RoboChuck #2 picks up right where #1 left off after Inksplat is arrested by Amethyst Pastel. Inksplat was a famous flattoon actor back when flattoons were the rage, before Piczar created CG movies and Flattown’s president and advocate president Baroness Von Viper went missing. Robochuck is the only CG that lives in Flattown and happens to be Inksplat’s adopted son. He spends most of this issue self-deprecating and reflecting on the fact that he wasn’t able to save his father Inksplat from being arrested. This, of course, doesn’t stop him from meeting with his agent at his office/burger joint to talk about a job offer. He later teams up with little Shirley to help her find her mother, since his father is in jail and unavailable.
Lots of action takes place in very little time, but none of it moves the plot forward at this juncture. Callahan appears to be strategically laying stone for a longer story arc, with smaller plot twists and mini stories in between. In doing so, he is also laying the groundwork for a larger cast of characters with a plethora of stories to play with. In this issue, we met Torky Turtle the Turquoise Tortoise, Ballie (the little bot with the two-ton heart), and Shirley. Each character is so drastically different from the other. Callahan masterfully crafts each one distinctly and never strays, always consistent in voice, mannerisms, and choices. Of all the characters, I must admit I am quite taken with Ballie. How could you not fall in love with a little, purple bot that only talks in third person?
“Ballie shouldn’t have to tell Ballie’s fans Ballie’s new movie is coming out. Ballie thinks Ballie’s fans should just know.”
He had me at, “Beep, Boop, Bop!” But, don’t go telling RoboChuck about my new crush on Ballie! These love triangles can be so complicated. Albeit, Shirley, with her oversized head, pigtails, and big, sad eyes sitting in the movie theatre crying for her mom, could break anyone’s heart.
While RoboChuck #2 is definitely a continuation for more to come, and it still stands solid on its own as a comic. More importantly, however, it does a superb job of planting seeds for future stories and engaging characters. Chris Callahan has an uncanny sense of old-school comedic timing that makes RoboChuck stand out amongst the fray as a unique comic series of its time. This type of humor harkens back to the days of the Sunday funnies and strip comics that requires specificity, detail, and simplicity that so much of today's comedy lacks. I, for one, couldn’t be more enthralled and elated to know that, out there right now, there is a comic book equivalent of The Canterbury Tales being created. You know, if they had been filmed in vaudeville style by Charlie Chaplin with Callahan at the helm. I can’t wait to see which characters and tales await us along the road.