Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: N/A
Script by: Ivan Brandon & Miles Gunter
Art by: Andy MacDonald
Colored by: Dawn Pietrusko & Dan Krall with Ivan Brandon & Kelsey Shannon
Lettered by: Kristyn Ferretti
Covers by: Dave Johnson (issue #1) and Kelsey Shannon (issue #2)
Publisher: Image Comics
At first glance, NYC Mech appears to be a strange sci-fi story with little basis in reality. Even with an opening scroll on the inside cover that gives the reader everything they need to know, I wanted to feel lost. The series takes place in New York City, where eight million robots live. These robots are capable of all the emotions and feelings that we are. You would think this is some futuristic version of Earth, but that’s not the case. We’re talking modern day NYC or at least what looks like the modern day.
I wanted answers when I started reading. Why do eight million robots live in NYC? That question was paramount on my mind as I began, but after a few pages it didn’t matter. These characters, although robots, are compelling and easy to relate to. Robots are walking the Earth, but the place they inhabit is the same old NYC that’s on our Earth. Once you get by the idea of NYC being occupied by robots and focus on the cast as the characters they are, NYC Mech is totally engrossing. Why they’re robots doesn’t matter. The overall answers may be out of reach, for now, but the narrative is clear, and the characters well written. The bigger answers will come.
As the series opens we’re offered an overall view of New York City, mainly the steamier side. These fleeting scenes settled me into the idea that this was NYC basically as I know it. The first two issues are an introduction to the world of NYC Mech and offer up a complete story as well. I’ve got to give the creators credit for beginning the series with a short arc, rather than a long, drawn out one.
The arc centers on a group of “young” friends sharing an apartment and enjoying life to maximum excess, by robbing whatever store is a viable target. The group includes Goss (who also serves as narrator), Troy, Nika, and Alex and his girlfriend. After a big score they kick back and party for all it’s worth. They spend their haul on drugs, clothing, and other conveniences including a cleaning robot that ends up drawing Troy’s ire.
Ivan Brandon and Miles Gunter have a crafted a story and characters that are wholly compelling as a look into our own darker sides. Avarice, anger, fear, boredom, and various other psychoses are utterly human emotions and conditions that most of us have dealt with personally in one shape or anotherÃ¢â‚¬â€albeit, probably not to the level of the cast. Much like The Twilight Zone offered a deeper look into humanity’s dark side with its fantastical elements, NYC Mech seems to be offering up a similar look into the human condition, with in-human characters.
Andy MacDonald’s character designs are brilliant. Stylistically this book is mind-blowing. While the setting is clearly a modern-looking New York City, the characters are all robots. The robots look a lot like humans. Some are pretty, some are hip, some are dorks, and others are overweight. It’s the same mixture of individuals you’d expect in any big city, except they’re robots. The robotic features are clearly defined, but they never overpower the panels. MacDonald’s art moves nicely between the fantastical elements, the mundane state of the characters everyday life, and the more action-packed moments involving their “careers.”
Simply put, NYC Mech kicks ass. While the underlying premise of the book is not explained the characters and action are fantastic. The mystery of why these characters and everyone else in New York is a robot is a question that I want to be answered, but it adds an exciting dimension of anticipation at the answers to come down the line.
Issue #4 of NYC Mech will be on comic shelves this Wednesday (August 25th); sadly I’ll have to wait until issue #3 shows up at my door (I just ordered it online) before I can keep going.