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PREVIEW: 'Nuclear Family' #1 by Stephanie Phillips, Tony Shasteen, and JD Mettler

 America, 1957. Elvis dominates the airwaves and apple pie is served after every meal. But, with the dark cloud of nuclear holocaust looming, Korean War vet Tim McClean’s major concern is taking care of his family in the atomic age. When the first bomb does drop on an unexpecting Midwest city, Tim and his family find themselves plunged into a strange new world, where what’s left of the United States has gone underground while continuing to wage war on Russia with unthinkable tactics. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Breakfast at Twilight , NUCLEAR FAMILY is written by  Stephanie Phillips ( Butcher of Paris, Heavy Metal , ARTEMIS AND THE ASSASSIN, RED ATLANTIS) and illustrated by Tony Shasteen ( Star Trek ). It’s Cold War-era science fiction at its most timely and terrifying. As Phillips explained when interviewed about the series by The Hollywood Reporter at the end of last year, “[it’s] about a family that seems like the ideal nuclear family in the 1950s. But, when an unexpected

REVIEW: 'Robot Western' #1 by Doug Hopkins

 On a crusade that will uncover the darkest secrets of the wild west, the true purpose of a young robot boy is revealed. This is the story of Robot Western.

Score: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

Doug Hopkins has taken on an ambitious challenge. He's creating a comic book series in conjunction with an animated series through Kickstarter. 'Robot Western' is exactly what it sounds like, an old-fashioned Western tale told in a universe made up of only robots and androids. The Canadian creator admits to being influenced by classics like Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica and Disney’s Tron, and The Black Hole. The first issue reveals those influences while also paying homage to the pulpy Westerns of the past. 

The premise involves a young boy-bot named Rusty who's thrust into chaos. The story follows his adventures across the frontier as he, and a band of unlikely heroes, struggle to save their world from the unknown. The first issue, however, introduces a band of bandits about to attempt a train heist. The train heist is a Western staple and in this futuristic desert world inhabited by robots, the familiar trope takes on a fresh look. 

Hopkins' designs paired with the digital composition of the page makes it beautiful to read. It's a very clean and colorful execution that is propelled by the well-choreographed action sequences. The story is very straight-forward full of interesting colorful characters that harken back to iconic caricatures found in the history of Western novels, movies, and television shows. It really does have the feel of a young adult Star Wars book that kids will enjoy. 

'Robot Western' #1 is a passion project from Hopkins that is lovingly created in the spirit of the Western mixed with science fiction.