The Atomics #1, 2
[AAA Pop Comics $2.95 US $4.50 CAN]
Written & Illustrated by Mike Allred
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The Atomics #1I’ve been following Mike Allred’s Madman character since the 1993 Tundra mini-series so it was no surprise to my comic retailer that I ordered the first couple of issues of this new on-going monthly. The characters who make up this fledgling super-hero group started out in Madman Comics as a rabble of beatniks who are "mutated when they stumbled across the alien spore left by" Zenelle, an alien female hunting for a mate. The mutant street beatniks have never had a good relationship with Madman and resent him for their warty and pustulent appearance.

One of the mutant street beatniks, Jack Pomade, discovers that he can change his appearance at will and rid himself of the grotesque blisters. He’s also gifted with the ability to stretch his form into any conceivable shape and takes the super-hero name Mister Gum. The media, however, dubs him "The Booger." Jack convinces the other mutant street beatniks to try the transformation and all are given weird new powers along with an absence of oogy bumps. One member of the group, Luna elects to try her transformation later (in issue two).

Also introduced in these two issues is an alien character called Zapman. He looks human but obviously is not from Earth. He’ll probably end up being the offspring of Zenelle and her abducted beatnik mate.

The Atomics is typical Allred fare. He captures the mood of a bygone era in comics perfectly yet adds his own funky sensibilities to the characters and stories. Allred’s strengths lie in his ability to come up with any number of off-the-wall characters and make them interesting. His weaknesses show when you look at his sometimes flat dialogue and sprawling plots.

Allred’s artwork is beautiful as usual. Full of retro images and simple, clean lines Allred can do a lot with a page of storytelling without using wonky panel placement and pin-up pages.

These first two issues of The Atomics are better than his Red Rocket 7 mini in terms of story and with a few more issues to get everyone introduced the series could turn out to be as much fun as Madman Comics. If you’re into fun, super-hero comics give The Atomics a shot.

Looking for these issues? Write AAA Pop Comics, P.O. Box 10294, Eugene, OR 97401. You can also visit the web site at www.aaapop.com.