Max Kane is the biggest and most dangerous boy in child care. He is known as "Kicker," since he constantly kicks at anyone who tries to "throw a hug on me." When he first sees Kevin, Max remembers him as "fierce." It is a combination of things that make Kevin stick out from the other kids and keeps Max from kicking the little boy himself. Kevin's legs are twisted, but Max thinks Kevin's crutches are "cool," and he is even more impressed when Kevin uses them for other than walking--like when he swung them at the other kids, and one day "whacked the little brat pretty good." When Kevin's crutches are replaced by leg braces--"metal tubes right up to his hips"--Max thinks they are "even more cool than crutches." Kevin prefers to be known as "Robot Man," and he pretends to be one,
... making these weird robot noises... Rrrr... rrrr... rrrr... like he had robot motors inside his legs. (Chapter 1)
Kevin also maintains "this look" that burns "right through you." It says
... don't mess with me, man, maybe I got a laser cannon hidden inside these leg braces... (Chapter 1)
Years later when the two boys next meet, the Robot Boy's fierceness remains. Pointing a crutch at Max, Kevin
... pulls the trigger on that crutch and makes a weapon noise, and he goes, "Then die, earthling, die!" (Chapter 2)
It drives Max to "motor out of there without saying a word."