Turbines to speed!


Every once in a while you have the chance to get in on the ground floor of something big. I think Atomic Robo from Red 5 Comics is one of those titles just waiting to bust out. Atomic Robo has Nazis, explosions, and a robot that wears pants and cracks wise. What’s not to like?

atomicrobo_cover.jpgThe premise behind Atomic Robo is pretty simple, back in the day Nikola Tesla created a robot with automatic intelligence and let him loose on the world. If Nikola Tesla is involved then you know the story is off to a good start – I mean, who doesn’t like Tesla? Oh yeah, right, those Edisonians (Edisonites?) – ugh. During his time, Atomic Robo spent time with scientists, fought during World War II, and supposedly helped with the space program.

Issue #1 kicks off in 1938 with Atomic Robo being offered quite a deal by the U.S. Government – go on a covert mission to capture a Nazi scientist and in exchange be granted legal status as a human being and American citizen. Sounds like a deal that can’t be beat.


If you get the feeling from the art and Nazi-centric story that there is a lot of Hellboy influence, then you aren’t alone. The issue (in my mind) drips Mignola, Doc Savage, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with heaping helpings of the supernatural, and lots and lots of humor.


While Atomic Robo fends off a very comical attack from the bumbling Nazis (remember he’s a robot and impervious to bullets, you would think the first dozen times bullets bounced off his iron hide, they’d get the hint), the mad scientist Helsingard is up to no good trying to transplant the Vril Organ into his body to make him nearly indestructible.

While the bulk of the issue is centered around Robo making his way through the Nazi horde, the two do meet in a very funny Buffy-esque ending where the big bad’s downfall is so obvious all it takes is a well placed shot.

This is a six issue mini-series, and don’t think we’ve seen the end of Helsingard’s evil plans.

The issue is a really fast read, and while that may seem like a bad thing, it’s one of my favorite reads of the week! After finishing the issue, I had a smile on my face, as I flipped back to the first page and reread it again. The comedic timing, the art, the concept and story are all spot on. There’s only one thing I’m not fond of, and that’s the title character’s name. Atomic Robo? That really doesn’t sound like a name Tesla would select for one of his creations. Automaton Man, Self Powered Mechanical Life Form, or even Death from Above makes more sense that Atomic Robo. But I can live with it, and the name will more than likely grow on me over the next several issues.

If there is only one suggestion I would make it would be to use <when speaking in a different language.>* It makes it easier for the reader to know they aren’t reading pure English.

The Good

  • A robot fighting Nazis
  • Mignola-esque art
  • A robot fighting Nazis
  • A comic book that actually references Tesla – one of the greatest minds ever

The Bad

  • Too many people may equate the series with Hellboy, and that isn’t a fair comparison
  • Story seemed too short
  • Only six issues

There are a few limited series characters that have gone on to become big hits. I have hopes Red 5 will release even more mini-series and do the same with Atomic Robo. With a few minor tweaks to the storytelling, along with the potentially huge mythology behind the legend that is Tesla and everything surrounding him, there could be plenty of stories for years to come. The freshman entry from Red 5 is a good indicator of things to come from the company, and I give Atomic Robo a solid 5 out of 5 Stars.


Parting Shot

*Translated from German

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. October 10, 2007 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    This book was a real treat for me this week. I saw it on the shelf and upon flipping through it immediately brought it up to the counter to purchase with the rest of my pull list. Definitely worth taking a look at and I recommend it to everyone.

  2. October 10, 2007 at 10:52 pm — Reply

    Your quick review may have just made this a pick up for me. I was wondering about the Red 5 books.

    Question: Is the Parting Shot a pin-up in the book and do you know who the artist is? I like the use of what looks to be Zip-Tone.

  3. October 11, 2007 at 7:00 am — Reply

    Stacy: there are several pinups in the back of the book – but sadly I don’t know who the artist is.


  4. Randallw
    October 11, 2007 at 7:13 am — Reply

    The comic is written by Brian Clevinger who runs Nuklear power, or 8-Bit Theater.


  5. Kienan
    October 11, 2007 at 11:01 am — Reply

    Mechanoman would have been good to.

  6. October 11, 2007 at 11:06 am — Reply

    Its about time the pantsless immorality of robots was set right!

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