In the wake of the critical acclaim of the incredible Metropolis animated feature, interest in the work of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Metropolis and the godfather of Japanese comics and animation, has never been greater, and Astro Boy is the flame that ignited the modern manga and anime industries. Perhaps the most endearing, and enduring, character to emerge from Tezuka's volcanic imagination, Astro Boy thrills, amuses, and warms the hearts of readers of all ages. In this volume, a collision with an alien spacecraft sends Astro and the craft's female pilot fifty years into Earth's past, a past before robots -- not to mention aliens! Astro must find a way back to his present -- our future -- before he runs out of power, but his power is desperately needed in a world torn by war and the terror of nuclear weapons!
For those unfamiliar with Tezuka, Japan's manga master, the first English translation of the original Astro Boy series will be a revelation, both for its inventive charm and for its surprising sophistication. In "The Greatest Robot on Earth," the novel-length first story of this third volume in the series, the eponymous hero is one of seven robots being targeted by a crazy sultan intent on declaring his own robot, Pluto, the greatest in the world. Pluto dispatches his competitors with ease, but Astro Boy is a robot of a different order. He's the size and shape of a little boy, with spirit and spunk to match, and also has searchlight eyes, jet rockets in his feet and an atomic engine for a heart. This is a pre-digital, 1950s Cold War vision of modernity. Astro Boy must open his chest when he wants to check the time, and the threat of an arms race haunts the story, but Tezuka's generous characterizations give this story a timeless relevance. These robots might disintegrate into piles of screws and bolts, but like humans, they're capable of pride, affection and even a kind of love. Operating out of a steadfast loyalty, they are undone by the greed of the humans who created them. The clean, bold lines of Tezuka's remarkably efficient artwork complement his dynamic storytelling, proving the artist equally adept at capturing nuances in expressions and the explosive action of fight sequences. Entertaining and beautifully executed, this, along with the other pocket-sized editions in the series, is destined to become a classic.