Comic Review: Go Read Atomic Robo!

Do you like comic books? Actually, it doesn’t matter, you should read Atomic Robo even if you hate comic books. Do you like robots? Yea . . . that doesn’t really matter either; you should read Atomic Robo even if you have an irrational fear of robots.

Here’s the deal: if you have a pulse, you should read Atomic Robo. That means that unless you are zombie, you need to read this comic. If you are a zombie, first of all: BRAAAIIIIIINS! Secondly, go read The Walking Dead. No, don’t just watch the TV show, read the actual comic book. I don’t mean to sound bigoted, but man you zombies sure are a lazy bunch.

So, what is Atomic Robo you ask? Awfully glad you asked, otherwise I was just going to quit writing this damn article, go get a beer and enjoy some classic 80’s cartoons. But, since you did ask so nicely, I will tell you. Atomic Robo is a comic book that is written by Brian Clevinger and illustrated by Scott Wegener. The basic story is that Nikolai Tesla built an atomic-powered, self-aware robot in the early 20th century, who loves two things: science, adventure and snarky comments. Okay, three things. This backdrop sets up a rich store of potential stories for Atomic Robo because it gives the creators basically the past 100 years to draw from, and they take advantage of that throughout the series to the benefit of all readers.

Brian Clevinger’s writing is both clever and interesting. It is snarky without being off-putting (I have not quite mastered that technique yet). The parade of memorable and downright kick-ass characters, both real and fictional never seems to end: Tesla, Carl Sagan, Dr. Dinosaur, H.P. Lovecraft, and Evil, Undead Thomas Edison are just a few. That’s right, this series delivers Cthulhu, talking, genius velociraptors and necromantic masters of electricity. Seriously, what more could you want?

What’s that? War stories? Got those covered, too. As a matter of fact, my favorite Atomic Robo storylines are the ones about his service during World War II taking on the evil Nazi threat presented by a brain-in-a-jar known as Helsingard. The latest series, entitled “Flying She-Devils of the Pacific,” is in its 3rd issue and follows Robo in the post-World War II Pacific Ocean. So, far it is also a great read and has not disappointed.

Let us not forgot the great art by Scott Wegener. Although Mr. Wegener has been known to bitch and moan about having to draw one of my favorite characters, Dr. Dinosaur, he does so with finesse and panache – the drawing that is, not the bitching and moaning. There is no doubt that the art style can be called “stylized,” but it is done in a way that I find really appealing. No, the proportions are not real-to-life, but that is because they are not supposed to be, jerk. When Wegener is drawing characters, he checks the realism at the door in favor of getting across the feel and mood of the character, and I think that is the right call. The characters are extremely expressive and there are many panels where you know exactly what is going on by the expressions seen in the panel without any text needed. At the same time, Wegener does a great job of drawing extremely detailed and challenging subjects, which usually consist of some sort of military equipment like fighter jets, tanks, etc.

Honestly, I don’t think this little blurb of mine does it justice, so this is what you should do: 1) Sign up for a Comixology Account, 2) Download the Free Comic Book Day Editions of Atomic Robo (as indicated by the name, they are, indeed, free), 3) Read the comics, 4) Wonder what the hell you were doing with your life before you read Atomic Robo, and 5) Fork over some of you hard-earned money to buy the rest of the Atomic Robo Comics.

You’re welcome.

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