Archaia Studios Press released three new books this week, so I figured I’d do reviews on them, as well as a preview copy of the first issue of Robotika Vol. 2 #1.
This is pretty tough for me to say, because I know Alex Sheikman got a decent amount of guff over his writing for the first volume of Robotika, which is undoubtably why he brought aboard David Moran to script the second volume of Robotika (A Few Rubles More), but to be honest, I think I liked the writing of volume 1 better than the writing on this first issue.
Now, right off the bat – Alex Sheikman’s art is stunning. Absolutely wonderful. His work is both ornate AND gritty. He gives the world of Robotika so much personality and flair that it is almost unfair how good he is.
Just check out here for what I mean by ornate AND gritty…
At the end of Volume 1, we basically have our tight-knit trio, Niko, the silent Samurai, Cherokee Geisha, the annoying mercenary, and Bronski, the slightly less annoying mercenary. In Volume 2, they are on their way to a sword tournament when life gets in the way.
One of the biggest problems I had with the writing of Volume 1 was that it did not seem to have much of a structure, as the story beats did not seem to add up well at the end of the series, and perhaps Moran will help in this regard. But as of this one issue, I think I enjoyed Sheikman’s take on this futuristic (yet almost backward) world better, as it was a good deal more straightforward. In this issue, we are introduced to a lot of new characters and plot concepts (including a drug that gets introduced into your bloodstream and sets up shop in your blood), but they come all at once, and it does not flow that well.
In the first volume, Cherokee Geisha’s dialogue was read from top to bottom, instead of left to right, which was meant to be disconcerting, but I think was just annoying more than anything, and in this volume, Sheikman acquiesces to the complaints about her dialogue, with a sort of cute meta-moment…
Like I said at the time, I hope Sheikman made the decision to change the dialogue because HE was convinced that it did not work, and not just because people complained about it. In any event, I am glad it is changed.
As I mentioned before, one thing Moran appears to have added to the title is a structure, and here, the structure is “Life is what happens while the other guy is planning to screw you over.”
Here, the three comrades do not meant to get involved in a fight at a small town caught up in a drug war, but such is life (the title of the comic comes from the fact that they could have skipped all of this if they had just taken a train “for a few rubles more” – cute, eh? An homage title that actually works for the story! Awesome!).
The best part of the comic comes from the three friends, and their reaction to the happenings around them. The world-weary Bronski, the annoying Cherokee Geisha and the silent samurai, Niko. They are well-crafted characters, and I’ll gladly read more stories featuring them.
Not so much.
They seem fairly one-note, and their story is a bit jumbled.
Shiekman (in an interview here), says he’ll be focusing on the town a lot, giving it a lot more personality, which is nice – I do love the changing figures on the town’s population!
Anyhow, the basic set-up (three tired travelers are stuck defending a small town from the bad guys) is decent enough, and the art is totally amazing, so for this first issue, I think it will just squeak by as…
But just barely!
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