It was at Emerald City Comic Con last year that I stumbled upon Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew. In point of fact I was on my way out of the con from deep in the bowels of the showroom floor and was walking past the tables and booths after three days of non-stop fun at a rather rapid clip when I found myself in an eddy in the flow of people and I caught the title of this comic out of the corner of my eye. Since, if it’s about giant monsters or giant robots I’m interested, I stopped and took a look. Time was not my ally since the rest of my party was starting to move again so, since it had a giant robot and appeared to be about a maintenance crew, which spoke to my little engineering soul, I took a chance and bought the graphic novel.
Created by Nate Hill, Meryn McKoy and Dawnson Chen, published by Comic times: Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew is told through the experiences of Erica Pratch, a young girl who dreamed of being a Giant Robot pilot. Wearing the pink suit, saving the universe, adored by countless fans…what’s not for a girl to like? Sadly, despite all of her hard work and preparation, she doesn’t make the cut. So she becomes part of the maintenance crew instead. It’s a fantastic, poignant, intro that does nothing whatsoever to prepare the reader for what lies ahead. It’s a clever bit of misdirection.
Despite its poignant intro, the comic is very much tongue-in- cheek and quite cheeky to boot. The Giant Robot, Herotron has five pilots. They are caricatures of so many of the pilots of giant robots. The female pilot likes pink. One of the guys is, I kid you not, purple with green hair. Each has an activation phrase for the part of the robot they control—this is not a spoof of Power Rangers or Voltron or anything like that at all. No. Not at all. Who am I kidding? Of course it is! However, the author comes at it from a rather unique perspective: That of the long-suffering maintenance crew. It is they who are tasked with keeping the robot moving and fighting. While the maintenance crew fights to keep the giant actuators working the hot-shot, and frankly, irresponsible, glory hounds of pilots are busy running the thing into the ground. Which is a neat trick in space. There are space parasites. There is an insane accountant, which is just brilliant although what he’s doing on the maintenance crew is beyond me. And in a stroke of sheer genius, the infrastructure and superstructure of the robot is in poor shape because it’s so expensive to operate that the galactic government doesn’t want to pay for it any more so the maintenance crew is trying to make things work on a shoestring budget.
This is a story with conflict, overinflated egos and more than a fair amount of silliness. As a fan of giant robots, and comic books I really enjoyed this one. One of my best impulse buys ever at a con. Giant Warrior Robot Maintenance Crew is now available.