by mahargen on June 06, 2014

What does it mean to be human?  Some creators have given us great stories about machines finding their humanity to varying degrees of success.  They learn compassion.  They gain understanding.  They kill off humanity.  They coexist.  These are all great starting off points for stories.  D4VE, from writer Ryan Ferrier and artist Valentin Ramon, presents us with a different sort of tale of artificial intelligence.

D4VE is the titular character of the piece.  He’s relatable.  He’s in a dead-end job with a boss he hates and a home life that is strenuous to say the least.  He is kind of an asshole, and I relate to him a great deal more than most flesh-and-blood characters in comics.  The story takes place in the far future, long after the robots have risen and eradicated humanity.  The hook of D4VE is that after the robots have claimed their victory, they backslide and become just like their former masters who they overthrew.  D4VE is a decommissioned military robot shuffled into a desk job who has lost his way in this new world.  He is ageing and he seems to have outlived his usefulness in this new peaceful world.  Even his former partners have been able to find something with some degree of meaning.  

Beneath a veneer of crass humor and profanity, there is a very human story here.  Finding your place in the world is a trope many of us can relate to, whether the lost soul is human, alien, or “other” as in the case of our “hero” D4VE.  I’ve never been accused of being a prude, so the storytelling method fit right in with my personality, but it might be off-putting for some readers who don’t look a little deeper.  D4VE really took me by surprise.  I was not expecting a story I could connect with as well as I did.  Of course, I did  have to set aside my natural feelings of self-preservation to root for D4VE.  Without digging too deeply into spoiler territory, things change for D4VE and he is presented with an opportunity to redeem his behavior and make a claim for his future.

The overall arc of the story is confined to five issues, giving us just enough time to get to know the characters and become invested in where their artificial lives take them.  The brevity doesn’t leave much time for exposition, so the story beats are quick, if a little rushed at times.  Ramon’s art falls very much in line with the story.  The robot characters are equal parts fluid human and stiff machine, an interesting juxtaposition that could have easily wrecked the overall effect the book.  The muted color palettes help bring the sterile future to life.  The designs of the future are very logical extensions of current technology and make the aesthetic believable.  Ramon was firing on all cylinders here.

Check this book out if you want a fun action romp that gives you a story with a heart.



Matthew has just returned from a sabbatical in K’un-Lun, where he trained in the mystical arts of self esteem.  He can be found on the Twitter as @mahargen.


Our Score:


A Look Inside