NOT ALL ROBOTS #1/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by MIKE DEODATO JR./ Colors by LEE LOUGHRIDGE/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by AWA STUDIOS & UPSHOT STUDIOS
The year is 2056 and life sucks, especially for those who aren’t technically alive. Humanity has destroyed the planet and only survives thanks to the bubbles that now surround all the major cities and the efforts of mechanized labor. Since the invention of sentient robots, humans no longer have to work at all the jobs determined to be too dangerous or complicated for them. (i.e. most of them) and one robot is assigned to each family to provide for them. It’s a pretty lousy deal for everyone, even ignoring the tendency some robots have to just snap and kill their assigned families. But that’s the way it is and there’s no sense in trying to change things by, say, rising up against the humans. Right?
Not All Robots was born of the #MeToo movement and, unsurprisingly given the title, the counter #NotAllMen movement which followed. As writer Mark Russell explains in an essay at the end of this first issue, the world of Not All Robots was inspired by his thoughts on traditional male and female gender roles and how, as women rallied against men who used power and position to exploit women, many men stepped up to say “Well, hey, you know men get exploited too!” in defense of a bad system.
This is, perhaps, redundant, but the editors apparently asked Russell to spell it out for those who really need to have the message of this comic driven home to them. Personally, I think Russell did a fine job of presenting the metaphor in the text, but then again I’m one of those woke sorts who can see the parallels between men encouraging other men to use the techniques described in pick-up artist books and robots telling other robots they need to turn off their empathy chip so that they don’t feel bad about humans suffering.
While certain actors will no doubt rally against the book’s message and script, it cannot be denied that Mike Deodato Jr. did a fantastic job with the artwork. Deodato has his own essay at the end of the book, where he speaks about the difficulty of drawing robots and how they aren’t something that fits into his particular wheelhouse. I think I speak for most comic fans when I say that is nonsense and the work here is some of the finest in Deodato’s career. The colors by Lee Loughridge offer the perfect finish to the pencils and inks and Steve Wands’ lettering is as fine as ever.
While Not All Robots is hardly the most subtle piece of satire Mark Russell has ever written, it is probably the most necessary. It also has some damn fine looking robots (courtesy of Mike Deodato Jr.) for those who only care about the pretty pictures. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the classic Twilight Zone and lovers of science fiction with a silicon soul.