The Holiday Challenge Of The Go-Bots!

As I have said many times here at Rotten Ink in the early and mid 80’s robots ruled the world for kids as so many cartoons, toys, comics, video games, model kits and movies showcased them and the young and young at heart could not get enough. For many the King of 80’s cartoon/toy robots are the Transformers followed by Voltron…but for me the top are the Go-Bots! Yeah I know many of you are laughing out loud and saying how in the world could you put the Go-Bots over Transformers, Voltron, Robo Force and the answer is very simple as I liked the fact they were in scale with my G.I. Joe’s and Star Wars figures plus I liked many of the characters like Leader-1, Scooter and Cy-Kill! For me this update is lots of fun to cover and write about as The Go-Bots deserve way more respect than they get from toy collectors and it’s about time they get a proper comic book series! I also want to remind you all that Go-Bots was my # 5 out of 10 for my Should Have Been A Star Comic way back in 2013 and it took till 2018 for IDW to make this happen! So if you’re ready to take a trip down memory lane and chat about the Go-Bots lets get to it!

Go-Bots hit toy shelves in 1983 thanks to Tonka Toys who was able to get molds from a Japanese toy company Popy who had a series called Machine Robo that was going strong there. Tonka wanted to cash in on the Robot-Mania that was going strong in America and taken an unknown toy series and rebranding it for the US market seemed like a quick and easy way to cash in and deliver a cool toy line for kids who would buy them up. And this worked as Go-Bots became a pretty popular toy brand and had a good following with youngsters who enjoyed these simple changing robots who were in scale with their Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. These guys also ended up getting their own cartoon series in order to help push the toys and give the figures more character. The figures like all good 80’s toys had good guys called Guardians that were lead by Leader-1 who could turn into a jet and the Renegades lead by the motorcycle transformer bot called Cy-Kill and they were bitter enemies who lead their respected sides into battle and every day life. But Go-Bots time at being the most loved changing robot figures was cut short when America was blessed with Transformers both as toys and a cartoon in 1984 and they dominated pretty much ever sense when it came to robot action figures. The figures even though loosing the grip of being must have transforming robot toys for kids survived until 1987 when the final GoBots were released. Tonka sold the Go-Bots to Hasbro in 1991 and that is were the brand is still to this day, even having modern figures that were made for very youngsters. While they might not be as respected nor collected like Transformers the Go-Bots are still a very cool toy and cartoon brand that was spawned in the 80’s! I for one remember using the figures in my toy wars and Leader-1 was always in the planning room with Luke Skywalker, Buck Rogers, Captain Kirk and First Sergeant Duke!

Hanna-Barbera in 1983 to go along side the toys made a cartoon mini series to help push the figures and give the characters a backstory as well as personalities. The main series “Challenge Of The Go-Bots” started in 1984 and lasted 65 episodes with 2 seasons and ended in 1985! The episodes followed the war between the good guys lead by Leader-1 as they try and stop the evil ways of Cy-Kill and his band of evil bots! Each episode ran for 22 minutes and was made by Hanna-Barbera Productions and was a semi popular cartoon for the time. I mostly remember it airing in reruns on USA Cartoon Express on the USA Network, and with this sparked my love for the figures even more! It’s crazy as just like the figures the cartoon is often over looked and forgotten about as it’s our shadowed by Transformers even in the toon world, and while the cartoon is great and I have lots of great memories of watching it…I must admit that the Transformers toon is a better show over all. The cartoon has been released on VHS as well as on DVD and are worth watching if you grew up with the Go-Bots as its are true blast from the past viewing.

A short time after the Challenge Of The Go-Bots ended Hanna-Barbera Productions and Clubhouse Pictures teamed up and made “Go-Bots: Battle Of The Rock Lords” an animated movie that hit theaters in March 21, 1986! The film is about robotic transforming rock people from space who need help from Leader-1 and the Guardians to return to their planet and overthrow the evil Rock Lord Magmar who is killing his own kind to get their power sceptres! And of course Cy-Kill joins the fight and helps Magmar and his evildoers. The film did very poorly at the Box Office here in the US only taken in $1,338,264.00 and worse critics and fans alike also trashed the film as they thought it was a poorly made family flick….not to mention “Transformers: The Movie” was also released that year and once more it out shadowed Go-Bots in another medium…is it just me or do you feel like Transformers was the bully of robot properties in the 80s? GoBots: Battle Of The Rock Lords was released on VHS and has yet to get a proper DVD or Blu-Ray release here in America. While it might be the weakest of the 80’s toy line movies released it still is a flick that entertained fans of the Go-Bots. I can remember renting this movie on VHS and liking it, but it sadly was a shell of a film compared to “He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword”, “G.I. Joe: The Movie” and “Transformers: The Movie” all that are amazing watches and captured the mood and feel of the toys and cartoon series that spawned them.

Growing up I had lots of Go-Bots that I would get from stores, garage sales and even trades with fellow kids and they seen lots of play as I really did like them, while I know they are very basic in their transforming features but they held a special place in my toy collection. I had many favorites as Cy-Kill and Turbo were at the top but for me the best figure was Leader-1 as he just was such a cool figure as both robot and jet and he was always a major part in my Toy Wars and always looked after the droids during battle. As I got older many of my toys were donated to my cousins and in that batch was my Leader-1 figure and while I am glad he made them happy and they were able to have adventures with him, he was one figure I missed. But lucky for me while at Mavericks Cards And Comics one day they had a near mint one for very cheap so I was able to get one back and now he sits on a shelf at my job looking over the store. I can remember many of my friends growing up who had Go-Bots always mentioned Leader-1 as one of their favorite figures from the line. So if you grew up with the Go-Bots or still love them to this day leave me a comment and let me know what character was your favorite.

Also besides the toys and cartoon the Go-Bots also spawned lots of cool merchandise over the years for the fans to get their hands on and for them to bring in extra money for the brand. They have and had Halloween costumes, magazines, posters, home media, lunch boxes, shirts, computer game, comic books, books, soundtrack, coloring books, card game, board game and so much more! Over the years I have had many of these items like the cartoon on VHS, a T-Shirt of Leader-1, some of the books, coloring books & magazines and of course I have the comics from IDW as they are the main attraction of this update! So if you are a fan of Go-Bots there is some great stuff out there for you to collect.

I have worked for both a Comic Book store as well as several Media stores and a topic that has came up at many is the Go-Bots or Transformers talk and I have always found it very interesting as in all the talks I have been apart of most have a very weird hatred for GoBots as the fans of the Transformers are very rabid when it comes to the honor of their favorite changing robots, and to be honest besides myself I can only think of one other coworker who would take up for them during these topics. One phrase that is said so much during talks is that Go-Bots were the K-Mart versions of the Transformers, and to me this is a silly statement as while they might not have been as detailed nor as popular they were released before and did bring transforming robots into the minds and hands of the kids to pave the way for the Transformers. Plus most modern mass market Transformers in my opinion are really junky and are bargain basement level toys. So I also need to stress I love Transformers and grew up watching the cartoons, playing with the toys as well as reading the Marvel Comics and they were a major part of my youth, I just want to take up for Go-Bots as they seem to always get the short end of the stick when it comes to respect for them when it came to 80s toys and cartoons. Plus the art below is pretty great and well played to whom ever the artist is!

So as you can see I am a fan of Go-Bots and I know many of you readers are or were a fan at one point and had at least one in your collection. So now lets get to the comic reviews and I want to thank IDW for making them and Mavericks Cards And Comic for stocking them. And for me this is really a great way to start the countdown to Christmas Eve as Go-Bots really does make me flashback to my youth. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready like I am, as I have wanted a comic series based on the world of Go-Bots sense I was a youngster and now its time to finally read one.

GO-BOTS # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 1 of 5

The Go-Bots are leaving among humans now and Leader-1 and human Mark are one secret missions to save prisoners of war. Scooter along with his human friend A.J are hanging around and while she is at classes he is getting paid to drive people around to get extra money for A.J. And the world’s top sport now is racing Go-Bots and Turbo and his human rider Matt Hunter are champions of that sport. And after winning the big race Matt and Turbo are approached by. T. Coriander Banks who takes them to an underground fight arena and the witness Cy-Kill kill other Go-Bots and robots. And Matt and Turbo soon find that Banks has tricked them and wants them to fight with Cy-Kill and they decline and barely escape alive. They return to the site of the arena and everyone is gone besides dead bodies of Go-Bots and Humans! Meanwhile Mark and Leader-1 get a new mission to stop a rouge band of Go-Bots and once found Leader-1 is tricked and all his programing and codes stolen by Cy-Kill who is running the pack of evil Go-Bots as he wants to kill all the humans and rule the world! A.J meanwhile goes to have a quick meal with her teacher Professor Braxis who informs her that he as well has his own Go-Bot and shoves her into his basement were she see’s Vamp who approaches to attack when Scooter busts in and saves her and roughs up the Professor who claims he was just joking. Once outside the world is going crazy as the Go-Bots have turned on humans due to the stolen codes and A.J asks Scooter if he is going to turn on her as he stands with his fist clinched.

This first issue shows that Go-Bots are not just kid’s toys anymore as this issue is filled with murder and death plus does a great job of building this comic universe. The plot of the comic has the Go-Bots being programed to obey humans and work alongside them and for our entertainment and when Cy-Kill the evil robot decides he wants to take over the world he and his followers start a Go-Bot revelation and turn on the humans they once served. And all of this is set in motion when Leader-1 is tricked and defeated and all his secrets and codes stolen. Leader-1 and his human friend Mark are heroes who help our government in secret missions and really is a hero who don’t care to take a human life in order to save those who are in need…that is as long as Mark allows it. Scooter and Turbo as well are good bots that as well have befriended humans and seem to do their best to protect both Matt and A.J who are their pals. This far hands down my favorite good Go-Bot is Leader-1 as I find him to be smart, brutal and yet noble. Cy-Kill is as evil as ever as he does not mind killing his fellow Go-Bots as well as humans and robots and wants nothing better than to kills anyone who opposes him on his quest to take over the world. Very evil Cy-Kill is and the perfect bad guy for this series and really is a baddie that you can fear and I look forward to see just how bad he will get as more issues are released. To be honest I have read lots of IDW comics based on toys/cartoons over the years and I must say that Go-Bots # 1 is the best I have read and really makes me hyped for this series as a whole. The cover I have is very eye catching and showcases Leader-1 who is the true icon of the Go-Bots. The interior art is done by Tom Scioli who also wrote the script and at first I was a little “blah” on the artwork when seen in previews but once reading the full book I must say I really liked it and I feel he captured the look of the characters as well as has a dash of the old school yet has a modern and updated feel. So lets see what issue two has in store for us.

GO-BOTS # 2  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 2 of 5

Cy-Kill listens as Screw Head who tells of how he and a human were working in a dangerous mind that ended up taking the like of the human and leaving the robot hurt showing mankind does not care about the Go-Bots! This sets Cy-Kill off who demands some of his followers to dump Leader-1 in a junkyard as he and his crew cause chaos and damage that will hurt mankind. Meanwhile we find out that Scooter fights the urge to attack and tries to get A.J. to safety and they end up running into Turbo and his driver Matt Hunter and they quickly know that they will have to all stick together as they are found by police Go-Bots who want to break up these do gooders. Meanwhile Leader-1 barely escapes being crushed and kills his captives and is now our for revenge. Scooter and Turbo ditch the police bots and make their way to Tonka as they hope to find a patch that can fix all this and meet a programer and his forklift Go-Bot Spoons and are informed that this has nothing to do with the chip and is all about the fact the Go-Bots are having a revolution! Once outside A.J., Matt, Scooter and Turbo figure out that they must fight to live and find T. Coriander Banks who is dying and admits he is the cause of this all and as he dies the evil GoBots attack Turbo and Scooter who fight for their lives as well as of their human friends. As things look bad for our heroes they are saved from death when Leader-1 and a band of good bots show up to take on Cy-Kill and his renegades as the humans also make their play with the army! As Leader-1 and Cy-Kill have a bloody fight that leaves them both injured its Leader-1 that comes out the winner and he is surrounded by both sides who want them to lead them…one sides wants to get things back the way it was with humans in charge while the other side want to take over…what is Leader-1 to do.

This second issue is fantastic and brings GoBots to a whole new level as the Renegades as cold blooded and enjoy not only killing humans but also fellow robots who are loyal to mankind. The plot of this issue has Cy-Kill leading his Renegades to war with the humans as Turbo and Scooter along with their humans try to survive and almost are killed until the once injured Leader-1 shows up and wins a massive battle that now leaves him with a decision to make on to help mankind or be loyal to his own GoBots who are sick of being used and taken advantage of by man. I love that this issue leaves us on a cliffhanger that leaves the hero Leader-1 with a decision that will change the lives of many and will give him not only power, but will also make him a hated figure as he will not be able to please both sides. Leader-1 in this one is a hero who steps up and becomes the warrior we all know that he is, plus I love that even with his face cut halfway off and bleeding like a stuck pig he never gave up and was able to defeat a well more rested Cy-Kill. Speaking of Cy-Kill he is 100% cold blooded and gets joy out of killing and loves that his followers do so blindly and do whatever he says. Turbo shows that he as well is a fighter and even with the odds against him is willing to fight to save his human friend as well as do what he thinks is right, meanwhile Scooter is kind of a chicken who is by no means a fighter and quickly begs for his life when things go bad. I also love that Tonka is the company who make the GoBots and they through up their hands when things go bad and say well people should have treated them better! And somehow I feel this is a hidden message for toy collectors who always seem to trash GoBots and treat them like they are generic dollar store toys. The cover for this issue is great and showcases Cy-Kill and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli, again his style has grown on me. So lets move onto issue three and see what Leader-1 decides and if Cy-Kill will once more rise to cause an issue for humans and robots alike.

GO-BOTS # 3  **1/2
Released in 2019      Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 3 of 5

On GoBotron the planet of the Go-Bots and under the rule of Leader-1 is being visited by a group of astronauts from Earth who is with space shuttle bot Spay-C and are attacked by Zod a massive dinosaur robot who is the terror of the planet! And before the attack Leader-1 and his followers chase Zod off and take Spay-C prisoner and it’s clear that Leader-1 is running his world with an iron fist as he sets Spay-C to be reprogramed the next day, and the astronauts are lucky enough to escape, and they risk their lives to save him. Leader-1 has a vision and returns to ask Spay-C to help him and his followers and as they start their journey they are attacked by Cy-Kill who once more has followers and has also got Zod as an ally and this causes Leader-1 and his crew to flee to space but the renegades give chase, but are tricked and left behind. Leader-1 and his group hyperspace to the other side of the planet and Leader-1 explains that the item they seek is here, as the enter the inner layer of the planet its clear its not like the above world as this one is covered in rocks and sand and Spay-C runs off only to fall and become injured, he is later found by Turbo and Scooter who share with the astronauts that Leader-1 is not the kind Go-bot he claims to be, and as Spay-C tries to attack Turbo the astronauts run off and find Rocklords as well as that the planet they are on is Earth!

This issue takes place way after the events of issue 1 & 2 and has Leader-1 ruling over the world and is paranoid about his enemies trying to over throw his rule, but while once noble he is now more unfair and has no issues killing those who do not follow as well will brainwash to get allies. And when he meets a Go-Bot from space he thinks that he has the answer of how to bring peace to the worlds, but of course Cy-Kill and the Renegades want to rise to power and will do whatever they can to stop this quest. In this issue Leader-1 really is not a nice robot as he comes off as a crazed paranoid leader who will do whatever it takes to keep his power…and this makes him very dangerous. Cy-Kill is as power crazy as ever and seems like he will not stop until he takes over. Zod who is a massive dinosaur robot that is such a killer that all the Go-Bots fear him, plus once he joins forces with Cy-Kill all bets are off! Spay-C is an interesting character who goes from protecting his human friends to drinking the Kool-Aid that Leader-1 is forcing on him. The true hero of this series is Turbo who really is the one who watches after humas as well as his fellow Go-Bots like Scooter, he really is the most heroic bot of this series this far. I like also how in this issue the Go-Bots under the rule of Leader-1 build their own world GoBotron over Earth causing the world as we know it to be forever changed. The series has taken a real downbeat turn as it’s clear that there are very few heroes left and the world is filled with lots of greys that seem to be only looking out for themselves. The cover for the issue I have is pretty cool and showcases Spay-C and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli again. I do also want to say that while I enjoyed this issue it’s story does seem a little disjointed and that hurts it slightly when it comes to the star rating. But while flawed still highly entertaining and I cannot wait to see what issue four has in store for me.

GO-BOTS # 4  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 4 of 5

The astronauts are shocked and sadden by the fact Earth is now a shell that is the underbelly of a world created by the Go-Bots. Turbo meets up with the humans and forces Spay-C to explain what happened to the world and he lets them know that he has been looking out for them as from space he witnessed the destruction and was waiting to wake them from sleep chambers when things got better…but they never did. As Turbo shows the astronauts the remaining humans who have devolved Cy-Kill and the renegades appear and snatch up some humans causing Turbo and Spay-C to spring into action and save some of them. But the Renegades drop Zod who is ready to kill all in his way, and during the drop the ground shakes and Leader-1 has a vision of the Go-Bot God named Courageous and sets his way to find the Lazer Lance a staff he thinks can kill Zod and stop this fighting once and for all. After the explosion Spay-C is down for the count and Leader-1 runs into Turbo and Scooter and tries to call for a truce and asks them to help him find the Lance so they can all defeat their enemies, and Scooter knows the location! So they all climb to a skull cave and even have a run in with some of the Rock Lords, but once in the cave the run into Professor Braxis who is old and crazy and has created an army of Vamps who attack Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots but lucky for everyone during this fight the Lazer Lance is found and the Vamps flee as Leader-1 goes outside with lance in hand just as Zod and Cy-Kill and the rest of the Renegades appear! Just as Leader-1 is about to use the Lazer Lance it’s taken from him by Cy-Kill who breaks it and all looks bad for our heroes until the Rock Lords help them and cause all the Renegades to fall into a pit! Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the repaired Spay-C with the astronauts all join forces and use the damaged Lazer Lance to take down Zod once and for all as he explodes and causes a massive earthquake! As they regroup they notice the Go-Bots Command Center approaching and it open fire and many blasts hit Leader-1 and it even beams up Scooter and other Go-Bots…and we learn that Cy-Kill and the Renegades are the ones controlling the massive ship, and Turbo and Spay-C decide to go on a suicide mission to try and get Scooter back as the Go-Bots mourn what looks like the death of Leader-1.

This fourth issue is a great read and one heck of a great chapter in this mini series! This issues plot has Leader-1 still on his vision quest to get a lance that is his only hope to finally stop Zod, but along the way he must face Cy-Kill and his band of evil doers as well as make peace with Turbo, Scooter and the Rock Lords! Leader-1 in this issue comes off a creepy, crazed cult leader who has a vision and makes his followers follow him on a quest blindly. While in this issue Leader-1 starts off a little power crazed, by the end I think he is starting to realize that he has become a monster himself and tries to rebuild a friendship with the likes of Turbo and Scooter. And while Leader-1 was gunned down at the end of this issue and it looks like he is dead…I am going to say he is not and will be back for the 5th and final issue in the mini series. Turbo once more is the real hero as he looks out for his now dimwitted friend Scooter, is man enough to put his fight with the Go-Bots aside in order to bring down Zod. Cy-Kill is a psychopath who guns down and kills many Go-Bots, tortures humans for his own amusement and is just as power hungry as Leader-1 as he wants to rule the world. Spay-C in the issue comes around and fights on the side of good, glad to see him have a bound with Scooter and Turbo. Oh I also really like that Cop-Tur tries to step up and challenge Leader-1 to become the leader and gets his block knocked off…great stuff! One element I also found very interesting in this issue is the addition of Courageous who is a God like figure for the bots, I also like that the Rock Lords are around and have been created by the “Gods” and they are the more pure versions of the Go-Bots. While the story again jumps oddly in spots it is a great read that is packed with action, drama and even some cool cliffhangers. The cover I have is a little weak and does not do this issue justice. And like before Tom Scioli did the interior art and does a fantastic job. So with that lest see what the final issue in this mini series has in store for us, and most important lets see what the fate of Leader-1 is!

GO-BOTS # 5  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 5 of 5

Spay-C drops Turbo off on the command center that has been taken over by Cy-Kill and his Renegades in order to get his friend Scooter back and bashes and smashes all that get in his way. He finally makes it to the control room and confronts Cy-Kill and gives him a choice fight him and die or let Scooter go and let them leave…Cy-Kill decides to fight and his gunned down. Turbo finds Scooter and the pair try and leave but are found by Crasher who ends up becoming allies with them and both want to end this war that was started by Leader-1 and Cy-Kill! The newly allied Go-Bots return to Earth and Spay-C and some of the Humans are going to try time travel while the others stay and find that the Earth has been under attacked by an army of Vamps being controlled by Professor Braxis and they meet a younger generation of Go-Bots who are now fighting this war, showing that the fighting will never end. The new Go-Bots decide to head to space and make their own world and even take the bodies of Cy-Kill and Leader-1 and rebuild them as one new Go-Bot. While the humans on Earth along with Go-Bots start their own quest to rebuild the planet and in the end Spay-C and some of the some of the astronauts return to the past to warn the world about the uprising of the Go-Bots…but like always those in power do not listen so it as it appears our future is doomed.

This mini series is fantastic and has a surprise connection that I will discuss a little later in this issue review, as it’s a big spoiler. The plot of this issue has Leader-1 dead and Turbo on a quest to save his friend Scooter from the command center that is being controlled by the coldblooded killer Cy-Kill. Once Turbo finds his enemy he kills him and saves his friend only to find that GoBotron has been attacked by Vamps and that the younger Go-Bots have grown in size and have no ties to Earth and want to make their own way on a new planet so they leave. And with that the humans that are left as well as many of the old Go-Bots must find away to rebuild the Earth that has been left in terrible shop after the rise of the Go-Bots. Turbo once more shows that he is the true hero of this series as he does not care about this war that rages on over two Go-Bots egos and just wants to save his friend and respect humans and their lives. I like the fact Turbo don’t want to be in charge and really just want the world to get along and for both humans and Go-Bots to live together. I also like that this series had the guts to kill off both Leader-1 and Cy-Kill who are the franchises two biggest characters, and this move reminds me of how they killed Optimus Prime in the Transformers Movie. I also like how the astronauts decide that they will try and make the best of the new Earth and will help and try and educate the remaining humans who have almost became cavemen again. Plus its so true to life that with major warnings of doom for the world we all share, those who have power choose not to listen as they don’t want to change their lifestyles to make a difference. Now I have to talk about the series main spoilers so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of the review…..Ok I need to stress I think that it’s amazing that the younger Go-Bots will grow to be the Transformers and that the artificial planet GoBotron will become Cybertron! That’s right we get a sneak peek of Optimus Prime who is GoBot Road Ranger as well as Bumblebee and the bodies of Leader-1 and Cy-Kill and are turned into Starscream! I love that finally someone gives Go-Bots the respect they deserve, as they are really the first major changing robot toys! The cover for this issue is cool and yet silly and has Leader-1 holding the body of Cy-Kill and I must also say again the art of Tom Scioli at first was not my cup of tea, but this series made me a fan. Check out the art below to see the style of Scioli.

Go-Bots really do make me think about my youth and Christmas time so this comic mini series was the prefect way to get me into the holiday season! I would love for IDW to do more as I feel that many other stories could be shared about Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots. And for the next update and our countdown to Christmas Eve I will be staying in the world of classic toys turned into comic book heroes as we will be looking at Stretch Armstrong! So until next time readers and friends read a comic or three, watch a Christmas Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a stretching good time.

DC’s Micro Masked Hero The Atom!

Here at Rotten Ink I enjoy covering classic Superheroes from both Marvel and DC as well as Indies, and over the years I have spent a lot of time with Marvel Comics and their heroes and have also made an efferent to cover more DC characters as I feel over all they seem to always take a backseat when people chat about comic heroes besides Batman and Superman as Marvel Comics has taken over thanks to their cinema movie hits that have brought their heroes into the mainstream pop culture and made many of them household names. So for this update, I am thinking about covering a DC hero that is pint sized in nature, and of course I am talking about The Atom! I am sure most of you readers at least know who The Atom is or have heard the name in your local comic shop or even seen him is some sort of other media from TV to Video Games. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the one and only micro hero of DC Comics The Atom.

Ray Palmer was a professor at New England school Ivy University who is working hard on a solution to the world’s over population and uses parts of a white dwarf star that fell to Earth to do so. You see, he has figured out a way to use parts of the star in order to shrink objects, but sadly they become unstable. While on a field trip with his students and girlfriend Jean Loring exploring a cave, they become trapped during a cave-in and Ray must use his shrinking lens on himself in order to get free and get those he cares about help, and to his shock he is able to shrink as well as become normal size again without exploding! Ray decides that he will use his new discovery to help mankind and becomes a costumed hero called The Atom and even helps Jean in criminal cases as she is a lawyer. Over his career of being a superhero, he has lost faith in mankind and made a choice to stay small. He has fought aliens and super villains like The Bug-Eyed Bandit & Doctor Light and was even a member of the Justice League Of America and even the Teen Titans when his powers turned him back young! The Atom was created by Gil Kane in 1961 for DC comics and made his first appearance in Showcase # 34 and is still a character in use to this day. The Atom thus far has spawned about five solo titles and has appeared in a massive amount of other characters’ books showing that he is a staple for DC and will be for generations to come. While The Atom might not be as forgotten about like some of the other DC Characters I have covered like Red Tornado, Jonni Thunder, Hawkman and STEEL: The Indestructible Man, he still is not as big as he should be in the eyes of readers…get it? Because he is small!

The Atom has become a B-league hero for DC Comics, and this has lead to him appearing in animated series, live action shows like Arrow and even in video games like Injustice 2 as a DLC fighter! As you can see, DC has some faith in The Atom and that’s why they have broken him out of the pages of comics and allowed him to show his hero skills in other forms of media. I think one of his best appearances is one that most of the world has never seen as it was a failed unaired pilot for a Justice League Of America TV Show that had him as one of the members alongside the likes of Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter, and boy was this one really bad! It was made in 1997 and was supposed to be a new hit series as DC Comics had found some fame making shows for television, and the JLA was one they thought could have been a major hit…that was until it was shown on CBS and it was trashed by fans and critics as it was deemed terrible. The film was a mix of comedy and action and would have the heroes doing interviews like the TV show The Office in between events of the show. The show did so bad that the series idea was canceled and this was buried for the most part by DC who knew they had a stinker on their hands. The Atom in the show looked terrible and his suit was bulky and made him look overweight. Below are some pictures of The Atom from all types of media which show you the different looks and styles of the character in toons, games and shows.

Like all good superheroes, The Atom has had his fair share of action figures released and they have been pretty cool looking for fans of this character. He has graced such toy lines as “DC Universe: Crisis”, “JLA Classified” and “Justice League Unlimited” to name a very few. And while these figures are cool and I do own the one from DC Universe: Crisis, it’s crazy to think that The Atom never got a figure in the classic 1984 Kenner series Super Powers! In fact the rumor of the un-produced waves of figures for that series shows that The Atom was not even considered for the series and that’s shocking as they had some very weird picks selected like Creeper and Blue Devil. Just wanted to take a few moments to let fans of The Atom know that if they collect action figures, there are options out there for you.

So as you can see, The Atom is a very cool character for DC Comics and is one I think should get a little more attention than he does. I also like the fact that he has made appearances in video games, cartoons, toys and TV shows showing that he is a great character. But we are now at the point of this review that I should take a look at the comics, and as I said, I have chosen to take a look at the four issue mini series called Sword Of The Atom for this update as I remember seeing them around when I was younger. I would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So let’s see what adventure The Atom has in store for us with this 80’s series.

Sword Of The Atom # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

On a rainy night Ray Palmer is waiting on his lawyer wife, Jean Loring, to get home from a late night at the office, and when he sees a car pull into the driveway and shut off its lights, he goes out to investigate and finds that his wife is making out with her new assistant! As he storms off, she gets out of the car and follows, and they two argue and share their issues about what has been going on in their marriage with much of it being the lack of time they spend with each other. That night Ray decides that they should take time away from each other and goes on a trip to South America in order to find more of the white dwarf star. Ray wires a plane to fly him over the Amazon, and he soon finds out his hired hands are drug smugglers and a fight breaks out that causes him to turn into The Atom and leading to the plane crashing with The Atom thrown from the plane and his two attackers dead! Now stuck in the Amazon, he tries to make his way to the crashed plane and finds that he is stuck being 6” tall, and worse, a snake has chosen him for dinner, but a group of small warriors help him out only to capture him and bring to their king. While in chains, he notices that a warrior named Taren is also prisoner and his only crime is he has fallen in love with The Princess. The King orders his guards to beat down Taren, and The Atom has seen enough and helps the fallen warrior. But the numbers are against them, and the pair is taken to a dungeon and their fate is to be eaten alive by rats!

This first issue in this mini series starts off with a major downer as our hero is being cheated on by his wife who has found affection in her new hired helper, and he thinks by leaving for weeks could save their marriage. Very sad stuff as it’s clear the two are in a bad way and neither are really talking to each other about the issues that have caused this split. And worse, Ray finds himself stuck in his small size in the Amazon and as the slave to a race of tiny people! The Atom in this issue goes from being a heartbroken husband, to a man focused on his work to a hero forced to stay in his small size who becomes stuck in a world he does not understand. Poor Jean Loring in this issue goes from a cheating wife to a heartbroken one when she thinks her husband she has been fighting with is dead in the plane crash in the Amazon; this poor woman’s mind is broken by the end. We don’t get much info on the race of bright yellow skinned tiny people that live in the Amazon; all we do get is that the King is a cruel man and his daughter is the object of a damned man’s affection. I like the cliffhanger of Atom and Taren being fed to a bunch of rats as the odds look really grim for them, and it makes you wonder how two weaponless 6” tall guys are going to survive the attack. I also like when Ray Palmer has to get away from his cheating wife for a bit he is attacked while on a small plane by two drug smugglers that want to knock him out and then toss him from the plane…brutal. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has a Conan The Barbarian vibe to it as a sword swinging Atom riding a frog is fighting off a massive mean looking snake…classic fantasy comic stuff. The art is done by comic legend Gil Kane and is topnotch stuff for fans who like the classic style comic art. Over all this first issue is a great read and does a nice job of building up the story of The Atom stuck in the Amazon, and with that let’s see what issue two has in store for us. On a side note, I really should have read this comic as a kid as I am pretty sure I would have loved it!

Sword Of The Atom # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 2 of 4

As The Atom and Taren prepare to fight for their lives against the rats, a canister of gas is tossed in and their lives have been saved by the King’s advisor, who wants them to be healed up and trained so they can fight as gladiators in an arena for the people’s amusement and to show the true glory of the King. Weeks pass, and The Atom is rushed to the arena and given a sword and finds out his opponent is Taren, who has been blinded to secure the fact he will be killed in battle. The crowd goes crazy and turn on the King as anarchy rules out and The Atom and Taren run to escape and find Princess Laethwen waiting with frogs with saddles. The three flee into the jungle as The King can not understand why his people hate him and is furious as he thinks the fleeing heroes kidnapped his daughter. The Atom stays with Taren and The Princess as the rebels come to meet them lead by the ego driven Voss and are taken to camp. Meanwhile back in the Kingdom, we find that the advisor is the one who is setting up events to make the people turn on their King. In the end Taren asks The Atom to lead his men into war with the King, and as The Princess and Taren talk, our masked hero is attacked by Voss who thinks The Atom is a spy, but of course The Atom makes short work of the ego maniac Voss and the showdown is set between the rebels and the Kingdom.

In this second issue adventure, The Atom finds himself being saved from the rats and forced to become a gladiator fighter for the kingdom as is his new friend Taren who is blinded as well to ensure his death in the arena. But things are not so bleak as they get help to escape and soon find that the Princess is on their side, and someone on the rebel’s side is a true mole and is sharing information. The Atom shows that he is an honorable man who will do the right thing when faced with conflict and will stand by his friends and allies when they need him. Also its’ clear that he is drifting apart from his wife he is away from as he is barely thinking of her. And Jean, his wife, thinks he is gone and at the end of the issue calls the gentleman she was cheating with to come over as she does not want to be alone….sad to say, but I think their love has faded. Taren and The Princess are shown to be good people who want to do all the right things that are best for their people. Voss is a jerk, and I would guess he is the rat who told the King and his goons what Taren’s plan was that lead to him being captured and made blind. The King, I think, is clueless and is not fully evil as his people and the rebels are lead to believe as I think his scumbag advisor is the true fiend who is cruel and a liar. What really works for this story so far is the fact The Atom is a true fish out of water and is stuck in a jungle world where he is targeted for lunch by the animals around and most of the locals want him dead as they think he is an enemy of the kingdom, and when he makes his escape riding on a frog, you find yourself cheering him on. Once more, the cover is great and has a fantasy comic look to it and the interior art is great and done by Gil Kane. So as you can see, the second issue has set up that The Atom will be leading the rebels to fight against the kingdom as the King himself is facing an uprising from his own subjects. So with that, let’s see how this plays out and, if I am right that Voss is a traitor, and move onto issue three.

Sword Of The Atom # 3  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 3 of 4

After winning the fight against Voss, the Atom decides that he wants this brave warrior as his second in command as they get ready to battle with the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the King is upset at his Advisor, who he has found out is doing experiments on a fallen star without his permission, and still the evil Advisor works to make the King look terrible in the eyes of his subjects. While in the jungle, a horde of ants attack the rebels and while trying to escape their flesh eating ways Voss, The Princess, The Atom and Taren run for their lives and after reaching safety Taren flings himself into the ants killing himself and allowing the rage to build up in The Atom and moving the war with the kingdom closer. While in the Kingdom, the rebel spy sends a message to the Advisor of Taren’s death, and this pleases him as he knows that soon an attack will happen and he will get control of the Kingdom. Back in America, Jean Loring decides she is going to travel to South America and make sure her husband is really dead and not hiding from her. Meanwhile, the Atom and the Princess have fallen in love and get the rebels ready and are heading to the Kingdom for the big attack.

In the issue, The Atom starts to see that the jungle is a dangerous place and life can be taken away very quickly and that he must really step up and be the hero the rebels need when their leader dies. And while The Atom is in this wild world, he also learns to trust those who don’t trust him and to fall in love all over again. Our hero The Atom in this issue becomes a true leader to the people as he prepares them to war, he also decides to prove his dominance of the jungle that he must kill an alligator! He also wastes no time in falling in love with the Princess after the death of her boyfriend. The Princess herself is very tough and spends very little time on being sad about her man’s death before putting the moves on The Atom. I find this quick love affair very odd as it’s clear The Princess respected him throughout this series, but now she is madly in love. Taren is a warrior who has lost the will to live and once he knows his army is in good hands decides to commit suicide by letting ants eat him alive…the strange part is while people seem slightly sad about his death, they all move on very fast with life without him. Voss is a really loudmouth and untrusting warrior who likes to stand against yet with The Atom who he blames for being a spy for the other side, when I think it’s him! The King and his Advisor are playing a chess game against each other and don’t really know they are, and both are just being driven by power. Jean Loring, who has moved on as she is with her boyfriend, now seems hell bent on exposing if her husband is dead or not. What’s unclear is if she is trying to find the truth out of love or hate. This was a pretty good issue and is a great one that builds to this final fight between rebels and soldiers, builds the tension between the King and his people, shows that The Atom is the leader the rebels needs and all pieces of this jungle action puzzle of love and war are coming together thanks to this issue. The cover is great and once more captures a fantasy comic look and has The Atom fighting the alligator, and like before Gil Kane did the interior art and its great. Very solid issue and was a great way to build up the next and final issue in this mini series, so if you’re ready, I am ready to see how this clash in the jungle ends.

Sword Of The Atom # 4  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The Atom stands on the outskirts of the castle lost in his own mind of what it will take to truly win this fight when he is joined by the Princess, and the pair talk about how much they love each other when they are interrupted by Voss as they have found out who the spy really is! The spy was one of the rebel archers and before he is put to death, he spills the beans that the King’s Advisor is the mastermind behind the downfall of the Kingdom and that they all can live in the Kingdom if they pledge their loyalty to the Advisor once he becomes ruler. After the spy is killed, The Atom leads the rebels into war that has three forces with their own battle plans as the rebels must face those loyal to the Advisor and those who stand by their King! The battle rages on as the people are screaming for the deaths of both the King and his Advisor who are having words as the King has finally found out his most trusted is who ushered in his downfall. The Advisor stabs the King in the back and runs to activate the white star that will blow up the kingdom! The Atom, Voss and The Princess makes it to the throne room where the dying King informs them of his Advisor’s plan, and our heroes rush to the energy plant where the star is stored and find they are too late! Voss puts an arrow through the brain of the Advisor as The Atom rushes inside to see if he can stop the meltdown, but the power of the star turns him normal size again and is driving him mad as he rampages through the Kingdom even chasing off The Princess and Voss. After everyone is safe, The Atom stumbles around and passes out on the banks of the river and is found by fishermen and awakens in the hospital, and Jean is waiting for him down in the lobby. In the end Ray must find out if he truly loves Jean or if he wants to find his Princess.

This final issue of this mini series plot has The Atom and the new love of his life The Princess lead an attack on her father’s Kingdom only to find that his trusted Advisor has struck and killed the King and has set a meltdown due to a white dwarf star being used as a source of energy. And with everyone in danger, The Atom rushes in and soaks up most of the star’s radiation causing himself to grow big and pass out leaving his new love behind as well as his sanity as he is unclear if any of it was real. The Atom proves he is a born leader as he leads rebels into a war that they win! He also shows that he no longer would like to live his normal life as Ray Palmer and would love to stay small and be The Atom from here on out and be with his Princess girlfriend and leave his wife Jean behind forever. The Atom also goes from being a confident hero to second guessing just what he is doing with his life showing that even a superhero has his doubts. The Princess is a fighter as well who wanted her father The King out of power but is very upset when his life is taken. Plus she gets even more heartbroken when her new boyfriend The Atom grows and is taken away when found. The one weird thing about her is she really dose not mourn that much over the death of her first boyfriend who dies by suicide. Voss is a hardened warrior who I was wrong about that could be the most composed person in this comic series as he does what’s right and uses his brain in situations and not his heart. The King was a man who ruled with a big ego, but he was not as bad as his subjects were lead to believe and almost seems angered and saddened by his advisor’s betrayal and the fact his own people want him dead. And when he is stabbed and dying, he does show remorse and love toward his Kingdom and his daughter. The Advisor is the true villain of this series as he really just wants to rule and will do whatever he can to gain power including murder and using unsafe measures to try and impress the people. So when he takes an arrow to his head, I found myself cheering as he was a pure narcissistic terrible person. And poor Jean Loring is a woman who cheated on her husband and has tried to move on when she thinks he is dead, but also must come to terms that even if he is alive, what is left of their marriage. This mini series was a great way to update the dated hero The Atom and even added the realm of a fantasy comic to it and was a great way to cash in on the popularity of the likes of Conan The Barbarian. I also like that in the end they leave it open that maybe this jungle society was all in the mind of The Atom who was injured in the plane crash…so was his war with a Kingdom real or just a delusion? The cover for this fourth issue is pretty cool and while eye catching, I would say is the weakest in the series. Gil Kane’s art is fantastic and really shows that he is the best one to draw this as he created the character and knows how to bring him to life on pages. To sum it up, Sword Of The Atom is a very good mini series released by DC and was a great way to get comic readers to check out classic characters that needed a boost and might have not sold well if given a continuing series. Check this series out if you enjoy The Atom, and check out the art below for a look at Gil Kane’s art style.

The Atom might not be as popular as Batman, Superman or even The Flash, but one thing this mini series does show comic readers is that he can deliver good classic superhero adventure that is mixed with classic science fiction fantasy flare. I’m not sure which DC hero will be next to get the Rotten Ink treatment, but I do have a few in mind that include Green Arrow, Aquaman, Martian The Manhunter or even Wonder Woman! Only time will tell who will be next, but one thing is for sure, I really am enjoying reading and talking about these DC heroes. But our next update will be up on July 4th and will be another entry in the American Hero updates. For this year I have chosen to talk and showcase action movie hero John Rambo! So until next time, read a DC Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as we see who draws first blood!