Review: Atomic Robo Volume 4

Title: Atomic Robo Volume 4: Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness
Writer:  Brian Clevinger
Artist:  Scott Wegener
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Published: 2010

Review by John Anderson

What is it About?

Atomic Robo and the Action Scientists meet vampires from another dimension, the crazy Dr. Dinosaur, a Japanese biotech monster, and the ghost of Thomas Edison, all in one week.

Why is it Good?

“I trust you’re familiar with the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics. Well, Tesla and I found one back in the ’30s, and it’s filled with vampires. Here, take a gun.”

If you’re tired of story arcs that lead into more story arcs until you have to read a year’s worth of books just to understand the book you’re reading now, then Atomic Robo is for you. Even if you haven’t read the previous 3 volumes, it doesn’t matter. All you need to know about this series can be summed up by “atomic powered robot scientist fights monsters.” Each story stands by itself with no explanation needed or given. And it’s wonderful. After all, do we really need to see every detail of how characters get from one set piece to another? Do the heroes really need long backstories and lengthy internal monologues? Do we really need a long history of the latest crazy villain when all we need to know can be told in a few panels? All that matters is the crazy fun adventure that’s happening right now.

And volume 4 is just as crazy and fun as the previous 3 volumes. It tells one week in the life of Atomic Robo and the Action Scientists, from the day Dr. Bernard Fischer is unexpectedly hired to combat an outbreak of vampires, to the day when Edison returns from the dead as a flaming skeleton in a suit. In between, Atomic Robo goes to Japan and meets Science Team Super Five, and goes to French Polynesia and meets Dr. Dinosaur, a dinosaur who claims to have traveled in time using crystals. This story, definitely the high point of the book, includes the story that was first published for Free Comic Book Day 2009 – and incorporates it into an adventure that had me laughing out loud at Dr. Dinosaur’s absurd pronouncements and Atomic Robo’s dry comebacks.

That’s my favourite thing about the book (besides the lack of exposition): the dry dialogue. Atomic Robo is just a regular guy trying to do a job – aside from being atomically powered and indestructible, anyway – and he always has a comeback to point out just how silly his villains are.

The art is simple and to the point, just like the story. I love how Robo’s emotions are conveyed solely though the metal lids of his headlight eyes – and how Dr. Dinosaur’s bulging eyes get crazier with every hilarious thing he says.

Atomic Robo is one of the funniest, craziest books I’ve ever read. Check out volume 4, and you’ll want to read the other three volumes too.

You can find Atomic Robo Volume 4 in store at The Beguiling, or you can buy it online at beguiling.com.

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