Friday, April 6, 2012

Undercover Review: Atomic Robo presents Real Science Adventures

Review by Nick Ahlhelm

Over the past five years, no comic has done as much to capture the pulp esthetic for modern comic fans as Atomic Robo. Over six volumes of adventures, the robotic hero has experienced high adventure over nearly a century and all over the world. Writer Brian Clevinger and artist Scott Wegener have created an enduring character with more heart and personality than 90% of the characters you see in modern comic writing.

And now Atomic Robo has his first ongoing series. Produced and written by Clevinger, Atomic Robo presents Real Science Adventures. Unlike previous volumes of the series, this doesn’t feature one shot issues or five to six part epics; instead it focuses on a mixture of short stories and multi-part serials featuring characters new and old. The first issue features three short tales and two opening chapters in six part serials.

“To Kill a Sparrow” (drawn by Ryan Cody) focuses on World War II spy Virginia Hall and her ally on the front lines of the war, The Sparrow. Sparrow is “the most dangerous allied commando”, and she shows it by setting up a room full of Nazis for death. A solid opening chapter of any pulp tale.

“The Revenge of Dr. Dinosaur” (art by Yuki Oda) brings back fan favorite villain: the super-smart raptor known as Dr. Dinosaur. The evil science-dinosaur plots a truly malicious act of vengeance against Robo in a short comedy tale.

Chris Houghton (Reed Gunther) draws “City of Skulls”, a poignant short story of an evil Russian version of Robo that doesn’t quite understand its own destructive capability.

“Leaping Metal Dragon” (drawn by John Broglia) takes Robo back to an adventure in Hong Kong circa 1970. The first chapter does little to set up the story but does end with a surprising ally for Robo.

Finally “Rocket Science is a Two-Edged Sword” (art by Joshua Ross) is a short tale that helped inspire the upcoming Atomic Robo animated short when it originally appeared as a back up in Atomic Robo vol. 1 issue 3. It’s a fun little adventure—and a dissertation of the Atomic Robo take on science.

Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #1 is now available in all quality comic shops with a cover price of only $2.75, and on digital comic platforms. With three fun shorts and the beginnings of two great, longer pulp tales, this was should be sought out by any pulp fan.

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