Review: Atomic Robo #3.3

by

AtomicRobo3_3PICON.jpg

When Atomic Robo creators Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener appeared on the Major Spoilers Podcast, they mentioned this story arc, Shadow From Beyond Time, wouldn’t be set exclusively during the 1920’s.  Issue #3, in this five issue arc, finds Atomic Robo’s adventures once again entering into H.P. Lovecraft territory.

AtomicRobo3_3Cover.jpgThe year is 1957, and there’s something weird going on in the Pacific Northwest, and Atomic Robo and his Action Scientists are going to check it out.  The Tesladyne headquarters are now located on the top floor of the Empire State Building, which may or may not be an homage to Doc Savage – perhaps Robo got the facility cheap after Doc and company went out of business.   It’s also nice to see the Action Scientists getting into the story.  These aren’t the Action Scientists we saw in the first series, battling out of control pyramids, but rather the older guys, one of which I believe we saw in a backup story who was having quite the time on his vacation.

Upon arriving, the crew should have known something was up when the small quiet town is found completely deserted.  What was initially thought to be a down portion of the Sputnik satellite turns into an all out Colour Out of Space scenario as the horror from beyond has taken over, and begun to transform the town’s citizens into a mixture of human and alien. If you’ve read Lovecraft’s source material, you already know things go from bad to worse once the team enters the farm house and hear strange noises from upstairs.

What follows is a high paced action sequence, that combines a heck of a lot of comedy, (in the form of a lot of running and screaming) that plays out perfectly from the writing and art stand point.  It plays as part zombie flick, part alien invasion, and part Keystone Cops.  Wegener is able to draw some horrific human/monster hybrids without devolving into the overly intense hyper realistic gross-fest seen in other monster/alien/zombie books.  It keeps everything fun, and for the most part, keeps the story well within the realm of PG-13.  Heck, a well adjusted and stable parent would probably even let their 10 year old read the story – providing that 10 year old is well adjusted and won’t wet his bed after seeing one of the Action Scientists head explode into alien menace.

The biggest concern I had while reading the issue was how Clevinger was going to tie the adventure Robo had in the 20’s with the events playing out in this issue.  It would be silly if Robo didn’t let on what he knew from the past, and the alien is bent on taking Robo down as well, but it is the closing page of the issue that has the automaton revealing that he didn’t let the last 30 years slip by without doing some research into how he might be able to bring the beastie down when it resurfaced.  It’s a pretty cool reveal, and will have readers eager to find out what happens next.

Clevinger and Wegener are easily 15 issue in to writing Atomic Robo and his adventures, and it seems the third time is the charm when it comes to nailing everything into a story that really clicks.  The first volume allowed the creators to test story and pacing, while volume two was a great experiment into art and layout.  The two combine here, into a series that simply flows.   in fact, it flows so well, readers will be surprised how quickly the issue ends.

In this day and age where the big two are trying to justify their price points and page count, the $3.50 cover price for Atomic Robo seems under-priced.  If Red 5 really wanted to thumb its nose at everyone, they’d bring back the backup stories that give readers even more Robo.  And believe me, more Robo in your life can only be a good thing.

I simply adored this issue.  The 50’s era mutually assured annihilation paranoia plays out well with the story Clevinger is telling.  The issue also finds Wegener stretching his legs to draw more aliens and people than we’ve seen before, and every page is a pleasure to read.  Without a doubt, Atomic Robo #3.3 deserves every single one of its 5 Stars.

5stars.jpg