REVIEW: Atomic Robo: The Spectre of Tomorrow #1

Atomic Robo, the self-aware robotic hero created by Nikola Tesla, is resurrecting Tesladyna as a force for good in the New Mexico desert. He and his pals defeated the likes of Dr. Dinosaur, giant undersea monsters, and vengeful Japanese super scientists. But have any of these adventures prepared Robo to face off against his latest nemesis: the Homeowners’ Association?

Yes, the new compound somewhere between Elon Musk’s soon to be battery factory and Richard Branson’s dreamed of spaceport is violating the association’s noise ordinances. Atomic Robo is used to facing off against the physical and esoteric threats of mad science. He finds that the bureaucratic mess of building a new compound near an old DOD atomic testing range may be more than his circuits can handle.

Meanwhile his team is working on their various experiments and trying to recruit new blood to the compound. Robo, himself, is experimenting with how linking limited intelligence machines expands their ability to think. Foley is back from her first solo mission of taking on a world threatening megafungus growing in Oregon and finds the place in rough shape. All the red tape has prevented the group from building the compound the way she expected.

At the same time, Julie is attending a conference in Budapest where she runs into her old boss. They reminisce about their old times and Julie decides to attend his presentation. At the presentation, one of the human attendees is attacked by a binary computer virus.

Can Robo and their team defeat evil Sir Richard Branson’s bureaucratic red tape in time to save the world from this new threat?

By this point, Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener have mastered the five issue story arc that they use for all their Atomic Robo stories. And they continue to play with the light touch of comedic elements and visual jokes throughout the issue setting up several potential problems for the Tesladyne team to tackle. They are assured and inventive and trust the reader to follow their jokes even as they do the heavy lifting of setting up the story in this issue.

If you are familiar with Atomic Robo, you can be assured you are in for a fun ride with humor and adventure. Clevinger and Wegener are careful with their placement of humor so that it works to support the drama of the story and not undercut it. The advantage they have in building these five issue arc is that they make it easy for new reader to jump on board and join in the fun without having to worry about all the previous adventures. If they like the story they can always go through the back catalogue.

Writer: Brian Clevinger
Artist: Scott Wegener
Colors: Anthony Clark
Letters: Jeff Powell
Publisher: IDW Publishing

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