Re-Reading Comics: Atomic Robo collected volumes 4-6

Robos 4 thru 6, with bonus Mazikitty

This week has been the sort of week that really tests one’s sense of linear time, especially since it’s been going on for almost a month already. Luckily I’ve had three more Atomic Robo collections to see me through it.

Book 4, Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness, is a collection of one-shots and mini comics. There’s a bunch about the Vampire Dimension, a “biomega” kaiju in Tokyo, a ghost (sort of)… but none of that matters because it also has the 2009 Free Comic Book Day story Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur. Dr. Dinosaur.

DR. DINOSAUR.

I love Dr. Dinosaur. As much as I adore Robo, and I really do, Dr. Dinosaur is just a fucking delight. In a comic that’s already bulletproof, this mad genius of a reptile feels like he was written just for me. Like a little treat for being a faithful fan. In this issue we get to see the moment Atomic Robo meets our superior science raptor, immediately hates said science raptor, and in return the good (bad?) doctor hates him too.

Book 5, Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science, goes back to the beginning, telling the story of young Robo training with his mentor, Jack Tarot, while still learning the ways of action science with Tesla. There’s a little more Vampire Dimension and a bit more of Tesla and Edison’s Current War, with a whole lot of bullets in between.

Also a very large robot. And some kissing.

Book 6, The Ghost of Station X, once again takes Robo’s story in a different direction. This time, he’s got to solve a mystery while also fighting against the laws of physics to save a space station from falling out of orbit. There’s fewer jokes and a lot more of Robo’s serious face, but it’s a solid collection that doesn’t disappoint.

As a bonus, you’ll also get to read the 2010 FCB story, “Flight of the Terror Birds”!

Aren’t they cute?

Call up your local comic book shop and order a bunch of Robo books for yourself today!

Re-Reading Comics: Atomic Robo collected volumes 1-3

I’m continuing my big pandemic reread – using graphic novels, collections, and single issues I’ve got in my apartment right now – with another hardback. Last week I talked about the second collected book of MIND MGMT issues, subtitled “The Futurist”. This week I needed something light and fun, so I grabbed a handful of Atomic Robo off the shelf.

If you’re feeling a bit cooped up and restless, call up your local shop to order yourself Atomic Robo V1, “Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne”. Written by Brian Clevinger, art by Scott Wegener (with color by Ronda Pattison and letters by Jeff Powel) the series jumps back and forth through time, telling different pieces of Atomic Robo’s first 83 years of existence. It has everything you’d want from a retro-style modernist comic: video game jokes (Megaman, Jenkins, etc.), Nazis, mummies, steampunk, Carl Sagan being awesome, Stephen Hawking being a bastard, and a wise-cracking intelligent robot swinging his way through it all. It’s sarcastically funny, it’s got a hipster sensibility that perfectly meshes with the crisp, clean art – exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to translate well to t-shirts and messenger bags. It made me happy, and genuinely happy is a little harder to come by these days.

But these are slim volumes, these Robo books, and if I’m going to get through every comic I own in the next few years I have to group smaller issues in these reviews. Which means I also get to talk about the second and third collections!

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Mini Movie Review: The First 10 Minutes of Attack the Block (2011)

Quick review: I’ve watched Attack the Block half a dozen times now and it remains the best alien invasion film I’ve ever seen.

Why? (It’s ok. You can ask me that.) I can explain it using only the first ten minutes. If you’re not convinced after ten minutes… well, I’m not sure what to say actually because no one I’ve had this conversation with ever turned the movie off once it got started.

Attack the Block opens on a shot of the night sky, with a single star falling from the heavens, before panning down to reveal fireworks over London. The camera settles, not on the downtown, not on the homes of the wealthy, but on a tube station and a young white woman talking to her mother on her mobile while walking home past street vendors hawking flowers and vegetables. Her hat doesn’t match her coat that doesn’t match her pants and her scarf – well, let’s just assume that an elderly aunt knitted it for her and move on. Kids run down the street with sparklers, as the woman walks into a residential neighborhood with more graffiti than street lamps. A sudden burst of fireworks startles her but there’s no one behind her; she’s jumpy, though we don’t yet know why. She finishes her call with a plan to meet for Sunday dinner, and looks up to see her way blocked by a group of kids wearing dark-colored hoodies and bandanas over their faces. Crossing the street doesn’t stop them from surrounding her and mugging her. Suddenly that falling star is a meteor crashing into a car only a few feet away from them, and the invasion’s begun.

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Re-Reading Comics: MIND MGMT (Book 2)

Last week I talked about the first collected book of MIND MGMT issues, subtitled “The Manager”. Today we’re going to talk about the next book, “The Futurist”.

After a quick but clear recap, Kindt drops us right back into the action. When last we left our heroine Meru*, she’s still chasing Henry Lyme and MIND MGMT, still missing memories and still not sure why she’s doing what she’s doing. We see more of Lyme’s perspective this time, which Kindt is better at, giving the second collection a more solid footing. Like the first set of issues, this book is action-packed and a quick read; there’s toothy issues for your brain to gnaw on, but they’re delivered on the fly as Meru and Lyme run through scene after scene.

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