ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Atom: The Beginning,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Atom: The Beginning Volume 1

Atom: The Beginning Volume 1 is published by Titan Comics, story by Osamu Tezuka, concept by Masami Yuuki, art by Tetsuro Kasahara, translated by Jonathan Clements, and letters by Jessica Burton. Five years after a mysterious disaster struck Japan, the nation has seen a massive leap in technological progress. Robots of all shapes and sizes exist among us. But even with so much technological advancement, there are still those who seek to push the boundaries of robotics even further.

Amidst this time of bustling discovery, we find two eager minds in the duo of Hiroshi and Umataru. They are students attending National Nerima University. While the pair of researchers are often looked down on, their lab is little more than a shed out behind one of the main buildings; they are dedicated scientists who hope to bring about the next big step in robotics with their newest creation, A106.

Atom: The Beginning Volume 1 focuses its time on introducing our stars, along with a handful of side characters. While most of the stories told in this introductory volume feel like random hijinks to give the reader a feel for the world and its cast, there is some seeding of a larger plot that gets woven between Hiroshi and Umataru’s adventures. There is a good balance between the slice-of-life feeling stories and the larger plot’s presence, allowing the book to be fun while building up something larger. That larger plot left me feeling noticeably intrigued. The hints at what may be going on are few, but they nonetheless capture the reader’s curiosity, especially since nothing about the story’s stars seems to warrant such attention at first glance.

The only major failing I have with the story in Atom: The Beginning Volume 1 comes from its cast. While each character provides a fair amount of entertainment, each feels noticeably shallow through this volume’s 200+ pages. This creates a sense of repetitiveness in the cast, as each’s reactions become all too predictable.

The art in this book does a great job of delivering the exciting energy of the story’s characters. The story leans into the medium’s trademark exaggeration skillfully. Every shout and excited reaction is delivered with all the emphasis a fan could want.

While the design of the characters is well done, there is a major failing in Atom: The Beginning Volume 1‘s visual presentation, and it has to do with the quality of the images.

The art throughout this story has the feeling of an old photocopy. Much of the linework looks broken and inconsistent, as if a scan didn’t quite pick up everything. This is simply a detriment to the book most of the time, but there are some panels that this visual failing renders virtually undecipherable.

When all is said and done, Atom: The Beginning Volume 1 delivers an enjoyable opening to its narrative. With likable characters and an intriguing larger story brewing in the background, the book will be sure to please those who can see beyond its limitations.

Atom: The Beginning Volume 1 is available on October 11th, wherever comics are sold.


Atom: The Beginning Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Atom: The Beginning Volume 1 delivers an enjoyable opening to its narrative. With likable characters and an intriguing larger story brewing in the background, the book will be sure to please those who can see beyond its limitations.

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