THE ROBOT WAR
Writer: Joe Friend
Illustrator: Matt Haley
WHAT IS IT?
A 5-issue graphic novel about a robot uprising, and the group of people who fought them to save a school full of trapped kids.
It's like a more Asimovian 'X-Men: Inferno,' but with a fun, Starship Troopers tone. There's a little Shaun of the Dead in there, too, with the romance aspect and tongue-in-cheek humor.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
After a tumultuous past, Dale moved to California to start a new life. Things were finally looking up for him. He was hitting his stride. Found a good woman, friends, a steady job...what else could a guy need?
Well, his girlfriend does want a little more commitment out of him, but after the trauma of his previous relationship, he doesn’t know if he’s ready for that, yet.
Another thing he’s not ready for? Robots to light fires all over California, from the forests to the people. Dale’s gotta get past these murderous heaps of metal, save his girlfriend and save the world...or die trying!
The Robot War is so "EXTRA," it's like watching a summer blockbuster
Explosions, bullets flying, action sequences and an everyman as the main character settle into the genre nicely
Even Bill Maus's sound effect work is larger-than-life, you can imagine it in surround sound, obliterating your ear drums
Joe Friend writes a solid action story
In medias res open jumps right into the action
Running jokes feel rewarding each time they're encountered
It's cool seeing different groups of survivors join forces to fight the robots
The Robot War does well straddling several genres, from horror and comedy to action and adventure
Matt Haley's art is expressive, and does well with comedic timing and the comic's numerous action sequences
What I like about The Robot War is that everyone feels like they're a normal person
Like, people aren't these paragons of heroism. They just seem like normal people who're trying to make it out alive so they can get back to their day-to-day.
While it can slow down the comic, it is kind of fun watching popular science fiction favorites get skewered, like talking with friends or watching those "Everything Wrong With" YouTube videos
Little moments of humorous discovery elevate the comic
The fishing boat scene with the theme song from Deadliest Catch
Haikus are hidden at the end of the legal copy in each issue
The first issue says: “Invariably//The restless leg syndrome kid//Skitters behind me”
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Very adult! Cursing, drugs, crude/sexual language, violence and death, it's like it's checking every single "Mature Readers Only" box
One-tone backgrounds are a nice way to break up the page and save some effort on the illustrator’s end, but when it’s the majority of the page (like below), it can feel like the artist didn't have enough time to make the comic
Colors are a little flat, but I can't really complain about getting color in an indie comic
The first issue can feel very heavy with set-up and dialogue
It spends pages making our main character the guy who has opinions about movies and TV shows, but it takes a lot of time out of propelling the story forward and can make the protagonist seem annoyingly detail-obsessed when it comes to petty things
All that said, it definitely plants seeds for later issues, which may explain some of its quirks
“Robots are always a great idea” is perfect irony
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
The Robot War is fun and comfortable, like the action movie you grew up watching over and over. It really has that "cult classic" vibe. So, if you're looking for an indie comic like that, definitely check it out!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
The Resurrected by Christian Carnouche & Crizam Zamora
Hard Wyred by Erik Bitmanis & Ross Zucco
Starship Troopers by Bruce Jones & Mitch Byrd
If you like the art:
Megatomic Battle Rabbit by Stu Perrins & Israel Huertas
The Boys by Garth Ennis & Darrick Robertson
Fisk the S.U.B.S.T.I.T.U.T.E. by Dino Caruso & Shawn Richison
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Joe Friend – Writer
Multitalented: Is also a screenwriter and a musician, and also runs a technology department for FOX
Enjoys camping, hiking, surfing, canyoneering, skiing, and snowboarding in his spare time
Matt Haley – Illustrator
Unfortunately, I don't have much info on Matt and can't confirm if he's the "American film director, art director and book illustrator artist" listed when I ask Dr. Google
Kat Maus – Colorist & Bill Maus – Letterer
Dream Team: Kat is letterer, Bill Maus's, daughter
Steve Stern – Editor
Multitalented: Steve Stern's website claims it will "Turn your screenplay into a graphic novel," which actually explains a lot about The Robot War!
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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