Kimot Ren (#1 – 2) – Julian Darius

3 out of 5

A great setup, but similar to main title Martian Comics, Kimot Ren starts to wander afield a bit too much – too invested in showing off some research; too obvious with its “subversions” of genre – and loses some of its initial thrill.

A disagreement between some Martians on a ship leads to a laser-blast filled fracas, and a crash landing on Earth during Old West times.  The survivors: a servant robot and his ailing master, the former pledging to venture out to procure what he can to help his master keep on a’masterin’.

Kimot Ren – the robot – narrates; he’s quite beyond your usual fictional robo-intelligence, more along the lines of a Data from Star Trek: dutiful, and aware of how words and actions can be manipulated while still remaining truthful to that duty.  Kimot realizes his master won’t likely survive, but commits to wandering into a nearby town to find medicine all the same, and when he’s discovered – all four-armed and mechanical and whatnot – he refigures that his mission now is to maintain the Martian status quo and not let the humans know they’re not alone.  He allows his discoverers to draw their own conclusions, and eventually winds up with a circus troupe.

All of this is pretty great.  Artists Andre Siregar and Donovan Yaciuk provide great figurework and varied framing for the talking heads, with a bright, but grounded color palette.  Darius’ dialogue leans toward literary, but it’s justified as mostly being Kimot’s thoughts.  The way the circus takes him in feels a little forced, but it’s also fascinating the way Darius / Kimot lets everyone draw their own conclusions about him, with the point being that we fit the unknown into our own belief systems.

While I can’t say how to expand on that, I think that could’ve been a great line of thought to continue with.  Instead, issue #2 goes takes time to show off, act by act, what a freakshow was like back in the day, and then a few pages of researched history on automatons, which is how Kimot is presented to the crowd.  It’s not uninteresting, but it’s a lot of page real estate that’s essentially all “extra”; it doesn’t directly benefit the story.  This slack in pace is then followed by a conflict in which Kimot steps in and is then scolded for handling the matter too aggressively, forcing our robot to go all internal questiony – do I want to stay with this circus troupe???  Is violence not the answer??? – and it’s rather heavy-handed.

I was waiting for another issue to drop before weighing in on this – up through issue seven looked speced out on the Martian Lit site – because I can imagine the story going off in different directions from here, but it’s been several months since updates, so here we are.  Still, if more Kimot comes out, I’ll absolutely be giving it a chance, and possibly reappraising my overall opinion.