Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Atomic Robo (Volume 1):

Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne TP
Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener

Atomic Robo is a really fun superhero title.  Put out by the small Canadian publisher Red 5 Comics, there have been several Atomic Robo mini-series that have been collected over the years, this being my first taste of the guy.  It seems pretty likely that this was heavily influenced by Hellboy.  Not only do the pencils by Scott Wegener look very Mike Mignola-ish, but the premise harbors striking similarities.  Hellboy is about a demon in the employ of the government who handles cases that are beyond the limitations of man.  He's also an outsider who wisecracks as he fights.  Atomic Robo has the same sort of personality traits, often to rather funny results, and works for the government as well, although he is obviously a robot instead of a demon.  But Clevinger and Wegener have no problem making Atomic Robo seem like a breath of fresh air.  It's highly entertaining, and like its flippant protagonist, seems to get the job done effortlessly.  The design for Robo is pretty much perfect, especially his eyes, which allow for him to be expressive as the time arises, although his whole body lends itself to the cartoony style of Wegener.  A lot of this first volume of the series introduces Robo to readers, pitting him against a mad scientists' crazy creations like giant ants and robot mummies, effectively showing him off.  The main villain is made of pretty standard, bland stuff, but I think that's okay, as the creators already have enough going on in the story bringing Robo to life for their audience.  There are a lot of flashbacks in this issue, flushing out Robo's past, which allows for a wider variety of action scenes, but I did get a little lost in some of them, which is my only minor gripe about the book.  From the first issue, this kind of reads like a classic genre title that could easily sit comfortably alongside the creator-owned superhero books at a major publisher like Image Comics or Hellboy's home, Dark Horse.

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