Mar 16th, 2016
When the heroic robots that saved Japan during World War IV are outlawed, they turn against mankind, waging a campaign of terror across the last city on Earth. Their creator builds one more soldier-disguised as his teenaged granddaughter-and tasks her with dismantling the marauding mechanical militia. But as she begins to question her programming, will she be the last hope for humanity, or the final nail in our coffin?
Maybe it’s because I’m not very enthralled with Anime/Manga culture, or maybe it’s because I’m sort of bored with Robot/AI uprisings, but regardless, Circuit Breaker #1 just didn’t do it for me at all. Kevin McCarthy lays down A LOT of exposition in this issue setting up the world’s back story, and he does it in a sort of lazy way. The main character “dumping” all the old data she has stored in her brain regarding the fun details of the world’s history to make room for new data going forward. That’s right, our main character is a young girl who is secretly a robot, that’s been created by a quirky old man to stop other evil robots. Sound familiar? We get hit with one cliché after the next, with a lot of hyper attentive storytelling going on as well. Kyle Baker’s art, while very vibrant also does little for me, as again it might be because I’m just not that big into Anime or Manga. It feels like at some points I’m looking at a comic book version of Phineas and Ferb, and other times PowerPuff Girls but all mixed in a really depressive setting with serious moments taking place. The muted colored backgrounds clashing with the flat pastel colors of the main characters is jarring and comes off more distracting than it does “unique”.
Bottom line, we’ve got a robot disguised as a young girl who was created to destroy evil robots who were once good robots that are now revolting due to their mistreatment from humans. There’s a bunch of analogs here for social justice, class wars, and potentially Middle Eastern politics, but, honestly it’s all been done before (and done better). In the endCircuit Breaker copies a lot of it’s material but doesn’t make itself stand out as unique nor is it offering anything better than the stories that came before it.
The Hey!: Despite its info-dumping and hackneyed plot, there is something charming about the series. While not my favorite style, there is something to Kyler Baker’s art, and perhaps on a different book he would stand out more.
The Eh!: So much here to be “eh” about. If you want a story about robot rebellion just go watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, or play Mega Man, or read I, Robot, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and the list can keep going.
The What?!: There’s a scene where a harmless looking robot is passing through the subway car selling bootleg items (similar to NYC subway), when the passengers abuse the hell out of it, the robot releases sarin gas and kills them. All of this is done in Baker’s cartoony style. It’s a bit jarring and perhaps if handled well it could have landed a lot harder than it did.
Who should you read this series?: I guess if you’re a fan of anime and manga this is a nice American blend of that style with western storytelling. Baker’s art is very reminiscent of something you might find in a Disney XD or Nick Jr cartoon show, so that adds something a little different.
Why should you buy this book?: It’s a hard call to recommend this to anyone that isn’t into it for the above reasons. This issue is the first, and with all that exposition, it’s really easy to say “this is the start so just go along for the ride.” I just can’t tell if this is a ride worth taking.