Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Robotika: For A Few Rubles More #1

Alex Sheikman & David Moran

The first Robotika mini-series from Alex Sheikman came out of nowhere, full of creativity and a vision not often seen in mainstream comics. The world Sheikman created felt lively and fully-realized, and utterly odd. In my review of the first mini-series, I compared Sheikman's storytelling to Grant Morrison's, and I still think that Morrison's works are the closest out there to what Sheikman is doing with his Robotika universe. It just keeps hitting you with idea after idea relentlessly amid a really fun story.

In the first issue of the sequel, Robotika: For A Few Rubles More, Sheikman shows no signs of slowing down. Along with David Moran, he reintroduces readers to the futuristic world of cyborgs and magic via three samurai-for-hire. If anything, Sheikman seems more comfortable writing these characters this time around. I didn't really get much out of the characters through the first adventure with them, but in this sequel, I feel as if I know them, and their easy dialogue with one another makes the transition into this sequel that much easier. There was a lot of criticism of the first series for a character who talked through vertical dialogue, something that I personally didn't find too distracting. This time around, there's a joke made about the choice, and the story carries on without missing a beat, and minus the "distraction."

This new series opens with a scene that introduces some very distinct new characters including a drug dealer who seems related to Dennis Hopper's character in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. We also get a taste of the thrust behind this story, nanoscope technology used as a drug, called "tadpoles" that cause tension between a group selling the product and a group that wants the drug, but don't exactly want to pay for it.

Joel Chua does an amazing job on colors once again, making for a vibrant palette, and the arrangement of panels, and how some of the scenes are laid out is pretty amazing. You can tell a lot of thought was put into how Sheikman could use the comics medium itself to tell this story in ways unique to its abilities. I don't know how much of that can be attributed to the involvement of David Moran with this sequel, but however the writing team works together, it does work, and well. I can relate the events and characters of Robotika: For A Few Rubles More as much as I want, but I won't be able to get across a lot of what makes the comic a great comic. That's just something that readers will have to experience for themselves in December when this issue comes out. A

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