Saturday, November 6, 2010

24 Seven Vol. 2

Edited by Ivan Brandon

This anthology is the second of two graphic novels that contain only short stories featuring robots.  The trick, or the conceit, is that the robots are the only inhabitants (except, in one story which also has gorillas) of the planet, and they tend to live what we regard as normal lives.  The book is somehow connected to the NYC Mech series that Image put out in the middle of the decade, but these books feature a rich variety of talented writers and artists.

When I read the first volume, I complained that the stories were pretty ordinary, and didn't do much with the robotic concept.  People whined about their jobs or had break-ups, and the fact that they were robots seemed to exist solely in the visual aspects of the comic.  That is not the same with this volume.

Instead, many of the stories deal head-on with the notion that the protagonists are mechanical in nature.  There is a story by Carla Speed MacNeil and Bruno D'Angelo that has the main character slowly trading in his parts so that the he can become a dancer, although it means giving up his family's legacy.  Similarly, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Andy MacDonald tell a story where the hero literally carries his emotional baggage around with him, attached to his body.

There are lots of great stories here by a very impressive list of creators, including Gene Ha (who plays around with a homage to Little Nemo in Slumberland), Fábio Moon, Michael Avon Oeming, Francesco Francavilla, Gabriel Bá, Juan Doe, Rafael Albuquerque, Ben Templesmith, Dave Johnson, Jason Aaron, Fiona Staples, Jason Latour, and Frazer Irving.

This is a very coherent and enjoyable anthology, which covers a number of different genres.  Recommended.

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