October 15, 2008

Mantech: Robot Warriors #2 (1984 comic)

Written by Rich Margopoulos. Illustrated by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone.


After the exciting events of the last issue, our heroes have managed to recover a Terrorizer, a rocket glider used by Tyranik's evil robo-goons. What they don't know is that the vehicle is a Trojan Horse of sorts as, when they try to disassemble it, the Terrorizer springs to life, spreading destruction under Tyranik's remote control.

It's a typical little action plot. The characters still don't have much distinction and the art's mediocre, but it moves at a good pace and has some decently exciting moments. At least Margopoulos has broken his habit of having the characters refer to each other by name in every single balloon. Things read so much smoother now.

And props for revealing that Negatech, leader of Tyranik's hench-robos, is so deeply programmed to hate living beings that he feels physical pain every time his own creator gives an order. Though I doubt it'll be explored in great detail, it's a wonderful concept which does lend a twinge of pity towards an otherwise cardboard villain.

"Trapped in the Valley of Dreams"
"When Dreams Become Nightmares"

Dr. Goode's ship crashes in a remote swamp and the Mantechs race to the rescue. What they find are plants whose fumes seep into a person's head, lulling them into a false sense of security as the vines slowly pull them under. While the way all three Mantechs end up shedding their helmets is a bit of a stretch, it's nice to finally get some distinction in their personas as each finds himself in a different setting back on Earth, the world they may never return to.

I'll give it to the talent, this is a surprisingly gripping read which really made me feel for the team. Especially Aquatech who lashes out when he discovers that the return to his fully human self is just a fantasy, leaving him once again a freak in this cybernetic form.

So out of our eight main players, we now have two with any real depth. Hopefully they can dig a little deeper into the others with the remaining pair of issues.

"Tales of Planet Mekka: The Millennium War"

It's an old story: people are afraid of invaders, they construct a giant computer with a robot army to protect them, computer overthrows their society, war plunges everyone back into the dark ages. Yes, it's been done before, but I still think they do a decent job of it here. Especially how the planet is now divided between advanced cities, barbarian kingdoms, and robot-controlled wastelands, in a way that leaves much potential for some big, epic storytelling... which we most likely won't get a chance to explore.

My review of Mantech: Robot Warriors #1 (1984 comic).
My review of Mantech: Robot Warriors #3 (1985 comic).

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