That’s Because You’re a Robot
Written by David Quantick
Art by Shaky Kane
Published by Image Comics
That’s Because You’re A Robot exists in a space between profound and asinine. With sublime art by Shaky Kane and mediocre writing by David Quantick, the one-shot presents a simple, satisfying concept marred by easy humor. Two cops are informed by their sergeant on the first page that one of them is actually a robot. The comic unfurls with the interrogation with an age-shifting convict, a stake out, a face-off between iconic fictional characters, a few deaths, and a dull skewering of buddy cop tropes. The conceit of the identity of the robot acts as backdrop to the outlandish patrol of an alternative Los Angeles illustrated by Kane. Kane creates a gonzo world filled with iconography and branded idiocy. Prisoners are transported in helicopter carried cages, criminal profiles can be pulled up on compacts, and citizens walk around in strait jackets. The style evokes 50’s futurism, 60’s pop art, and 80’s action films in a greatest hits compilation of over the top. Each page demands intense investigation and admiration as there oddities and jokes nestled in every panel. Eye searing colors and thrilling layouts beg every page to be ripped out and taped to the wall which is literally encouraged with a hilariously intrusive double page pin up depicting a riot led by a leprechaun and Frankenstein’s monster.
The comic is informed by cliché but while the art manages to transcend these trappings, revelling in the extreme, the plot and dialogue are bound by it. It’s too easy an out to excuse the shallow writing as a calculated move countering the absurd art, as stupidity can have nuance. The art and concept deserve more than a page long Jewish joke and grating circular logical debates on which cop is the robot. The writing isn’t completely lacking, as evidenced by a death depicted so bluntly that it strikes a balance between heartfelt and satire. If that balance had been maintained throughout, That’s Because You’re a Robot could’ve been something truly special rather than an almost there. The comic really shines when it dismisses dialogue and is left to explore its kooky, realized world.