Tuesday, April 29, 2003

The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, written by Frank Miller, art by Geof Darrow

What to say? This was a disappointment. First of all, the story--an extra-dimensional evil takes the form of a four-armed yellow Godzilla whose drool turns the people of Tokyo into its monstrous servants--has potential, but it is squandered by the flat characterization of the title duo. The Big Guy is a product of good ol' American ingenuity, with less of the irony normally seen in a Miller production, but that's OK. What isn't OK is that the Big Guy is so unwaveringly dull. He's an egomaniac with a can-do spirit which isn't quite over-the-top enough to be played for laughs. And Rusty, a Japanese atom-powered robot with an undeniable resemblance to a Bob's Big Boy, is weak and insecure. The two never fight together at all, which might be a good gag, except that they both share top billing here.

Geof Darrow's art is as good as ever, but he's limited to cityscapes and the same sort of monsters over and over. He still manages to be visually interesting--his Tokyo is a place I think anyone would want to visit--but I wish he'd had more to work with. The villain is as one-dimensional as the heroes, and the ending isn't so much earned as needed. It's a telling comment that I enjoyed the appendix of "classic" (i.e. fake) covers from the Golden Age of Big Guy and Rusty more than I did the story. Ah well. Everyone has off days, I suppose.


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