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Robotika #4 – A Surprising Conclusion

The Robotika tradepaperback, collecting issues #1-4 of this Alex Sheikman series from Archaia Studios Press, is out this October, so I figure now would be a good time to not only tell you my thoughts about #4, but also link you to my reviews of #1, 2 and 3. #4 had a very surprising conclusion, and I must say, I think that the very surprising nature of the last issue probably should have been avoided by some tighter plotting, but it very likely will read better in the trade format (out this October!).

Robotika_4_cover.jpg

Robotika is about a world where humans and cyborgs co-exist on a very tenuous basis. When someone found out that a scientist had created the first actual living machine, everyone wanted it, so Niko, the mute royal bodyguard was hired to retrieve the stolen prototype (in the form of a butterfly).

Niko meets up with a mercenary named Cherokee Geisha along the way, and she teams up with Niko, but then, at the end of #2, the plot seems to end, as Niko’s boss, the royal highness, destroys the prototype. This throws Niko for a loop, so he’s down in the dumps.

Then, in #3, Niko agrees to work with Cherokee Geisha and a second mercenary to escort some pilgrims on a dangerous journey. We pick up this issue as they are attacked by some cyborgs.

The thing is, Sheikman does a nice job by suddenly, at the end of this issue, tying Niko’s plot to the plot of the first two issues – but my problem with that is that he could have easily just kept the plot from the first two issues GOING, and therefore making the revelation in this issue seem less out of nowhere.

But that’s how it feels – coming out of nowhere. It’s a cool revelation, but I think better plotting could have easily addressed the whole “out of nowhere” problem.

As usual, Sheikman’s art is stunning. He’s a fabulous draftsman.

Look at the way he lays out the following pages…

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Robotika_4_p08.jpg

The way he works with foregrounds and backgrounds to create depth so well is, well, quite excellent.

Just in case you don’t think he can do sequential, here’s some sequential…

Robotika_4_p03.jpg

This also has easily the most annoying thing about the book, Cherokee Geisha’s dialogue. So silly. HOWEVER, in the back of the book, they suggest doing subtitles for her dialogue in the tradepaperback, and are taking votes for it. I know it’s too late now, but PLEASE, DO NOT DO THAT!!!

I think the dialogue is silly and isn’t worth the slight “clever” bit you get from it (which is that, just like someone hearing someone speak in a thick accent is hard to decipher, so is reading her dialogue), but if Sheikman changes it because of popular vote? Screw that! It should only be changed if people convince him it is silly. If people do not convince him otherwise, then please don’t change an artistic choice because of popular vote! That is not good!!

So yeah, Robotika #1-4 – excellent art, some good character work and a really interesting universe created by Sheikman. And #4 ends on a nice set-up for future Robotika series!

I’d recommend picking the tradepaperback up in October!

4 Comments

Wouldn’t a slew of votes against it convince him that it’s silly?

No, because those votes would probably be taken as “I like the dialogue this way,” which sure isn’t the case for me – I just don’t want him changing it because of popular vote.

Yes, but “I like(/don’t like) the dialogue this way” is of course also a statement on the effectiveness of the artistic device. There’ll be a slight bias due to lazyness (countered by people being contrarian?) but overall one would expect people to be in favour of the artistic device if it worked for them.
That it doesn’t is what makes it silly.

I think Alex (and ASP) should keep the dialogue as it appeared in the individual issues. It is there for a reason and it works beautifully.

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