Atom the Beginning 03 by Osamu Tezuka
Concept: Masami Yuuki
Artwork: Tetsuro Kasahara
(Titan Graphic Novels, 2023)
Reviewed by John Dodd
It begins in a reactor going critical, as the robot designated Six saves several humans from the blast but is caught up in it and damaged, with the remains of it going on to form the basis of an experiment into whether or not robots can develop emotions and become truly intelligent.
This in turn leads to interested parties wanting to kidnap the scientists who are responsible for the advances being made, which in turn leads to the robot defending them and a chase ensues as the villains seek to hunt them down, only to find that Six has developed skills that were never programmed into it, and has decided to download information that it shouldn’t have had access to in order to improve itself.
This is where the comic takes a left turn into the ethics of learning and whether or not machines should be trusted to make the same decisions and thought processes that humans take for granted every day. As the comic comes to an end, it becomes apparent that Six is not the only robot that has been considering its evolution.
It’s a fast paced book, but as noted in the title, it’s still only the beginning, there’s a lot of action, and the panels are large and simple, allowing you to go through the story at the speed at which it was intended. It’s depicted in the original style, which means that it reads from right to left, which may be a minor discomfort for some, but if you’re familiar with most anime and manga, it won’t prove to be a stumbling block.
Interesting premise, and I am curious to see where it goes in the next issues.