Mystereobot


URL:http://mystereobot.smackjeeves.com/
Author: Laura Rice
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance, Drama
Schedule: M/W

Two weeks ago, reviewer blankd reviewed One Rainy Day BL comic, which fumbled in the treatment of the relationship because of a combination of idealizing some aspects of the relationship or by refusing to acknowledge issues the characters have that should have been called out, or in the very least commented on. While I wouldn't consider this comic a BL/yaoi (though the main character's homosexual relationship is front and center for the first chapter or so), it at least treats the relationship better than the Now Kiss! Guy style of storytelling you usually see in such stories. However, there are some writing issues that hold the comic back.

Writing:

The story takes place on a planet full of robots. Infinity is a mopey, self-loathing robot with a stereo for a head. He has a nerdy brother named Ohm and an assertive, egotistical boyfriend named Cloudburn. Despite his preference to be alone with his thoughts, Infinity gets dragged to a nightclub by Cloudburn and Cloudburn ditches him to dance. Infinity starts chatting with another robot which makes Cloudburn jealous, leading to a confrontation and Infinity leaving the club without Cloudburn. The next day, a human craft lands, and a rover comes out. Cloudburn, Infinity, and Ohm cross the barricades without permission, and the rover gets destroyed while scanning Infinity. The group gets reprimanded for their actions, and Infinity is now at risk for being abducted by the humans.

What I do like about the comic is that all the characters have their own unique voices. If you took away the word balloon tails, you could still know who is talking. Cloudburn's dialogue is obscenity-laden “bro” style speech, Ohm tends to come off as na├»ve and geeky (the harshest thing to come out of his mouth is calling someone a “human phallus”), and Infinity tends to use more uhs and ums in his dialogue, and he only curses when he gets really irritated, indicating more restraint than his boyfriend.

The characters are still flat though, especially in the beginning chapters. Ohm's a geek, Cloudburn only really cares about himself, and Infinity is just pitiful. Not to mention that the relationship fits into the stereotypical heteronormative relationship (i.e. one of the males is the “man” and the other is the “woman”), though I do like how the author depicts the relationship more realistically, in that it's not all sunshine and rainbows. It helps that story takes place sometime after they entered the relationship, which is when those ebullient feelings wear off and reality starts to set in. Infinity spends quite a bit of the comic angry at Cloudburn for his behavior in the comic. And while he doesn't have the self confidence to actually tell him off (his preferred method is giving him the cold shoulder), it's enough to make it clear to Cloudburn that he's done something wrong, though he lacks the humility and self-awareness to know why it's wrong. Unlike in One Rainy Day, the relationship is flawed and is treated as such, which is something to applaud.

Since it prominently features homosexuality, it tries to make commentary on the issue with the way robots depict humans, or “Homos” (short for homo sapiens). Ohm talks about human/robot sexual relationships depicted in his textbook, and Cloudburn initially finds this to be disgusting. When a human craft shows up, protesters show up with signs denigrating human/robot relations. However, examples of how homosexuality isn't completely accepted in the robot world also appear, which is redundant and removes the subtlety of either. It would be like the Prawn settlement in District 9 being next door to Cape Flats. Honestly, it could be handled better.

Art:

The art is a digitally drawn grayscale comic with moderate levels of shading and background work. The robots are inspired by Daft Punk, having humanoid bodies but various appliances or helmets for heads. It makes for unique character design, which is what drew me to this comic in the first place. The backgrounds are done relatively well, sometimes including world building details, such as the “Bring Our Boys Home,” billboard in panel 2 of this page. My only major nitpick is that word balloon tails aren't pointing to characters' mouths. Like I've said before, word balloons should be pointing to characters' mouths, otherwise people might lead to misunderstandings or confusion. For example, on this page, Ohm and Cloudburn are talking off-panel. The balloons indicate that they're standing on the same side of the bed. But Cloudburn's second speech balloon is on the other side of the bed with no tail at all. We see where they're standing on the next page. In several of the cases, the tail pointing the right way wouldn't have cut anything important off, so there's really no excuse.

Overall:

There's some good art here and the writing shows lots of promise, especially how the relationship between Infinity and Cloudburn is written much better than some other comics on SmackJeeves. However, the characters still need fleshing out beyond broad stock characters and social commentary made in the comic could be handled better. I'd say the comic is about average, but still worth reading through.

3/5
three donuts

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