Alex and Freddy are just two normal brothers living in futuristic London, England, who fight over comic books and action figures. Except they aren’t completely normal because Alex and Freddy are robots. The brothers were adopted into a loving family and their mom and dad try to keep them in the usual routine of school, homework, and bedtime. Except it’s hard ignoring danger when you’re a super strong robot who can fly into trouble and save the day! But little do they know, evil Robot 23 is lurking in the shadows, watching their every move, and making plans to destroy them.
This graphic novel is divided into eight chapters so readers get a slice of life story combined with a hint of the overarching plot. This works really well to build the main story up, give more characterization to Alex and Freddy, and to show Robot 23 testing their powers with terrible accidents. For example, Chapter One begins with their dad rushing to get them to school on time because of course, they’re late! Alex and Freddy opt to use their robo powers to fly to school, yet end up in the principal’s office for being three hours late and soaking wet. Alex and Freddy’s mom, Doctor Sharma, is a scientist who works for the government. Part of her job is to observe and help the brothers develop their powers. She sees them as more than just robots because their artificial intelligence allows them to develop emotions and complex thoughts. We also find out the older brother, Alex, has terrible nightmares from an early trauma that he can’t quite remember.
After a series of escalating events, Alex becomes a government agent, which sends younger brother Freddy into a pretty big sulk. Freddy, like most younger siblings, wants to do all the things his older brother can do, but because of his immaturity, he isn’t ready to be a government agent. Freddy also worries about who will protect Alex if he’s not there. It was nice to see this turn of events happen because the brothers constant bickering can be tiring. Younger readers who are a sibling will empathize with the brothers.
Neill Cameron’s art has clean lines and he’s very good at getting emotion on the robo bros’ faces. The way he draws their eyes really emits when they’re happy, sad, confused, etc. Also, it’s easy to differentiate the brothers in action scenes because Alex is taller and blue while Freddy is shorter and red. The color choice also adds to their characterization as Alex is a more laid back thinker while Freddy is quick to react with a short temper. Cameron’s world includes a visibly diverse set of characters, from their parents to the kids at school.
The only concern for conservative areas is the couple of times that Alex says “Dammit” when he’s frustrated with his little brother. There are jokes involving the damaged robots Freddy saves from being trashed at the robot amusement park that younger readers won’t get. One of these rescues is a penguin that only quotes French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and bums everyone out. If adults are reading along with their kids, that joke will land with them.
Mega Robo Bros is a good addition to kids’ graphic novel collections. It is jam-packed with action and comedy, making it a great comic for reluctant readers. The quick moving plot will keep readers engaged and entertained.
Mega Robo Bros, vol. 1
By Neill Cameron
Publisher Age Range 8-12