The store I buy from online got my books here faster than usual, but I still took my time getting around to reviewing them. Maybe they were trying to beat any President's day-induced mail delays. We're going to start things off with a couple of mini-series, one that's wrapping up, and the other that's in the middle of its story.
Atomic Robo: The Ring of Fire #5, by Brian Clevinger (writer), Scott Wegener (artist), Anthony Clark (colorist), Jeff Powell (letterer/designer) - On the list of things you don't want to encounter in space, a multi-armed Nazi death machine piloted by a skull has to rank pretty high on the list. Probably between a Xenomorph and someone with bad flatulence.
Robo is able to trigger the space station's weapons before he and the aforementioned death machine start tearing the place apart in a fight that sends the station out of orbit and into the atmosphere. Robo is narrowly able to get into an escape pod before everything blows and/or burns up. Down on the surface, the lances succeed in tearing the Biomega island to pieces, before ULTRA can hit it with nukes and end all life on the planet, assuming that didn't happen because of the other countries that were ready to fire their own nukes because they didn't think ULTRA was using enough. After, there are congressional hearings! Which we only see briefly, but all the bullcrap laws that let ULTRA exist are repealed, and various science agencies around the world want to establish an organization of their own to share knowledge to better address problems. As it turns out, Broughton mission to visit ALAN's remains was to use it to devise a way to make Robo a new reactor core that would fit inside him, so I guess the Telluric Connector goes by the wayside for now. And Robo wants to get out of the Action Scientist business, and back into just science. Boooooo.
For all I wasn't enthused with the first issue, this wound up being really good, as usual. It drew together some prior stories - ALAN and Robo's struggles to live up to his father's hopes - kept a couple of other long-running subplots moving, with Majestic's leader still working behind the scenes. Gotta love a guy who sees accountability as hampering his goals. Always a good sign that the person in question knows they're going to fuck up, but wants to be able to do so as much and as badly as they please without consequences. And the story's set at least a few things up for down the line. What's the shift in priorities for Robo going to mean for Telsadyne? The Telluric Connector feels like something that can come back in a big way down the line, either as a solution, or a big problem. And there's still the question of where Jenkins is and what he's up to.
I like the whole fight between Robo and the station's watchdog outside the station, as it plummets. Especially that panel where the station is rushing towards Earth, but Earth is in the top two-thirds of the panel, so from our perspective everything is upside-down? Nice reminder of how disorienting it could be in space. Also, Clark's colors, so that everything starts glowing orange, then small flames start to appear, then everything's on fire. The brief bit where Robo's in the escape pod, but the death machine is holding the door open, and there's a silent panel of Robo just looking, and then in the next he's kicked it in the face to knock it away, and then slams the door. Wegener doesn't give Robo and particular expression. Not frustration or confidence, and Clevinger doesn't include any dialogue. But Robo's face is lit by that orange light of re-entry, so there's a sense he knows he's running against the clock. But he's very matter-of-fact about it. It's just another minor problem to be dealt with, I guess.
Deadpool and Cable: Split Second #2, by Fabian Nicieza (story/script), Reilly Brown (story/pencils/inks), Jay Leisten (inks), Jim Charalampidis (colors), Joe Sabino (letters) - Little surprised Cable still wears a watch. He must waste so much time setting it, with all his chronal travels. I know, I know, it's a Back to the Future homage, you don't have to tell me.
Wade and Cable's attempts to stop Split Second (the time traveler person) fail, repeatedly. But the traveler's plan isn't working either, so he keeps going back to a specific point and everyone tries again. Which just leads to total chaos, which Wade eventually is able to traverse and shoots Split Second in the back. Which causes a release of chronal energy which throws him and Cable into a future plagued by random time holes, caused by the work of the guy who was designing the time harness in the first place and apparently continued to work on it after his son was accidentally shot by Wade at the end of last issue. Cable's mind is completely breaking down, so Wade ventures into Timeverse's HQ, and fights some weirdo in another version of the time harness, who seems to be talking in reverse. Who turns out to be him, tasked by the Time Variance Authority to kill Cable so save time.
Right. That's why we're trying to kill Cable.
So it's silly. Not a surprise. I can't decide whether I can make heads or tails out of the time travel or not. The stuff going on with "Loop" as they were calling the Deadpool in the time harness took me awhile to follow, but as for what's going on with Cable, I'm pretty well lost. then again, I'm pretty sure the disembodied head claiming to be the head of the TVA is actually Digital Scientist Guy. And I feel like the TVA is bigger and more multiversal spanning than that. Not that Deadpool would know that.
I'm still curious how this reads as a digital comic. There's certain things to how panels are laid out that makes me think they were designed to take advantage of that. I feel like in panels where Split Second is popping in, you'd probably see the panel, then he'd appear in it a moment later. And I feel like that panel of Loop doing the mid-air spin with his energy sword to cut through the drones was probably animated, and looked pretty awesome. Heck, it looks awesome as a still image on paper. The shade of red Charalampidis used is really nice.
I'm clearly still a target audience for Nicieza's humor. Wade's solution to the problem being to just chuck an armful of grenades, while Cable exclaims, 'Are you insane?' That should have been the first sign something was wrong with Cable's brain, because he already knows something is wrong with Wade's. Also, 'Let go of my flaming scimitar of temporal cleavage now!' 'Better men than you have tried to make me let go of my cleavage!' Ha! I'd laugh harder, but I'm coming down with something and it makes me cough.