Is there a sleeker comics concept out there right now than Atomic Robo? Probably not. creators Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener have done a great job of crafting a fun, exciting world for their creation to romp around in, and established a full century’s worth of time in which to tell all sorts of stories. Sure, most of those stories will contain explosions and wisecracks, but what else do you need when reading about a robot who practices “action science?”
This may or may not change as the series continues to progress and continuity starts to creep in, but at the moment, another great aspect of the series is its accessibility. Each new mini-series (and probably even each new issue) can be a starting point for new readers. There’s little explanation needed that isn’t already there in the title. This new storyline is a great example. Taking place in 1999, it sees a scientist interviewing for an open position at Tesladyne, the company Robo heads, just in time to get caught up in an attack by vampires from a parallel universe. This point-of-view character lets new readers experience the series with wide-eyed wonder and all the aspects of the series are in full effect: wisecracks and deadpan comments from the title character; large scale action and violence; plenty of comic relief; and heaps of comic book pseudoscience. It’s tons of fun, contrasting the panicked reaction of the new guy with the jaded comments of Robo and his crew, a chance for hilarious lines like “These things are gross. Y’know they try to chew on my like I’m alive? I don’t need that.”
Clevinger’s writing is as sharp and funny as ever and Wegener holds up his end as well, delivering the clean, cartoony, exciting art that has become the series’ trademark. He gets the character details down perfectly, whether it’s the perplexed look that manages to show through on Robo’s inexpressive face or the wild panic or grim determination that other characters sport. And the action is as good as expected as well, with slapstick scenes of Robo wrestling undead attackers filling panels (an especial highlight sees him holding onto one vampire’s tongue) and the real violence taking place just out of sight, focusing instead on onlookers’ horrified faces and the grimly funny results. It’s a pleasure to behold.
While the series might have the title “Revenge of the Vampire Dimension,” the story wraps up at the end of this issue, leaving the rest of the mini-series to go wherever it pleases. Maybe the vampires will make a return, or maybe Clevinger and Wegener will head off into directions unknown. Whatever the case, it should certainly be tons of fun to read. Having this series on the shelves is one of the highlights of modern monthly comics. Long may it last.
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