Back in the halcyon days of 2007, I had this to say about the first issue of Atomic Robo.
Since then, comics (particularly monthly comics) and I have had a general parting of ways, though I still order stuff regularly. As a result, after a few Atomic Robo trades, I sort of lost track of the character.
Last week, thanks to Comixology, I addressed that. I already had bought or re-bought the first four trades digitally, so I read through them and then bought the remaining trades and read through those as well.
This series is an absolute joy. It’s fun without being stupid. All-ages without being cloying. Funny without being “funny”. It mentions Nikolai Tesla without me wanting to punch it. It’s pretty much the platonic ideal of fun action comics.
The idea is simple: Atomic Robo was invented by Nikolai Tesla. He’s a strong, smart, and sassy robot with a heart of gold and possibly uranium. Along with the action scientists of Tesladyne, he adventures and fights evil and does research in the name of SCIENCE!
If there’s one criticism of Atomic Robo it’s probably the lack of a really strong supporting cast. There’s an obvious parallel to Hellboy in the material, even though the two books and characters are doing very different things in very different ways, but Atomic Robo would do well to be a little more informed by the other characters in the BPRD books. Atomic Robo has a few named Tesladyne scientists, but they don’t really stand out or give evidence that they could hold interest if Robo wasn’t there as well. (That said, Robo’s rogues gallery is pretty nice, especially the hilarious Dr. Dinosaur.)
There are seven Atomic Robo trades to date and one trade of the new series, Real Science Adventures (which I haven’t read yet). All of them are completely stand-alone! Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener are the main creators behind Atomic Robo, but other folks have chipped in as well, including John Broglia on the new series. They’re published by Red 5 Comics.
This is an apropos subject because tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. I don’t really do FCBD anymore, but for the past few years there has been an Atomic Robo offering and it’s always been fantastic (they’re also available — for free — on Comixology). If you’re heading out to a comic store for el comics gratis tomorrow, be sure and pick up the Atomic Robo book (and also you should buy something while you’re there, since the comics aren’t free for the store.)