The Phoenix Weekender – Mega-Robo Bros mega return….
Here we go then, another spin around The Phoenix Comic. Now, for those of you perhaps not in the know, The Phoenix is a childrens comic I’ve been telling you all about since the very first issue, the brainchild of publisher David Fickling that (sort of) rose from the ashes of the much loved, albeit shortlived DFC. Initially subscription only, The Phoenix Comic is now available from all good comic shops and has limited availability through WHSmiths and Waitrose.
It’s a comic I’ve been proud to see flourish, and one I’ll continue to support. Inside you’ll find a great mix of strips, loads of comedy, adventure, action, just like comics used to be.
Once upon a time, back in the days when I had time, I used to deliver the Phoenix Weekender every weekend. Hence, y’know, the title. These days, not so much weekly. But I’m determined to keep plugging away at this until I see a Phoenix issue 1000.
So, what’s inside issues 267 to 270? Well, there’s plenty of fun to be had, with the latest insanity from Jamie Smart’s Bunny Vs Monkey and extra bonus Looshkin, Lorenzo Etherington’s Von Doogan, Jess Bradley’s Squid Bits, Dan Boultwood’s Squid Squad, Joe List’s Doug Slugman, PI, Adam and Lisa Murphy’s Corpse Talk. There’s also the start of a brand new strip from Faz Choudry, The Pie Thief. That’s one I’ll be telling you about next time. But this time round I wanted to talk a little about the cover stars of issue 267…
Oh yes, Neill Cameron’s Mega Robo Bros begins a new run in issue 267,
I’ve long been a fan. Frankly I love what Cameron does with the strip. How much? This much. It’s a brilliant thing, the tale of two robot brothers, created by “mom” and alternating between being Mega-super agents of RAID, elite government anti-robot terrorism organisation and just being plain old kids, school, home, arguing with mom and dad, dealing with growing up. That sort of thing. And it’s never that simple as to which part of their lives is actually more complicated.
So…. new adventure begins with the boy’s mom, Doctor Sharma coming under just a teensy weeny bit of pressure from Baroness Farooq regarding her Robo boys and their, shall we say, unique ways of dealing with what Farooq sees as national security threats. Oh, and there’s a secret the Doc is keeping from her boys. I imagine that’s gonna come back to bite her at some point. Meanwhile, Freddy and Alex are suspended from school, with Freddy a little more pleased about that than his older, more thoughtful brother Alex. But no school just means more time for missions. Not necessarily a good thing.
Oh, there’ s so much that’s so darned good with Mega-Robo Bros. Sure, it’s full of action and robot-y fun, it’s bright and it’s bold and it’s beautiful to look at, with Cameron’s simple lines belying the craft and skill involved to make this so perfectly readable. But the thing that makes MRB the brilliant thing it’s been since the beginning is Cameron’s seamless blending of the simplicity of the robo-fun with the complexities of Alex and Freddy growing up as part of a normal family. They’re not human, but they have all the potential to be, able to feel complex emotions but perhaps not yet mature or experienced enough to really deal with them.
You get that here really early, with poor Alex having a heart to heart with his dad…
Oh yes, just take a look at that panel again… Alex’s ‘eyes’. How much emotion can you find that shouldn’t be there with a few lines?
There’s a glorious strain of deeper ideas running through Mega-Robo Bros, with Alex seriously beginning to question just how he and Freddy will ever find happiness and acceptance beyond the small group of close friends and family.
That’s what I adore about Mega-Robo Bros, and it show’s absolutely no sign of getting anything but better.
There’s a collection of the first volume of Mega Robo Bros. That you can buy here.