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Atomic Robo = PG Roboty Goodness
Review by Scott Tingley, April 12, 2009

Have you ever sat down to finish something you thought you had already half finished only to realize that you actually never started it in the first place? I was sure that I started a review of publisher Red 5's Atomic Robo a month ago, but I guess I just mulled over a couple of paragraphs without actually typing them in. I can only remember the gist of what I had come up with, but let me tell you, they were outstanding paragraphs.

This review is not getting off to a great start. Let's try that again

I picked up the Free Comic Book Day Atomic Robo comic last May because it looked kind of interesting, and it was free. It turned out to be very, very good and free. A winning combination. It was witty, action packed, and fresh with a very tiny little dollop of history to get you thinking (I have heard Nikola Tesla referenced more in the last few years than in the twenty before). It was also completely devoid of swearing and sexual references. It was my favorite FCBD comic and it was one I could give to any 10 year old or any jaded 35 year old comic reading veteran - and not just the Family Guy watching 10 year olds, but the ones that are only allowed to watch G rated movies as well. That takes a lot of writing and artistic skill. Both writing and art had a retro sort of feel while being completely modern. Great stuff.

I contacted the publisher and they sent me a link to a pdf so I could review the whole, recently completed, series (thanks Red 5)…but it didn't work…and I forgot about Atomic Robo for a while. Then, a friend of mine recommended the book and lent me all six issues. I only lasted through three of them.

See, I was only a few pages into the first issue when I knew that I had to have these stories for myself. It had me at Giant Ants and the roving Egyptian Pyramid cemented it (“I think it's safe to assume mummies until proven otherwise.” “That's just good advice in any line of work.”). This is awesome self-aware-Tesla-robot goodness that you can share with almost any age. Actually, I would rate this as a PG type book. Lots of explosions and guns, but nobody dies (A-Teamy fun) and apart from some drinking comments and one “holy hell!” there is little to concern parents. I wouldn't put it in an Elementary school library (re: the drinking stuff and the holy hell), but I would give it to my kids at 10 in a heartbeat (my parents were pretty strict with what I was allowed to watch, but in grade 4 and 5 I would have been watching A-Team and MASH, so this comic would have been fine for me, but if you don't agree, then you should wait a year or two before getting this for your kids...you should stil get it, but you might want to wait).

The title follows the larger-than-life exploits of ATOMIC ROBO, an automatic intelligence created by famed inventor Nikola Tesla in 1923. ROBO finds himself entangled in some of the 20th century's most important events – from the Second World War, space race and civil rights movement, to the defense of Earth against all manner of catastrophes. (From Robo Website)

One of the great things about the book is that it avoids the clichés it could have easily used. I kept expecting the whole woe-is-me-I'm-a-robot-and-will-never-find-love / be-human, etc. Nope. Robo is a robot with feelings, but without any robot angst. He just likes to hit stuff.

I am putting Atomic Robo & the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne among my top five books for ages 10 and up this year. The book does not have a rating, but if comics were still being created to be sold to kids at convenience stores like they were when I was a kid, this is the kind of thing you would find. Lots of stuff getting blown up and lot of cartoony guns, but the violence is at an A-Team level: only the awful villains die and no blood and a couple hells and damns thrown in. PG goodness. NOTE: This is just my opinion and it is not aimed at kids, so please read it bofore handing it to your young one. At least read the preview provided at the amazon link above.



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