Writer – Richmond Clements
Artist – Alex Moore
Letters and Production – Jim Campbell
Link to 2000AD : Richmond is both co-editor of Zarjaz and Dogbreath fanzines and is also one of the primary organisers of the Hi-Ex comic convention.
Short Synopsis – One of three identical battle robots goes AWOL during a training exercise and tracks down and abducts a seemingly random young girl
I’m glad I had both issues of this comic to review as I’ll be honest after reading the first I was a little underwhelmed. Yeah, the story was tight and the art was the good type of cartoon-y, but it felt like I was reading the comic version of Iron Giant. Not that I’ve actually seen Iron Giant, but how I imagined the story was from seeing trailers etc. A giant military robot escapes. It nabs a child who seemed to be fine with the idea a little too quickly and see’s it as a friend, not a killing machine. Bad agency men are in persuit. There’s the bad scientist who treats the robots as weapons and the good scientist who cares about their feelings. All very cartoon network movie.
Then I read the second issue. The issue that explains everything. And then I went back and re-read the first issue and saw it, and most of the characters, in a totally different light. Whilst still a book you could happily give a kid to read, there are some darker themes going on and I particularly liked the reasoning behind the robots affinity with the girl which is one of those cool ideas you wonder why nobody has used before.
As I mentioned earlier the art is a bit cartoon-y but dont read that as a bad thing. It totally suits the story and as you can see from the pic below it is very nice to look at. The rendering of the giant robot fights also feel big and cinematic whilst still letting you see what is going on and I think there was only one panel in the entire thing where I had to pause to work out what was happening, no mean feat when you are talking giant robot battles. A friend of mine lent me some Transformers comics to try and convert me and I couldn’t make out what the hell was going on half the time. And talking cinematic, you could be cynical and say this is a book screaming “ADAPT ME!” but while I’m sure the publishers have an eye towards other media, the comic itself has obviously had a lot of hard work gone into it and totally stands up on its own.
I cant really go into it much more, or even tell you what the hell the title means, without spoiling it and its too good a story to spoil. All in all it was a pretty quick read, but one I did enjoy once the few “Why would that happen?” questions I had were answered in a way that worked both for me as a smart-arse reader and the characters involved. Here’s hoping this book proves successful and the world is revisited in the near future.
To use the Geek Syndicate rating system (as I’m also posting this there)
Marks out of 5 – 4
Dry Slaps – 1….. there is one detail on the very last page that while I understand the reasoning behind was still a step too far for my liking. Not that it spoiled it for me or would probably even be noticed by anyone else.
Posted by Richard McAuliffe