The things I look for in a sci-fi story are well-developed characters, suspenseful and interesting plot lines, humor, and (most of all) wild and compelling situations. Without a doubt, indie comic label Red Five’s Atomic Robo delivers on all of the above.
The concept centers on a parallel world where, in 1923, renowned inventor Nikola Tesla created a sentient nuclear–powered robot that became the inventor’s assistant and protegé. The series spans a hundred years of Atomic Robo’s escapades as the head of Tesladyne — an organization dedicated to “exploring the fringes of scientific possibility”.
Over the course of the series, Robo and his team of scientists — and their advanced technology — are called on by the US government to deal with threats that don’t fall into the realm of known science. These adventures take Robo to places like secret Himalayan fortresses, the New York mob scene, and even the battlefields of the Second World War.
Though many of Robo’s adventures are far–fetched (evil talking dinosaurs, Lovecraftian inter-dimensional monsters, etc.) a fair amount of real world ‘drawing board’ technology is employed by Tesladyne. Some examples include the hypersonic aerospike engine, and lightning gun technology.
The series also plays upon the actual, historic rivalry (in our universe) between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison — creating a humorous and entertaining subplot. In fact, other real-life scientists, like Stephen Hawking and the late astronomer Carl Sagan, appear in witty cameos.
Atomic Robo appeals so much to me because it has every facet of storytelling that I enjoy: cutting edge technology, unexplored aspects of science, and even some giant monsters mixed in.
I find myself hungrily awaiting each monthly issue and wondering what brand of madcap adventure Robo and the scientists of Tesladyne will undertake. I highly recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of action, humor, and science fiction. I promise it will not disappoint.
Atomic Robo is written by Brian Clevenger (who based Robo’s personality on his grandfather’s) pencilled by Scott Weneger, and inked and colored by Ronda Pattison — who’s work was nominated for best coloring in the 2008 Eisner Awards. In addition, the series itself was nominated in the best limited series category.
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