With “Robotika,” Alex Sheikman combines steampunk, samurai, cyborgs and sprinkles in some Wild West to create a stunning vision on the future.
“Robotika” starts off following Niko, a samurai in the employ of the queen’s guard, who is sent on a mission through the badlands to retrieve a stolen piece of technology that has potential to change the economic landscape. Along the way he encounters bandits, cyborgs, and Cherokee Geisha, a sword-wielding mercenary that takes a shine to Niko and helps him on his mission. Niko completes his task and returns to the queen, but what she does with the recovered technology makes Niko question why he went on the mission in the first place. He decides to give up his sword, and walks away from the queen.
Niko then falls in with Cherokee Geisha and her colleague Bronsky, as they escort a group of people on a pilgrimage to visit their god. Needless to say, that adventure doesn’t turn out quite as intended, either.
Sheikman writes and illustrates this series, which is a good thing, as I’m not sure anyone else would have been able to convey the world he’s created in Robotika. The visuals are amazing, and Sheikman does an especially great job of fusing organics with technology against the backdrop of the Wild West-like badlands. It’s like nothing I’ve seen before.
The techniques that Sheikman uses to make each character stand out are interesting as well. Niko is mute, and much of his story comes from the characters and the world reacting to him. Cherokee Geisha is also mute, but has a voice modulator that makes her sound…odd. Sheikman conveys this by lettering all of Cherokee’s dialogue vertically. It’s jarring at first, but it also has the effect of slowing you down, making you take in what’s going on in every panel. I actually came to appreciate it by the end of the series, as Robotika is not a read that you can breeze through.
Overall, “Robotika” is a very interesting experience through a completely unique world. I would definitely recommend it.
[4 of 5 Stars!]