Overview

Robot 13 #1

Review

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Robot 13 #1

Credits

  • Words: Thomas Hall
  • Art: Daniel Bradford
  • Story Title: Colossus
  • Publisher: Blink Twice
  • Price: $3.00
  • Release Date: Jun 10, 2009

A ship finds what appears to be a drowned diver. A monster appears, the diver turns out to be a robot and action is born on the high seas in this strong debut from Hall, Bradford and Blacklist Studios.

Ah, the influence of Mignola marches on. This story seems an awful lot like The Atomic Screw On Head at Sea. That’s not a bad thing. Atomic Robo and Hellboy are two of the most entertainingly intelligent properties on the stands today.

Here there is a bit of mystery as the title character may not remember who or what he is. In reality, this is a deus ex machina for a nifty little origin story that is pieced out in the final quarter of this book. There is a hint of mystery thrown in to keep the reader engaged in the larger story.

However, the meat of the debut issue is a battle between Robot 13 and a giant tentacled being of the deep. It smacks of Hellboy fighting demons from Hell. The book is a little short on historical setting and the hero here is not as quick to trash talk as either Clevinger’s or Mignola’s characters, but his ingenious use of items as weaponry is just as smart.

Really, the comparisons are going to be hard for this book to escape. Bradford’s style is very similar to Mignola’s. There is a lot of white used in the pages, as opposed to black; but big action filled splash pages make up half of the fight that makes up a good chunk of the book. If the action was not so concisely told, this reviewer might be crying decompression fouls, but the glee in which the spreads are laid out and the obvious artistic merit of each makes up for what might otherwise be a thin plot.

Which is where the one real criticism comes into play. For as little plot progression as happens here, the flashback bit seems a little disjointed. Hall is not walking into Morrison Final Crisis channel surfing obliqueness here, but there were a couple of panels that had to be studied to determine what exactly was going on. Bradford seems to do a good job with the storytelling for the most part and it is next to impossible to tell who is at fault here, but another panel squeezed into their modified nine panel grid may have provided some clarity.

Robot 13 is a charming debut sure to satisfy the reader eager for sea monster battles. Along the way, the reader is treated with some remarkable artwork and what appears to be a mystery to enjoy. It wears its influences on its sleeve but it could be born from worse. It is not the debut of the year, but should suffice as the sleeper hit.

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