When the screaming starts, hit the kill switch


Of the three Atomic Robo story arcs we’ve been presented with so far, this one has been the one to really warp your mind to the point where you had better understand a little about theoretical physics, or know all the intricacies of Back to the Future 1, 2, and 3, plus the animated series, and that ride at Universal Studios in order to keep your sanity.  It helps of course that the creators inject their likeness into the story to really tie it together nicely.

atomicrobo35COVER.jpgAt the end of issue #3.4 1970’s Dr. Atomic Robo Tesla had entered into the creature from beyond time, only to meet up with three other versions of himself – two readers were already familiar with, and a third, that didn’t appear until this issue.  That version of Robo is from present day, and even though he’s had 70 or so years to get everything figured out, it’s probably nice that he can still be surprised now and again.  That surprise comes on two fronts; first that the monster shows up earlier than expected, and a bonus surprise for the readers, as writer Brian Clevenger and artist Scott Wegener appear in the issue (or at least their likenesses show up) as two Action Scientists who just so happen to be the one’s who created this creature in the first place.

It has to do with a giant decomputer, massive calculations, and a machine that looks a lot like the monster we’ve seen pop up in this series time and time again, but the genius of injecting their visages as the ones who caused all the problems has a delicious double meaning to those of us on the outside of Atomic Robo’s universe.  The creature from out of space (and time) is brought into Robo’s world by two guys who just so happen to look like the guys who reside outside of space and time.  If the logic is starting to warp your mind a little, I think this bit of programming will clear it all up for you.

10 Print “Rohhhhh Bohhhhhhh”
20 Goto 10

The whole gimmick is a really nice inside joke to those familiar with the creators, and while Robo does win the day (for now), the two Action Scientists get their comeuppance too.  From the writing stand point Clevinger ties up the series nicely in a way that does follow logic, even in a story that makes major jumps in time to bring it all together.

The art from Wegener also shines once again. I especially like how he takes the time to mirror the design of the decomputer into the look of the giant time and space devouring monster. And as already mentioned, injecting creator likenesses into the story is quite nice – although it is disturbing that Wegener’s character seems to revel in beating the hell out of his colleague toward issue’s end.  Those paying close attention will also see a cameo by Jenkins, who appeared in one of the Robo back-up stories from the first arc.

I can’t stress this enough – Clevinger and Wegener have created, what could be one of the greatest comic book series of recent times – on par with the introduction of Spawn, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and Doc Savage – if only more people learn about him. From my conversations with readers from around the world, Atomic Robo is the secret pleasure of many, but those people aren’t getting out there and banging the drum.  It’s great the last issue made it to #266 out of the Top 300 Comics for August, but it deserves to be much higher on the list. This issue wrapped the series up in a smart package, features great art once again, and has this reviewer wanting more. Is it any wonder, this issue receives 5 out of 5 Stars?


Atomic Robo #3.5 arrives in stores September 16, 2009.

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. Dave
    September 15, 2009 at 7:16 am — Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Atomic Robo is the most exciting and fresh comic series I’ve read in years. I can really see a time very soon when everyone will “get it”, people will hop on to the bandwagon and trumpet the praises of Clevinger’s intricate plotting and perfect dialogue, and Wegener’s truly amazing art. This may have to wait until the inevitable announcement of the Major Motion Picture adaption that this book screams for but until that time, I can just sit there and smile while i enjoy my favorite funny book!

  2. Ricco
    September 17, 2009 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    Jenkins chopping the monster’s tentacle while staying on his seat reading and placing a page holder in his book in a split second is just beautifull man!

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