The Doom that Came to Robo


So here we go with the second installment of the Shadow from Beyond Time story line.  If you thought the first issue didn’t have enough of the fighty-fighty, and the laughy-laughy, then you’re going to be pleased as Punch (although without the murder and infanticide), as Robo and Charles Fort attempt to bring down the monster Lovecraft with a roadster and a couple of lightning guns.

atomicrobo3_cover.jpgAs many readers pointed out, the first issue in this volume leaned a bit on the wordy side, but I thought it was necessary to set up the big plot for this arc and to make it clear why H.P. Lovecraft turned into a demon from beyond that wants to devour the Earth.  This issue tones down the talk and cranks up the action as Robo and Fort take to the streets chasing down the beast in hopes of getting it, before it gets them.

I like this change in style as it showcases Brian Clevinger’s ability to write necessary dialogue as well as action packed sequences.  To sweeten the deal, this issue also features a hilarious exchange between Robo and his “dad” Nikola Tesla over the very first wireless telephone.  If you’ve ever thrown a party when your parents were out of town, and then had your parents call during the height of the event, then you’ll appreciate what Robo is going through.

Once again, this issue features a blend of pop culture and historic references, as well as ties to previous series.  During our interview with Clevinger and Wegener, I asked when this series takes place, and for those who are keeping track of the timeline, this story does indeed occur after the attack by Rasputin’s ghost.  I especially like the historical research that once again went into making this story a reality as Clevinger took the time to figure out a way to make Wardenclyffe portable, and Wegener for drawing clothing and automobiles appropriate for the time.

For Scott Wegener, he continues to make the horizontal storyboard layout of the issue work very well, staging the characters and “camera” in a way that fills the frame without a lot of empty space. The layout is especially effective when the issue finally hits a huge double-page spread that shows the immense size of the monster.  The monster flips and changes shape through the issue (as it should), so sometimes it looks like the symbiote T-Rex from Wolverine, and other times it looks a bit like the Cloverfield monster.  Regardless, I like the creature design, and the moment at the end when the monstrosity shouts out Robo’s name is particularly interesting, as it is left up to the reader to decide if it is the mind of H.P. Lovecraft speaking out, or if the creature has something greater in store for our hero.

The issue ends in a big cliffhanger, but it doesn’t work as shock as we know Robo is alive and well in the future.  That’s probably my biggest problem with the issue, but it still works to prep readers for the third issue.  There is also a flashback moment at the beginning of the issue, that essentially reprints one of the pages from the previous issue.  It’s a really great way to do a Previously… moment, but this storytelling bit is made redundant as there is a story synopsis on the credits page.  It’s a disappointment because it is one page less of story action, and it’s going to play havoc for readers of the trade as it will appear to be a page that is printed out of order.  I like the flashback page, but I think Red 5 and the creative team need to decide which method they will use in the future.

Save for that minor issue with the issue, Atomic Robo #3.2 does an excellent job of advancing the story, showcasing the humor in a terrifying situation, and setting up the next chapter in this adventure.  Atomic Robo: The Doom that Came to Robo earns 4.5 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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  1. SkrullBryan
    June 3, 2009 at 2:24 am — Reply

    Again… love the character and the idea… didn’t care for the story. Nothing since the first five issues has made me excited about this title.

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