Last two books of 2016! Wrapping up a mini-series, and continuing slowly with an ongoing.
Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #5, by Brian Clevinger (writer), Scott Wegener (artist), Anthony Clark (colorist), Jeff Powell (letterer) - I have no idea what those things crawling over Robo are. Mechano-mantises? Scorpions?
Matsuda survived the dynamite, but is glowy green energy goop, with the Spot's portal powers. Which is making it pretty hard for Robo to keep him busy while Dr. Lu tries to shut down the zero-point reactor and divert the meltdown to somewhere outside the universe. But the day is saved, Matsuda mostly dissolves (though the Soviets took whatever is left), Lu dies with his brainchild, the Ghost Bandits extort more money from Robo to get him back to safe territory (because he's too lazy to walk), and Helen and Zheng ride off into the, twilight/sunrise? I don't know, we saw it as Robo's memory and it was in grey tones.
Not one of the stronger Atomic Robo mini-series, frankly. The pacing has just been off in terms of the confrontations with the bad guys. It's hard to pin down what bothers me exactly. I was going to say that I was expecting some point where the heroes sit down and plan out how they're going to stop Matsuda, then try to implement it, and then have to adapt when it goes wrong. But that sort of happened, at least as far as Robo trying to make some plan with the Bandits. Except that scene was more about how neither side understands the other, so they're making their own plan Robo is completely unaware of. It's less building for the climax, more an extended gag. Ultimately, there were parts of the story that needed a little more time to breathe, for effect, and they didn't get it, so everything comes off as rushed and lacking impact. if Helen, Lu, and Zheng get captured, is that supposed to be a big deal? If the Soviets are finally getting involved, is that supposed to be important? Because a lot of it didn't feel important.
Wegener's art was stronger in this issue. Fewer panels where he skimps on the details in faces. Even when he goes with a single dark line or blob for eyes, he does enough with the rest of the face and body language to carry it (and Clevinger knows when there needs to be dialogue or not). That first panel of Robo punching Matsuda was really nice, just a solid, well-drawn image. And Anthony Clark set it up so the panels with Robo and Matsuda are nearly overwhelmed with the green light Matsuda's composed of now, and then that contrasts with the darker colors for the scenes of Helen and Zheng, since they're on separate paths at that point. Once their paths cross, the green shades dominate everything, except the panels for Dr. Lu. There's some of the green, but it never feels as pervasive, even though he's in a room pumping out the same energy as Matsuda. But he's in control of the situation (roughly), so it isn't overwhelming him.
Great Lakes Avengers #3, by Zac Gorman (writer), Will Robson (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Shouldn't Mr. Immortal's gravestone have a lot more years listed for his deaths?
So Flatman's name is actually Matt, not Val, and he's not a doctor of anything. He originally dressed up as Mr. Fantastic at super-villain parties to get booed (seems like a good way to get disintegrated), but decided to be a super-hero instead. In the present, Councilman Snerd has filed an injunction against the GLA so they can't operate in Detroit. Which doesn't stop the returned Mr. Immortal from insisting he and Flatman go investigate one of the neighborhoods, where they argue about various stuff. For that matter, it doesn't stop Bertha, Doorman, or Good Boy (that is a terrible name) from going to that nightclub, where they discover the villain is also the councilman, passed out drunk on his desk. And Oblivion wants to know why Doorman isn't doing his job, whatever that involves.
I don't know about this, mainly the thing with Flatman. I know the joke about what exactly he's a doctor of has been around for awhile. And there's no reason he can't be a reasonably intelligent guy in some fields other than science. But is the idea the GLA are ultimately a bunch of fakes who hope to become the real thing if they just keep trying long enough? is it going to turn out being middle-of-the-road heroes is the only thing they're actually good at? Mr. Immortal doesn't seem to have anything else going, Flatman clearly wasn't feeling fulfilled as a barista or as a cosplayer for villain parties. Doorman isn't doing a great job for Oblivion by all accounts. Although Bertha had a solid career as a model, so it falls apart there.
The new members of the cast, Good Boy and Pansy (the redhead who had Mr. Immortal's phone and is just kind of hanging around headquarters), they seem OK. It's hard to tell because they haven't really done anything yet. Things are happening, but they seem to be happening around the team, without them being actively involved? The wolfperson, Goodness, seems nice but uncertain of herself, Pansy seems fairly blase about the whole thing. I think it's just a place to crash. I need to see them do something at some critical point to get a better grip on them. I can see Mr. Immortal struggling with alcoholism, since it isn't like it can kill him. Plus the whole thing about being the last being alive at the end of the universe is heavy. He needs to shave though, the stubble thing looks terrible.
Robson's expressions worked better for me this month. Maybe because the attorney wasn't in this issue. She always looked angry beyond what seemed appropriate. Snerd looks extremely angry in one panel, but that's fine, he's a bad guy, he's a demagogue (to the extent a city councilman can be one), he's out to use suffering to enrich himself, it fits. And Good Boy with the sunglasses perched on his(?) nose was a nice visual. He's not doing anything terribly flashy with the layouts, but he tells the story effectively for the most part.
I wonder if Mr. Immortal is going to recruit the drunk guy who puked in front of their Winnebago. That might be something, the GLA as a team of people with no place else to go, the ones being hurt directly by Snerd's bullshit. Or is that what the Occupy Avengers book is doing? Eh, given the casualty rate for the GLA, probably better to keep civilians out of it as much as possible.