Review - Atomic Robo & Dawn of New Era #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"You'll be back by sunset. What could go wrong?"

Atomic Robo is a very intelligent and caring robot with a cadre of support around him. That affords him plenty of time to dabble in whatever manner of experiment he deems fit. In Atomic Robo & Dawn of New Era #1 from IDW Publishing, that dabbling focuses on both the past and the future. The issue is written by Brian Clevinger, illustrated by Scott Wegener, colored by Shannon Murphy and lettered by Jeff Powell.

No more sci-fi catastrophes for Atomic Robo. This is now a quiet series about the charming antics and sitcom misunderstandings that happen at a boarding school for future Action Scientists. Also, Robo's hiding a secret AI son in the basement... Bye!

Clevinger certainly juggles quite a bit in Atomic Robo & Dawn of New Era #1, but setting it all amidst the backdrop of a new class of Junior Scientists helps even things out a bit. Each of the characters featured get plenty of pagetime and their personalities blend well with one another. There's a more philosophical bent to the script as well, with Clevinger using science as a means of philosophizing. Atomic Robo as a character has always been about the intersection of science and soul in many ways so for Clevinger to be able to continue to play with that angle is impressive. Nothing epitomizes that intersection more than the ending of the issue which could prove to be a very interesting thread for the series to tug on.

Wegener and Atomic Robo go hand-in-hand and he doesn't stray too far from the norm in this issue. There's always been a cartoonish, all-ages accessibility to the artwork that makes it feel welcoming and adds a bit of visual levity to the otherwise profound themes throughout the series. Atomic Robo looks very human for the most part, fitting in quite nicely with all his human counterparts who are actually human. And every panel features the characters at the forefront of the action with just enough detail in the backgrounds to define the setting. Murphy does a great job with colors, washing various pages in definitive hues that makes it easy for the reader to keep up with what's what.

Atomic Robo & Dawn of New Era #1 doesn't necessarily tread new ground for the character and his cohorts, but it's story is still solid. Atomic Robo has always grappled with the influence of scientists on history and whether they're approach was more alchemy than science--both of which are explored in the issue. Atomic Robo is taking a step back from all the harrowing adventures that typically mark an Atomic Robo comic, although Clevinger ensures that adventures will still somehow find the lead character and his cohorts. Wegener's illustrations feel familiar and comfortable, offering a simple yet visually appealing art style. Atomic Robo & Dawn of New Era #1 is a great first issue that new fans will feel welcome reading while older fans will continue to find enjoyment.

Atomic Robo & Dawn of New Era #1 is available now.