Though AWA Studios are so far known for having comics focused on material that’s definitely for mature readers – including dark, apocalyptic and even horror-tinged crime dramas – there’s no reason why they can’t also widen their audience and release all ages content, given that they’re not intending to create a shared universe or stick to any given tone or subject matter.

That said, it was surprising to check out the first issue of Byte-Sized, given the dark nature of AWA’s output so far. A very pleasant surprise, it turns out.

A lab suffers a breakout, losing its seemingly dangerous – and dangerously intelligent – robots during a particularly snowy night. Meanwhile, Katy and her older brother Ben are awaiting Christmas Day – with Ben passing the time playing video games and teasing his little sister about Santa potentially missing their house due to the extreme weather conditions. The robots, however, seem to be making their journey through the snow just fine…

The set-up of the series feels very much in the vein of classic 80s movies, with experimental technology on the loose, the authorities in pursuit and kids about to be caught in the middle. Not just that, but the fact that it’s set at Christmas gives the whole issue a wonderfully cosy feel. In fact, there’s even a little nod to classic 80s Christmas creature feature, Gremlins – with the family dog being named Gizmo.

It’s a charming, family friendly story that’s beautifully drawn with some very cartoony art – it’d make a wonderful animated series, especially as it has a very cinematic feel.

Ending on a cliffhanger that – fair warning – may be a little concerning for much younger readers, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Byte-Sized #1 is released on the 9th of December. AWA Studios provided me with a preview copy of the issue for review purposes.

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