Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MINI REVIEW: ATOMIC ROBO THE CRYSTALS ARE INTEGRAL COLLECTION

INTRODUCTION
I guess I just couldn't stay away from this series for too long! ATOMIC ROBO: THE CRYSTALS ARE INTEGRAL COLLECTION picks up where the last collection ended. It groups Volumes 4, 5, and 6 of the ATOMIC ROBO series together and provides at least 15 more issues of zany ridiculousness for readers to enjoy. While this collection was every bit as fantastic as the last, this review will be a "Mini" one because a lot of the things I mentioned in my review of THE EVERYTHING EXPLODES COLLECTION are pretty much the same here.

HOW I RATED IT
4/5 While still hardly a masterpiece in any respect, I did find myself enjoying this set of volumes that much more than I did the last for a couple of key reasons.

CHARACTERS
One area that this collection steps it up in is with the characters. Robo is as great as ever, but we get to see more of Jenkins! I don't know why this badass is so amazing. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he can wear a full samurai warrior getup during a mission briefing, then change into his commando gear for the mission and not have ANYONE make even the slightest remark about it. It could also be that he can massacre a room full of vampires from another dimension without breaking a sweat. Whatever the case, he's the man and he gets a whole lot more love in these volumes.

JENKIIIINNSSS!

There's also a vigilante who wears a mask that makes 0 sense, a woman heartsick for Robo, a descendant of Sparrow, and other wacky allies for readers to enjoy and chuckle over. Even better than these though are the absurd villains that show up. Chief among them is a talking velociraptor who is also a self-proclaimed scientist. The best part about him is that he wields semi-automatics! He's ridiculous in the best kind of way as are villains like a genocidal AI, giant mutant chickens, and more killer robots.

WORLD/SETTING
The setting is probably about what fans of this series would expect by this point. There's a good mix of different types of scenery from urban sprawls, space ships, jungles, and exotic laboratories. As with the previous collection, these also appear in a nice sampling of different points in time.

PLOT/TONE
The story line(s) this time around aren't really any more intelligible than they were before. Somehow,
An explosive action sequence
they're just more lavishly ridiculous. This collection also follows a similar patter as the last with the first two volumes being pretty random for the most part and the third telling a more focused narrative. No one plot point felt like it was overused at all and the fact that the characters were more memorable made their respective story arcs that much more of a joy to read through. One thing to note is that the transition between issues didn't feel as abrupt as it did last time even when they switch from one point in time to another. This may be because each story beat feels a little more wrapped up as opposed to just cut off like they sometimes were in the previous collection. Overall, this is just another very enjoyable series of (mis)adventures.

ARTWORK
This category remains unchanged from my review of the previous collection. The cartoony line art is still charming and the coloring is still vibrant and full of depth.

CONCLUSION
If you haven't liked the series thus-far, then these volumes probably won't do much to sway you. If you are a fan though, then you will not only get more fun with Robo in this collection, but also a set of three volumes that manage to surpass those that came before them. Pleasing visuals, tongue-in-cheek humor, and highly implausible stories are all still the main attractions and they are now complimented with a few extra perks. If you do nothing else, pick up VOLUME 4 at the very least. That's where you get the most Jenkins as well as the glorious debut of Dr. Dino. This series is an absolute blast and I think I will definitely be reading more of Robo's adventures in the future!

ATOMIC ROBO: THE CRYSTALS ARE INTEGRAL COLLECTION is available as a paperback on Amazon.

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