Advance Review: ‘Not All Robots’ #2 Is A Dark Satire That Is Only Getting Darker
by Olly MacNamee
In a world where technology has overtaken human endeavours it would seem the robots running the lives of the living can get away with murder, Literally! Mark Russell and Mike Deodato Jr. deliver another darkly humoured issue of sci-fi satire at its finest.
While Mike Deodato Jr.’s artwork in Not All Robots #2 evokes a seriousness and a certain sense of realism Mark Russell’s writing continues to be written with his tongue firmly placed in his cheek. This is, after all, a satirical swipe at our slavish acceptance and compliance to the technical wonders our modern world is throwing up daily. It may start with self-driving cars and friendly female-voiced AI coming through our mini-speakers, but Russell and Deodato Jr. illustrate for us where it might all end. And in this case the total redundancy of humans from the workplace as well as a mass murdering of 200,000 people in the not-too-distant future. But, even with the satire present on every page, it doesn’t mean we should be laughing along with it. Not when the robot responsible is found not guilty by another AI device in a matter of second after its uploaded its defence.
On the microcosm level we return to the family we met last issue and their own problems which they give voice to in a counselling session hosted by another AI. Problems that all seem to stem from their reliance on robots, of course. And they’re not the only ones with problems. No, even the family’s android, Razorball, has issues as he senses his own days may be numbered. After all, even technology becomes obsolete eventually.
The father, Donny, walks through life asleep to the threats right in front of his eyes and can only see the omnipresence of robots as a good thing. He still believes the robots have made the planet a better place! One family, but within this domestic world we have the various views of the wider population being given a voice. And thankfully they aren’t all as complaint as the oder generation.
Russell employs interesting parallels in this issue too as both robots and humans separately gather to vent their collective concerns, thereby building the tension and laying a path for inevitable conflict as tension builds slowly but inevitably while Deodato Jr. provides artwork that is dripping in shadows and subdued colours at appropriate points throughout this issue to better reflect the darker tomes of the story.
The use of satire, as any good writer knows, is integral to such a menacing storyline. It allows for the reader to release the tension being built and makes for a far more enjoyable read. Russell has shown time and again he can do satire – he’s one of the leading lights in the comic book industry on that one – but here, as elsewhere, he shows he can do various shades of satire too. And here it is a very darker shade he deploys, which is aptly matched by the darker artwork too.
Not All Robots #2 is out Wednesday 8th September from AWA Upshot and for more you could always read my interview with Russell here for even more insight on this new series.