Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Atomic Robo, Volume 1

To say that Atomic Robo is fun almost seems like a foregone conclusion. This collection follows the adventures of a robot made by Nikola Tesla. He fights Nazi scientists, goes to Mars, battles a flying Egyptian pyramid, and exterminates a bunch of gigantic ants. He also interacts with a number of historical figures such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. As a member of Tesladyne Industries, Robo is charged with leading a team of Action Scientists as they deal with threats supernatural and paranormal.

In many ways, Atomic Robo seems like a science version of Hellboy, but he is more of a comical character. He cracks wise as he contends against various threats, and his sense of humor enlivens his adventures very much, I felt. The art style negotiates a fine line between cartoon and realism that is simultaneously very attractive and expressive. I laughed out loud quite a few times as I flipped through these pages. The action and adventure aspects of the stories also create a sense of suspense and drama. I read through this volume very quickly, and I was left wanting to keep following his escapades over further volumes (as of right now, they are in the midst of publishing volume 7).

Atomic Robo is the work of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener. Clevinger is the author of a number of works, including the webcomic 8-Bit Theater and the self-published novel Nuklear Age. Wegener, who draws the comic, tweets about his life here and blogs about his work here. Both creators are interviewed about their work on the series, including their inspirations, by the folks at Comics of Doom here.

The comic books in this volume were originally published as a limited series, which was nominated for an Eisner Award. Reviews I have read about this series online have been very positive. Erica McGillivray wrote that it was "pure fun and enjoyment." Andy Hunsaker called this volume "a breezy good time." Bill Reed gushed about Atomic Robo, calling it "perfect entry-level comics (not to worry, sports fans, it’s also perfect comics for those of you who have been around for a while). It’s suitable for all ages, too, so your best friend, your wife, and your kid can enjoy it. It’s got a cracking sense of humor and a high level of excitement." Jim Haley echoed the sentiment with his praise of the book, "This is probably one of the easiest comic books to get into; it requires absolutely no knowledge of any comic book heroes, just an ability to enjoy pictures with words. Do yourself a favor and give it a try."

The series and collection were originally published by Red 5. A preview of the first 5 pages is available here.

I read this volume on my Kindle Fire using the Comixology app. It was cheap, a snap to navigate, and a fun reading experience. I was hesitant to try a tablet to read comics, but I very much enjoyed it.

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