No stranger to all ages reads, J. Torres manages to provide a story about the popular reclamation robot that is at once both cute and enjoyable. Capably accompanied by Morgan Luthi’s pitch-perfect artwork, Torres’ story gives us a peek into what may have transpired before the opening credits of the 2008 animated film. Torres provides a nicely staged story with more than a few “WALL-E” moments that seem prescribed from discarded storyboards. Like most comics that do not rely on dialog for pacing, this issue reads as quickly — or slowly — as the reader chooses. Torres’ tempo is merely there as a guideline. The sense of wonder and fun that made WALL-E a hit in the theaters is translated nicely to the printed page by Torres. The rubber duckies are a nice touch in this issue, and I found myself chuckling at WALL-E’s interest in them. I trust Torres will be able to keep this little robot’s adventures feeling fresh and new.
Upon opening this issue, I made a mental connection between this issue and “Owly.” Andy Runton has become a modern master of the cute, enjoyable, all ages “Silent” comic, and J. Torres has taken more than a few cues from Runton’s work. While the subject matter could not be more disparate — Runton’s protagonist is an owl surrounded by friendly forest friends, and WALL-E is Earth’s last gasp at rejuvenation — the accessibility is the same. One needn’t have seen “WALL-E” to appreciate this comic. Of course, familiarity with the character and the concept certainly adds depth to this story.
Luthi’s artwork is detailed, yet expressive, and it keeps “WALL-E” from feeling too robotic. There are some transitions that seem to jump a little farther than I expected on first read, but for the most part, Luthi manages to keep WALL-E distinct from his seemingly identical counterparts. My nine-year-old and I were a little foggy on the action in the last panel, but seeing as this story is continued in the next issue, we’ve both started counting down the days.