Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od

Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od is written by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.

Atomic Robo is in pre-World War II China, where the Imperial Japanese Army is forcing a Chinese scientist to work on a super weapon. Fortunately, the good guys have volunteered Robo to save the scientist.

There’s a bit of a Casablanca feel to this tale, since Robo’s working with an old flame, Helen McAllister and her new love, Chen Zhen, both of whom are fighting for the Chinese Resistance.

“Was that a real explosion?”
“It was! Robo’s alive!”

Add in a hidden fortress and a constantly-switching-sides band of mercenaries called the Ghost Bandits, and it’s a winner of a tale.

Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire

Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire is written by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.

Atomic Robo is back in his own time! Or he will be, as soon as someone finds his remains. The problem is that two years have past since Atomic Robo: The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur and the Action Scientists have been broken up and scattered.

Oh, plus there’s this little problem of supergiant monsters attacking the world with a plan of destroying everything.

This one’s got spaceships, giant Japanese-style monsters attacking the coast, breaking-and-entering, robot body issues, and every bit of explosion-y fighting you’ve learned to expect from an Atomic Robo adventure.

Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur

Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur is written by Brian Clevinger and drawn by Scott Wegener.

I love Dr. Dinosaur.

It is 100% clear that Dr. Dinosaur is totally out of his depth fighting Atomic Robo and his crew. It is also pretty clear that Atomic Robo underestimates Dr. Dinosaur, but exactly how that will play out is, as always, the plot of the book.

Dr. Dinosaur is only the primary plot of this volume, with the whole of Tesladyne Labs at risk of political and financial destruction by their enemies.

This book is simultaneously fun and goofy and a romp, and a serious step forward in the fate of Tesladyne Labs and Atomic Robo — with a cliffhanger ending, so grab Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle while you’re at it.

Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific

How have I not written about Atomic Robo before??

OK let’s start with the basics: Atomic Robo is a comic about a robot built by Nikola Tesla in the 1920s who goes on to become a PhD, a World War II flying ace, the founder of the company Tesladyne, thwarter of the Cold War, an astronaut, and an inventor.

He battles Dr. Dinosaur, numerous Russian, Chinese, or Japanese enemies, a giant robot pyramid, and of course his creator’s nemesis, Thomas Edison.

We’re talking good old fashioned comic books here.

But they’re not just good old-fashioned comic books, they’re good old fashioned comic books written and illustrated by creators that understand what the flaws of old-fashioned comic books were and they do not repeat those mistakes.

For example, Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific is not just a post-WWII comic about an attempt at Japanese conquest via a super weapon. It’s not just a graphic novel about women pilots and mechanics who become air pirates over the Pacific. No, it’s all of those things and it’s a send-up to eight women in the comics industry who are fantastic in their own right.

Author Brian Clevinger summarizes their goals in the introduction:

The text doesn’t contort itself to show these ladies in a positive light. Nor does it pat itself on the back for featuring these ladies as its main characters in the first place. It doesn’t make bad guys say sexist things so you know they’re bad and wrong. No one praises the She-Devils’ ability or know how or pluck for a girl. None of them picks a lock with a hairpin to save the day.

Because normal is what goes unremarked upon.

I love it when a comic team doesn’t need to make a big deal out of women characters because, in the context of their universe, women are as common as men, and as accepted. Doubly so for an action/adventure type where honor, hard work, and sacrifice are driving the plot.

Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific is volume 7 of the Atomic Robo series and I’ve got at least four more volumes waiting for me in the library. This may have been the first time I’ve mentioned Atomic Robo, but these comics are so good you can be pretty sure it won’t be the last.