A revitalization of a title that has been released before, this offering is certain to reach a little wider audience. The essential idea is this: a Teddy Ruxpin-like stuffed bear branded as “Mr. Stuffins” has been modified with a military-created artificial intelligence. Only bad people want the artificial intelligence that is now in the form of a young boy’s teddy bear.
Zach Taylor has things pretty rough, in an After-School-Special kind of way. His parents are going through a divorce, although Dad refuses to acknowledge it as anything other than a separation, and Zach is the target of bullies at school. Despite these almost cliche plot devices, the story finds some charm with regards to the programming behind the artificial intelligence. Designed for militaristic purposes, it empowers the teddy bear to be brutal in his protection of young Zach. Cosby and Stokes establish the tone of the tale fairly quickly. One part After School Special and one part espionage thriller, the duo manage to squeeze in some social issues, some low-brow humor, some suspense, and a slight hint of hope. Unfortunately, the tale is almost transparent in its predictability and leaps in logic.
The art is pedestrian. I am not familiar with Axel Medellin Machain, but his work is not going to stick out in my mind after this first issue. The raw talent is there, but it is troubled by inconsistencies in form and figure and incongruities in objects — truly, are handguns really as big as they appear on page 2? Machain has potential, but he needs to work on fundamentals a bit more before trying to apply polish.
All in all, this book is a quick, fun read, but it needs a little more oomph in both story and art. Mr. Stuffins’ interaction with Zach’s stuffed rabbit gave me an audible chuckle, but I expected more chuckles when I picked this book up. The subject is there, just waiting to be fun. I hope Cosby, Stokes, and Machain realize that before this series is over.