Adventure! Humor! Science?! Meet Atomic Robo

Atomic Robo: Volume One (Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne) by Brain Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Ronda Pattison and Jeff Powell; published by Red 5 Comics, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 2008; 180 pages.

As our story begins, it’s 1938, the United States is under attack and only one man—er, robot—can save the nation.  In exchange for his services, Atomic Robo is given American citizenship.  Who is Atomic Robo?  Famed scientist Nikola Tesla created this sentient robot in the waning years of his life.  Indeed, the indestructible Atomic Robo is intelligent, independent and highly sarcastic.  After earning his citizenship, he creates his own business, Tesladyne, and staffs it with a multitude of fighting scientists.  Together, they battle enormous ants, heat-ray shooting mobile pyramids, and Rasputin’s ghost, among other scientific anomalies.  The genius of these stories is the science intermingled with adventure and sardonic humor.

This graphic novel is a collection of the first six comic books in the Atomic Robo comic franchise.  The book opens with background information from the publisher and writer.  The back of the book includes pin-up images from the covers of the six issues included in this volume.  Perhaps the best addition to the collection is the “Concept Art” section at the back of the book.  Sketches illustrate how to draw Atomic Robo and pseudo-scientific plans are included which describe all of the robot’s skills.

Fighting scientists and a humanistic robot make science cool.  There are affectionate jabs at science fiction themes and nods to the genre’s implausible science.  Add funny one-liners and incredibly engaging art and this book is a terrific read that should appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike.

4P     5Q     Grade Level: 7-12atomic-robo

Cover Art: The murky colors and sci-fi theme will appeal to comic book aficionados, fans of The Iron Giant, and sci-fi lovers.  Teen boys, in particular, should be immediately hooked.

From Reading List:  Great Graphic Novels for Teens (2009 Top Ten List)


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