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‘Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review


Atomic Robo 4When last we left our nuclear-powered hero, Robo was testing a prototype jet in the South Pacific when he was attacked by a squadron of those bandits the locals refer to as “UFOs.” Our plucky scientist was rescued by none other than those jet-pack wearing beauties, the She-Devils. Welcoming Robo into their home, She-Devil Island, our resourceful heroines looked for a means to return their new robotic companion to the States. The She-Devils were in for a world of a surprise, however, when the UFOs returned at the head of a rogue Japanese navy and sank She-Devil Island! Our mouthless purveyor of bad ideas jumped out of the airship to cover the She-Devils’ escape and was captured by the enemy. What unspeakable horrors will the Japanese navy inflict on Robo? Will the She-Devils return in time to save him? Will Robo’s plane ever fly again? Tune in to Issue #4 to find out, folks!

What’s made this arc really fun is the pulp/wild west feel that’s been established. The arc takes place in 1951 and introduces the idea of the South Pacific, post-World War 2, as a free-for-all for pirates and mercenaries. It’s an amazing concept and well executed. I loved witnessing the interactions between the different factions, and the arc is filled with a ton of great action scenes. The She-Devils are a set of well-written female characters, each expressing very distinct personalities and roles within the unit from the excitable mechanic to the stoic Russian. What perhaps makes them so good is that none of them are defined by their gender. All they are and all they do could easily have been replaced by male characters, and it’s that fair treatment that makes them so well written and made me a fan of this group.

Robo’s always had a wacky science feel to it, which fits right into the pulp genre. The strange inventions of this arc – the She-Devils’ jetpacks, airships, the UFOs, etc. – all have fantastic designs, which look straight out of Buck Rogers. I’m not usually a huge fan of pulp, but here it works well and fits great within the aesthetics and usual expectations of Atomic Robo. The emphasis has also been largely on aircrafts, which has spiced up the generous amounts of dogfights, and this issue includes some of the coolest additions to experimental aerial combat.

Now, as for Issue #4 specifically, it delivers much of the same great content that’s been a part of this arc, but it’s probably the weakest of this series to date. This issue can be called “the villain monologues” issue, which is starting to become the default means for Atomic Robo to deliver exposition and set-up final showdowns. Fortunately, Issue #4 has plenty of Robo’s trademark dry humor and comedic moments to break up exposition and wastes no time jumping to action as soon as the set-up is finished. The She-Devils again steal the limelight from Robo, at least with regard to action, characterization, and, okay, everything except for comedy. The She-Devils have had a great character arc as a unit, and Clevinger is making sure they get their due. The art for this series continues to be fantastic, with the color playing a large part of that. She-Devils has been new Robo colorist Nick Filardi’s first arc, and he’s knocked it out of the park. From the achieved grainy feel of flashbacks to a sunset dogfight, this book simply looks fantastic. This issue also includes one of the most bada– single panels in Atomic Robo ever and almost singlehandedly primed me for Issue #5.

Adventure, lightning guns, jetpacks, and SCIENCE, ladies and gentlemen;
Atomic Robo has it all! Tune in again next month for the exciting conclusion to Atomic Robo and the She-Devils of the Pacific!





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