The Doom that Came to Robo
So here we go with the second installment of the Shadow from Beyond Time story line.Â If you thought the first issue didnâ€™t have enough of the fighty-fighty, and the laughy-laughy, then youâ€™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.
As 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.Â 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 Clevingerâ€™s ability to write necessary dialogue as well as action packed sequences.Â To sweeten the deal, this issue also features a hilarious exchange between Robo and his â€œdadâ€ Nikola Tesla over the very first wireless telephone.Â If youâ€™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 youâ€™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.Â 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 Rasputinâ€™s ghost.Â 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 â€œcameraâ€ 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.Â 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.Â Regardless, I like the creature design, and the moment at the end when the monstrosity shouts out Roboâ€™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 doesnâ€™t work as shock as we know Robo is alive and well in the future.Â Thatâ€™s probably my biggest problem with the issue, but it still works to prep readers for the third issue.Â There is also a flashback moment at the beginning of the issue, that essentially reprints one of the pages from the previous issue.Â Itâ€™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.Â Itâ€™s a disappointment because it is one page less of story action, and itâ€™s going to play havoc for readers of the trade as it will appear to be a page that is printed out of order.Â 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.Â Atomic Robo: The Doom that Came to Robo earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.