Overview

Robotika #2

Review

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Robotika #2

Credits

  • Words: Alex Sheikman
  • Art: Alex Sheikman
  • Inks: Alex Sheikman
  • Colors: Joel Chua
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Price: $3.95
  • Release Date: Feb 22, 2006

Ascending to the mountaintop range headquarters of Starbrain, Niko seeks to save the country…at least that’s what appears to be the case…

Joined by the seemingly otherworldly Cherokee Geisha, Niko has been dispatched on a quest to retrieve "Dr. Agon’s gadget" from the most powerful corporation in the Queendom. The actual physical aspect of the hunt turns out not to be the largest challenge, as Niko soon finds himself confronted with a dilemma of morality and faith. Does he complete his mission saving the country for his morally ambiguous masters or, let the rival (and equally ambiguous) Starbrain Inc. keep the device and potentially change the world for the better?

In terms of the actual plot of Robotika, Sheikman presents a very simple tale – a quest and a choice between the lesser of two evils. What adds depth to this primal tale is, surprisingly enough, all the things Sheikman leaves out. The actions of the silent samurai warrior create several pages devoid of dialogue, making it the reader’s responsibility to interpret them. Does Niko understand the potential ramifications of his choices? Or, for that matter, does he care? Not unlike the protagonist, the reader must look inside oneself for these answers.

Moving beyond the immediacy of this single issue, I discovered the "world" of Robotika as somewhat more problematic. This may be purely indicative of the fact I haven’t read the first issue, but I found myself making frequent educated guesses as to the nature of Niko’s reality. The implication from the issue is that Niko, and by extension, Cherokee Geisha, are cyborgs. Building from that assumption, it seems that their hybrid nature somehow places them beyond the moral dilemma of the issue, which may or may not change the interpretation of the decision. Likewise, the nature of "Dr. Agon’s gadget" is vague at best. Is this a choice by Sheikman forcing the readers to make their own reading? Or is there a more tangible answer that lies in Robotika #1?

Whatever the case, the basic otherworldliness of Sheikman’s Robotika helps excuse most flaws in its execution. Just as the strange method of lettering of Cherokee Geisha’s dialogue creates a sense of un-earthliness, so to does the basic visual appeal of the comic. Sheikman creates very complex hybrids of technology and organics and then sets them against sparse backgrounds. The result is an eeriness and a sense of grand and epic scope that bleeds through to all aspects of the comic. Readers are left with the sense that there is something very profound and rich here, lurking just far enough beyond the surface to make it tauntingly attainable.

Robotika #2 is a tantalizingly complex comic that challenges the readers to embark on a quest of their own. Hidden beneath a sparse and silent world, readers must search for their own meaning and answers.

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