It seems everyone has this bizarre desire to see Samus teamed up with someone. The games like giving her a mission support like the much contested Adam or the less contested U-Mos. However, the various books decide to go a different route and give here a partner or partners of some sort. The Super Metroid comic had the very weird Houston Armstrong,while Echos gave us the GFS Boring team. The Zero Mission manga,which we'll get to soon,teams her up with some random guys as well. To me telling a story about Samus would be a great opportunity to do some silent story telling as it's something the games have done well. I guess I'll just have to wait for that to happen,till then here is another team up book called Samus and Joey.
Samus and Joey is a 2003 manga by Kouji Izuki,who's only other noted work are a few Megaman manga. If the quality of this manga is any indication then I'd say that those are worth a read. If this book was caring about canon then it's supposed to be slotted between Metroid and Metroid Prime. However it's really not so that last sentence was just me being a nerd. So moving on let's talk about why this manga actually works.
Those characters I mentioned before all tend to have one major problem. They're boring, or in Houston's case silly. They seem to tend to suck up panel time with their blandness. However the time is taken to make Joey a likable character. The fact that he is a young kid will probably turn some people off the series but there is a lot of care to make him not just another brat. He does have his bratty moments but what little kid doesn't. He actually does try to better himself through Samus' minimal guidance and they give him ways to not be a burden. He's trying to grow up and this becomes the central point of the stories. He's a believable character that endears himself and makes the time with him enjoyable.
This brings me to the second point of why this work: Samus is set up a supporting cast member. The Echos manga almost seemed ashamed that it had to be about Samus and pushed her to the back. Here she is treated more like a mentor to Joey, helping him on his journey and doing the more heavy fighting that Joey simply can't do. She is a bit tough on Joey but does genuinely care for him and she is never gone from the plot too long. She does try to drop Joey off somewhere away from her but it's more due to the nature of her missions than any actual dislike of Joey.
The plots themselves are typical adventure plots involving pirates (it is a Metroid manga), killer creatures and robots. They are not that bad if a little run of the mill. It is nice however to see the pirates keep there canonical(at least to me) lack of foresight. The second story does lack a proper resolution between Joey and his mother which sort of irks me. However the stories do let Joey grow as a character so most of this can be forgiven. As a side note the book does acknowledge how powerful and devastating Samus' weapons can be,it's a nice touch
The art is pretty okay on this one with a much more animated look. Everything wouldn't look out of place in a Saturday morning cartoon. Samus has a cool character design and the pirates all look goofy. The other enemies look terrifying especially the penguins in the Rescue operations arc. I'm still having nightmares about the damn things.
So I kind of went into this with mixed feelings and wound up pleasantly surprised. It treats Samus with more respect than Echos and gives us a few more interesting characters to boot It is probably one of the better of the Metroid manga and definitely worth checking out.