that’d be just right.

I especially like how Ariga handles Dr. Wily in his series, he seems so maniacal, but believable. He’s obviously a genius; he’s just a maddened genius. He’s arrogant and snobbish, giving him more of that edge as a developed character, much more than “take over the world” sort of mentality. Not to mention his ability to constantly boast when needed.In the Battle & Chase chapter, he takes a bit of a crazy and reckless turn, which is perfect for the mood given. Oh yes, let’s not forget the Doc Robots, who are incredibly menacing even in their own brief appearances.

With that said, this book is teeming with action packed visuals, which almost make me wish to see in color for an even greater effect. If you’re not used to manga black and white, it might take some getting used to, but I just love every panel. The designs, the action, it seems the only thing that’s missing is a soundtrack to go with the book.

If you want a good Mega Man comic to read, pick up Gigamix, it’s a perfect balance of drama and comedy split in half to make one great read. Just don’t forget to get the previous Megamix volumes as well. Can’t go wrong because Ariga is all good.