Advance Review: The Rise Of The Robots Comes Not With A Bang But With A Willing Whimper In ‘Not All Robots’ #1
by Olly MacNamee
The rise of the robots in this futuristic world is all are own doing in Mark Russell and Mike Deodato Jr.’s dark comedy, ‘Not All Robots’ #1 from AWA Upshot. Russell’s target this time is our over-reliance on technology and our blind acceptance of jobs being automated right in front of our very eyes. Well, if you want to know what that could lead to, you’ll want to pick up this book when it comes out later this summer.
Not All Robots #1 follows the trials and tribulations of empathic robot Razorball as he goes about his mundane life as one of many androids that do all the dirty work on behalf of human population in a not-to-distant-future. The dirty work, the clean work; all the work. Humans are left to simply sit back and enjoy life. But in their complacency, problems aren’t too far off.
Mark Russell and Mike Deodato Jr. paint a seemingly utopian society, but given the population of Earth now live in bio-spheres for their own safety, it’s clear that in this future. Very much like our own present, we’ve managed to speed up environmental disaster. In this future we are all quite literally living in a bubble.
Acting as rather unreliable narrators (aren’t they all) to this debut issue are three TV “talking heads”; two robotic debaters and a “token human,” through which we are presented with all we need to know about this vision of the future and especially the rise of the machines. Not in any Terminator-style revolution, but rather the slow automation of jobs and careers willingly given over to these buckets of bolts. And not a moment too soon according to this droid class.
With this handy beginner’s guide dealt with in Russell’s usual satirical style, we zoom in on the Walters family and their live-in robot, the aforementioned Razorball. And while the children possess a healthy disdain for their surroundings and social situation, their parents are lost causes, suffering from some kind of Stockholm syndrome where Razorball is concerned. And while this is very much a science fiction story, Deodato’s realistic artwork anchors the whole affair, making it easy to relate to. After all, who hasn’t become a slave of sorts to technology and Alexa over the past decade or so? You’re reading this review? And on some kind of technological marvel of the modern age, right? We’re doomed, aren’t we?
Russell mixes gentle satire with his usual brand of over-the-top terror too, and soon the reliance on robots to facilitate every aspect of this society’s lives becomes a huge problem. But one, that at least until the final pages of this issue, is casually dismissed by the A.I. community and TV personalities we cut to every now and again.
Not All Robots aims to add to the ever-growing sub-genre of sci-fi that is the “Rise of the Robots”, but in Razorball we may have a change from the norm as he seeks his own path, even if he is in danger of being outdated.
Paranoid android? Yes, but that doesn’t mean he’s not right to think this way.
Not All Robots #1 is out Wednesday August 4th from AWA Upshot.