Atomic City Tales Book 2: Doc Phantom TPB – Jay Stephens

3 out of 5

The second collection of Jay Stephens’ Atomic City Tales is much the same as the first, maybe a bit better and a bit worse due to being a dedicated series instead of interspersed bits collected from his ‘Sin’ comic.  The general premise is certainly the same: Jay Stephens the comic book character is illustrating the life of Big Bang, over-powered layabout hero, only this time we lean a bit more in on the villains when baddie Doc Phantom “kidnaps” Jay in order to illustrate his side of things.  In a comic with more narrative, we probably could’ve had something that dug into good guy / bad guy tropes to a degree, but Atomic City Tales is rather a loose limn of pop culture nods with some nonsense jokes thrown in here and there.  The ‘bit better’ is that having a whole story-ish thing helps keep the book on track, but the ‘bit worse’ is that the same thing curtails some of the appealing randomness found in the first volume.  The Quirk is still funny, though.

Very basically: the two Atomic City Tales collections are mostly interchangeable.  If you like one, you’ll like both; if you were moderately pleased by one, that’s probably all you’ll need.