Image Comics 2015
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
Ten years ago, massive robots dubbed THE HARVESTERS suddenly appeared in the orbits of each of the Nine Core Worlds of a collective of planets known as THE UNITED GALACTIC COUNCIL (UGC).
Not even DR. JIN QUON, a brilliant young human scientist and the father of Network robotics, could figure out what these mammoth robots were. And before he could investigate further, The Harvesters awoke, descended from orbit and laid waste to each of the Core planets before disappearing.
Ten years later, on a distant mining Colony at the fringes of Network Space, a life-like young robot named TIM-21 wakes to discover the entire colony, and his human family, dead. TIM-21 is stranded on the moon colony with a small Pet-bot named BANDIT as his only companion.
TIM-21 connects to the datasphere and quickly learns about the Harvester Apocalypse and the antirobot revolution that spread across the universe in its wake. Almost ninety percent of all robots have been hunted and destroyed by mercenaries known as SCRAPPERS since The Harvester attacks.
By connecting to the datasphere, TIM-21 also alerted what’s left of the Network Council, and The Scrappers, to his existence. More importantly, they were able to read TIM’s MACHINE CODEX, or his “Robot-fingerprint” which, impossibly, is a perfect match for the Codex of one of The Harvesters!
Before TIM-21 can realize what he’s done, a team of brutal robot-hunting Scrappers arrives on the Colony…
Well I will admit that Jeff is weaving one heck of a story here. We see here Tim’s journey from creation to traveling to be Andy’s companion. What was really intriguing is that his AI was prevalent from the beginning when asking Dr. Jin Quon if he was his father and his innate searching where he belongs, wanting a family.
That is woven into the present where the Scrappers have landed and are now chasing Tim. I like that we see him behave like a boy and not a full grown robot because it makes things more interesting to see it from this perspective. He isn’t sure what’s happening but he’s behaving like a child would by running away and trying to find a hiding spot. All the while he’s remembering when he arrived and his life then.
I’ve never really been fan of Dustin’s work, for me it lacks the detail I like to see. Also Andy looks very much like a nickname for a little girl not a little boy. Seriously I went through this whole issue thinking Andy was a girl. I will also say that seeing his mommy, Mrs. Travers, in her suit but nothing more than a skeleton his face looked odd to me not really sadness but something akin to surprise but not quite. The black and white with gray tones was much better done to me it seems.
The story Jeff’s telling though is good enough to sit through the interior artwork. As Tim killed the Captain after him and then he’s shot by some kind of creature in return. Now where can this go will Tim be able to be rebooted and saved or will is programming and consciousness be uploaded elsewhere is something I look forward to learning. Now we know that the robots rose up and rebelled, common theme in these stories when dealing with AI, and we see a bit of that when the driller comes to sentience and kills the humanoids.
Though I have to say i’m intrigued by the ideas that can happen now. The driller bot doesn’t know what to do and it’s touching really he doesn’t want Tim to die. Also the old network is also on it’s way so we’ll see what happens when it gets there and if the driller bot will turn him over peacefully to save young Tim.
I say pick this up it’s a nice new take on something we’ve seen with artificial intelligence and it’s got this charming sophistication that will leave you pleasantly surprised.