In the world of Father Robot #1, humans built mechs to make life simpler; remotely piloted robots fight wars, build roads, mine, and do any task deemed too dangerous for humans. Reginald “Reggie” Bloom pilots a war mech in the regional conflicts that plague his home town. During one fateful conflict he abandons combat to protect his wife and daughter and is forcibly pulled out of the neural link to his robot; however, a spark of sentience blossoms inside the non-biological being, and Father Robot, a self-aware robot, is born with one task in mind: to protect the child it believes is its daughter.
The story of the first issue, as I stated earlier, moves slowly, but it allows readers to know Reggie as a soldier, husband, and father before the focus switches to his robotic alter ego, Father Robot. Seeing the genuine love and affection between Reggie, his wife Maura, and their daughter Clarabelle, helped establish the basis for why part of Reggie’s consciousness might leap into his mech when his family faces danger. I also appreciated Reggie and Maura being a mixed race couple, given that representation in media is such an important issue. It was a little disappointing that all of the soldiers were portrayed as white men, but one representation victory made me happy.
Sam Garland’s cover artwork for Father Robot #1 is beautiful and touching, but the interior pages were a little hit or miss for me. The proportions on some humans felt a little off, but many pieces, especially close ups, were amazing, and no character was a carbon copy of another. Garland really shone with the various mechs in this issue; each one is unique and recognizable, and even as a robot Father Robot somehow feels friendly and welcoming (even when blasting things with torpedoes). The action shots with the mechs were also dynamically engaging, so more robot scenes in the coming chapters will allow Garland the freedom to explore them.
Overall, Father Robot #1 was a great introduction to White and Garland’s world, but it left me wanting a little more of the title character. The back story was necessary to set up Father Robot’s “birth,” but I needed more robots. At the same time, this issue made me want to read more and see how the story would coalesce between the two father figures, Reggie and Father Robot. How deep does Father Robot’s self-awareness go, and will he be willing to relinquish Clarabelle to her biological father? Will Clarabelle be able to let go of her gargantuan protector when she and her father are reunited? Is the bond between father and daughter forged from biology and love? We’ll have to read the next chapter of Father Robot to find out!
4.5 Games of Being Chased by a Scary Robot out of 5