Professor Arnold Robotolis and his apprentice, Ludwig Grububble, created the city of Robotolis to fulfill a dream of a city where robots and humans could live in harmony; however, Grububble eventually allowed his resentment of his mentor’s skills to overtake him, and the two parted ways. The unhappy inventor created a virus that turned all robots’ human-loving natures to evil, and Robotolis has become overrun with destructive mechanical creations who want to wipe humanity off the planet. One little boy and his trusty, non-infected robot “brother” are the only ones who can turn the tide; Leo must don his grandfather’s amazing robotic combat suit and become Robotslayer.
This story developed as a bedtime story the creator told his children, and I can see how appealing this plot would be to young readers. While I never feared that Leo would fail in his task, youngsters will be kept on the edge of their seats wondering how the intrepid youngster will take on increasingly difficult odds. The themes of teamwork and family run strongly throughout the 56-page storyline, and the warm, loving relationship Leo, Benny, and Professor Robotolis/Opa (the German word for grandfather) share added something beyond the amazing adventure to the story. It also carefully avoids being a revenge story. The professor doesn't turn Leo into Robotslayer to punish Grububble; he merely wants to return the robots to a peaceful state, so their relationships with humans can be mended. Overall, the messages in Robotslayer are incredibly positive, and I highly approve of them for impressionable youngsters.
The artwork in Robotslayer is full color, and the slightly cartoony style matches the tone of the piece extremely well. As an adult I particularly enjoyed some of the background images such as a theater with an old Les Miserables marquee in damaged downtown Robotolis. Every major character is distinct, and I found it easy to identify each throughout the work. The robots are a little less distinct, but one of the points made is that Grububble’s works are not as unique as Robotolis’, so it makes sense for his creations to seem more uniform.
While I’m not precisely the target audience for Robotslayer, I think it’s a great addition to all ages/younger reader comics. It shows how triumphing over adversity comes when you believe in yourself and those closest to you and emphasizes the importance of learning from those who know more than you. Just don’t be surprised if your kids try to argue that video games are teaching them to be superheroes after reading this book!
4 Thunder Fists out of 5