Here’s my look back at the ten best single comic issues from the past year. Including ongoing series, one-shots, and mini-series, the only limitations I put on this list was that the comic had to have been released in 2013 (no reprints) and I limited myself to only a single issue from any one title. Because I was focusing on standout issues rather than consistently strong comics every month several of my favorite series missed the cut, but, if time permits, I may work up my regular list of best comic series of the past year as well.
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Wrapping up the six-issue arc, Nikola Tesla leads Charles Fort, Winfield-Scott Lovecraft, Ehrie “Harry Houdini Weiss, Master Wong Ke-Ying, and Annie Oakley out of the tunnels beneath the city to stop the Triumvirate of Franklin Reade, Robert Trydan, and Jack Wright and their mad plan of mass destruction and revolution.
Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #12 presents plenty of action and quick thinking from the heroes of science as they manage to stop the villains from detonating their explosives all over the city and hold out long enough for help to arrive.
The issue includes two short back-up stories involving Atomic Robo taking down a pair of spies in Nevada (by jumping out of an airplane and landing on their car) and Dr. Dinosaur laying what he considers an ingenious trap for members of Tesladyne that doesn’t produce the results the insane dinosaur hoped for. Worth a look.
[Red 5, $2.75]
As Tesladyne prepares to repel soldiers coming after both the company and Atomic Robo after Majestic 12 has done a solid job framing them as nuclear terrorists, the company’s leader has his own troubles in Venezuela trying to stay alive and stop the crazed Dr. Dinosaur from detonating his nuclear-powered time bomb.
Most of Atomic Robo’s story concerns the robot trying to keep himself, and his human companions, alive from the attacks of the odd creatures under the crazy dinosaur’s control while Dr. Dinosaur calls on the help of a few of his rock soldiers to put the bomb that Robo tricked him into disassembling back together. Because of this we don’t get any more great banter between the pair, but both provide their own fun separately deep under the jungles of Venezuela.
Next issue I’d expect to see more of Jenkins leading the group to repel the soldiers who have finally arrived and, hopefully, more back-and-forth between Atomic Robo and Dr. Dinosaur. Worth a look.
[Red 5, $3.50]
Dangerous technology in the wrong hands is the common theme of all three stories in Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #11. In the main tale, Nikola Tesla and his team are attacked by the Black Coat Army agents of the Triumvirate. Scattered, and with their base destroyed, the various agents eventually find themselves taken captive in the secret underground tunnels of New York City where the scope of Franklin Reade, Robert Trydan, and Jack Wright‘s plans are finally revealed.
The same theme runs through the first back-up story which features an Oval Office conversation between President Harry Truman and James Forrestal concerning the creation of a secret government science program to weaponize stolen Tesla technology.
The second back-up story, years later, involves Atomic Robo answering a distress call from the military who have gotten into a spot of trouble into the Vampire Dimension while using that same lost technology (a fact that doesn’t go unnoticed by the incensed Robo). Worth a look.
[Red 5, $2.75]
The good guys start to fight back in the latest issue of Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures as Nikola Tesla leads his team of Charles Fort, Winfield-Scott Lovecraft, Ehrie “Harry Houdini Weiss, Master Wong Ke-Ying, and Annie Oakley to retrieve his stolen property and make their own strategic strikes on the evil industrialist threesome of Franklin Reade, Robert Trydan, and Jack Wright.
From their attacks, which include the destruction of one of Wright’s factories, Tesla and his team are able to discover the Black Coat agenda and at least begin to prepare themselves for the planned attack from the treacherous combination of a steel and steam engine manufacturer, a weapons designer, and the head of an international gang of criminals.
I was happy to see the return of both Ke-Ying and Oakley (although Annie isn’t given much to do this time around) as it looks like there will be plenty of trouble for all of Tesla’s associates to handle beginning next issue with the reprisal from the Black Coats. The issue also reprints the amusing “The Yonkers Devil” as a back-up story. Worth a look.
[Red 5, $2.75]
Everything considered, Atomic Robo has had better days. A secret black-ops unit of the United States Government is framing the robot as a nuclear terrorist in order to seize Robo for their own, and while searching for evidence of Cryptids in the jungles of Venezuela suspiciously close to an old Nazi Science city under Kukenan Tepui Atomic Robo and his team run into the robot’s least favorite person (who just happens to be an insane dinosaur scientist) – Dr. Dinosaur. Let the insanity begin!
I really enjoyed the first issue of the latest volume, but this one raises the stakes with some great banter between Robo and Dr. Dinosaur, the dinosaur’s “facts,” and the increasingly impossible situations Robo and his team find themselves in including the dinosaur’s rock minions with lasers in their faces, a secret underground city with a time bomb and lava pit that the deranged dinosaur has plans for.
I simply can’t recommend the awesome of this comic, and the first two issues of the latest series, enough. Bring on issue #3! Must-read.
[Red 5, $3.50]
Although I prefer my Atomic Robo stories to have Atomic Robo in them, the latest issue of Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures provides a threesome of historic figures to carry the load. Charles Fort, Winfield-Scott Lovecraft, and Ehrie “Harry Houdini” Weiss work together to uncover the truth behind the evil machinations of the mysterious Black Coat army led by a shadowy of group of heads of industry who are also behind the theft of Nikola Tesla‘s Magnifying Transmitter.
The threesome of historical figures are entertaining, and there’s a good amount of action here, but I actually had more fun with the combination of Master Wong Kei-Ying and Annie Oakley from Atomic Robot Presents Real Science Adventures #8 who sadly don’t return.
Although their investigation leads to little in the way of concrete answers, it does narrow the focus of the storyline going forward as well as bring the threesome to the attention of another interested party: Nikola Tesla.
[Red 5, $2.75]
While trying to flee the negative publicity caused by someone attempting to discredit Atomic Robo for his role in the events of 8/11, known as the “Hashima Incident,” involving stolen nuclear weapons that temporarily made him the world’s #1 most wanted fugitive, Atomic Robo decides to take a team and check out reported sightings of Cryptids in the jungles of Venezuela suspiciously close to an old Nazi Science city under Kukenan Tepui.
While Atomic Robo is gone, Tesladyne Island is sent one of the missing six nuclear weapons further making it look like Atomic Robo and Tesladyne are smuggling atomic weapons around the world. Therefore if falls on Jenkins and those left behind to clear their friend’s somewhat tarnished name.
Atomic Robo and his team are in for some surprises of their own. First, they discover a group of rock climbing adventurers with a thing for abandoned secret science locales. And second, Robo and his group are attacked by the robot’s most insane (and most awesome) of enemies – Dr. Dinosaur!
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Realizing someone is after his technology, Nikola Tesla hires a Master Wong Kei-Ying and Annie Oakley to protect the scientist’s Magnifying Transmitter which Tesla is moving by train. It’s a good thing he did to, as the train is hijacked and the unlikely pair of a martial artist and cocky sharpshooter are all that stand in the way of the shadowy group getting their hands on another of Tesla’s inventions.
There’s plenty of action here involving Wong taking down a train load of robbers and the explosion of the train itself when it becomes necessary to destroy Tesla’s invention rather than allow it to fall into the wrong hands. Wong and Oakley make for an amusing pair who I wouldn’t mind see more of in the future.
The back-up story concludes Atomic Robo and his group’s discovery of a giant robot in Egypt. As Robo and the other scientist argue how best to continue with the creature looming large before them, Jenkins takes matters into his own hands and settles the question once and for all. Worth a look.
[Red 5, $2.75]
Every year you can count on Atomic Robo to deliver one of the best comics of Free Comic Book Day. The 2013 issue features out intrepid science adventurer (who just happens to be an atomic-powered robot built by Nikola Tesla) taking on a rogue robot.
Full of humor and action, Atomic Robo Free Comic Book Day 2013 is mostly centered around Atomic Robo getting his butt kicked for most of the issue. Thankfully, he knows to bring back-up. The issue should work for both longtime fans of the comic and new readers who are getting their first taste of Atomic Robo zaniness. For those who weren’t able to get their hands on a physical copy of the issue writer Brian Clevinger and artist Scott Wegener have put the entire adventure online.
The issue also includes a look at a new Red 5 series, Bodie Troll featuring a cute troll with ADHD incapable of scaring anyone. It may not be as good as the Atomic Robo story, but it’s goofy and fun. Worth a look.
[Red 5, FREE]