Fighting Over Who Saves The World In Mech Cadet Yu #11

by James Ferguson

The Sharg are invading Earth. Their ships fill the skies and their troops are on the ground. A fledgling group of mechs are fighting off what they can in orbit, but it’s not enough. Humanity’s only hope lies in the Suprarobo, a massive man-made mech that’s powered by the souls of other, smaller robots. Stanford’s robo, Buddy is preparing to sacrifice himself to save everyone and power up the Suprarobo, but the boy won’t let his friend go through with it.

This creates an interesting dynamic as Park is in Buddy and to go after them, Stanford jumps into Park’s mech, Hero Force One. So you have these two rivals literally in each other’s shoes and neither of them wants to see their robo get destroyed. They’re pleading back and forth with their bots trying to reason with them, however they’ve bonded to their pilots so the last thing they want to do is do something that will hurt them. Lettting the Sharg invasion continues will do just that.
The catch here is that whichever mech ends up performing the sacrifice will unleash a bout of radiation that will kill its pilot. This adds another wrinkle and I honestly have no idea how this will be resolved. I was on the edge of my seat reading Mech Cadet Yu #11 as I see no way out of this that will save everyone.

Letterer Simon Bowland keeps the exchanges between Stanford and Park, as well as Buddy and Hero Force One clear and concise. We can’t directly see who is speaking when, so the word balloons are color coded. Somehow, even the mechanical sounds of the mechs contain emotion as they fight to protect their pilots.
So much of Mech Cadet Yu has revolved around these two central characters. Stanford represents hope and innocence while Park is legacy military, seeing things as black-and-white. This personality clash comes to a head between their mechs as the robots have learned from their pilots. Artist Takeshi Miyazawa delivers a battle of epic proportions as the mechs override their pilots’ wishes and fight it out over who will be the one to ultimately save the world. It’s a little silly when you put it that way, but it’s still a noble cause.

Each blow that’s struck in this fight carries an added weight as all of mankind is on the line. I love the way Miyazawa shows movement, not only with motion lines, but with blurred outlines of the characters. It makes them seem more alive, which is saying something because I’m talking about giant robots. This is a great effect that works so very well here.
The entire scene is shaded in this light red hue, like alarms are blaring in the background. Colorist Jessica Kholinne adds to the tension of this battle with that emergency feeling. Part of me wanted them to just get on with it because the Sharg are literally banging down the door, but this is something that has to play out.

My only complaint about Mech Cadet Yu #11 is that I just found out this is the penultimate issue. I’m devastated to learn this series is ending and not running forever because I’ve enjoyed it so much. If it does have to end, it’s going out with a bang. Writer Greg Pak has led us to an emotional, action-packed finale and I have no idea how this will wrap up. I read this comic with clenched fists out of sheer excitement, as well as concern over these characters. Needless to say, I’m eagerly awaiting the final issue.
Mech Cadet Yu #11 from Boom! Studios is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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