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City In Peril!: Robot City Adventures, #1 Paperback – November 10, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6–In Robot City, robots and humans live and work alongside one another. In City in Peril!, Curtis the Colossal Coast-guard Robot discovers that saving a group of sailors from an oil-leaking tanker is easy, but handling a giant, rampaging squid while his left leg systems are crashing proves to be a bit more difficult. In Rust Attack!, private investigators Rod (a robot) and Mike (a human) try to solve the toughest case of their career by catching a criminal who is infecting robots with rust. With colorful pages and lively robots, these books will appeal to many kids. Unfortunately, the pages are cluttered with too much text. There are so many word balloons, especially throughout City in Peril!, that it's often hard to tell who's speaking. The plots are contrived and rely on awkward dialogue for exposition. Of the two, Rust Attack! comes together better. If kids are looking for a world in which robots and humans coexist, they may have better luck with Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy (Dark Horse).–Sadie Mattox, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
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Collicutt introduces his new Robot City Adventures graphic novel series with this throwback-themed episode starring Curtis, the “Colossal Coast-Guard Robot!” In Robot City, humans and robots work together with zealous pride, nowhere more evident than in the coast guard. As a strong storm descends, ro-buoys help guide ships into harbor and the enormous, lighthouse-shaped Curtis gets dispatched when a fire breaks out on an offshore oil rig. Despite his gimpy leg, Curtis selflessly puts out the fire. He also arouses the ire of a gigantic squid that follows the robot back to the city and unleashes all manner of havoc before it becomes apparent that he and his deep-sea pals are just miffed about the dirty oil drilling. Collicutt peoples his panels with an interchangeable cast of jingoistic, square-jawed citizens prone to exclamations of “This one’s for Robot City!” as they fend off danger and lob an endless barrage of good-natured zingers at one another. Retro not only in its look but also its goofy earnestness, this series promises plenty of rock ’em sock ’em robot fun. Grades 3-5. --Ian Chipman
Top customer reviews
Back when comics were 12 cents on the newsstand, kids' comics were really adult comics; the characters were adults and they had adult concerns, but the comics were accessible to younger readers as well. And this is the truly retro thing about the Robot City comics--they are about adults, not kids, and the setting is far from the experience of your average child. The world of Robot City is the future, as imagined in the 1940s, provided that the future had actually turned out much cooler than in real life.
The Indestructible Metal Men begins with a shipwreck of the same period and type as the wreck of the Titanic. Among the passengers are the inventor Henry Greenwood and three of his creations, the original "metal men." Greenwood and his wife stay on board the sinking ship, and as the band plays on, the robots try to keep the ship from breaking apart. Their efforts are ultimately unsuccessful, and the ship breaks in two in a fairly dramatic scene that shows the enormous hull upended and tiny bodies flying off to their doom.
The metal men, of course, sink to the bottom of the sea, where they wander aimlessly, their navigation systems disabled. Sixty years later, one of them shows up in Robot City and winds up in a museum, its batteries completely dead. And he stays that way until some sort of a bad guy fishes a second metal man out of the sea, planning to dissect and reverse-engineer it, as he has done with several other robots. His plans are foiled by robot scientist Dr. Sarah Cross and her weirdly emotional robot sidekick Tony, and the story ends happily with the two metal men hanging out and reminiscing, while their third companion is spotted at the very end, swimming with the dolphins.
Murder on the Robot City Express is just what it sounds like, a murder mystery with an ensemble cast, including two physicists who are both romantically inclined toward a lovely cardiologists, a pair of robot movie stars, an arrogant film director, and a Russian tennis-playing robot. The train--itself a robot--is trying to beat a land speed record, so even an onboard death can't stop the trip. Instead, the (robot) conductor plays detective and, in classic mystery-novel style, gathers everyone together for the final denouement. The story includes a number of old-movie tropes, including a chase across the tops of the train cars, and throws in a bit of comic relief with the hapless Curt the Coffee Robot, who must deal with a murder on his first day--and is afraid he caused it all.
Paul Collicutt's art really pulls it together. He lavishes a lot of detail on his robots (one is 300 feet high, with a lighthouse for a head), and his Robot City looks like the 1930s version of the future. The stories are easy to follow but filled with delightful surprises, such as a robot wedding and the robot who swims with the dolphins. These books are a treat for imaginative readers who love science fiction--or who think they are too old for comics.
-- Brigid Alverson