Reading Pile: Go-Bots TPB
While not quite as insane and mind blowing as his Transformers VS GIJOE series, Tom Scioli's Go-Bots is still a fun and bizarre romp that reimagines the property in a way that only he can. I recall some gnashing of the teeth as some fans were not too excited for his unique art stylings, which kind of baffles me a bit. Scioli's stories are usually in their own self contained continuity, plus we are getting a very Jack Kirby inspired approach to the Go-Bots and that alone is a magical thing to appreciate.
If you aren't familiar with the Go-Bots don't worry, this series reboots and reimagines the core concept. It does re-use a number of concepts and characters (the three plucky human companions are still here, just in a different capacity), and it does toss in plenty of references, but not in any way that would greatly reduce your reading of the plot.
Scioli basically approaches the Gobots with your standard I Robot/Matrix/Exo-Squad premise of man's creations overcoming their Isaac Asimov protocols and turning on humanity. While not too original, it acts as a decent launchpad for the first couple issues and it has fun in the chaos of the robo uprising.
There's plenty of fun and quick bits and pieces throughout the first couple issues, such as setting the core antagonist Cy-Kill up in the usual Megatron fashion of being a gladiator fighter, but this time being the victor instead of Hasbro cannon fodder.
Plus odd little bits of pathos sprinkled throughout, such as entire sequences dedicated to the character Screw Head. Which hey, I love because I still have and adore my Screw Head toy and I think plenty of other people do as well.
Things really pick up as the tone gets a little 'Planet of the Apes' past the midway point of the story, turning into a dystopian nightmare of odd toy references and the downfall of humanity.
One thing that Scioli loves to do is create these odd little villain moments that are both great at establishing how heinous they can be while also being a little hilarious.
It's nightmarish and goofy in that way that only Scioli can pull off and I love it.
Visually it's such an weird hodgepodge of odd human figure work, stiff robot designs that tribute the nature of the toys, and kinetic and inventive action sequences. I find that his art style can be fairly polarizing and most people either love him or hate him, but regardless of where you fall you have to accept that he infuses his work with a unique personality and energy that creates something new and worth exploring.
The latter half of the book is also where things pick up conceptually as Scioli starts folding in different ideas to create a lot of fun twists. In the mix of dystopian sci-fi we get some vaguely Arthurian concepts tossed in with random spiritual revelations and multiversal time loops that play as a certain type of fanservice.
This series fills such a narrow niche and has such a limited fanbase that it's sort of amazing that this was even green lighted in the first place. On top of that it's such an oddly paced Frankenstein creation of familiar plots and tropes that somehow manages to pull off an alchemical feat and become something uniquely separate (yet familiar) from Transformers VS GIJOE and Scioli's other works. There's a certain joy that comes from this type of mulit-faceted level of geekery that's hard to describe, and all you can do is bask in it.