Atomic Robo: The Greatest

December 17, 2018 Author: Jon Johnson (Sir)

I’ve extolled the wonders and magnitude of the varied Atomic Robo series, as well as the character the series is named after on the Pint O’ Comics podcast. I’ve mentioned how similar the overall arcing narrative is to Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, only wrapped in much more science fiction than paranormal and occult. It’s a similarity that you won’t think of as a blatant facsimile in any way, neither would it seem an homage; it just is similar in scope. It’s a scope many world building writers should invest in, because it just absorbs a reader, depositing them into a vast complex of exploration. Atomic Robo is a blast.

In a move to please readers like myself, who are blessedly far behind on reading recent tales of Atomic Robo, IDW Publishing has released a fantastic single issue special, Atomic Robo: Greatest Hits. Not only does it appease fans like me, it’s a great introduction to new readers as it’s only one dollar. That’s right, one measly, ‘make America great again’ dollar for 20-plus pages of story, broken into two unique tales.

The opening pages are an amusing and fun look at one of Atomic Robo’s most persistent adversaries, Doctor Dinosaur. In this short, Dr. Dinosaur has taken Robo (as he’s known by his buds) to court, over some acknowledgement of his own sentience. Of course nothing is what it seems with the rather… unstable Doctor, and the courtroom literally explodes in action. It bizarre, it’s fun, it’s completely nuts in a Dr. Dinosaur way, and I loved it. Just look at panel three on page three to see all the action in telling the story. It’s what makes Scott Wegener my preferred artist on all things Robo. He just gets the story and does it in so many succinct panels. As a comic fan, you have to love that sort of ability.

If you’re a regular listener of Pint O’ Comics, you know of my devotion to Doctor Dinosaur from the 51stepisode of the podcast, Y’all Got Notebooks, where he hit my Top Five Favorite Villain list amongst comic book baddies. Yet, you have to admire Atomic Robo (and the engaging script work) for being able to handle the sheer chaos of the nutty Doctor.

The second story seems to be setting up future Atomic Robo tales, introducing a new character while being a general showcase of what occurs in Robo’s world. It’s good and it’s well drawn, but doesn’t contain the solid fun of the first half of the comic.

What’s missed in the larger scheme of Atomic Robo would be his origins and connection to Nikolai Tesla, Robo’s scientific organization of Tesladyne, and some of the basic interpersonal relations between all the characters. Still, there’s enough for newcomers to entertain them while giving just enough to tease and tempt to draw you to further installments. The interview at the comic’s conclusion with writer and artist aims to assist in that as well.

For One Dollar, this isn’t a bad bang-for-your-buck. In fact, it truly is the definition of that saying, just lacking a physical ‘bang’. There is great Atomic Robo action, excellent art from Scott Wegener, deft dialogue from Brian Clevinger (“Action geology!”), supreme coloring from Anthony Clark, letters from Jeff Powell to pull all the characters together and keep them physically phonic, and we won’t forget the editing of Lee Black who has to wrangle all these crazed creators. To give it the proper beer rating of Sir Jon, it would hit a respectable three out of six. It’s short, but you’ll want to read and reread, which is always a plus. Also? One dollar, people. It’s not something you should think about twice.

Atomic Robo: Greatest Hits is available now at better comic shops or from the IDW website directly for one single, green dollar. Get it before it’s gone.

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