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?
The 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.
- A robot fighting Nazis
- Mignola-esque art
- A robot fighting Nazis
- A comic book that actually references Tesla – one of the greatest minds ever
- 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.
*Translated from German