Go-Bots issue 2
|First published||December 26, 2018|
|Cover date||November 2018|
|Written by||Tom Scioli|
|Art by||Tom Scioli|
|Colors by||Tom Scioli|
|Letters by||Tom Scioli|
Fugitives amidst the Go-Bot rebellion, A.J. and Matt search for answers as battle lines are drawn.
As the Go-Bot uprising plunges Earth into chaos, a manual laborer by the name of Screw Head recounts his story to his new leader Cy-Kill. Once, he was a simple mining machine, but when a rockfall wound up killing his organic master Vernon, his eyes were opened that day as to the cruel nature of society. Cy-Kill commiserates with Screw Head's plight, and announces that tonight is the night they return the favor. Ordering Pocket and Rube to dispose of Leader-1's broken body, Cy-Kill proceeds to lead his new Renegade army to terrorize a nearby town, burning stores, trashing the local power plant, and crushing humans for the fun of it... the same town, as it happens, where A.J. and Scooter happened to be standing. Despite everything happening around them, however, Scooter isn't going to kill A.J., valuing the young human's friendship too much. Scooter transforms and tries to carry her to safety, dodging Go-Bot rebels along the freeway, but as Crasher smashes a nearby dam, the freeway is beset by a devastating flood, forcing Scooter to outrun the torrent and take shelter in a nearby parking garage. There, they encounter another human survivor and his Go-Bot partner: Matt Hunter and Turbo. The two humans trade stories of their respective adventures just following the revolt.
Ever the pragmatist, Matt just wants to get out of the city before it's completely overrun by Go-Bots, but A.J. has a plan of her own: if they can get to the Tonka Building, the primary Go-Bot manufacturing center for the region, then could they reverse the degradation of the G-chip that's allowed the Go-Bots to run amok and ignore the First Law of Go-Botics? Matt is still not convinced, preferring to leave the matter to the authorities; as if on cue, a pair of police cars pull up... but when Matt shouts down to the "police," the cars transform to reveal themselves as Go-Bots, opening fire on the heroes and forcing them to flee.
At a nearby junkyard, the two Renegades dispose of Leader-1's body by tossing it into a car compactor. What they don't know, however, is that Leader-1 still lives, and as the crushing machine roars to life, the heroic Go-Bot breaks free, tossing his would-be executors into the machine in his stead before flying off!
On the freeway, the chase is on as the police Go-Bots try to catch the two humans and their Go-Bot allies. Their pursuit takes them into a closed road and towards a half-constructed bridge—and though they make the jump, they're left clinging to the edge, with the police-bots threatening to drag the Go-Bots and their humans off the ledge and into oblivion. After another brief struggle, the two cop-bots are sent plummeting off the cliff, and after that harrowing experience the heroes try to take stock of the situation, stopping off at a liquor store so that a shaken Matt can steady his nerves by placating his drinking habit.
In the meantime, however, the military—deprived of their most powerful assets, and forced to rely on low-tech solutions—has already mobilized against the uprising; as Go-Bots across the city torture humans and cause chaos, A.J., Matt, Scooter, and Turbo arrive at the deserted Tonka Building, now staffed by a skeleton crew of a single technician and his faithful companion Spoons. Despite everything, however, their quest is a dead-end: the technician calmly explains that this problem isn't a mere malfunction, it's a deliberate uprising of sentient beings who want the extinction of humanity. The technician's only advice is to run far and fast, in the hopes that the new Go-Bot world order will leave them alone... but then, he points out, humans were always quick to track down and terminate runaway Go-Bots.
In the sky, Fitor tears his way through a U.S. Air Force division, contemptuously tearing through the outdated fighter jets. As he circles around on the tail of his next victim, however, a familiar grey jet swoops in to transform and take on the renegade: Leader-1!
Outside, the quartet have decided to take the only course of action left: to fight back. As Matt mixes up some impromptu explosives using the empty alcohol bottles and Turbo's gasoline, A.J. spies a human tangled up in the power lines, a victim of a recent Go-Bot attack. Turbo and Scooter extricate him from the power lines... only for the victim to reveal himself as T. Coriander Banks. Banks explains how he caused the revolution, by hiring a Go-Boticist to tinker with their violence settings, believing that they would be protected by the First Law from their aggression... unaware that the U.S. military had already worked on softening the First Law in their own hardware to allow GoBots the option to use lethal force. When this line of code—a "death equation" jumped wirelessly from one Go-Bot to the next, it eventually hit Banks's privately modified Go-Bots... and, together, these volatile elements all lead up to the birth of Cy-Kill and the Go-Botic rebellion.
His role revealed, Banks succumbs to his injuries... but not before his limousine Stretch lumbers towards the group, only for Matt to fight back, bombarding him with his Molotov cocktails while Turbo grapples with the burning Go-Bot. Unfortunately, this brawl has caught the attention of the other Renegade Go-Bots; Scooter is seized by Crasher and Cop-Tur in the chaos, and Turbo is overpowered by Stretch and tossed into a ditch. As Cy-Kill arrives, the Renegade leader torments A.J. and humiliates Scooter by driving him in his vehicle mode as Dr. Braxis and Vamp watch from the sidelines.
Down but not out, Turbo recovers to fight back against Cy-Kill, and the two enemies clash once more—but this is a brief fight, as Turbo is quickly overpowered by the savage Cy-Kill while his jubilant enemy proclaims his victory... a victory that is all too brief, as the familiar shape of Leader-1 arrives, supported by a vast army of Go-Bots!
In the burning streets, the two armies of Go-Bots stand off against one another as their two leaders trade barbs. Matt and A.J. flee, but the military stands fast—even though their barrage of tank fire only amuses Cy-Kill. The two titans battle it out, and though Cy-Kill, his skills honed in the gladiatorial matches, initially gains the upper hand by dragging Leader-1 across the asphalt, it's Leader-1 who triumphs, forcibly transforming Cy-Kill and riding him into a wall. A wounded Cy-Kill isn't so quick to accept defeat; he spits to Leader-1 that his intentions are no different from Cy-Kill's; after all, they were both shaped by their violent pasts, and Leader-1, he argues, just wants Earth for himself. Renegade Treds encourages Leader-1 to finish what Cy-Kill started, to ride on the capitol and take control of their destiny, while Scooter argues that Go-Bots need to help return things to the way they were—taking orders from human. As Cop-Tur pleads not to go back into bondage and Turbo waits for their next orders, a wounded Leader-1 cradles the dead body of his pilot Nick Burns, knowing that his next words will change the course of human history...
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"It's weird how our Go-Bots seem to be immune to all this."
"I hate it when you talk about me like I'm not here, Matt."
- —Matt and Turbo.
"Fiction is the waiting room for reality. We just build them. It's your job to parent them. We gave them independent thought and the ability to judge. We made them like us. They found us lacking."
- —The technician's grim diagnosis of the situation.
"We all have a choice. To ride or be ridden."
- The Tonka Building, noted to be the city's primary manufacturer and distributor of Go-Bots, is, of course, a nod to the real-world company of the same name, responsible for importing the Machine Robo toyline and creating the original GoBots fiction.
- The original GoBots cartoon depicted the characters as extraterrestrial cyborgs, incorporating organic brains into robotic bodies; while this comic runs with the concept of them being human-built machines, there's some ambiguity in the final battle between Leader-1 and Cy-Kill; in addition to depicting Leader-1 bleeding what appears to be red blood when kicked by Cy-Kill, he sports a very organic looking set of teeth and a tongue, and both possess what appears to be a strange, fleshy-looking face beneath their mechanical exteriors. Is this merely a nod to the cartoon, or some foreshadowing regarding the true origins of the Go-Bots? We will have to wait and see...
- Cy-Kill orders his soldiers to dispose of Leader-1's "iron hide".
- One of the stores robbed by Cy-Kill is called "Big Pharma," a derogatory term for the pharmaceutical industry.
- Following on from last issue's mention of the "Asimov Laws," this issue name-drops the "First Law of Go-Botics," that a Go-Bot cannot harm humans, taken from Isaac Asimov's First Law of Robotics: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." The mention of the US military creating a line of Go-Bots with "softer" First Laws, allowing them to kill humans under specific circumstances, could even be a reference to Asimov's story "Little Lost Robot," in which the military did something similar.
- Cy-Kill's odd pronunciation of "human" as "hu-man" may be a nod to the stilted dialogue of the character Ro-Man from the cult B-movie Robot Monster.
- On page 4 when Bugbite transforms into robot mode, inside his cockpit through his windscreen can be seen a head which had more than a passing resemblance to Bumblebee, who shares an alt mode with Bugbite.
- The panels and dialogue showing Turbo's survival in the sewers is a direct lift of Wolverine's iconic return at the end of Uncanny X-Men #132.
- Scheduled for release in November 2018, this issue was nearly two months late, coming out at the end of December.
- Cover A: Cy-Kill, by Tom Scioli
- Cover B: Our human heroes and Scooter, by Dash Shaw
- Retailer incentive Crasher vs. Turbo in the style of a wrestling match, by Jim Rugg