When I cracked open Electropolis, I was not sure what I was about to get into, so let me tell you I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Taking place in a retro future, (like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), this tale follows Menlo Park; a reprogrammed janitor robot who is now a private eye. With the help of his human partner Anesta Robins, they take on a case from the blonde bomb shell Tes LaCoyle, who has info on Menlo’s old partner, who hung himself 16 years before from the worlds tallest building (which is supposed to be suicide proof). Before you know it the reader is flung into a noir mystery that has everything from vile criminals, backstabbing, twisted geniuses, drunk airship pilots, crazy Atlantian technology, crooked cops and, of course, plenty of twists and turns.
Written and drawn by Dean Motter, the writing is good although it can be a little verbose at times. The two center pieces of this TPB are both the art and the character of Menlo Park. Let’s start with the art, which may not appeal to many on first glance (including this reviewer), but really brings this world to life, (especially his one page and double page spreads of the city of Electropolis as well as the glimpses of its two derelict sister cities). But the top notch characterization of Menlo Park himself is what really brings this whole thing up from just a “meh” to “good”. Menlo’s no “Data” (Star Trek TNG). He’s not trying to be human. He’s a robot and that’s the way he likes it. (Although he does enjoy trying human things like cigars). He is both endearing and naive which makes him feel more human than he actually is and by the end; he feels more human to the reader than some of the actual human characters.
After all is said and done I have to admit that when I started reading this, I didn’t think I would like it, but I’m glad I did. I would recommend this to any one who loves for mysteries, enjoys “retro-futurism” or noir tales. Oh, and a special note when reading this; there’s a great Easter egg cameo of Rosey the Robot from The Jetsons dressed as a hooker… it’s good for a chuckle.