FCBD 2010: Atomic Robo


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FCBD 2010: Atomic Robo


  • Words: Brian Clevenger, Paul Ens, & David Gallagher
  • Art: Scott Wegener, Jay Korim, & Steve Ellis
  • Colors: Ronda Pattison, Jessie Lam, & Mike Paar
  • Story Title: Flight of the Terror Birds, Feeding Time, Box 13: Chapter 1
  • Publisher: Red 5 Comics
  • Price: Free
  • Release Date: May 1, 2010

One of the advantages of Free Comic Book Day is the chance to try out series one hasn’t yet read. I’ve been hearing a lot about Atomic Robo, Red 5’s pulp-inspired robot hero. Thanks to FCBD, I’ve gotten a chance to try the book and I like what I see. The book brought to mind the work of Mike Mignola. Robo has Hellboy’s sarcastic, salt-of-the-earth personality and the Tesladyne organization has elements of the BPRD. In this adventure, Robo and crew hunt prehistoric “Terror Birds,” with less than auspicious but hilarious results. Clevenger’s story has a dry and amusing sense of humor and the way Wegener conveys emotion despite Robo’s lack of facial features is impressive. I also find it interesting that between this book, Jeff Smith’s RASL, and the video game Assassin’s Creed II, Nikola Tesla seems to be having a renaissance of popularity in fiction.

The issue also features a story from Red 5’s Neozoic, a series I was not familiar with. It is set in a parallel world where modern humans co-exist with dinosaurs, an intriguing if slightly implausible (how did we survive this long?) premise. The heroine, Lilli Murko, is part of the pop culture tradition of sexy, badass warrior women and the setting feels like a less campy update of Land of the Lost or Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. But while the themes and cast are familiar, the stand-out aspect of this feature is Jay Korim’s art. His stylized characters and creatures and dynamic panel layouts, combined with the warm, jungle-humid colors of Jessie Lam, make the story instantly engaging.

The issue finishes out with the first chapter of a series called Box 13. Starting with a lecture from an author and apparent conspiracy theorist and ending with an unexpected twist, this one is a little tougher to get a feel for. David Gallagher definitely piques the readers’ curiosity but the story ends a bit too soon for us to know what sort of series we’re getting into. Artists Steve Ellis and Mike Paar give it a unique blue-tinted noir look however.

While I am a newbie to Red 5, I found this issue to be a lot of fun and may be inclined to check out their books in the future.

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