A review copy was provided by Brian Clevinger courtesy of Red 5 Comics.
Two things I love are Western genre comics and the Atomic Robo series. So when the two are mashed up in the latest volume, “Knights of the Golden Circle,” it’s sure to be an awesome adventure! Strap on your poncho and make sure your six-shooters are loaded as we check out Atomic Robo: Knights of the Golden Circle #1.
We join Robo in 1884, where he runs afoul of a group of outlaws loyal to a man who goes by “Butcher.” After the ruffians shoot an old man, Robo rushes him to a nearby town in search of a doctor. As Robo struggles to find someone to save the man’s life, the outlaws are not far behind and enter the town with the goal of slaughtering every man, woman, and child. What will Robo do, especially as he’s accused of actions committed long before he was built?
Atomic Robo is a special series, in that it’s hosted the same creative team, without fail, for eight full volumes (and several Free Comic Book Day Specials) so far. The collaboration between writer Brian Clevinger and artists Scott Wegener is great. It’s clear, after years of combined work, the two understand not only one another, but also have a deep love of Robo, his supporting cast, and world history.
This latest volume gives us a great new story for Robo. Clevinger and Wegener have already taken us from the 1920s up through the present day, but this story takes us back to the Wild West. The artwork explores this time period excellently, giving us great examples of period clothing and technology. The color palette in this issue is also muted, hinting at the lower technology level of the time and contrasting some of brighter hues we’re used to in modern Robo stories; these coloring choices truly bring out the series themes, an accentuate the art to an even greater degree.
As always, a story about Robo wouldn’t be complete without some excellent humor. There are some great jokes which made me laugh out loud, especially the ones surrounding a certain celebrity dentist who makes an appearance. The story also sets up some intriguing history and villains, and gives Robo a difficult choice: should he act now that he’s in the past? What might he accidentally change? Can he even change anything, given that he might have already done the things he’s trying to avoid doing? I know a lot of people aren’t fond of time travel stories, but with a series like this it’s just downright funny to watch Robo debate how he might affect the time-space continuum. I’ve also got great faith in what the creative team can do to flip this oft-utilized comic book trope on its head.
Knights of the Golden Circle #1 is a great start to a new chapter in Robo’s adventures. The comic sets up for an exciting and enjoyable story in a key period in American history which has not yet been touched upon in the series. It may be a little hard for new readers to jump on board without any knowledge of Robo, but a cursory look at his backstory is more than sufficient if you want to start reading here. If you’re looking for a fun, quality story, whether or not you’ve followed Robo in the past, this is a comic you have to pick up!
-hilarious jokes and gags
-readers unfamiliar with Robo may have some difficulty following the story
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. His favorite sheriff is Wiley Burp from An American Tale: Fivel Goes West.
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