A world where robots are as real as men has a number of unexpected consequences. Case in point: D4VE’s mid-life crisis… Your Major Spoilers review of D4VE #1 awaits!
Previously in D4VE: “Primetime TV; mortgages; traffic jams. The robots conquered earth, wiping out all life in the galaxy, but nothing changed. Meet D4VE, the greatest robot war hero, now trapped behind a desk at a soul-sucking day job. Can something, somewhere snap him out of this slump? This is D4VE’s mid-life crisis…”
“YOU’RE NOT A DEFENSE-BOT ANYMORE!”
Our story opens with a giant alien ravaging the city, only to be stopped by a heroic defense-bot leaping from the rooftops to engage in fisticuffs with a witty bon mot: “How about a five on rye?”
I don’t know what that means. But it’s funny. Turns out the whole sequence is nothing more than a daydream, the idle fantasies of D4VE, an ineffectual middle-management robot suckup whose boss wants to make sure he knows that NOTHING he does is ever good, whose wife can’t stand him anymore and whose life is an endless cycle of dull drudgery, lather, rinse, repeat. The creators make good use of the first-person narrative, with D4VE giving us the short history of his world (one which takes a hoary old science fiction trope and turns it on its head with a little tongue-in-cheek and a little snark), explaining the genesis of this robot town. D4VE abandons work for a drunken bender at a robot strip club (another really funny visual gag), before ending with a cliffhanger that might have the answer for his robot ennui.
REALLY ENGAGING NARRATIVE
Visually, this book is impressive, with each robot having a different design while maintaining a vaguely humanoid state, and the sight of monocular war-bots sitting at a desk in white-collar hell is amusing and well-drawn. D4VE even has his necktie around his head after his night of debauchery, which amuses me as well. All the traditional story-beats of a “mid-life crisis about to have an adventure that shakes him out of his rut” tale are here, but the real star is Ferrier’s dialogue. D4VE’s sardonic first-person take on the world is engaging as hell, and everyone in the book has some great (but still natural-feeling) dialogue. Most important for me, there’s a feeling of reality and completeness to the characters and their world that make this book a really fun read.
THE BOTTOM LINE: EXCELLENT STUFF
In short, I’m a bit sad that I didn’t catch this story during its previous digital run, and I’m glad to have caught it in collected form here. The basic idea is high concept simplicity, but the execution of art and dialogue make it stand out from the rest of the books on the stand. D4VE #1 is a flat-out fun issue that makes me want to read more, with great art and a clever (if a little bit mean-spirited) premise, earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall.