cover image Everyday Hero Machine Boy

Everyday Hero Machine Boy

Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong. Image, $12.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-5343-2130-4

A weaponized robot resembling a 14-year-old human, the titular Machine Boy, struggles to navigate mortal life in Kniivila and Vuong’s quirky, action-packed graphic novel. Though Machine Boy’s destructive emergence resulted in her husband Goh’s death, retired dojo owner Mei takes Machine Boy in after he crash-lands in the domed city of Mega 416. There, he learns karate, runs various errands, and attempts to acquire concert tickets for a mysterious rock-star group—his favorite band, Orphan Universe. Mei eventually enrolls him in high school, where he befriends reclusive Bea Sharpe, who wears a pink hoodie that covers most of her face. But Machine Boy’s misadventures are plagued by emotional upsets, including his and Mei’s occasionally tense relationship as they manage grief over Goh, citizens’ continued wariness regarding Machine Boy’s sudden appearance, and Bea’s seemingly nefarious ulterior motives. Clever framing—such as panels spelling out “BOOM!” simultaneously depicting bombastic action and onomatopoeia—blends together seamlessly with soft, rounded linework, a bold color palette, and distinct character designs. The creators’ warmhearted tale and its gentle robot protagonist are a balm for those seeking connection, belonging, and hope. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)