Wednesday, September 14, 2016

In Which I Praise Atomic Robo

Recently, I've been staying up much too late to read Atomic Robo.

I first read Atomic Robo years ago.  One of the Free Comic Book Day issues -- I can't remember which.  It was fun, but didn't ignite a need in me to read more.*

Years go by and I'm looking for something new to read.  I've had the first Atomic Robo trade sitting on my Amazon wish list for quite a while and I finally pull the trigger on it.  Again, it's good - Nazis!  Robots! - but I don't immediately run out and buy the second trade.  The second takes the place of the first on my wish list and sits there for a few more months.

I buy volume 2 with some other books and it goes to the bottom of my reading pile.  When it get around to it, again, I find it good enough to buy the third collection, but not immediately nor immediately read it once it arrives.  (My mistake!)

Volume 3 is where I really started to take notice.  Without going into too much detail, there's a monster Atomic Robo is battling in different time periods.  Each issue takes place at a different point in time and it's all brilliantly tied together in the end.

I quickly bought volume 4, but was delayed in reading it.  This is a collection of mostly stand-alone issues as Robo deals with an invading dimension of vampires, hiring a new employee, a giant rampaging monster, a ghost... and Dr. Dinosaur.  Dr. Dinosaur is hilariously brilliant.  I love the hell out of him, but what really grabbed me was the last page.  No spoilers, but we learn a tiny bit more about Tesla and Edison here.  I needed more, and I needed it now! **

As if reading my mind, volume 5 gave me exactly what I wanted - the early days of Atomic Robo and much more on his relationship with Tesla, as well as Tesla's relationship with Edison.  (There's also the amazing Jack Tarot and his daughter Helen, but I'll let you discover that for yourselves.)  It's fantastic and I can't recommend it enough.

Volume 6 gets crazy.  Non-stop action as Robo realizes he's two steps behind in a race he didn't even know he was running.  It's phenomenal and you should read it.  I've also reading the introductions in each trade and in this one artist Scott Wegener talks about how he went back to Akira as part of his preparation for this series.  It's evident.  I believe writer Brian Clevinger and Wegener have both improved their craft with each series, making each book better than the last.

I finished volume 6 last night and immediately started volume 7 (reading the introductions first, which are full of praise from well known creators and insights from the Atomic Robo team themselves).  It begins with an insane aerial combat... and that's as far as I got before realizing how late it had gotten.

Last week I emailed my comic shop to grab volumes 8 and 9 (hopefully they're waiting for me right now) and I'll be placing an order for volume 10 so it will already be on my nightstand when I get there.

In short: Read Atomic Robo.  It's good.

* Some people say Atomic Robo is like Hellboy.  Sure, the early issues both have Nazis and a main character that cracks wise, but that's about it.  It actually reminded of Gun Fu, which is a comic I still have fond memories of, but I don't think anyone else even knows it existed.

** This is where I began staying up later than intended because I couldn't put the book down.