Don’t you hate it when you have to team up with your future robot self to save reality?  Your Major Spoilers review of X-Ray Robot #2 from Dark Horse Comics awaits!


Writer: Mike Allred
Artist: Mike Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher:Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 30, 2020

Previously in X-Ray Robot:  After meeting his robotic 277-year-old self, Max learns about the incoming threat of the Ultimate Nihilist, a villain determined to take all life to its “Pre-Big Bang” status, leading Max and the robot to travel through different timelines to protect reality and mankind.

Now it gets complicated…


We pick up where last issue left off (waaaay back in March) with Dr. Max Wilding meeting a strange cyborg entity that claims to be him from the future.  The future Max explains that all of existence is in danger, thanks to their time travel experiments, and that a being calling itself the Ultimate Nihilist is taken advantage of the chaos.  In order to save reality, Max, Dr. Osamu and lab assistant Marnie take the leap of faith… in The Surreality!  While they’re getting the 411 on the coming apocalypse, Dr. Saunders is dealing with some strangeness back in the lab in the form of a portal that accidentally bisects (but doesn’t seem to injure) him.  In order to save reality, the team must find and cut off all the divergent realities to staunch the “bleeding” of the time stream, then find and recover the original X-Ray Robot that was sent through time last issue to bring things back to normal.  Unfortunately, their boss Mr. Reynolds is so freaked out by the side-effects of the experiment that he takes a club to the equipment…

…and blows up the lab.


There is a lot of talking in this issue once our heroes hit the Surreality, but it’s all presented with Allred visuals of a strange dimension out of time, with wild colors and swirling vortexes all around.  It’s visually stunning, even as the dialogue sort of slows the progression of the issue a bit.  Had I been the editor, I would have loved to see this issue and the first issue as one double-sized debut that would have given us a much stronger debut, but I find myself saying that quite often these days.  The explanations of the rules of time travel here are at least clear and visually interesting, and they do get around some of the usual problems of a story of this magnitude, explaining that each time someone changes the past, they simply cease to exist in the core reality, but that cutting off each branch will technically be destroying everyone that lives there.  As the issue ends, The Ultimate Nihilist makes itself known, with the next issue blurb promising that we’ll learn more about it next time, but I have some suspicions already.


The art side of things once again outweighs a lot of the questions I have about the story, meaning that X-Ray Robot #2 earns a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall and makes me want to know what time travel shenanigans are in store next time.  If you like Mike Allred’s art, this issue is a must-buy, but if you’re looking for a complex and layered time-travel adventure, I recommend it as well.

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The Plot


Once again, the first two issues of a series feel like they wanted to be a double-sized first issue, but it's a good read full of crazy Allred artistic feats.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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