Atomic Robo #2
Written by Brian Clevinger
Art by Scott Wegener
Colors by Ronda Pattison and Lawrence Basso
Letters by Jeff Powell
Red 5 Comics
Cover price: $2.95; On sale: Nov. 14, 2007
Who can say no to a comic starring an 80-year-old robot fighting a group of theoretical giant atomic ants? Not me for sure. I’ve been looking forward to this series for a while, as I’m a huge fan of Brian Clevinger‘s web comic 8-bit Theater, but I was a little let down by the first issue, reviewed here. There were a few pacing issues and the humor wasn’t what I was hoping for, but I chalked it up to the two being new to the whole monthly comic game. I have to say that this is a vast improvement over the first issue, and fills me with hope that future issues will further improve the creator’s abilities.
This issue plays a bit with timeline jumping, as the story goes from main character Atomic Robo fighting giant ants in modern day Reno, and fighting with the Flying Tigers in World War II. The fight with the ants is great, as Robo is forced to use whatever tools necessary to fight them from guns to cars to street signs. The flying sequence is also well done and exciting with some well drawn aerial acrobatics.
The fight with the ants is really the main story as it shows off Robo’s interaction with the rest of the people he works with. The dialog in this section is pretty great, as the scientists argue over whether giant ants are even possible. The humor works much better in this issue but there is also some sentimentality in the issue as the WWII section shows what it’s like to be outlive everyone you’ve known. This issue demonstrates that Clevinger is learning how to change up the pacing of the dialog to make the humor funnier and the quiet scenes more dramatic.
The art in this book is really a highlight though. Scott Wegener‘s work reminds me a lot of Mike Avon Oeming’s, but the colors are bright and really help to set the mood of the story. His characters show a lot of emotion and he even manages to show how Robo is feeling, which is pretty tough when you think about it. The pacing of the panels takes a good step forward, as the action scenes are easier to follow and there are no unnecessary panels that break up the flow.
This was the kind of story I was hoping for when I heard the premise of the series. Fun action in a crazy world that could just about be our own, isn’t that what we all want from comics? If they can keep up this kind of quality and even improve further, this title will be something special. I’m now eagerly awaiting the release of issue 3. Fortunately, I can get a nice Clevinger fill three times a week, so that should tide me over.