Eric's Red 5 Comics Review: ATOMIC ROBO PRESENTS: REAL SCIENCE ADVENTURES #2
Published: May 17, 2012 - 5:03am
While weaker that issue #1, Real Science Adventures #2 still packs an entertaining punch with equal parts action and comedy.
Given its serialized publishing schedule, the short form is practically made for the comics medium. With “cinematic” becoming more and more preferable an adjective in describing much mainstream output, tidbits of story that hearken back to Fitzgerald or Poe brings an air of intimacy to the work. With Atomic Robo, Brian Clevinger has always had a sort of connection with his audience (The official website for the title has an audacious, yet well-thought-out promise to its fans.) and the newest series, Real Science Adventures, forges a combination that's hard to resist.
The first short is the second installment of Nazi-killing pulp actioner “To Kill a Sparrow.” There's plenty cliché to be found here (What hasn't been explored in World War II fiction?), but the quick tempo and feminine edge make it genuinely fun. This ongoing story just needs the smoke and debris to settle for a bit to allow the characters to show personality beyond passcodes and one-liners. “Monster Hunters” is a love letter to the computer game Team Fortress 2 (which recently became free-to-play on Steam). That does make it most effective for that niche market, which may alienate others, but it carries enough brutal slapstick to make it work on its own (Added context can also be found free in Robo's original webcomic.). Continuing the descent into geek culture is a story that places the titular character with martial arts master/movie star Bruce Lee, “Leaping Metal Dragon.” This has yet to reach its stride, but the potential is ever growing and the dialog itself is getting better with each panel. This is especially true when Robo's action-driven mindset is placed against Lee's more serene attitude. Last, and possibly best, is “Atomic Robo vs. Rasputin.” The title alone pretty much sums up the plot, but the '20s vernacular is excellent to read (even moreso if given the dialect of an old-timey radio personality).
The only drawback to this book, so far, is that it bounces around Robo's extensive timeline a lot. These transitions are clearly labled, but also so frequent that some can be quite easy to miss. This is especially true given the continuous frantic pacing (a positive aspect). This is further exacerbated by the fact that it is a series of short stories that take place at different periods and places. This is less a critique on the creators and more a warning for readers to pay attention, sometimes despite the book. Also, this issue doesn't have a standout hit(s) like its predecessor. It's still very entertaining, but last month's “The Revenge of Dr. Dinosaur” and “City of Skulls” had that indefinable extra something special.
As with any anthology, the varied art is a big draw. Given the consistent subject matter, each story isn't visually worlds away from its neighbor, but there's enough stylistic difference to make each feel distinctive. Above all, it's just the right mix to keep that all important pace going, while keeping things distinguished and interesting.
All in all, Real Science Adventures #2 is well worth the $2.75 ($1.99 digital), even if it won't shatter worlds.
Story: Brian Clevinger
Art: Ryan Cody, John Broglia, Matt Speroni
Cover: Scott Wegener
On Sale May 16, 2012!