Isaac Asimov’s I-Bots Vol. 2 #4
Big Entertainment (September, 1996)“Crackdown” part 3 WRITER: Steven Grant ARTIST: Pat Broderick COLORS: Prismacolor LETTERER: Michael A. Palmer EDITOR: James Chambers CREATOR: Isaac Asimov DEVELOPER: Howard Chaykin
After escaping another plane crash, the I-Bots head for the prison. Killaine is now a prisoner of the scientists thanks to the Silencii, who warded off the radioactive mutations. One of the scientists, upon learning that Essen had secretly taken over the project (by bribing another scientist, Malenko, to complete the work) and the Silencii, mentions hearing of the legend and tells them. Malenko is then ordered to kill the other two scientists and take the notes and run, forcing him to leave his son, another experiment, behind. The last scientist is able to tell Killaine how she and the I-Bots can defeat the mutations, but the Silencii blow up the building…and inadvertently release sonny boy! I’m betting he won’t be happy.
What they got right: The I-Bots face a worth foe in battle instead of strategy, and this time THEY need to use strategy to take them down rather than allies or a lucky break combined with force. We also get an origin for the Silencii.
What they got wrong: However, there’s a hole in the origin. While Pope Alexander VI wasn’t much of a saint by pope standards (numerous sexual affairs and pursuing politics rather than spiritual pursuits) I only found one reference through numerous sources of varying reliability about assassinations that claimed it was unfounded (and that was a good source). The odds of him or his children having a secret group trained as kids with no literacy skills and their tongues removed so they can’t squeal who sent them is quite low. And even if he had, how would they still be adding to their ranks by the future period this comic is set in, much less in 1996 when the comic was produced or today as I review it. I think people falsely believing The Da Vinci Code is historically accurate (it really isn’t) makes me more sensitive to things like this.
So for a less historical issue, just how many pies is Essen sticking his finger into with this arc? Now he’s tied to the mutations as well? Yes, I hoped he had so this subplot had a place in this arc but it’s still convenient how it comes about, that he just happened to have a scientist in his back pocket. And what part will this son play in the rest of the storyline?
Recommendation: A good story still. I still recommend finding this series.