A Look Through X-Ray Spex At X-Ray Robot

If there's a more unabashedly COMICS title than X-Ray Robot, I'm not aware of it.

A Look Through X-Ray Spex At X-Ray Robot
X-Ray Robot cover. Credit: Dark Horse Comics

It's tough to write about the Allred Family's work (Mike Allred and Laura Allred) and not write the word joy. X-Ray Robot is another piece of their joyous science fiction. Depending on how generous you are to X-Ray Robot, it's either a trope or a standard that the duo engages in: Parallel universes. You've read it before somewhere, scientists create a thing that breaks the timeline, and it's up to those scientists to put the timelines back in order.

The antagonist is a cross-dimensional being called The Nihilist. If this were another creator, I'd hesitate A trope we see all the time in the Western mainstream and an obviously evil antagonist. But it's the Allred family, so they just draw the hell out of it, and voila, another comic that's far greater than the sum of its parts. It's like magic, except it's as mundane as Mike and Laura Allred have drawn comics for over thirty years each, so they avoid obvious pitfalls and create characters that are easy to empathize with.

X-Ray Robot reads effortless and happy. There's no need to ground anything, as each character looks like they're preparing to leap off the page. X-Ray Robot is a science fiction story in a recognizable lineage, drawn by a figurative follower of Jack Kirby. There are other influences on Mike Allred's pencils, obviously (Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez occur to me.)

A Look Through X-Ray Spex At X-Ray Robot
A page from X-Ray Robot. Credit: Dark Horse Comics

The nods in the series are also fun: Madman appears briefly. Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka is recognized in the comic as Dr. Akira Osamu, and there's a Dr. Saunders, presumably Dr. Ben Saunders from the University of Oregon.

X-Ray Robot is a comic for adults that's joyful. Do you know how hard that is? The Allreds do, and the trick is they make it look effortless every time.

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About James Hepplewhite

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