Atomic Robo RPG

I’ve been waiting anxiously for the Atomic Robo RPG since I heard it was coming out. I got a chance to try it out last year at Games on Demand at GenCon, and had an absolute blast playing Robo. Earlier this week, after spending a week or so teasing us all with glimpses of the book ((Thus earning the “evil” part of the company name.)), Evil Hat went ahead and launched the preorder ((I’m thinking that’s about enough links for one paragraph. Yeah?)). Now, as is typical with these fine folks, when you buy the game from them ((Or one of the retailers participating in their Bits and Mortar initiative.)), you also get the .pdf of the game at no extra cost. With the preorder, you get the .pdf right away, so you can read through the game ((And, incidentally, do a last, crowd-sourced check for typos.)) while waiting for the physical copy to get printed.

Surprising absolutely no one who knows me, I’m pretty sure I was in the first two dozen preorders – Fred Hicks tweeted that there had been 24 preorders, and mine had already been placed. And then I spent the next two nights reading it.

TL;DR – The game is great. It’s a nice implementation of Fate rules, really captures the feel of the comics, and can be hacked to support a wide range of set-ups similar to Atomic Robo. I heartily recommend buying it. FOR SCIENCE!

The Book ((Well, obviously I don’t have the book, yet. But you know what I mean.))

More than any other company these days, Evil Hat books are cleanly and clearly laid out, and ARRPG is not an exception to that rule. The pages are attractive and inviting, and the overall design is practically invisible, while helping you find your way through the book and get the most out of it. This kind of invisible design is hard to do, and so wonderfully helpful when reading the book.

Mixed in, as might be expected, is a lot of art from the Atomic Robo comics. Indeed, most of the examples in the book are panels and sequences from the comic book, with little talking heads plugged in to explain the mechanics in use. Besides being helpful in understanding the game and how to play it, these examples made me dig out my comic books and reread them all, just because they reminded me of all the fun moments in the series.

There’s also a good index. A good index has become more valuable to me than gold as I have gotten older. I don’t have as much time for prep, and often wind up looking things up on the fly during a game. For that, nothing beats a good index, which most game books traditionally don’t have. Evil Hat has been reversing this trend with their releases, which feature meaty, professionally done indices, and that makes me happy.

The Characters

ARRPG has what is, I think, the second most complicated character generation I’ve seen in Fate games, with the first most complicated being DFRPG, with it’s point-buy powers. Now, before that scares you off, it is still massively less complicated than most of the big name RPGs out there. In the time it takes to create a single D&D 3.5E character, you can have all the characters in an ARRPG game up and running and half-way into the adventure.

ARRPG gives you two ((Really, three, because you can split the difference between the two main ones.)) methods to create characters. One, which they call the E-Z No-Math Character Creation ((I’m torn on the name, here. There is a tiny bit of math, but really, it’s the kind of addition that could fairly be called “counting.”)), has you pick three different character modes ((If you’ve read the Fate System Toolkit, you’ve seen the mode idea discussed there.)) , which are groups of skills, from the default four of Action, Banter, Intrigue, and Science. You then rank the three modes you picked, and bump up those skills that feature in more than one mode ((This is the counting thing I was talking about. Or mild addition, if you prefer.)). You also, because this is a Fate game, choose aspects for your concept, each of your modes, and an extra aspect they call the Omega aspect. Finally, you calculate your stress boxes ((A little more counting.)). And, of course, somewhere in there, you need to come up with a name.

The other character creation method is called Weird Character Creation. It works pretty much the same as the E-Z No-Math method, but pulls the curtain aside a bit to show you the underlying point structure that makes it work. This allows you to build new modes, called Weird Modes, for your character. So, if you wanted to build, say, an atomic-powered robot created by Nicola Tesla in 1926 ((Just to pull an example out of the air.)), you can construct a Robot mode to give him ((Or her.)). The method is pretty straightforward, though I had to read the entire chapter on modes, skills, and stunts to get all the pieces to fall into place ((Maybe it’s just me, though.)) with the skill costs and how to build new skills for the Weird Modes. There are a number ((And that number is 13.)) of ready-made Weird Modes in the book, for everything from dinosaurs and warbots to pilots and reporters.

There are also two flavours of stunts in AARPG: stunts and mega-stunts. Stunts are exactly like stunts in other Fate games – little tricks that make your skills work a little better for you in certain situations. Mega-stunts, which you can only take if you have a weird mode for your character, are more powerful, incorporating multiple stunt-like effects ((Along with some effects that couldn’t be achieved with a normal stunt, like being bulletproof.)). Everyone gets five stunts, whether of the normal or the mega varieties. The cost for taking mega-stunts is that it gives more fate points to the GM to use against you.

One interesting thing about ARRPG character creation is that, despite how it sounds above and how I said it’s one of the most complicated chargen implementations in Fate, it’s designed to get you up and running very quickly. The book recommends that you just choose your modes, a couple of aspects, come up with a name, and figure out your stress boxes, then jump right in. You can fill in the rest of the aspects and stunts ((And use the skill improvements that every character gets but that I haven’t mentioned until now.)) as required on the fly.

The exception to this is weird modes and mega-stunts. These require some thought up front to construct and implement, so it’s best that you nail these downs before the game starts.

I have to admit, I was a little confused on my first read of the character creation chapter. My confusion cleared up a lot when I got to the chapter on modes, stunts, and skills, but between the two chapters is one on aspects and fate points ((Does this mean the book has a problem with structure? I don’t think so. I thought about this a lot, and I see why the character creation chapter doesn’t have all the information you need – it would bulk it out with a lot of information that would need to be repeated elsewhere. And the chapter on fate points and aspects should come where it does for gamers new to Fate games. But as someone already familiar with the basic Fate system, the separation of the material was a little confusing at first. Now I get it.)). What I’m saying is that, if you get to the end of the character creation chapter scratching your head and wondering if you’ve missed something, hang in there. The answers are coming two chapters down the road.

Other Rules

The rest of the rules are, for the most part, pretty standard Fate fare. There are some tweaks to the skills ((Most notably the Science skill, which gets its own subsection called Science: It’s Special.)), but other than that, there are just four big innovations:

  • Across the Fourth Dimension: The stories in the Atomic Robo comics cover events from shortly after his creation up to 2021. Now, when I say “cover,” what I mean is that there are stories and flashbacks ((And one flash-forward.)) set throughout almost 100 years of Robo’s life ((If you bring in the Real Science Adventures comics, you get to see Tesla and his adventuring companions even earlier than that.)). And they aren’t necessarily told in chronological order. The game has a lot of advice for how to get that kind of feel in your campaign, and the ability to throw non-weird characters together in ten minutes means that it’s completely feasible to jump around in time at the game table. So that’s cool.
  • Invention: What would a game about action science be without the ability to kit-bash and create new pieces of tech as required in play? Boring, that’s what! So of course the game contains rules for how to construct useful and obscenely dangerous devices that you can use both to solve problems and create new ones. It’s a neat little system that lets you assemble cool toys, trading functionality against risk and time.
  • Factions: This is a special implementation of the Fate Fractal – the idea that everything in Fate can be treated like a character, with aspects, skills, stunts, etc. Here, it’s used specifically to flesh out Tesladyne and the resources that the action scientists can call on, but the implication that you can do the same thing to M12 ((Or the BPRD.)) is pretty clear. It gives me a lot of ideas about how to run a campaign aimed at destroying ((Or otherwise rendering ineffective.)) an agency or organization, rather than just concentrating on the big boss that runs it. Very cool stuff.
  • Brainstorming: I saved this one for last, because I think it’s the coolest. You know how, in the movies and comics where scientists are featured, there’s always that one ((Sometimes more than one.)) scene where they have to put together the clues, figure out what’s going on, and come up with a solution? That’s the brainstorming mechanic in ARRPG. Everyone involved in the brainstorm gets to roll dice and use their science to come up with clue aspects for the problem and, if they get enough successes over a number of rounds, they can figure out the problem. And that problem is whatever the players say it is at that point. Yeah, the players get to decide what the big problem is. Oh, they have to stay within the bounds set by the clues, and a careful GM can steer things to a degree, but at the end of the day, if they successfully brainstorm the problem, they get to determine reality. Which is awesome. Of course, then they have to come up with a plan, but they’ll have a number of aspects created by the brainstorming which they can use when they implement the plan. This is just sheer genius, as far as I’m concerned.


As I was reading the game, it became clear to me that Atomic Robo and Hellboy both use very similar narrative set-ups for their comics ((And Scott Wegner’s art in the early Atomic Robo books showed a great deal of Mike Mignola influence. Over time, it’s evolved into what is very much his own style. I love it.)). It would be trivially easy to play a BPRD game using this system. All you’d need to do is build a couple of weird modes, a few mega-stunts, and maybe replace the flexibility of the Science mode with an Occult mode. It would maybe take an hour to get the whole thing worked out.

Other suggestions online I’ve seen have been for Ghostbusters, and again that seems a pretty easy port. It would also be a good setup to use for one-shots based on disaster movies, like Armageddon or The Core. And, of course, any of the 50s-style science-horror movies like Them or Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman or Godzilla or The Blob are influences on the comic book, and thus make for excellent adventures.

And lifting the mode method of character creation ((As shown in the Fate System Toolkit.)) or the subsystems for cross-time play, invention, factions, and brainstorming is easy. These are easy bolt-ons to other games, or pieces to build a new one.


Atomic Robo comic books are pretty much perfect in their mix of action, science, and humour. I love them to death. The Atomic Robo RPG does a great job of creating a game that give you the experience of the comic stories. The production values on the book are exemplary, and the rules adaptation is note-perfect. It’s available for preorder now, and you get the .pdf right away. If you’ve made it through the above 2000-word review and STILL aren’t rushing to buy it, I’ve gotta question why you bothered reading this far.

It’s got ACTION. It’s got SCIENCE!


How have you not already bought it? GO NOW!

GenCon 2013 Wrap-Up

Those of you who follow this blog ((I know there are a couple of you out there.)) may have noticed that I kinda pooped out on posting during GenCon this year. The fact of the matter is that I just got too tired, and too busy, to keep it up regularly. So, I figure that I owe you folks a wrap-up post, talking about what I saw and did at GenCon this year.

The Pagan Publishing/Dagon Industries booth just before the doors open on the first day. Note the looming presence of Scott Glancy.


Overall, it was a fun show. I got see a lot of my GenCon friends, and see a lot of neat games, and eat some good food, and stuff like that. There are a few things I want to call out specifically as being awesome ((Or at least interesting.)) at the show, though:

Kickstarters and Preorders

I have said previously that some of the joy of GenCon has evaporated now that game companies don’t feel the need to launch their big, cool stuff at the show. With the advent of web sales and preorders and Kickstarter, it’s not as vital a push for a company to have the new hotness launching during GenCon. Last year, I already owned pretty much everything I was interested in getting before the show.

This year started to seem to be the same, but then a number of companies started sending out e-mail, offering the option of picking up preorders ((Including offers to prebuy show exclusive books.)) and Kickstarter rewards at GenCon. I jumped on board with that idea, and the first day of shopping, I wound up with a respectable stack of books and games that I had already paid for – it was like a free shopping spree.

This did a surprising amount to redeem the feelings of excitement and expectation that had been cooling over previous years. I really hope the trend works out well for the various publishers who did this, because I really liked it.

One of the Kickstarter rewards I picked up at the show was the Travels book for Shadows of Esteren. I left the book at the booth when I picked it up on Thursday, and the good folks there said they'd get is signed by everyone. When I finally remembered to pick it up again (I left the show without getting it, and if I hadn't had to come back to drop off Scott's keys, I might not have remembered it at all), I found that Gawain, the artist, had done a sketch for me in the book, as well! Those Esteren folks rock!

One of the Kickstarter rewards I picked up at the show was the Travels book for Shadows of Esteren. I left the book at the booth when I picked it up on Thursday, and the good folks there said they’d get is signed by everyone. When I finally remembered to pick it up again (I left the show without getting it, and if I hadn’t had to come back to drop off Scott’s keys, I might not have remembered it at all), I found that Gawain, the artist, had done a sketch for me in the book, as well! Those Esteren folks rock!

Games on Demand

I talked a bit about this last year, but I’m going to talk about it some more this year. I think this may be the single greatest thing on offer at GenCon, for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it gives folks a chance to try a bite-sized piece of games that they ordinarily wouldn’t get to ((Or, in some cases, want to.)) play. I spent Thrusday, Friday, and Saturday evening hanging out there, playing some great games, and the folks running it did yeoman duty in the face of high demand, confused participants, and the whining of entitled gamers. I cannot praise them highly enough for keeping things running, and keeping their spirits up.

They had a new priority system in place this year, where people could stop by a little early to pick up a boarding pass, then come back just before the session started and pick their preferred game from the offerings in the order of the boarding pass they had ((I think it’s a perfectly functional system, but this is where most of the whining came in. “But the game I want is full!” “But I’ve got actual tickets for this slot, so I should get to pick my game before the people who have been waiting here for two hours!” I never had a boarding pass in the top half of the range, and you don’t hear me complaining. Suck it up!)). Then you find your table and you play.

Demand was much higher this year than last year, and there was always a crowd around the table long before the boarding passes started getting called. Only once did I make it into my first choice of game, but there was always something interesting and fun to try, and even right at the end, there were a couple of choices open to most folks.

About to play a game of Leverage at Games on Demand.

About to play a game of Leverage at Games on Demand.

Atomic Robo RPG

My first night at Games on Demand, I got to play in a session of Atomic Robo The Roleplaying Game, run by Morgan Ellis, one of the designers. He offered us two choices of scenario, and we chose the 1950s scenario, whose title was something like The Abominations That Ate Albuquerque ((The other scenario sounded pretty cool, too, set in modern Japan, where we would play Science Team Super Five)). I actually got to play Atomic Robo himself, and it was pretty awesome.

Edit: I received word from Morgan Ellis that he is NOT one of the designers of ARRPG. He is listed on the product page because he produced some of the stat blocks used in the game. I apologize for misunderstanding. Still, getting stat blocks in the game is not nothing, and he did run a great game.

The game is Fate-based, but tweaked to emulate the action science and comedy of the comic books. We had pregen characters, but looking at the sheets, character generation seems pretty quick, picking a number of roles – like Action, Science, and Banter – and prioritizing them on your sheet, which then grants you ranks in various skills. There are, of course, aspects and stunts involved, too – this is a Fate-based game, after all.

Now, I’ve run an awful lot of Fate games, but this was actually my first time playing one, and it was great. The system nicely captures the mix of comedy and action that drives the comic book, and gives the same importance to science that makes the comic stand out in that regard. I got to use my Fancy Robot Eyes to analyze cow carcasses, wrestle with giant wasp larvae, crack wise with the ranchers, ride a horse, and blow up a Buick dealership to kill the queen wasp.

One especially neat innovation of this game is the brainstorming mechanic. This often happens in concert with other scenes, and is where the scientists try to figure out what is going on. It is, in essence, an extended declaration, where players get a chance to spin a theory based on evidence gathered, and roll to see if it’s true. It cycles through this idea a few times, allowing you to refine your theory and build a plan based upon it, and, in the end, you wind up with an aspect based on your theories that you can invoke ((Possibly multiple times, if you roll well enough on the brainstorming.)) when you put your plan into action.

This means that, though the GM will have a default plan for what’s going on, the brainstorming session by the scientists may, in fact, change what’s true. And I think that’s awesome, both as GM and as player.

Here's a glimpse of the Atomic Robo character sheet. Note my poor attempt at drawing Robo's head on my little tent card.

Here’s a glimpse of the Atomic Robo character sheet. Note my poor attempt at drawing Robo’s head on my little tent card.

Firefly RPG

The show saw the release of Gaming in the ‘Verse: Firefly Gen Con 2013 Exclusive. This is a teaser product, giving people who are too excited to wait for February a chance to try the new Firefly RPG early. I picked a copy up, and got to play in a game on Saturday night, run by Rob Wieland, the line developer on the Echoes of War series of adventures for the Firefly RPG.

The book is very well done for its purpose. You get enough rules and material not only to run the two adventures included in the book, but also to create your own characters and run a campaign. There aren’t as many resources and options as are going to be in the core book, but there literally is enough here that you could play for an extended time without needing anything else. Balancing that is the fact that, the way things are presented, the exclusive makes you want the core book, not because the exclusive is lacking stuff, but because the cool stuff in the exclusive promises even more cool stuff in the core book.

And that’s the way to hook a customer with a teaser product.

As far as gameplay goes, this game rocks. Several years ago, I ran a short campaign using the Serenity RPG which, while fun, kind of petered out. Part of that was the size of the group, and part of it was the system. The original Cortex system ((Though I don’t believe it had a name back then – I think the name Cortex was applied some time around either the BSG or Supernatural licensed games. And now it’s Cortex Classic.)) was completely serviceable system, but it was somewhat bland and took a long time to prep for sessions ((Well, part of that is the weird way I was trying to run the game, and the less said about that, the better. But the system certainly didn’t speed things up.)) ((The campaign also wound up going to a really, really dark place, which was not what I wanted, despite it being totally my fault.)).

The Cortex Plus incarnation of gaming in the ‘Verse is tighter and cleaner, while at the same time being more open and freeform. If you’ve played games like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying or Leverage RPG, you know what I’m talking about. It’s easy to build scenarios and it’s easy to improvise in play. The game setup is fluid enough to incorporate character actions and whacky schemes almost effortlessly. And everything flows pretty quick.

I had a blast playing the game, and chatting about it with Rob afterwards. And, now that I’m home, several of the folks in my home group are interested in giving it a try. So, that’s a win in my book.

I got to play Wash in the Firefly game. He survived! Also, he drove a boat. It was a life-changing experience.

I got to play Wash in the Firefly game. He survived! Also, he drove a boat. It was a life-changing experience.

The Noteboard

Okay. Go take a look at the Noteboard.

I had no interest in this product. I mean, I’m running fewer and fewer games that require a battlemap ((Just the Storm Point 4e game, right now.)), and I already have my Tac-Tiles and Dungeon Tiles for that. So, when I was picking things up at the Pelgrane booth, the incomparable Beth Lewis practically had to browbeat me into buying one. And, when I came back a couple of days later to buy four more of the things, she sat behind the cash table, mocking me with her knowing smirk.

In the time between when I reluctantly bought one Noteboard and when I came back to eagerly buy four more, I had seen them used for so many things at the gaming table. My favourite function was using it to substitute for sticky notes or index cards in Fate and Cortex Plus games, both of which generate a lot of extra little paper bits with stuff written on them. So, extra aspects or distinctions or assets or complications can all be written on the Noteboard, rather than on a bunch of sticky notes that get thrown away.

And you can use the bag to erase it. Then fold it up and put it in your pocket.

I decided that I needed a spare or two, and that the other GMs in my group needed one, as well.

Seriously. For a simple, inexpensive little accessory, it has so many applications. You need one. At least one.

The Noteboard. Seriously, you folks need one of these. At least one.

The Noteboard. Seriously, you folks need one of these. At least one.

Saladin Ahmed

Saladin Ahmed is one of my favourite authors. His first novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, is a marvelous sword-and-sorcery story set in a middle-eastern-derived culture, and is a ton of fun. His short story collection, Engraved on the Eye, is full of fun short stories, sprinkled with a couple of stories that really made me think about some things. Following him on Twitter ((His handle is @saladinahmed. DO NOT follow him if you’re not interested in having your ideas about race, politics, and equality challenged.)), he’s been friendly and gracious, and has helped me really expand my reading of non-white, non-male authors.

I also used Throne as fodder for part of my Storm Point game, which seemed to tickle him.

Mr. Ahmed was attending the GenCon Writers’ Symposium, and I had the chance to sit in on a reading he gave ((Though not on the world-building panel he was part of. I regret that – his insights into building a non-European-centric world would have been interesting to hear.)) ((Also present at the reading was Joel Shepherd. I hadn’t heard of his books before, but his reading convinced me to go pick up the first book in his Cassandra Kresnov trilogy.)). Afterwards, he signed my copy of his book, and took some time to chat with me one-on-one.

This is, I think, the mark of an author who appreciates his audience. He was tired, he was hungry, and he had a bunch of stuff he still had to do that day, but he took the better part of a half-hour being friendly, welcoming, and gracious to a fanboy. Authors don’t owe us that – they have lives and are people and need food and sleep and all that stuff. Mr. Ahmed’s took his time to talk with me, and that makes him a class act in my book.

If you haven’t read his stuff, you should do so. Now.

As I said, Saladin Ahmed is a class act all the way. And the book is very good. Go buy it.

 Food Trucks

I think they started showing up last year, but this year there were tons of food trucks just outside the main exhibitor hall. And they were there until late at night. This meant that I had the chance to try a few of them, though the pickings were pretty slim when I was heading back to the hotel after gaming until midnight. Still, I got to eat some good perogies, a nice pulled chicken sandwich, and a Cuban sub. The food was awesomely good and terribly unhealthy, and that’s not even touching on the four or five cupcake trucks that were in the mix.

It looked to me like the trucks had time slots they were booked for, and had to leave after a few hours to let someone else in. Given the huge crowds lined up in front of EVERY SINGLE ONE of them ((Except at midnight. Then the crowds were only big, instead of huge.)), I imagine they were going through their stock pretty quick, anyway. The downside of this is that I didn’t make it to some of my favourite eating establishments this year. I will have to budget my meal consumption more carefully next year.


So, yeah. Turned off the interstate to get some gas. There was a big, pink elephant at the gas station, advertising the liquor store inside.

We’re back in the Crowne Plaza, the old train station hotel with the weird ghost statues. This one was odder than most, lying as it was on the roof of a train car. Found that the hotel is under renovation, and the two statues that stood beneath this one, reaching up to be hauled aboard, were temporarily taken out.

There was a lot of good cosplay at the con, as usual. Most of the costumes, though very nice, don’t really get me excited. But there were a few that caught my eye for various reasons.

Dot Warner, of the Animaniacs. Awesome.

Dot Warner, of the Animaniacs. Awesome.

Bob Ross, from The Joy of Painting. This costume thrilled me so much that I called Scott over to see it. Right in front of a very attractive, scantily clad woman who turned out to be a professional cosplayer. I felt that I had been very rude, afterwards, and I'm sorry about that. But still - Bob Ross cosplay! Right?

Bob Ross, from The Joy of Painting. This costume thrilled me so much that I called Scott over to see it. Right in front of a very attractive, scantily clad woman who turned out to be a professional cosplayer. I felt that I had been very rude, afterwards, and I’m sorry about that. But still – Bob Ross cosplay! Right?

Two generations of Rebel pilots. Welcome to the Geek Alliance, little space pilot!



Atomic Robo – Why Was I Not Informed?!?

I can’t believe I just found out about this.

Last week some time, Fred Hicks tweeted ((Actually, he retweeted. But anyway.)) about this comic called Atomic Robo. The tweet included this link, which you should check out. I did. And it intrigued me so much, I immediately went and bought all the Atomic Robo comics ((Well, not went so much as fired up Comixology on my iPad and downloaded them. I love you, Comixology!)).

There are currently five complete series of Atomic Robo up on Comixology, each series running from four to six issues. In addition, there’s a sixth series that is in progress ((On issue #4, as I write this.)) and three Free Comic Book Day issues. I read them all in a binge over the weekend, and am now very sad that I’ve finished them. Gonna have to reread very soon.

The idea behind the comic is simple: in the 1920s, Nicola Tesla built a robot. Ever since then, the robot has been fighting crime and dealing with weird technological mysteries, alongside his team of Action Scientists. What more could you ask for? It’s written by Brian Clevinger, drawn by Scott Wegener, coloured by Ronda Pattison, and lettered by Jeff Powell.

Now, the link above gives you a really good overview and teaser to the comics, so I’m not going to go into much depth about them. I’m just going to talk about why I like them, and why you should go buy them.

  • Echoes of some great sources. You see the influence of Hellboy, Planetary, Indiana Jones, and Buckaroo Banzai ((To be fair, I’m not really a fan of Buckaroo Banzai, but that’s more of an issue with the execution than the idea. The idea of Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers rocks. What they did with it just didn’t work for me.)) in the story and structure, and the influence of Mike Mignola and Dave Stevens ((And probably others – I’m not an art guy. I can’t really talk intelligently about it. But the style reminds me a little of Mike Mignola, and Robo looks a bit like The Rocketeer, so there you go.)) in the art.
  • Transcending its influences. The influences in the book are visible, but the comic is not just a pastiche of the sources. It takes elements from the sources and turns them into something new, exciting, and brilliant. Standard tropes are lampooned or inverted, all with smart, savvy commentary on the sources.
  • Taking chances. The stories jump all through Atomic Robo’s ((Yes, the robot’s name is Atomic Robo. Why else would the book be called that?)) history, and deal with everything from Nazi super-tanks to time-traveling ((Or so he claims.)) dinosaur geniuses to the evil manipulations of Stephen Hawking. It does unexpected things, smart things, things that fill me with mad glee.
  • Smart, yet absurd. One of my favourite moments in the books – one which, for me, sums up the heart of Atomic Robo – is when a giant monster rises from Tokyo bay, and Robo says, “Why do we even have the square-cube law?” There is something sublime about that image: a sentient, atomic-powered robot built by Nicola Tesla complaining about a violation of physics.
  • Trusts the readers. In that moment I described above, there is no explanation of the square-cube law. The book trusts the readers to get it. With the tangled, time-jumping stories, the book trusts the readers to keep up. The comic treats the readers as intelligent, creative, adaptable people, and trusts them to be able to follow along on the mad, joyous ramble through the story.
  • Fun. Fun! FUN!! The stories, situations, and characters are just a whole lot of fun. The art is clean, kind-of-cartoony, with great monsters and expressions ((Atomic Robo has the most amazingly expressive face, considering he doesn’t really have a face.)) and fights and motion. It’s just an amazingly fun comic.

Here’s a link to the official website of Atomic Robo. You should go buy all the comics.

And Atomic Robo folks? Please make more. Very quickly.