Atomic Robo Vol. 3 #1 (Red 5 Comics)
by Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener
Brian Clevenger and Wegener return with yet another glimpse into the life of Robo, Nikola Tesla’s greatest achievement, adventurer and student. This issue is quite unlike just about any other issue of Atomic Robo to come before it as the title character doesn’t punch, shoot or blow anything up in this comic book. That’s quite a shift for this book. The issue consists mostly of Robo’s 1926 encounter with two of his “father’s” former colleagues: Charles Fort and H.P. Lovecraft. The script consists mostly of talking heads. At first, it’s cute, reminiscent of a sci-fi version of an Abbott and Costello routine. Clevinger tries to stretch the banter and confusion out a little too long, and I suspect he was trying to hold back the physical conflict until the next issue. Just as it starts to become tedious and the reader wonders when the action is going to begin, Clevinger reveals the plot that will apparently drive this story well beyond the confines of this opening chapter. It’s a novel concept, a nice take on the Lovecraftian menace we’ve seen so many times in comics over the years.
Wegener’s exaggerated style certainly works well with the comedic tone that dominates the first half or two thirds of the issue. I love Robo as the befuddled straight man to the weird ramblings of Fort and Lovecraft. Wegener’s depiction of the two writers reminded me of the style of Cory (Invincible) Walker. The strongest visual, other than the surprisingly expressive Robo, is the monster that’s revealed toward the end of the issue. Wegener’s sharp, angular style works quite well when it comes to conveying the twisted, organic, flailing form of the antagonist. It’s creepy, cool and powerful in appearance all at once. 7/10