Mega Robo Bros: Meltdown


By Neill Cameron with Abby Bulmer & Lisa Murphy (David Fickling Books)
ISBN: 978-1-78845-281-6 (TPB)

Just in time to keep the kids occupied for the summer break, here’s another sterling all-ages outing for Neill (Tamsin of the Deep, How to Make Awesome Comics, Pirates of Pangea) Cameron’s marvellous purpose-built paladins. This time the rambunctious Mega Robo Bros share more of their awesome adventures and growing pains – and even some Secret Origins – in a far darker and more violent tale than their previous fun fare…

It’s the Future!

In a London far cooler than ours, Alex and his younger brother Freddie are (sort of) typical kids: boisterous, fractious, eternally argumentative yet devoted to each other, and not too bothered that they’re adopted. It’s really no big deal for them that they were constructed by the mysterious Dr. Roboticus before he vanished, and are considered by those in the know as the most powerful – and only SENTIENT – robots on Earth.

Dad may be just your average old guy who makes lunch and does a bit of writing, but it’s recently become apparent that when not being a housewife Mum is a also a bit extraordinary. As surprisingly famous and renowned robotics boffin, Dr. Nita Sharma harbours some surprising secrets of her own…

All the same, life in the Sharma household is pretty normal. Freddie is insufferably exuberant and over-confident whilst Alex is at the age when self-doubt and anxiety begin to manifest. Of course, their parents’ other robot rescues can also be a bit of a trial. Programmed as a dog, baby triceratops Trikey is ok, but French-speaking deranged ape Monsieur Gorilla can be mighty confusing, whilst gloomily annoying, existentialist aquatic fowl Stupid Philosophy Penguin constantly quotes dead philosophers and makes most people rapidly consider self-harm or manic mayhem.

The boys have part-time jobs as super-secret agents, but aren’t very good at the clandestine part and now almost the entire world knows of them. Generally, however, it’s enough for the digital duo that their parents love them, even though they are a bit more of a handful than most kids. They live as normal a life as possible: going to human school, playing with human friends and hating homework. It’s all part of their “Mega Robo Routine”, combining dull lessons, actual fun, games-playing, watching TV and training in the covert combat caverns under R.A.I.D. HQ.

Usually, when a situation demands, the lads carry out missions for bossy Baroness Farooq: head of government agency Robotics Analysis Intelligence and Defence. They still believe it’s because they are infinitely smarter and more powerful than the Destroyer Mechs and other man-made minions she usually utilises. Of course, they’re on suspension from R.A.I.D. at the moment, due to the fallout and collateral damage of their last case…

Originally published in UK weekly comic The Phoenix, this revised, retooled and remastered saga opens as the bored, curfewed boys sneak into Mum’s workshop. Whilst defeating a reject robot rebellion sparked by artificial life activist the Caretaker, the Bros met monstrous, cruelly damaged droid Wolfram and learned that he might be their older brother…

Now they’re trying to break into Mum’s locked datafiles to learn the truth, and her part in their creation, as this saga opens with ‘Part 1: Fifteen Years Ago’. When Dr. Sharma catches the little perishers in the act, instead of punishment, she gives them full access.

What unfolds is a shocking story of when their mother was a young, pretty and brilliant roboticist who landed her dream job working beside incomparable (but weird) pioneering genius Dr. Leon Robertus. His astounding advances had earned him the unwelcome nickname Dr. Roboticus. Maybe that was what started pushing him away from humanity…

Over months, Nita grew into her job and eventually convinced Robertus to let her repurpose his individually superpowered prototypes into a rapid-response team for global emergencies. Mum used to be a superhero, leading manmade Rapid Response team the Super Robo Six! While saving lives with them she first met future husband Michael Mokeme who proudly took her name when they eventually wed…

So Dad was also present at the moment everything changed!

Robertus was astoundingly devoid of human empathy but – intrigued by the team’s acclaim and global acceptance – was inspired to create a new kind of autonomous robot. Wolfram was more powerful than any other construct, and also possessed certain foundational directives that allowed him to make choices and develop his own systems. He could think, like Alex and Freddy! Only, as it transpired, not quite…

When Robertus demoted Nita and made his new “child” leader of new Super Robo Seven, the result was an even more effective unit, until the day Wolfram’s three Directives clashed during a time-critical mission. Millions of humans paid the price for his confusion and hesitation…

In the aftermath, RAID was formed and sought to shut down Robertus and decommission Wolfram. When the superbot rejected their judgement, the agency deployed jets and missiles. Following a terrific struggle, they believed him destroyed. They were wrong…

…And while RAID was occupied, Roboticus vanished…

Story told, the amazed Robo Bros realise why Mum called the recently-returned Wolfram their brother. They are all unaware that the damaged, deranged droid is observing and has made a decision that will affect all humanity…

‘Part 2: Meltdown’ opens with an increase in casual human-on-robot abuse. Perhaps this triggers Wolfram’s final solution as Dad heads to the North Pole to interview chief scientist Professor Mahfouz spearheading an attempt to restore the polar ice cap with a colossal freezing machine.

Jötunn Base covers many miles and is carefully rebalancing the world’s climate, but has no defence when Wolfram arrives to reverse the chilling process to burn the Earth and drown humanity…

Alex and Freddy are making the best of their house arrest, playing a game with classmates Mira and Taia when news comes of the attack. Ordered again by Baroness Farooq to stay put and not help, they enlist the girls in an escape plan that takes them through the secret basement lab and far below London, using the abandoned transport tunnels beneath the city.

By the time the Bros reach Jötunn Base, Wolfram has already ruthlessly crushed the RAID force led by their friend Agent Susie Nichols and all that’s possible is to stop their determined and utterly unreasonable brother by any means necessary…

That grim task falls to “older” bro Alex, whilst Freddy works with Dad and Professor Mahfouz to repair and reprogram the giant freezer machine and stop the planet becoming a water world…

With humanity safe again the boys are well rewarded by Farooq, but completely unaware that an old enemy has ensured that the threat of Wolfram is not ended…

Crafted by Cameron and colouring assistant Alice Leclert, this rather more grim adventure still offers exceedingly engaging excitement and hearty hilarity, roaring along like an anti-gravity rollercoaster, offering thrills, chills, warmth, wit and incredible verve. Alex and Freddy are utterly authentic kids, irrespective of their artificial origins, and their antics strike exactly the right balance of future shock, family fun and bombastic superhero action to capture readers’ hearts and minds. What movies these tales would make!
Text and illustrations © Neill Cameron 2022. All rights reserved.

Mega Robo Bros Meltdown will be released on August 4th 2022 and is available for pre-order now.

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