Born as adults and with a few genetic enhancements, they are educated and forced to take on jobs that the robots do not want. Primarily left to their own devices in settlement camps, the humans’ place in this new world is precarious at best. It isn’t until Rosa is born, a third-generation human, that human rights advocate Abe sees a chance to advance humanity through her. One of the genetically enhanced, Rosa was born a fighter, both mentally and physically, and Abe believes she can take their cause to the next level—the fight arena.
Issue #1 is a very strong and thorough introduction into this world. Starting in the present and then flashing back to Rosa’s birth, her education, her friends, and her budding rebellious nature, we get to know her quickly and empathize with her blight. There are also small gestures to show her empathy and compassion to round out her character and make her sympathetic. There is only one page dedicated to Rosa’s robot opponent, but in that brief period, I get the sense there is more to WOL-421313 than meets the eye.
I love the artwork by Guilerme Balbi. He has given us a very rich and visual world that ranges from the spectacular (the WWE-like arena) to the more dark and gritty slums where the humans live. There are also several two-panel spreads that allow us to really feel like we are in the arena. The colors radiate the blinding glow of spotlights. I’m also a sucker for when artists have moving objects outside the panels. I must also give a nod to the lettering, as it meshes perfectly with each panel, from the blue robotic announcer balloons to the simplicity of the human ones. (Full disclosure: Troy Peteri is my letterer.)
Though this is clearly a flip on the traditional master-slave relationship trope, it’s hooked me enough to want to come back for more.
Creative Team: Zack Kaplan (writer), Guilerme Balbi (artist), Mark Lesko (colorist), Troy Peteri (letterer)
Publisher: Top Cow / Image Comics
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