Indie Comics Spotlight: Armor-I #1, Atomic Robo #1, Resident Alien #1

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B Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Armor-I #1

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“If Novaden gets his hands on the vial, the whole universe will be doomed.”

Life as a high school student isn’t lacking in drama and it’s even tougher when you’re transferring into a new school. Add to that having to deal with an alien arrival entrusting you with something important like in Armor-I #1 from Evoluzione Publishing and things get fun. The issue (and the back-up story “Baranzu”) are written by Marcel Dupree, illustrated by Joel Cotejar, colored by Franco Riesco, and lettered by E.T. Doleman.

A scientist named Kizen created a new substance that is very dangerous. In order to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, Kizen hides it on earth. Now Earth is under a secret invasion by forces that want Kizen’s creation.

Armor-I #1 is written by Dupree as primarily a set-up issue, introducing the reader to Jason and the new world he’s being exposed to. There’s an intergalactic aspect to the book that Dupree leverages effectively to make it feel otherworldly. Jason is a very headstrong character who’s content to do the right thing and Dupree is big on using that to his advantage in making him the focal point of the series. There’s some pretty good back and forth throughout the issue as well that balances Jason’s life with the impending disaster headed his way in terms of the alien race rapidly approaching Earth. By the end of the issue, Dupree has enough plates spinning to keep the reader’s intrigue going.

Cotejar’s line styles are very stylized and emphatic. His work falls somewhere between cartoonish and comic book with characters sporting very defined musculatures and sharp-angled faces and bodies. The panels also boast bold outlines as well that frame the characters effectively, presenting them amidst empty gutters. There’s also a great contrast between the high school and alien scenes that Cotejar uses well to keep the two worlds separate (even though they’re careening towards one another). Riesco’s colors are very bold and vivid in presenting a richly imagined world.

Armor-I #1 is a pretty fun – albeit formulaic – first issue that hits all the right notes. Jason is a strong lead character who’s going to make for a good lead as the series progresses. Dupree’s script is an easy read and doesn’t feel like it’s giving the reader too much too soon. Cotejar’s illustrations are very clean and jump off the page, bringing the reader into the world. Armor-I #1 will appeal to fans of superhero stories with an interstellar twist thrown in for good measure.

Armor-I #1 is available now.

Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #1


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“I don’t want to alarm you, but I think they’re getting closer.”

When it’s time to explore the world, you want someone who’s experienced in doing so. A well-worn traveler who doesn’t hesitate to offer his or her services when appropriate to make travels easier. If that person is a robot, then all the better. Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #1from IDW Publishing offers a robot who knows the world and history. The issue is written by Brian Clevinger, illustrated by Scott Wegener, colored by Anthony Clark, and lettered by Jeff Powell.

The year is 1938 and a viral weapon is being developed that will rival even Tesla’s lightning weapon designs! Cue Atomic Robo, Jack Tarot, secret government agencies, moon men, magical arctic circle elves, jetlagged aliens, elderly rights activists, youngling laborers, and the manifestation of human hope to help save the day!

Atomic Robo is a character who feels like a robotic version of Hellboy, but Clevinger does a great job of giving him plenty of his own personality. Robo and the other characters find themselves in a pretty great conspiracy story that features all the continent-hopping of anIndiana Jones tale. Clevinger has a pretty grand adventure in mind for all the characters too that gives the reader a lot to keep up with. His dialogue is very entertaining and reads pretty breezily. There’s enough of a foreboding sense throughout the issue that Clevinger uses effectively in letting the reader know that just because Atomic Robo is Atomic Robo, getting through tough situations won’t necessarily be any easier.

Wegener’s illustrations are very lighthearted and show his familiarity with the character. The early pages are full of action shots that Wegener captures very well, showcasing a frenetic chase through the desert. Atomic Robo looks younger somehow – maybe it’s the fact that Wegener illustrates him in an exaggerated, rounded way. His styling is a direct contrast to that of the humans he interacts with, all of whom sport more of a caricature-like appearance. Clark colors the issue with a myriad of shades, all of which do a great job of showcasing the panel in a way relevant to the scene.

Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #1 has all the makings of a rip-roaring, globetrotting adventure. Robo is in the thick of things yet again and he’s got to rely on his abilities and trusting others to get through it. Clevinger’s script is strong and straightforward, offering humor to help lighten the drama. Wegener’s illustrations are very clean and appropriate, providing a cartoonish-look that fits well within theAtomic Robo universe. Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #1 is a pretty enjoyable read that doesn’t take itself too seriously and hits the right notes.

Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #1 is in stores now.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1

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“Welcome to Hell, Harry…paperwork Hell.”

Harry is an alien living on Earth. He’s not part of a science experiment and he’s not out to take over the world. He’s just trying to get home. Along the way, though, he wants to help, and his latest assistance is necessary in Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Peter Hogan and illustrated by Steve Parkhouse.

A stranded alien hides in plain sight, posing as a doctor in Patience, Washington. After he accidentally shows himself to federal investigators who are on his trail, a mysterious arsonist and a stubborn agent arrive in town to heat things up!

Hogan’s take on a resident alien is one that blends levity with gravitas through Harry’s existence among humanity. There’s a sense of mystery added to the issue through Hogan’s opening as he makes it clear there are those within the government who want to know more about Harry. Hogan lays the issue out pretty clearly to set up a conflict for Harry while at the same time moving Harry towards resolving a conflict in the town itself. The dialogue exchanges give Harry plenty of normal problems to deal with (like the weekly poker game) and Hogan relies on that to add a sense of the benign to the proceedings. It’s pretty impressive how normal Hogan makes the entire story feel despite an alien just hanging out with humans.

Relying on a very refined artistic style is Parkhouse. His linework is a little loose and the characters boast appearances that feel like a throwback to newspaper strips. Harry looks remarkably normal in appearance and Parkhouse does a great job of rendering him so that he does blend in well with humanity. There’s a lot of detail in the physiques of the characters courtesy of Parkhouse’s approach that focuses on the detailing lines and heavy shading. His colors are pretty calm and don’t overwhelm the reader in any way. The panels are laid out pretty traditionally which gives the book a sort of hard-nosed detective feel to it.

The Resident Alien series has always sold itself on the notion that an alien hiding in plain sight can be helpful to society and Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 doesn’t stray from that formula. He’s generally accepted as just another guy, even though it’s clear that he has other abilities that make him much different. Hogan writes the character and universe with an attention to the details that makes an alien living among us believable. Parkhouse’s illustrations are a great fit for the story and further the idea that Harry can successfully blend in. Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 is a great issue that delves further into Harry’s life while also offering some interesting conflicts for him to work through.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #1 is in stores now.


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