BOOM! Studios’ Mech Cadet Yu continues this week with issue #3. The Sharg are back and attacking Earth, but what does that mean for Yu and his teammates? More importantly, is it good?
When I reviewed issue #2, I expressed concern that the Sharg’s return may have been a bit rushed. Having seen how this issue handles said return, I’m no longer worried. War often escalates quickly, and writer Greg Pak does a good job scripting the various characters’ reactions to it. Already existing anxieties and rivalries reach new heights, and Yu and his comrades make a bold decision at the issue’s end. If you weren’t already rooting for them, you will be now.
The plot events throughout the issue all feel significant, but more notable are the characters and their interactions with each other. Yu’s relationships with his mech and the janitorial crew continue to be highlights. It’s also worth noting that the rival character, Park, and her father are well-written enough that, despite being utterly unlikable, they don’t come off as flat or bland. My favorite character moment in the issue centers around Yu’s mother. She treats Yu and his co-pilots to food, shushing their worries even while she’s plagued by her own. The scene conveys a lot with limited dialogue and a few facial expressions.
Speaking of facial expressions, artist Takeshi Miyazawa continues to deliver stellar work. In this issue especially, they knock it out of the park with every single page. The sense of motion from one panel to the next is always solid, and the Sharg’s designs are a lot of fun. Judging from certain dialogue I expected them to look insectoid in nature, but their actual crab-like appearances are wonderful. The design choice feels unique among alien antagonists, and their colossal size is also unexpected but awesome. The way they tower over even the cadets’ mechs makes it clear they’re a force to be reckoned with. No discussion of the issue’s artwork would be complete without also mentioning colorist Triona Farrell’s emotive work, which contributes heavily to the book’s mood and overall success.
Overall, Mech Cadet Yu #3 is another strong entry in the series. It’s not quite as good as the first two issues, but that would be a very high bar to reach every time. This isn’t an issue where anything is wrong per se so much as it’s one where the highs aren’t as, well, high as those in previous installments. Nonetheless, the Sharg make a great debut, the cast continues to be lovable, and the artwork may be the series’ strongest thus far. Mech Cadet Yu continues to be a must-read.