Louis Falcetti writes for Bleeding Cool;
I've never read any of Mike Allred's Atomic Comics before It Girl! And The Atomics #1, and after reading I feel like I still haven't. That's only because the cover doesn't clearly state that Allred (neither Allred actually) is the artist on the issue, though the pair do the cover. It's not the first time a subtle bait and switch has been employed to move books as anyone who eagerly picked up Haunt #1 found out when they realized MacFarlane was only inking it.
The absence of Allred is definitely felt since once I found myself in the world of The Atomics, I began to see just how tied-in to his signature pop-art style the story and it's characters are. Without Allred on pencils portions of the book feel like it came from the 90s, not the 60s. In particular a scene where newly released criminal scientist, The Skunk, is approached by members of his own gang who want him to go back into business with him. Ferret, Hedgehog and Otter seem like they've fallen out of a bad issue of a DeFalco Spiderman, not a silver age acid dream.
If you're new to the series, as I was, everything you need to know is explained in the very beginning. Alien spores turns a group of beatniks into super-powered heroes. We actually don't see much of the super-powered heroes The Atomics until the end of the issue, instead focusing (as you can probably imagine from the title) on It Girl who is gifted with an amazing cosmic power yet finds herself bored.
Here's where the book really starts to work, when it's less about what's happening outside and more on what's going on in. Having a heroine with the glam pop name "It Girl" suffering from 21st century malaise is a wonderful metaphor for the legions of young people who seem to have the ability to do anything yet waste their time playing video games. It Girl can literally take on the physical properties of anything she touches yet spends her time playing a video game in which she's a gritty urban hero, as opposed to the shiny urban hero she actually is. Somewhere Zizek is scribbling like mad in a notebook.
When It Girl goes out looking for adventure she encounters the aforementioned Skunk and we're treated to a quick recap of his place in the series and we also find out that Skunk killed It Girl's sister (who's now back from the dead, obv.) Barring the scene with Skunk and his old gang the rest of the issue has a much more cohesive chemistry and focused, different approach. Not coincidentally the rest of the issue brings in the rest of the team, taking the larger spotlight off It Girl and spreading it around the rest of her crew.
With Madman off on tour (I need to read these other comics) there's no one available to submit themselves to the science experiments of Dr. Gillespie Flem. It takes little prodding for Flem to get It Girl to agree to become the new test subject, after all, she's bored. This test that ends the issue involves matter teleportation and as you may have guessed, something strange happens during the experiment.
While it may not have the immediate attention grabbing art of Mike Allred, the characters are certainly interesting, quirky and fun enough on their own to warrant giving this issue a try.