When asked about the stylistic approach his of upcoming one-shot, artist Shaky Kane responded with “Imagine ‘Car 54 Where Are You?’ channeled through Philip K. Dick’s cryogenically preserved brain via the first Pye color television set with the colour turned up to full retina burn. If you did, you’d get something close to That’s Because You’re a Robot… but not that close.” And to be honest, that’s as good a description as any for this slice of gloriously Technicolor pop art insanity.
The premise for this Image Comics one-shot is a simple one; two cops, partners, and one of them is a robot. Only thing is, neither of them knows which one is the robot. Simple, right? Well, that’s merely the tip of the iceberg for this absurdly psychedelic romp.
Virtually every panel is jam-packed with colour, bizarre background characters and humorous details. Kane’s artwork is definitely something of an acquired taste, but it works perfectly here in helping vividly create the world that award-winning Veep writer David Quantick has envisaged.
The banter between the two cops is definitely one of the highlights of this book, with their back and forth jibes reminiscent of Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen’s exchanges in The 40 Year Old Virgin, only with “know how I know you’re gay?” being replaced with “that’s because you’re a robot”. It’s great stuff, and gives the story a charming anchor that keeps it grounded once the Flying Cowboys and Giant Leprechauns show up. Yeah, you heard me.
Readers looking for a self-contained story with a beginning, middle and end should definitely look elsewhere though, as this one-shot comes across like a prologue for a longer story, or possibly a pilot being pitched for a new ongoing series. The premise is established, the main storyline elements (besides the “one of you is a robot” thing) are put into place, but there’s zero resolution to be had here. And while I have to admit that I found this slightly frustrating, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this story is picked up and expanded upon somewhere down the line. There’s just way too much potential here for it not to be.
This may not be a style that works for everyone, but it definitely works for me. So if you feel like having your brain melted and your retinas scorched, then this is a title you owe it to yourself to pick up. And if not? Well… that’s probably because you’re a robot.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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