28.-31 - Robot City Adventures Vol. 1 - 4

Publisher: Templar Books

Series: Robot City Adventures by Paul Collicutt

Ages: 9+

Acquired: Received review copies of Vol. 3 & 4 from Candlewick Press, so I went ahead and borrowed Vol. 1 & 2 from my local library.

Reason for Reading: I love the idea of a Robot City where humans and robots are friends, and the covers are really cool too. The robots are all shiny.

28. Vol. 1: City in Peril! - (2009) Here we are introduced to Robot City and this story mainly features Curtis, the colossal coast-guard robot. I absolutely loved him! What a cool, massive robot! Obviously he works for the coast-guard and is a giant lighthouse shaped robot, who is in charge of smaller (than him) buoy shaped robots who do most of the manual work involved in the job of the coast guard. After rescuing a crew and fixing an oil leak out on a rig a giant squid comes to Robot City's shores and wraps itself around a bridge. Following him are tons and tons of other sea life. Curtis goes out to fight off this squid but eventually finds out that it and the sea life are trying to communicate with him. An exciting robot superhero story a little reminiscent of transformers (without the transforming lol). The feel of the story actually reminded me of the '90s cartoon series Rescue Heroes. The book is done in old-time comic book style with newsprint type pages (though thicker quality paper) and pre-'80s comic book illustrations. I really enjoyed it though I was disappointed with the ending which was cliched with a message rather than exciting. (4/5)

29. Vol. 2: Rust Attack (2009) A completely unrelated story to volume one. We are introduced to the city's best confidential detective agency which includes former police officers Mike, human, Rod, robot and secretary, Elaine, human, who seems to work more in the field than behind a desk. One day a sexy female robot walks in, one of the automettes, a dancer at Robot City Music Hall, and shows she has rust, in fact all the robot automettes have been infected. This is serious business. Nothing is more frightening to the robots than rust and a rust epidemic in Robot City would be catastrophic. The detectives are on the job moving from one suspect to another. This is a really fun story, written in an old noir detective style and illustrated in old-time comic book style with newsprint type pages (though thicker quality paper) and pre-'80s comic book illustrations. Volume 1 does not have to be read first as the stories are not related, though followers are rewarded with a mention of Curtis's name on page 4 and a small cameo scene appearance by the giant robot towards the end. Two completely different types of stories is making an interesting series. I'm looking forward to volume 3. (4/5)

30. Vol. 3: The Indestructible Metal Men (2010) This series continues to contain it's momentum with yet another style of story. Again, a separate story in which the previous volumes need not be read but readers who have been following in order are given a nod with a couple of significant appearance of none other than Curtis, the Lighthouse Robot, and a short cameo by investigators Rod and Mike. A hundred years ago robots (then called metal men) were first being worked on by famous scientist Dr. Greenwood. Greenwood unfortunately went down on an ocean liner disaster along with his three indestructible men. Seventy years later one of them appeared out of the sea onto dry land and immediately shut down, he's been in Robot City's Museum ever since. But now evil Mr. Furniss has discovered another of the Metal Men and inadvertently turned on a communication signal. The first robot then takes off to find him. It is up to young scientist Sarah Cross and her robot assistant to track him down and eventually stop Mr. Furniss from his nefarious doings. Loved this issue! Again, it had everything you want in a comic, great story line, plenty of action, adventure and cool robots. The book is done in old-time comic book style with newsprint type pages (though thicker quality paper) and pre-'80s comic book illustrations. And we have a funny ending this time that made me giggle and look forward to volume 4. (4/5)

31. Vol. 4: Murder on the Robot City Express (2010) Now we turn to a full cast of robots as the newest train of tne Line is trying to beat the record of the last one seven years ago. Aboard are all sorts of big shots, such as directors, actors, sports figures, businessmen, rich girls with dogs and any one rich enough to get on this sure to be a gala trip. Problem is, someone dies on the trip, a quantum physicist. First glance looks like perhaps suicide, but his room has been ransacked. Have important papers been stolen or perhaps something much more valuable? The owner is not about the stop the train on this record breaking run so he puts the the robot Harrison, a simple conductor, in charge of finding out what happened based on the fact that he's always reading murder novels. Well Harrison turns out to be one bright cookie and he starts narrowing down the field to a significant amount of people who could have wanted Prof. Shimizu dead and starts his interrogations. Going to the head of the train whenever he needs information sent to him from authorities or interesting places. A fun mystery, with some real clever detecting going on. It may be hard to figure out whodunit with this one. And "no"! they didn't all do it! haha. Lots of robots on board but with all the characters we don't really get to connect with any of them except Harrison, the conductor and cute Curt: The Coffee Robot (who is on his first day on the job). The book is done in old-time comic book style with newsprint type pages (though thicker quality paper) and pre-'80s comic book illustrations. This is certainly the best of all four books in this series to date. A great read for anyone who likes a little science fiction pulp in their mystery. No word on whether there will be any more in the series at this date yet. Oh, and I forgot to mention there is one small cameo appearance by Curtis the Lighthouse Robot, making him the only robot to have appeared in all 4 volumes. (5/5)


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