Friday, February 11, 2011

Graphic Novel Review – Atomic Robo vol 1

Imagine a wise-cracking robot who leads a team of specialists on X-files like cases against Doctor Who villains with Douglas Adams-like absurdity, and you’ve just barely scratched the surface of what Atomic Robo and the Fighting Scientists of Testladyne is like. I’ve been wanting to read Atomic Robo for some time, but I was a little fearful – sometimes hearing good things about a book can actually make my expectations be set a little too high – but I need not have worried, I was laughing out loud within pages. We start with a flashback to WWII, where Robo is sent on a mission to capture German scientist Helsingard. Upon arriving in his secret base (via a bomb-like capsule) Robo proceeds to start reading off the atrocities for which Helsingard is being placed under arrest. Then he starts flipping through the many pages of atrocities, commenting on how many there are as well as the fact that he doesn’t even know what some of them mean – that was really my first hint that I was really going to enjoy this. Or there’s the nick-name Robo gives Helsingard, “Baron Von blabs about his only weakness”. Helsingard will come back a few times within this volume, as will flashbacks to WWII, but what’s interesting is how there’s always some direction completely unexpected where the story can and will go next. There’s the giant bugs that Robo’s team has to defeat – who cares where they came from, they’re eating a town. Then there’s the Great Pyramid, which has sprouted legs and decided to walk off – despite the fact that the Egyptian government has told it repeatedly to get back in place. They’ll allow Robo’s team to investigate, so long as they don’t do what they usually do on these missions – which is blow things up. And you can guess exactly what it is that Robo winds up doing too. There’s also the history of how Robo came to be the first robot to go to Mars, the insanely boring journey he took in getting there, and why he hates Stephen Hawking. If this kind of off-the-wall stuff sounds like something you might enjoy, you’re probably right. If this sounds like something you wouldn’t enjoy, you must not have a pulse. 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. If not for you, think of the undead robotic mummies.

5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Looks pretty cool. The Douglas Adams connection makes me hesitate. I fear I'm not a big fan. Perhaps the only one on earth who isn't.

Budd said...

This was very good. I describe it as Hellboy but with a robot. Very fun and light hearted. good stuff.

John Dax said...

You had me at "Imagine a wise-cracking robot who leads a team of specialists on X-files like cases against Doctor Who villains with Douglas Adams-like absurdity..."

I will definitely be looking into this one!

Michael Offutt said...

I wonder if I can get this comic book/graphic novel for my iPad. I've got an app that allows me to download DC and Marvel and its so much better than having boxes of comics in storage.

Jim Haley said...

@Budd see I haven't checked out Hellboy yet (not even the movies) so now you've got me curious.

@Michael Comixology is an app available on both Apple and Android devices - and I think they even have a few Atomic Robo issues for free.