For months I had seen teaser art and heard storyline snippets from my friend Frankie B. Washington, who is the co-creator and illustrator of Robot God Akamatsu. I knew he put his heart and soul into this project so when this book arrived in the mail I was psyched. Then I opened it up and saw the full page custom illustration Washington did on the inside front cover and it got me ready to dive in.
Robot God Akamatsu tells the story of scientist Ken Akamatsu, his son Jin, and Jin’s connection to an ancient mechanized warrior that has been around since before the destruction of Atlantis. But really that’s only scratching the surface. Mixed in with all the glorious giant robot versus giant monster action is a series of subplots that introduce us to many characters each with their own motivations and secrets. The story continues beyond the pages of this first volume but it does leave us with questions about a possible compromise between good and evil as well as the near total destruction of Boston.
Oh, did I forget to mention Boston gets utterly demolished while robots and monsters beat the shit out of each other?
The mayhem starts with the annihilation of New Bedford, which by some accounts, may be considered an improvement. The book is steeped in Bostonian imagery, from familiar landmarks to iconic buildings to many Boston street signs hanging on to mangled street posts. The only thing missing is a Wahlberg appearance.
Some of the unfortunate aspects of the book were more technical than anything else. As someone who gets stuck on spelling errors in books, there were a few that had me stumbling. I can forgive them but they always take me out of the flow of the story even for that brief moment. Kind of like someone turning on the lights during a movie. I’ve always enjoyed Washington’s artwork but there were a couple times when I felt like I was seeing the close up on something that I hadn’t seen the wide shot of so it took me a second read to follow the action.
But technical nitpicking aside, Robot God Akamatsu is a celebration of the giant robot genre, told from an American perspective with plenty of homages to classic Japanese influences. It’s a fun read and a special treat to those of us living in the Boston area. Any comic that has a Silver Line bus getting crushed by a giant monster is worth my money.
Robot God Akamatsu, vol. 1
170 pages, paperback