Monday, December 26, 2005

Robotika #1 - Full Immersion Therapy

The good folks at Archaia Studios Press sent me a copy of Robotika #1 (as well as some promotional material for their other upcoming projects, including Mouse Guard #1, which I will have you know that I was pimping back in JULY!), and I'm sorry I didn't talk about it until after Christmas. Anyhow, Robotika #1 was a very interesting comic, in the way that writer/artist Alex Sheikman really tried to immerse the reader into a new, and fascinating, comic universe.

First off, it is great to be pals with other talented artists, as you get to have stuff like having Ryan Sook draw the cover of your new comic, as seen below...

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That's a sweet cover.

This is Sheikman's return to comics after many years of being a successful role playing game artist, and I think his talents from that field have enabled him to give the world of Robotika a really deep, textured feel.

Here is a shot of the far off future world...

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Sheikman's art, alone, is quite good, but the way he portrays the mood and style of the city is very impressive, as well.

See also this page...

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Niko, the great mute warrior who is the star of the story, shows up here:

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Cool design work, and once again, Sheikman's stylistic art is impressive.

These Japanese print-like pages are interspersed in the comic, as sort of info dumps, but they are beautiful, no?

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Okay, so I have raved about his art enough, but as for the writing?

Well, as a writer, he is one heckuva artist.

Seriously, though, for the most part, the writing is pretty decent, but when he info dumps...well, stress the latter part of the term. Especially on this one scene, where Sheikman writes some SUPER clunky dialogue where people debate Niko's background. Very yikes-a-fying.

And the overall story is really just an excuse to visit the world that Sheikman has created, where poor humans sell themselves to become cyborgs, and outdated cyborgs are made to live in swamps and forests. The hero, Niko, is sent by the Queen to retrieve a device that will create the first actually HUMAN machine. A true artificial lifeform. Niko must discover it before it causes a civil war between the cyborgs and the humans (as cyborgs will think they are being forced out). Whether stopping civil war is a GOOD thing is another matter.

In any event, the setup of the world is excellent, so I cannot begrudge Sheikman's plot, as exploring this world is a GOOD thing, in my book.

One last thing, he has one character who talks like this (as Greg pointed out in his review of this comic):





I understand that Sheikman is just trying to do something a bit different, but I will be frank - it doesn't work.

It doesn't work at all.

It is the opposite of working.

It is broken.

Outside of that (and it is not in the comic a LOT), Robotika is a plum new series. Well worth taking a looksee, if only to admire the world that Sheikman has designed.

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Blogger Greg said...

On the Sheikman's blog, he explained that he was trying to give the reader the feeling of not understanding the language, even though it was English. Kind of like if he wrote the dialogue in Japanese and we ignorant gaijin had to figure it out. I agree, though - it's annoying.

12/26/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Thanks, Greg.

I figured it would be a "clever" reason like that.

Still, I concur with you, it does not work.

12/26/2005 09:39:00 PM  
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