Collections of unconnected stories are always a roller coaster of quality. This volume had about a 75% success rate. There are several fantastic tales, including two with the awesome Dr. Dinosaur. There’s another real-person-cameo, that only causes me reassert my theory that they are major part of what makes Robo a great series, and another tale with a half-dozen historical characters and makes me question that idea. Luckily, the short nature of each story makes it easy to move on after the few bad ones.
Though I could easily see actual shark jumping occurring in an Atomic Robo story, I think there may have been a proverbial one with the time-traveling dinosaur a few volumes back. I thought they’d reversed the trend, but all the stories set in Robo’s past lack the wonder the earlier volumes had. The humor is still strong, but I found the narrative wanting. The were entirely too many unexplained engineering marvels (which I suppose are entertaining enough) instead of abstract scientific concepts (which I propose are much more fun).
Strangely, Atomic Robo reminds me of a lot of Warren Ellis’ sci-fi comics. They both just get me excited about science! Though Atomic Robo uses wackiness in place of grit, gore, and dark humor. After the previous volume’s disappointment, this one gets us back on track with all the sciency craziness, robot duels, and space explosions. Another great scientist cameo too (I wont spoil who.)
Visiting Atomic Robo’s origin is a fine experience, but an entire trade doesn’t need to be devoted to it. Fighting gangsters with a single bland robot doesn’t entertain when the previous volumes had interdementional aliens, vampires, animated landmarks, and other action packed hyperbole.
I am a huge fan of pulp fiction, not the movie but the genre. Robert Howard and H.P. Lovecraft lured me into the world of literature the way only the over-the-top fun that this era could. The first three volumes of Atomic Robo were a decent modern interpretation of these ideas, fighting nazi robots in WWII and extra-dimentional abberations straight out of the Cthulhu mythos. Other Strangeness mostly continued this good-but-not-great style until one segment about a time-traveling dinosaur pushed the volume into greatness. The funniest comic I’ve read since Nextwave.