Robot 13: Colossus! remains an unfinished tale after three years

Picture a cross between The Bourne Identity and a Homeric epic, a story told in ambient color and harsh, jagged lines. Throw in a badass, monster-stomping robot for good measure, and you have Robot 13: Colossus!, a graphic novel by Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford. Blacklist Studios published the first issue of Robot 13 back in 2009, yet the comic has yet to make it beyond issue three—a real shame, considering its gorgeous artwork and unique story.

The novel follows a mysterious metal warrior with a floating skull for a head and little recollection of his own past. He awakens after being pulled from the sea by a group of fisherman. When he and his rescuers begin having strange and violent run-ins with mythological creatures, our hero is forced onto a path to find out exactly who he is and where he comes from. On this journey, he is attacked at intervals by foes who seem to know him, and as his memory returns in bits and pieces, he begins to understand why.

As intricate as the story is, it is told with the most minimal dialogue and narration. Thomas Hall thankfully leaves the action sequences to speak for themselves—no talking in the middle of a fight and no umph’s, argh’s, or other such grunting noises to prove to the reader that getting chucked thirty feet by a Cyclops into the snow may knock the wind out of you. I have read my fair share of comics that were far too word heavy yet had half the amount of character development in Robot 13. For someone with a skull for a face, the protagonist can be pretty expressive. You can really tell when he is sad, pensive, or angry, which I thought was pure genius on the part of the artist.

That said, the art is what I love most about this novel. The muted tones that Bradford uses give the novel an overall quality of sadness, and his line work gives everything, even the human characters, the look of stone. This is fitting, since the premise involves heavy reference to ancient mythology. Overall, the beautiful artwork and captivating narrative make Robot 13: Colossus! a must-have for any comic collection.

Blacklist’s most recent update on Robot 13 is a first volume, combining issues 1-3, released in August. They have also published another series, KING!, which, like its predecessor, has been missing in action after only a couple issues. Assuming the creators have not fallen off the planet, one can only wait and hope that the story will one day continue.

Blacklist Studios Website

Published by Lisa Vega

I am a senior at Arizona State University and a fiction and creative nonfiction writer. My hobbies include policing other people's grammar, reading books with interesting covers, and riding my bicycle on fair weather days.

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