(No, this isn’t the start of a new trend. This is what happens when I forgot to put the post I banked for Sunday up on Sunday. Uh, in case anyone was wondering.)
In his afterword, artist Scott Wegener describes this latest “Atomic Robo” miniseries as an answer to the question of “What would it be like if the ‘Jason Bourne’ and ‘Pacific Rim’ franchises did a crossover?” I think he’s greatly overstating the presence of the “Bourne” franchise in this equation as a better description of this series would simply be “Atomic Robo” does “Pacific Rim.” Shaking off the middling diversion that was the previous miniseries in short order, “Ring of Fire” finds Task Force Ultra — the organization that was formed by Majestic 12 after they seized Tesladyne in vol. 8 — having to deal with a worldwide outbreak of Biomega (read: Kaiju). Even with all of the resources at their disposal, they still find themselves behind the proverbial eightball against this threat as they desperately try to get enough Titan mechs and pilots ready to combat this menace.
It’s hard to feel too sorry for Ultra, though, as they’re still painted as the bad guys in this situation despite their intentions. Ultra is still on the lookout for the members of Tesladyne who escaped their takeover, and it’s this motley group — Bernard, Lang, Vik, Foley the intern, and more — that has to find a way to bring Robo back (which is easy) and find a solution to the Biomega crisis (difficult enough to make up for the ease of bringing Robo back).
If you can get past how much this particular story pays homage to “Pacific Rim” then you’ll be in for a good time. The action and pace are frantic but never exhausting, the science talk only adds to the drama, most of the jokes hit, and the end result is that “Ring of Fire” feels like a welcome return to form after what we got in vol. 9. While Brian Clevinger’s writing is mostly spot-on, this his really Wegener’s show as he gets to come up with lots of dynamic Biomega and Titan designs and then have them fight each other with the kind of energy I normally expect to see from the likes of Stuart Immonen. Even if the end of the volume shows that someday we’ll have to stage an intervention regarding the “But it’s not quite over…” endings Clevinger serves up, what we get here makes me excited to read “Atomic Robo” again.