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When last we left the title character and his British secret service companion, they were stuck on a train, headed for a cliff, and battling some horrific scientific Nazi experiments gone wrong.  If you thought Robo and Sparrow were doomed, then you probably haven’t been reading comics that long.

robo4cover.jpgWith Robo down for the moment, it takes a well timed duck by Sparrow to get the Monster Men to knock the shock bolt from Robo’s chest.  When he comes to, he’s right back to being his hilarious self – one wise crack after another.

The two are able to escape from the train that is about to plunge into a ravine, and the rest of the issue continues to be a non-stop fight to the Nazi strong hold with the ultimate destruction of the secret base not too far off.  There were many moments in the issue that remind me of the very first issue of the first mini-series. interestingly, this mini-series takes place only a few years after that particular issue.  If it was planned by Brian Clevinger to have Robo’s personality be the same, then hats off to him.  If it was a happy accident, then let’s pretend it was planned.  Even the Sparrow has a few tricks up her sleeve, and her apparent death and convenient out is well played.

As expected, the Moonlight like exchange between the Sparrow and Robo is some of the best love/hate relationship storytelling happening.  The two are able to overcome the obstacles by reversing the villain each is going after.   A blown up castle later, their adversaries escaped, Helsingard revealed, and yet the two still hate one another.

Snappy dialogue?  You betcha! Big action sequences?  For sure.  Even more Atomic Robo goodness?  Hot-diggity!  So why do I feel like I got ground chuck instead of prime rib?

There is certainly a great deal of action in this issue, but it seems more like a concluding chapter rather than the fourth in a series of five.  I have no idea what’s going to happen in the final installment, unless it has Robo fighting Helsingard.

I think my biggest letdown for this issue was the art.  Not in the way the characters are designed, or the color scheme, but the layout.  It’s the same four panel cinemascope layout on nearly every single page of the issue, with an occasional splash page or added panel thrown in for effect.  If Wegener is trying to convey the grand scheme of a movie, then okay, but the effect creates a monotonous pacing that kills the story.

When the pacing fails, there’s a domino effect that ripples through the rest of the story.  What could have been a stellar issue, gets dragged down.  In the end, I can only give Atomic Robo a 3 out of 5 Star rating, which is quite a tumble from the 5 Stars it has been receiving.

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Does this mean I’m tired of the series?  Hell no.  I still think Clevinger and Wegener are going a fantastic job, and it troubles me that the last issue came in at 284th place for the top selling titles for October 2008.  As a series Atomic Robo is still one of the best titles on the market, but in this instance, even the great ones take a tumble every once in a while.  Here’s hoping the final issue in this volume knocks it out of the park.

46/46

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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