Atomic Robo mentoring a young robot friend.
Image: Scott Wegener, Shannon Murphy (IDW Publishing)

Whether you’re a sentient, technologically-advanced robot designed by Nikola Tesla or a street-level criminal with a knack for getting thrown in the pokey, raising children is a difficult task. And while it can be rewarding, it’s much more often an emotionally and financially draining endeavor.

The heroes of this week’s best new comics are at a point in their lives where they’ve become responsible for nurturing the next generation of young minds who are going to inherit the Earth and, truth be told, they’re both kind of nailing the whole parenting thing. Just not exactly in the ways they anticipated.

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A pawn shop owner realizing why Ricky is trying to sell a stolen necklace.
Image: Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips (Image Comics)

Criminal

Despite his street name, all Teeg Lawless really wants at this point in his life is a modicum of peace and tranquility after spending years running with mobsters, pulling off heists, and generally living on the wrong side of the law. Old habits die hard for Lawless, and even though he’s trying to get on the up and up, Image Comics’ Criminal—from co-creators Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips—opens with the man behind bars in a local jail waiting for someone...anyone...to bail him out.

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Lawless’ salvation comes in the form of his misguided young son Ricky, who, taking after his father, reasons that he can get away with robbing an elderly neighbor he knows to be in possession of valuable jewelry in order to get his hands on bail money. But Ricky’s actions come with consequences that neither he nor his father are prepared to handle, and force Lawless to fall back on his old ways in order to make sure that he can keep his family safe from retaliation. (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips, Image Comics)

Atomic Robo making sure Bernard is up to the task at hand.
Image: Scott Wegener, Shannon Murphy (IDW Publishing)

Atomic Robo: Dawn of a New Era

Atomic Robo’s seen a lot over his centuries-long lifetime of learning about and experimenting with the forces of nature that define the world. He’s putting the whole of his vast knowledge to good use in IDW’s Atomic Robo: Dawn of a New Era by passing it along to the next generation of sentient, mechanized intelligence.

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For now, life’s mostly quiet for Atomic Robo and the newest young recruits at the Tesladyne Institute, but unbeknownst to everyone else within the organization who believe Robo’s merely tinkering with a new project in his private lab, he’s actually in the process of building what might be his greatest, most significant achievement yet. (Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Shannon Murphy, IDW Publishing)


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