Mechanical Knight #1 - Review

The great irony of comic books is that although they're constantly disregarded as childish and 'for kids', there is very little in the modern comic book store that is actually suitable for children. Between Batman punching the criminally insane, Wolverine carving up bad guys like Christmas turkeys and Hitgirl dropping an 'F-bomb' in every panel, there's not much on the shelf made with younger readers in mind. Well, Winter City Production's Patrick Purcell and artist Diego Toro aim to change that with their latest offering, Mechanical Knight.

Most Australian comic book readers will know Winter City Productions for their namesake title 'Winter City', a gritty and gruesome tale about a mass murdering vigilante known as the Winter Reaper. Although this probably goes without saying, Mechanical Knight goes in a completely opposite direction.
Where  Winter City takes cues from series like Batman and Spawn, Mechanical Knight takes its own from animated series such as Ben 10 and Generator Rex. It's light-hearted, energetic and very much has the younger reader in mind.

What  stood out to me about Mechanical Knight #1 is that it's very much a book that knows what it is. Although I loved the crap out of this book, there is no illusion in my mind that the target audience is young males, the 'Ben 10 crowd' if you will. It's obvious that this book has been tailor made for it's audience and hungers for commercial success. And I say, more power to it! Just as indie comics has a place for off-beat, obscure stories that the big publishers won't touch,  there is also a place for more commercially minded titles such as Mechanical knight.

Mechanical Knight follows Marcus, son of Hector, a young, athletic boy who wants nothing more than to be a champion boxer like his father. The only problem is that Marcus is rather weedy and although his technique is perfect he's no match for a much stronger opponent, William 'the Bull' Bartak. However, just before William can deliver the finishing blow a mysterious meteor crashes to earth. It makes for an alluring set-up which plays out like the opening 10 minutes of your favourite Saturday morning cartoon. Plus when I reached the issues closing page I was hit by the nostalgia of my favourite show cutting to commercials as a kid.

Deigo Toro's energetic art really adds to this cartoon feel. His line work is sharp, simple and full of personality containing a certain Humberto Ramos vibe. His sequential storytelling is also very strong, the opening pages in particular being quite busy yet still easy to read and follow. Add to this the rich and moody palette of colourist David Aravena and you get a book that sings off the page.

Throw in some gentle moral lessons about the importance of strength of character and heart, not just physical strength, and you have yourself an all ages book that ticks all the boxes. Seriously, this book knocked it out of the park for me and I cannot wait for the second installment.

Mechanical Knight is available digitally through comixology or on the shelf of your local comic book store.
  - Christof


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