Danger is afoot in Robot City! In this sprawling metropolis, people and robots live side-by-side happily, but peace is not always a guarantee. Luckily, whether the danger is natural or man-made, there’s always someone ready to save the day. When a massive storm threatens the crew of an oil rig, Curtis, the Colossal Coast-Guard Robot will have to step in and set things to right. Then a rust problem hits the popular dance troupe the Automettes and only Robot City Confidential Investigations detectives Rod and Mike can find out who’s behind the plague. Evil never sleeps, so the good people and robots of Robot City must always be vigilant!
Collicut has the beginnings of an interesting series, though the second volume is much weaker than the first. In City in Peril, he is obviously creating an homage to old military/civil servant comics, but with an updated cast of characters. Everyone in Robot City’s Coast Guard is painfully earnest and eager to do good, giving the title a 1950s feel. The gender and ethnic mix of the characters and the environmental message at the end of the book are a modern touch that keeps the book feeling fresh and retro, rather than forced and stale. Unfortunately, the silly humor that worked in City in Peril falls flat in Rust Attack. In this volume, Collicut is obviously going for a more noir feel, but the rough-edged detective story doesn’t sit well with the childish humor of the characters. Rod and Mike both come off looking like idiots, rather than the smart, street-wise detectives they are supposed to be.
The Robot City concept is a smart one, though, and that uniqueness carries readers through the rough spots of the second book….