REVIEW: Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #5
America’s favorite crime-fighting adventurer robot, Atomic Robo, has done a lot in his life. A lot more than you have, to be blunt. Did you ever test-pilot a jet plane and run into sky pirates? Well, were they lady pirates? Didn’t think so. Now, thanks to Red 5 Comics, you can read about the road less traveled. Will it make all the difference? Find out after the jump.
ATOMIC ROBO: THE FLYING SHE-DEVILS OF THE PACIFIC #5
Writer: Brian Clevinger
Artists: Scott Wegener
Colors: Nick Filardi
Letters: Jeff Powell
Editor: Lee Black
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Previously in Atomic Robo: In this volume of Atomic Robo, in 1951, Robo was testing a new jet engine over the South Pacific when he was shot down by Japanese zealots with flying robot suits who refused to surrender after WWII. As you could guess, he was rescued by a group of allied, female, jetpack-wearing sky pirates. As you do. At the close of last issue, the Japanese airship was on its way to San Francisco with an earthquake bomb that would destroy the West Coast. Robo and the pirates (who happened to be ladies, want to make something of it?) were in hot pursuit.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO
Let’s get this out of the way. Atomic Robo is great. I know it. You know it. The American people know it. At the risk of spoiling my own conclusion below, I love Atomic Robo and if you’re not reading him, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I don’t like everything (I even had some small issues with the Atomic Robo Real Science Adventures) but in this case—full disclosure, this is where I’m coming from. Now I will tell you why this is a good comic.
This comic has all the classic elements of a good Atomic Robo story. Robo is basically refighting part of WWII. He is fighting alongside strong, plucky characters against bad guys with logical, yet still crazy, motivations. Jetpacks, mecha suits, explosions. And a very sweet wrap-up that doesn’t’ go on too long.
Although this is issue 5 of 5 in this arc, you don’t have to have read anything else to read this book. Atomic Robo’s personality shines through with his Spider-Man-ish fight banter. The supporting cast of She-Devils is a motley crew of multi-cultural lady pirates that is a textbook case of an instant ensemble cast done right. They each have a distinct character and look that provides a little bit of depth and a quick way for readers to tell them apart. Too often such characters are thrown together thoughtlessly and might as well be the same character. Since the issue is dominated by the big, climactic fight scene, there is limited time to devote to character development. Even so, the She-Devils are distinct enough that you care about what happens to them and worry about them when they are in danger.
One of the difficulties of setting a story in the past while making the stakes so high is that going in, you kinda know that the Japanese don’t destroy the West Coast. Yes, it’s a fictional, alternate history, but it’s not that alternate and we’ve seen enough Robo stories that take place in the present that one assumes that something that big might have come up in conversation. Even with this kind of pre-determined outcome, this issue manages to keep the tension high. We are kept on edge worrying about our heroes throughout. As well we should, since, although my logical mind knows the good guys will prevail, I didn’t know how, or what price they will have to pay along the way. The journey was the prize.
PEOPLE IN MOTION
Scott Wegener draws his usually great Robo in this issue and then starts showing off with all the Japanese proto-mecha. It’s a perfect blend of industrial detail and cartoony simplicity. However, the real accomplishment art-wise in this book is the action. It is very difficult to depict a fight scene taking place in three dimensions over a large area, but this issue is mainly aerial fighting drawn well and in a way that’s easy to follow. One panel leads to the next in logical ways that make the action flow so well that you could easily get lost in the movement taking place between the still pictures. The art really enables the tension and excitement of the story to suck the reader in.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Another atomic Christmas miracle
I give Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #5 four and a half stars—it is a great issue that is also the end of a great arc. I was torn between lingering over the art and whipping through the pages to discover what happened next. Buy it, read it, cherish it.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!