‘Not All Robots’ #3 is both satire and suburban horror as we witness the obsoletion of human society in favour of robot servants. A story seen through the lens of one ordinary family who, like the wider society, are blindly walking towards their own extinction, even if they don’t even know it.
The unhealthy and dangerous relationships between robots and humans continues to play out and wreck havoc on the future society Mark Russell, Mike Deodato Jr. depict in Not All Robots #3. A parody of our own possible future as we allow one smart device after another to rule our lives in the name of convenience. A convenience that has seen humans surpassed by the very machines they created. But, it’s through the story and struggles of one family and their robot servant, Snowball, that this story is given context and emotive depth. Their story acts as the anchor to the whole series, the glue that binds the bigger story together offering up the perspective of just one of many families in a world they no longer have control over.
Of course, the parallels to our own modern world are purposefully obvious, but it isn’t just our over reliance on technology that Russell aims for. In the soon-to-be obsolete house-bots we have a further parallel with our own existence; wage suppression and job erosion. Especially in the lower paid job sector where technological innovation seems to be affecting job the worst, and wherein many such employees simply do not have the means to do anything about it, their bargaining power being at a minimum.
That, and late capitalist society’s need to keep up with the Joneses. Having the next best thing now! Without a thought or a care. Just like Donny’s neighbour, who’s stoked to be getting his new mandroid without a thought for his old device. But, there is some hope, and once more it’s down to the next generation to save us. As ever!
It is to Russell’s credit that such weighty themes are played out with a fine balance of satire and contemporary suburban horror too. Deodato’s art helps in this by giving this comedic caper a veneer of reality that helps drive home the more chilling aspects of this near-future fable. As the mandroids start rolling off the production line one cannot help but feel a sense of creeping unease that Russell has worked on throughout this series so far. A tragic inevitability that encourages readers to consider their own relationship with technology. And it’s this feeling of creeping horror that the reader is left with as the last few pages of this particular issue reveals not one but two very disturbing scenes that will haunt readers. Especially the last page.
Not All Robots #3 is out now from AWA Upshot