If you thought the second volume of Atomic Robo was spinning its wheels, you might want to pick up the fifth issue and give it a read.  The Sparrow is out, Milligan is in, and Robo has to stop the greatest weapon ever developed.

robo5cover.jpgThe previous four issues of Atomic Robo: Dogs of War focused on English secret agent Sparrow and Atomic Robo following Skorzeny across the European countryside trying to figure out the master plan.  This issue is a complete swerve from what we’ve seen before, and gives us a chance to see Robo and a band of English commandos attacking a secret German bunker on the Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel.  The secret weapon is straight out of science fiction, as the Germans have developed a type of rail gun that could bring England to its knees.

However when the team lands on the island, they are quickly wiped out by a Nazi force that has been waiting for them to arrive.  Yup, it’s a trap set by Skorzeny in order to capture Atomic Robo. Why, you might ask?  Well Dear Reader, turns out the rail gun really isn’t a rail gun, but a fully developed weather weapon initially conceived by Tesla, but never built until now.  (Note: The weather weapon is a real Tesla invention – look it up for yourself!  History in comics.  Wow!) The Germans figure Atomic Robo’s energy source is strong enough to power the weapon that will develop a hurricane large enough, and strong enough, to wipe out all of England in one swoop.

While Robo may be trapped, the Germans never expected a single man rescue mission from one James Milligan.  To make a long story short, Robo and James escape the compound, the secret weapon is destroyed, and our hero gets his legs back.  Yeah, there’s a really great bit featuring Robo and his missing legs.  I’m not going to spoil everything here, as you owe it to yourself to get out there and purchase this issue to see it for yourself.

The dialogue in this issue is spectacular.  Once again Brian Clevinger delivers witty banter from the good guys and villains at times when it looks like the hero is going to be destroyed.  Then there is the laugh out loud exchange between Robo and Milligan that pokes fun at accents and Robo’s inability to fully comprehend what he is talking about.  It’s simply brilliant.  Through his words, Clevinger is bringing characters to life. Whether it is Milligan’s brogue tongue, Robo’s straightforward American hero speak (I’ve always thought Robo would have a bit of John Wayne in his speech), Skrozeny’s clipped German as he speaks English, or the translated German language, you can actually hear these characters in your head.

I made the minor complaint last issue that I didn’t like the four panel horizontal layout of the issue, as it became monotonous over time.  The creators and I had a nice exchange about his, and I was told to pay attention to what they did with the layout in this final issue.  They were absolutely right, Scott Wegener is able to vary the height of certain panels or change the layout slightly that it works and flows really well from page to page.  But Wegener also didn’t stick to four panels per page throughout the issue; certain pages still feature five and six panels, and they come at the appropriate moment to change the pace momentarily before getting back into the action.   Beyond the layout, I’m still in love with the character design, color selection, and mood created for the story.

As the issue concludes, there is one final story that takes place nearly 30 years after the end of the war, where Skrozeny and Robo meet one last time.  The vignette is a complete mind-F’ on Skrozeny’s part as he tries to get Robo to kill him by revealing a secret that he’s kept for years.  If the tale is true, it really marks a change in how Robo may view his father and his place in the world.  I hope it is something that is explored in the future.

Speaking of the future…

This is the final issue of this series, and I’m once again saddened to see it come to an end.  The good news is there is an announced third volume arriving in 2009, and I can’t wait to see what Clevinger and Wegener are going to come up with.  The Dogs of War series may have had a few stumbling points, but this final issue hits it out of the ballpark.  As I read this issue, it reminded me a great deal of the action sequences and events from the first issue of the first volume.  The humor, story, pacing, and art all come together to make a stellar issue.  Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #5 earns 5 out of 5 Stars.



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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