I may as well start this review with the obvious. This is a damn odd comic book. It’s part western, part dystopian fantasy. There’s some yojimbo elements thrown in. Robotika has cyborgs and drug addicts, evil bad guys and their servants, and a pair of heroes who look weird and act even weirder. But the whole thing comes together wonderfully. What, do you want all your comics to be predictable?
Because if there’s one thing that Robotika is not, that’s predictable. Each page brings a wonderful new surprise. Scenes are resonant both of the fiction of the past and a brave new sort of future fiction where amazing concepts are thrown together, check-to-jowl, in a mind-expanding melting pot. You have no choice first time through the book; just take it all in, let it wash over you. Don’t try to understand it all in one read; that’s not the point of the story. Maybe when you go back and reread the comic, a few more details might make sense. You might see connections and interrelations that weren’t obvious the first time. But keep in mind that this is a first chapter of a longer saga, and the elements are all being put into place for a story that might really come together when you read it all in one sitting.
Robotika is cool and weird and intriguing as Hell. I love it when comics take me to places I’ve never been and never would even think of. Where do these people live, and why is it so odd? What’s the deal with the multicultural blending (and why do people spend rubles?) What is the secret of the drug that a main character drags around with him? And what’s the deal with the poetic asides that fill the story?
Sheikman’s art is wonderful in the story. It matches the story for originality and brashness. I love the rundown and beaten-up nature of the people and the world they live in. These are nasty people who live in an even nastier world, and the nature of their world seems to ooze from every pore on the characters’ bodies. At the same time the art is graphically wonderful and tremendously detailed. It would have to be; nothing else would work for a story like this.
I loved the audacious and unique style of this comic. It’s a real original.