Somebody’s First Comic Book: Atomic Robo Vol. 1-Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne
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TITLE: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne
Writer: Brian Clevinger
Art: Scott Wegener
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Jeff Powell
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Never heard of him. I’m guessing “Atomic Robo” is the robot with the gun who looks like he beat up the bigger robot with the skull head.
IMPRESSIONS: Holy crap, this book is insane.
In six chapters, we’re introduced to the world of Atomic Robo, an 83-year-old robot who has apparently fought in World War II, battled monsters and mad scientists for decades, and owns a company called Tesladyne with which he and a group of “action scientists” protect the world from ludicrous menaces, such as that pyramid in Egypt that got up and started walking away, blowing stuff up in the process.
I’m using words like “insane” and “ludicrous” here to describe the book, but you’ve got to understand I intend that in a totally complimentary way. The stuff Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener have come up with to populate the world of Atomic Robo are wild, out-of-this world kinds of menaces that work well in contrast with the hero himself. It’s like somebody mashed together Indiana Jones, Doc Savage and Buckaroo Banzai, then turned the result into a robot. Everything about this property reminds me of the blatant toy commercial cartoons of the 1980s, except that this is actually really good.
To be fair, it is kind of confusing. It’s obvious that Robo has a pretty rich history here, but we don’t see very much of it. Even the flashback sequences (such as the time his trip to Mars was sabotaged by Stephen Hawking, of all people) only give us glimpses to his past adventures. We know he was active in World War II because he gets a letter from the granddaughter of an old army buddy telling him that his friend has died. Beyond that, we don’t know much – where did he come from, who invented him, what’s his origin?
Fortunately, these questions are more tantalizing than frustrating. It would be easy to load a book like this one with a ton of things that are left unresolved and leave the audience unsatisfied, but that isn’t the case here. The questions that are raised are never central to the plot or the character’s role in the story, so we feel like we’ve got a complete, satisfying tale in and of itself, even as we want to know more.
And you’re telling me there are five more books in this series? So far? Awesome. Give me more Atomic Robo.