Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review - That's Because You're a Robot

"Jeff - Matt, I'll keep this simple. One of you is a real human cop--and one of you is a robot. Only we don't know which is which!"

There are philosophical questions about our lives that many have spent years attempting to answer. Some of those questions we'll never answer. For instance, the meaning of life still seems to escape us. A slightly less tumultuous question is whether or not your friend is a robot, possibly answered in That's Because You're a Robot from Image Comics. The issue is written by David Quantick, illustrated by Shaky Kane and lettered by Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft.

Jeff and Matt are two cops. They like being on the job. They've got a good partnership. And one of them is a robot. The thing is, they don't know which one of them that is. Still, the near-future Los Angeles needs protecting and the two of them will do everything in their power to ensure that justice is upheld.

If the above seems like an oversimplification of what you would expect to be a much more in-depth plot, you'd be wrong. That's Because You're a Robot thrives on the fact that it's a very simple premise, but it's through that premise that Quantick delivers some pretty amusing dialogue. For most of the story, Jeff and Matt are making fairly idiosyncratic arguments explaining why it's the other who's a robot. Their banter is what carries the book and reminds the reader that they're not ones to evolve into deeper conversations. In fact, their back and forth nearly costs them their jobs and a high-profile case, allowing Quantick the opportunity to show just how inane their debate really is.

While the story is very odd, Kane's artwork makes perfect sense. His style is very unique and harkens back to a different time, finding a halfway point between Golden Age illustrations and Sunday newspaper comics. The characters look pretty cartoonish and neither of the two tip their hand as to who's really the robot. All characters also show off rather generic bodies and the near future looks a lot like the past, but Kane's style is a great fit for the concept of the book. There's a certain campiness that accompanies an ongoing argument about who's a robot and it's a campiness that Kane taps into rather brilliantly with his artistic style.

That's Because You're a Robot isn't really meant to be anything more than a rather superfluous conversation about who's what. It's a concept that could easily fall into a "trap" where Quantick attempts to make a broader statement about some aspect of existence, but he keeps it pretty simple. Kane's style is a lot of fun and is very appropriate for the rather lighthearted nature of the story. That's Because You're a Robot is a one-shot, even if there are threads left unpulled for the possibility of continuing to explore the conversation. For the time being though, feel free to enjoy one of the more positively asinine books you'll read.

That's Because You're a Robot is in stores now with interiors below.


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