Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Atomic Robo: The Dogs of War (IDW, 2008; #1-5)

Atomic Robo 2.jpeg

If you’ve been listening to Panelology for a while, you might remember our discussion of Atomic Robo around this time last year.  I finally got around to reading its second mini-series, The Dogs of War, and enjoyed it as much as I did the first.

The quickest way to describe Atomic Robo is to liken it to a PG-rated Hellboy.  Both are period comics with Nazi-punching, fringe science, and supernatural elements.  The Dogs of War pits Robo against a Nazi scientist’s fleet of mechs.  From there, he and a British spy called Sparrow cross paths and begrudgingly team up to take down the scientist each is tracking.  This, in turn, leads to having to stop a doomsday weapon that could obliterate England.

Atomic Robo is a fun book that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Clevenger builds his stories in short arc that add to whatever came previously.  The world-building is not so dense as to be unapproachable, though—even with a year between reading the first and second arcs, I never felt lost or like I should have remembered something I didn’t.  

Its bright, cartoony style may be the most biggest difference between Atomic Robo and Hellboy.  Scott Wegener and Ronda Pattinson’s clean, colorful art makes for upbeat adventure.  Robo always has a quip or comeback ready, giving the sense that he doesn’t really take danger seriously; the art team’s visual style plays into that—even when the stakes are high, the book’s visual tone tells you things will work out.

I dig Atomic Robo.  It’s a more light-hearted take on pulp than a lot of the comics that fall into that category, and it’s something you could put in front of kids if they’re cool with a little bit of mild language and violence.  You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it, though—I didn’t realize it was an all-ages title until someone pointed it out to me.  

Collected in

  • Atomic Robo, Vol. 2: The Dogs of War (#1-5)
  • Atomic Robo: The Everything Explodes Collection (Atomic Robo #1-6, Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #1-5, Atomic Robo: The Shadow from Beyond Time #1-5)

Credits

Writer: Brian Clevenger | Artist: Scott Wegener | Colorist: Ronda Pattinson | Letterer: Jeff Powell | Editor: Lee Black

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