REVIEW: Pogoroboto Vol. 1

Pogoroboto Vol. 1
Story by: Stephen Paul Coffey
Art by: Stephen Paul Coffey
Cover by: Stephen Paul Coffey
Publisher: Stephen Paul Coffey
This was the first graphic novel from Stephen Paul Coffey in the Pogoroboto series. It represents the first artwork from Stephen to be published also. It is aimed at a mature audience due to a fair amount of coarse language and sensitive subject matters like self harm and suicide. If there was one person who shouldn’t read it, it probably would be Rob Liefeld who is the butt of a joke or two.
I have long been an admirer of Stephen’s writing. I find that he is a smart writer with a keen eye for sharp dialogue and is never short of ideas. This was going to be a challenge for him though. I know that he was unsure of what kind of reception that the book would receive as it is hardly a main stream book but instead a book from the deepest recesses of his mind that had a story to be told.
The book revolves around a group of pogo robots, robots with a pogo stick-like base that are programmed with personalities of humans which they got as part of a negotiation with Earth’s leaders to stop a war between the two races. They settle on a planet further away than George Lucas could imagine and developed a society under the watchful eye of a super computer called Omnicom. Word filters down that Omnicom wants to ban the sale of comic books much to chagrin of a robot called Bobby who rounds up a few friends of his with the aim of killing Omnicom by uploading a virus to destroy him.
With an eclectic group of friends including Vernon who is an alcoholic television lover, Donnie who is a suicidal Goth robot who discovered that he doesn’t have wrists to slit or a neck to hang and Dottie who is the thickest piece of tin ever moulded they set off. Knowing that this could very well end up getting him killed Bobbie sets out to get laid one last time. What follows is some uncomfortably graphic sexual scenes of robots doing it but done in a Tom Green style of visual. Now that that is out of the way they hop on public transport to get to Omnicom’s palace and meet on the bus a guy who has a Lord of the Rings is cool style conversation that reminded me of the Star Wars/LOTR scene in Clerks 2. It was one of the stand-out scenes of the book that was funny and brought Coffey’s humour to the fore.
Meanwhile back at Omnicom’s palace his helper Tully rushes to tell him of the incoming threat. He finds his master asleep and dares to waken him. Instead of focusing on the threat Omnicom is more interested in what is delaying his Grey’s Anatomy box set in the post.
The foursome arrive at the palace and have to pass a few tests to get to him at all, the first is to pogo over boulders falling down stairs in a scene akin to an early nineties 32-bit video game. Next they use Dottie as bait to get past an armed guard and finally they have to get past Death who happens to be a fan of Bobby as it is revealed that Bobby is a prolific serial killer on the side and keeps Death busy. Donnie uses the opportunity to ask Death why he keeps failing to kill himself to which Death tells him that he has spirit and apparently likes taking the mick out of him. Vernon also takes the opportunity to ask Death why he won’t call his sister whom he had a one night stand with recently. Death asks Bobby to please kill Dottie when he gets an opportunity as some robots are too idiotic to live. This scene is reminiscent of the character of Death in Family Guy and the kind of rapport he has with Peter and the scene was very funny to read. Death then gives them a free pass to continue on their way.
Bobby then tells the threesome that he will continue on his way alone as he was only using them as cannon fodder. After some name calling he continues only to meets Tully who lets him continue on. Bobby reaches the chamber that holds Omnicom and sees text on his big screen that he is dreaming of Jessica Alba. Bobby doesn’t realise that Omnicom has some great anti virus software and eliminates the virus. After being asked why he wants to get rid of comics Bobby finds out that the threat of getting rid of them actually gets sales to rise rapidly. After realising that it is all a marketing ploy, Bobby goes back home to take credit in his comic shop for ensuring future sales of comics and is promised free comics forever.
The final scene catches up on the three accomplices and finds that Vernon is still drinking heavily while watching TV, Donnie finds love/hate with another Goth and Dottie runs for president after embracing her pre programmed personality that was Sarah Palin. The final page has Bobby on a roof top dressed as Dark Pogo, a super hero who will keep the streets clean even though he is a killer himself.
This was a very quirky book with art somewhat loosely looking like that 2D art you would see on South Park. The script is dark in places with references to suicide and murder but also bitingly funny with Coffey’s unique style of writing very evident. Although this was a tentative step into the market with this book, I liked it. It was different and I looked forward to the next volume which I got recently. Check out Stephen Coffey’s facebook page and twitter account for information to buy.