The thing that made me get the Mukat compilation in Winter Komikon is finding EDSA and the short-story anthology during GTMACC. I was already impressed during the first pass when I saw both, but missed the author. Fortunately for all I chanced on Mel Casipit on the second pass and got them. If it gets a review only now, it’s partly because I was not sure I could do this proper justice.
In an alternate future, the Philippines has become a colony of China and is under dictatorship, still remembering what it was during the Marcos era. One young robotics engineer in particular remembers with bitterness, as he gets deeply involved in the anti-revolution movements, at the expense of his family. But the time had finally come when he could finally unleash the fruits of his labor, and the world won’t forget the sight of a Mecha, especially THIS ONE, anytime soon.
The action is brisk enough without losing the gravity of its theme of wanting a revolution. The characters are relate-able at a level fellow citizens will understand: the combination of unceasing hope melded with hard-earned practicality in the lead, the ruthlessness in the traditional politicians, the presence of Ninoy clone. Granted Randy Valiente’s story moves along like a variation of the events in the real People Power, and that is probably the point, but there is enough difference to make the entire narrative interesting and engaging.
Art-wise, this is Mel Casipit after those one-shots and Mukat, but before his current polished work. The refined roughness is well on display here, and definitely shows his great attention to detail. Yet he does not forget the sense of the correct amount of information per panel. His paneling balances the tendency of the script to be philosophical, thus somewhat dense.
Overall, this is still worth the find, even after all the years that have past since it first appeared. The story is still relevant, the hopes and aspirations it had still rings true.