“Atomic Robo”

Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Lee Black, Ronda Pattison, Nick Filardi, Anthony Clark, Jeff Powell

Atomic Robo is one of my favorite comics, one I’ve been reading long enough that I wish I had some way of figuring out exactly how long I have been reading it. It’s getting a review now, however, as I recently did an all-the-way-through reread.1

Here’s the concept of the comic: Nikolai Tesla built a nuclear-powered, fully sentient robot. He’s creatively named Atomic Robo Tesla, and generally goes by Atomic Robo, or just Robo to his friends. Being a bulletproof, super-strong robot, he gets into some adventures! Being an ageless machine, those adventures occur across a wide range of time. Being a world where it’s possible for Nikolai Tesla to build a nuclear-powered, fully sentient robot, those adventures involve a whole lot of pulp science fiction—there’s an entire comic early on where Robo spends a few hours fighting giant insects while having a discussion via radio about why giant insects are impossible.

Basically, it’s some of the most fun science fiction I read, and I absolutely love it. There’s some really interesting storylines, and there’s also some really funny storylines. Just about everything that Dr. Dinosaur shows up in absolutely hilarious—everything else in this world feels like it’s following some rules, though different ones than our world, but Dr. Dinosaur is just running around inside his own personal reality distortion field. And he shows up precisely often enough to maintain the hilarity of how well he plays off of Robo.

So, hey, if you’re at all interested in any of this, go read the comic. The nice thing about webcomics is that it’s all free online! And, honestly, I really recommend starting from the beginning—it makes the most sense that way, and while there’s some early references to stuff that shows up again later, it’s more little hints that make it better on reread.2

  1. Well, in April; these reviews aren’t exactly timely. (Which I usually avoid admitting to, but in this case, the specific things going on in the comic at the time were what set me off rereading from the beginning, I wanted to remember what was being called back to.
  2. Seriously, I had a moment on this most recent reread where I realized that something really early on had been foreshadowing of a storyline that happened, in publishing time of the comic, something like a decade later. Their ‘about’ page says “Everything that happens will fit into the larger setting; everything that happens will happen for a reason” and they mean it.

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