Have you ever read a history book chronicling some old WW2 battle or something? But instead of telling the story with words, they tell the story with just still pictures, quotes, and excerpts from stuff like soldiers letters home, general’s letters to each other, etc?
Ever read a comic book like that?
Welcome to World War Robot. The team of Ashley Wood and T P Louise team up to bring you something that’s never been done before. Part comic, part art book, part mock history book, all awesome, WWR is a story set in the 80s. Earth is a god fearing planet. Some time in the past, atheist humans decide to leave Earth in a mass exodus, establishing their own godless nation on Mars. However, Mars conditions aren’t exactly the best for humans. Enter Darwin Rothchild, a mastermind robot builder who lives on the moon. Selling weapons to both sides and urging them on, he goads the two planets into war with each other to make profit.
As ridiculous as this sounds, you will not laugh once.
Wood’s Popbot/Zombies vs Robots Robot design is back here in WWR, but the art is a bit looser, a bit more abstract than his usual oil paints. On the cover to the hardcover I bought, Wood depicts a Robot firing a gatling gun, the bullet shells simple slashes of paint. Up close, it’s a chaotic mess. Pull back and its all there and it all looks so detailed it will stun you. He mimics war photos in his paintings. Wood is known for using the brown/red warm palette and its pretty much the same here so if youre expecting a huge change youll be disappointed, but the fact that this is a battle on mars makes it more acceptable. The only thing I wish is that Wood used his pen/marker style more, as im a big fan of when he busts that out. every piece in this book is oil painted. But that’s an extreme nitpick.
T P Louise tells an amazingly deep story with so little words. He uses Wood’s paintings to set up his story, and he tells it with just short snippets of a letter, an invoice from Rothchild to a CEO of a war company on Earth, or some quote. Although this seems like sparse storytelling, so much layers are added to the story, like the Mercenary with a gas mask who runs around and takes a whole Martian unit out by himself, his only words to the stunned soldier who sees him “They got in my way”. Or the girl whose mother signed her up for “relief support” who is being used to sleep with the soldiers to boost morale. Or the…no wait. I won’t ruin any more of the story. Seriously, go read this book. It is like nothing I’ve ever read before, and much like when I read Asterios Polyp, I came away from reading it knowing i just experienced something that transcended the comics medium and made it so much more, and so much better.
oh, and this is being optioned to be made into a movie, so read it now so you can be one of those snobs when it comes out!