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