Today we're looking at two books where the heroes' brilliant plans are suffering a few setbacks. Mostly because they're underestimating their opponents.
Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #3, by Brian Clevinger (writer), Scott Wegener (artist), Anthony Clark (colorist), Jeff Powell (letterer) - Poor Chen Zhen, saddled with carrying all the pouches.
Speaking of Zhen, he was an assistant of Dr. Lu, who had tried to keep him out of the Japanese clutches back in the day, without success. Back in the (relative) present, Helen and Robo have recovered Dr. Lu, but it isn't all peaches and cream. The doctor insists they must return to the base and destroy his work, and given the Lieutenant Matsuda has his men nearly killing themselves to fix the hyperfield tower, the doctor is probably right. On top of that, the Japanese Army knows where they are and is preparing to attack. On top of that, the Ghost Bandits are trying to extort them. On the plus side, they figured out the super-soldiers have to be thinking about using the zero-point energy to harness it. Taking them by surprise is easier said than done.
It felt as though it was Clevinger's gift for funny dialogue that carried this issue for me. The explanation for zero-point energy was kind of interesting, and I'm curious to see if the Russian soldiers that showed up to party will play a role later, but otherwise I didn't feel terribly drawn into it. The relationship between Helen and Zhen, and Robo's, envy, jealousy, awkwardness, doesn't do much for me. The fight scene was brief, and didn't seem as well-drawn as the one in the previous issue. Wegener's linework seemed more jagged and thick than normal, lacking some of the lighter touch he normally has.
But there were a lot of snappy one-liners and exchanges I liked. The Ghost Bandits get several, since they are unrepentant amoral capitalists, but their boss is smart enough to try and pretend he has some scruples. So there's some good stuff there. I liked, 'We lost good men on that raid! Also my hat.' Hats are important.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13, by Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Anthony Clark and Hannah Blumenreich (trading card artists), Rico Renzi (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) - It's probably a sign of my poor life choices that more of my problems can't be solved by throwing my friends at said problems.
Squirrel Girl, Nancy, and Doreen's mother escape the Enigmos, and find out he's conquered the world. Brain Drain kidnaps Scott Lang to help save the day. Scott is less than pleased, and even less pleased when their attempt to sneak back into the U.S. is quickly snuffed out by the Enigmos. But don't worry, Doreen as another plan, for them to pull a heist! In this case, stealing control of the world back from the Enigmos! Who overheard the plan. So unless that particular Enigmo is the one who believes totalitarianism is no way to ensure world peace, they're still boned.
OK, I need to yell at Ryan North for a moment. Because he has Scott Lang say he doesn't talk to the ants, he just controls them, which, no. Scott Lang is the Ant-Man who cares about his ants. He talks to them, he gives them names. He believes in positive reinforcement for them, which is not something you give a crap about if you're just going to mind control them. C'mon man, don't do the, "make the guest star look bad to make the title character look good," thing.
That said, Scott having no clue how to use a canoe was pretty funny. The three panels of Nancy side-eyeing Doreen for being excited about being able to get text messages, then deciding she'd like to check the Internet were well done. For some reason I really like how someone drew in the police siren sound effect. The red and blue coloring is a nice, if obvious, touch, but the rough lettering for the effect as it drifts across the panel (and the horde of cop cars) just really appeals. I guess it reinforces the panel just before, where the Engimo says our heroes definitely stand no chance. Also, the effect ends just above the panel where Doreen first registers it, which is some nice work in layout.