Since comicbooks became respectable, more or less, there are many films based on that medium in our modern era: ‘From Hell’, ‘V For Vendetta’ and all the super-hero stuff that’s taken over the cinema. ‘Vandroid’ is something different, a comic based on a film that was never made. A studio fire and other disasters kept the ‘cursed’ production from completion. It would probably have been a straight to video B movie but such things are not at all bad. ‘Vandroid’ is of that breed, even if he is named after the van he drives. Muscle men and androids with really big guns fire millions of rounds of ammunition at each other while large explosions tear the scenery to pieces. It’s all good fun.
Vandroid is a human form robot built by Chuck Carducci, a genius down on his luck who is offered the job by an old friend with mob connections. It’s equipped with the very latest in artificial intelligence and powered by a plutonium-iron battery. It has Chuck’s own personality, after being dead early in the story. It looks out for Chuck’s friends. It’s a super-strong robot Chuck with all his flaws and virtues. Things get interesting when Vandroid decides to take down the organisation that funded his creation.
The story by Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith rolls along at the pace of a good action movie. Dan McDaid’s art is stylised rather than accurately illustrative which is fine. My favourite artist is the very stylised Jack Kirby. Actually, the figures resemble Frank Miller’s drawing on Batman while the layouts are reminiscent of Carmine Infantino’s sixties DC work with many narrow, horizontal panels. It was brightly coloured and pleasant to look at while telling the story in a clear, coherent fashion. All in all, this is a solid piece of light entertainment that kind of makes you wish they had finished the film.
It’s a rollicking roller coaster of madness and mayhem and wait ‘til you see the Vanettes. Phwoar!
(pub: Dark Horse. 128 page graphic novel softcover. Price: $17.99 (US). £11.24 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-61655-495-8)
check out website: www.darkhorse.com