Atomic Robo #4
Written by Brian Clevinger
Art by Scott Wegener, Zack Finfrock
Colors by Ronda Pattison
Letters by Jeff Powell
Red 5 Comics
Cover price: $2.95; On sale: Jan. 16, 2008
I gave the ending of the last issue a bit of a hard time, since the issue just kind of stopped without any indication it was the end. Well, it’s okay, because the story continues here, before going into another flashback. I was kind of worried about this series after the last issue, but with issue number four, it’s rocketed right back into my heart, with probably my favorite issue so far. I think I enjoyed it so much because it lived up to my expectation of what I thought the series was going to be, as opposed to what the first three issues actually were. That said, I’m really starting to enjoy the main character as I get a feel for his personality, and this issue helps to fill in some of the reasons why he is the way he is.
After the events of last issue, Atomic Robo is in the Egyptian desert, having just destroyed a moving pyramid along with its undead inhabitants. Unfortunately, he suffered some damage, so the Action Scientists go to work to get him back online. The repair sends Robo into a flashback of his trip to Mars back in the 70′s. There are cameos from Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, and the writer, Brian Clevinger describes the issue as “the only comedy issue we did for this mini-series.” I can see where he’s going with that comic, because while the first few issues have had a few funny moments, this issue had me laughing out load at several points. I guess one of my problems with this series is that I know Clevinger as largely a comedy writer, and this series is really going for something different, more a pulp adventure with sometimes humorous moments. And it’s doing that well. The creative team is really starting to find it’s footing, and this issue has a much better cliff hanger than the previous issue did.
Along with the writing getting better, the art from Scott Wegener also continues to improve. This issue highlights his growth as comedy pacing can be a hard thing to nail in a comic, but Wegener gets every moment right and accentuates the humor of the script. You can tell he’s getting more comfortable with his layouts with each issue. The only problem would be that I’m sure he’ll be getting more attention from, shall we say, better financed companies, so I hope he’s able to stay on this book for a while, as his art really gives it the extra personality needed to make it truly enjoyable.
There’s also a fun little back up in this issue, written by Clevinger but with art by Zack Finfrock. This one has a short fight between Robo and the ghost of Rasputin, at the behest of Thomas Edison. It’s a fun little story, and it adds a bit more to Robo’s background, and I always enjoy when the historic Tesla/Edison feud is played for laughs. The art is fine, very similar to the main art of the book. I can’t say I’m really crazy about the sepia tone coloring of it, as I didn’t really get the old time feel I think they were going for, and in the end it all just looked washed out. It’s still a decent addition to an already decent issue.
This book has quietly become one of the books I look forward to most, and I hope there’s not too much of a delay once this first mini ends. It seems to be one of the first indie standouts to arrive in a while, and it totally deserves all the attention it’s getting. If you’ve missed this so far, I know some of the first issues are getting hard to find, so I’d recommend looking for the trade in a few months.