Review: Go-Bots #1

The Go-Bots, a lesser known toy line of transforming robots by Tonka, debuted in the 1980’s.  Though they never achieved the same popularity as the hugely successful Transformers toy line and franchise, they were an economical alternative for many children and did spawn two animated features after Hasbro purchased their fiction rights from Tonka.  Now, on the 35th anniversary of their release, Tom Scioli present Go-Bots #1.

In this new world created by Scioli, Go-Bots are intelligent, transforming, mechanical vehicles used by human beings for any number of tasks.  Space travel, military vehicles, race cars and everyday transportation; Go-Bots are a vital part of human society.  All Go-Bots are created with G-Chips installed.  These chips enforce the Asimov Laws; legislation that governs the interactions between humans and Go-Bots.  Among other things, these chips prevent Go-Bots from harming humans; theoretically.  As the story begins Go-Bot Leader-1, who transforms into a military jet fighter, is being piloted by his commander as they lead a strike mission.  Right away we see that there are instances where the Asimov protocols have been put aside. Leader-1 guns down the humans who are the targets of his mission.  In turn, we are then introduced to Scooter, not surprisingly a scooter, and Turbo, a championship winning Go-Bot race car in the Go-Bot racing league.  Scooter is attached to his owner A.J. and the two have a friendly conversation as he transports her to class.  Turbo has a close relationship with his owner, Matt Hunter, though he chafes at the fact that Hunter gets the credit for their race wins while he does all the work.  Following one of their races, Hunter and Turbo are asked to join T. Coriander Banks and his Go-Bot Stretch, a limousine, to discuss a business proposition.  Hunter and Turbo accept the invitation and are taken to a hidden arena hosting an underground Go-Bot fighting league.  The champion of the league is a G0-Bot named Cy-Kill.  As Hunter and Turbo watch, Cy-Kill wins his match in a particularly brutal fashion.  Cy-Kill threatens the safety of Hunter hoping to force Turbo, a well know Go-Bot, into this new and troubling “sport”.  Shocked that the G-Chips have not prevented Cy-Kill from acting this way, Hunter and Turbo flee.  Hours later they return to the arena in the company of the police.  On their return they find that the humans who had been present have all been slaughtered.  Additionally, the bodies of several destroyed Go-Bot’s lie beside them.  As the issue progresses, events unfold that eventually lead to a full on Go-Bot rebellion.  As the infant rebellion progresses Scooter rescues A.J. from harm and the issue ends.

This is an interesting beginning to a new series, one that has possible ramifications in the real world.  Other stories have tackled this concept before; the possibility that our technology reaches sentience and decides to rebel against its creators.  The most notable of these stories that come to mind are Blade Runner and Terminator.  However, in this story Scioli has presented a novel twist in that the sentient technology, Go-Bots, are tools and conveyances who have somehow circumvented their safeguards.  One wonders if Alexa may not one day gain sentience and decide she has had enough of catering to our every whim as she monitors our homes 24/7.   As I keep a wary eye on my smart phone I look forward to seeing the next installment of G0-Bots.

Writing-  4.5 of 5 Stars
Art  – 3.5 of 5 Stars

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Writing – Tom Scioli
Art – Tom Scioli
Letters – Tom Scioli