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Atomic Robo / Neozoic / Bonnie Lass Free Comic Book Day 2012 [Review]


ATOMIC ROBO

Words: Brian Clevinger
Art: Scott Wegener
Colors: Matt Speroni
Letters: Jeff Powell
Red 5 Comics: Paul Ens, Scott Chitwood

This story reminds of me how much I tend to enjoy the Atomic Robo FCBD editions. As far as I can tell, this is a new/original story. Robo and Dr. Dinosaur team up to stop some Time/Space disaster, but the evil doctor has other schemes…which don’t exactly work out according to his plans, leading to everyone truly having to team up in order to save the day.

The writing’s solid, and the art is good. Unlike many, many other comics…this just simply is. It’s Atomic Robo, and for me, that’s all it needs to be. The story and art are what I know of the character, so it’s like simply checking out a random episode of some tv show and NOT finding a new group of actors or something different than I’m used to.

I’ve been reading these Atomic Robo FCBD issues for years now, but unfortunately it has yet to translate to me buying any of the single issues (due to pricing) or any of the collected volumes (again, pricing). But I do think I’m closer than before to biting the bullet and buying a collected volume, even if the price of the entire library of Atomic Robo seems overwhelming at present.

If nothing else, this was a welcome story in a stack of FCBD stuff, and made it to my “initial reads” stack, and this is absolutely a key issue well worth being a specific FCBD comic to seek out.

Rating: 9/10

NEOZOIC

Script: Paul Ens
Art: J. Korim
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Troy Peteri

I’ve never heard of this, and had to force myself to read it. Something about it doesn’t sit terribly well with me…probably that it’s so short. There’s this world where humans and dinosaurs coexist…some warrior even has a triceratops head as a shield (which actually makes sense, given the setting). I get the sense of “history” here, of coming in in the middle of the story, something that’s confirmed by there already being a collected volume out, and a new volume of single issues coming this fall. And rather than just having a brief done-in-one story, this is bridge material, “to be continued” in the new volume this fall.

But for me, there’s not enough here to get me sufficiently interested for something so far off yet.

The story’s not bad, but it’s a bit weak…I don’t get a sense of who the characters really are or why I should care (I have not read the original volume) and though I don’t mind prologue material that leads into a regular comic series, this one feels a bit forced given the series doesn’t even have a specific date for me to mark on a calendar or put a reminder into my phone for.

The art isn’t bad, either…it puts me in mind of some random kids’ animation adapted into a comic; it’s got that manga-yet-NOT-manga feel to it. Given I’ve not seen Neozoic before, the art definitely defines it, but my mind lumps it in with so many other such comics where the art is good, but mostly doesn’t stand out above other work for me. While I like that the female characters are not running around in bikinis and shooting dinosaurs, I do have to question the anatomy…I’m put in mind in several panels of the recent internet meme of people trying to match a pose of Mary Jane (from Spider-Man) where it doesn’t seem a human spine can allow one to pose a certain way.

All in all, this has put Neozoic in front of my face, exposing me to it and I might look at a book if I come across it at a comic shop, but there’s just not enough here to convince me to backtrack and specifically keep an eye out for the new comics’ release months from now.

Rating: 5/10

BONNIE LASS

Story: Michael Mayne & Tyler Fluharty
Script & Art: Michael Mayne

This story’s at least self-aware. Whether that’s a characteristic of the “regular” comics I don’t know, but something about this goes over better for me than with Neozoic.

The main character speaks right to the readers, and is self-aware that this is part of the Red 5 Comics FCBD issue this year. She explains what’s come before and why she’s in this situation now. We’re introduced to a couple other characters, and by extension the premise for the new series coming up, and then the title character’s filling us in on a bit more and points out the existing 4 issues of this title.

Perhaps it’s that the story is open and self-aware; that this is specifically a FCBD “intro/ad” type piece–not reprinting anything of an existing series but not truly giving any feature-length “original story” to stand alone, but just a bridge that likely won’t affect the regular issues, but is a “fun” short piece.

There’s a sense of the character being a fairly strong female lead, and of something crossing present day with older-style pirates and swashbuckling adventure.

Another trouble with this sort of thing is that I’m firmly entrenched in standard fare from DC/Marvel/Image/Dark Horse/IDW and getting my “fill” on comics there; and this isn’t something I can see forking over $12-16 on single issues, though for a one-shot, I’d probably seek it out.

Rating: 7/10

All in all, not a bad offering from Red 5, though I’d’ve been just as happy for nothing but Atomic Robo and had to force myself to actually read the other two selections rather than put this aside after reading the lead feature.

Full-Issue Rating: 7/10

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