It's the year 2005 and the Atari Technology and Research Institute
's Fuji symbol-shaped headquarters looms high on the horizon. The world is in absolute crisis, but people with hover ships seem to be getting along quite nicely.
Much of what we know about this mysterious "Atari Institute" comes from the following ultra-futuristic paper telegram…
"Dear Dr. Orion: As the world lies smouldering in ruins, we've decided to take this opportunity to become a paramilitary research organization with dictatorial-like control of the region formerly known as California. Oh, and we would like to offer you a position as…medical research. Bring your skivvies."
Meanwhile, in the Orwellian control center of the Atari Institute, overconfident coffee-sipping security personnel with post-apocalyptic-authoritarian matching colored uniforms exchange meaningless quips as they sharpen up on their bureaucratic ineptitude skills.
…And their practice pays off. On the next page, some wonderful Atari people get their asses kicked by an intruder. I'm starting to think this comic book was commissioned by Coleco.
In the first of many flashbacks, we meet the hero, Commander Martin "Poster Boy of the Aryan Master Race" Champion, and his love interest, Lydia "I Represent Red-Headed Latinos" Perez.
The vacuous dialogue here is absolutely delightful. I could stick my whole head through this panel without tearing any paper.
Shortly after returning to Earth, Mr. Champion and his badass-looking token black guy body guard/research colleague flirt with Lydia. If you haven't guessed yet, Commander Champion has the superhuman ability to be extremely white.
At this point in the story, I fell asleep and ruined half of the comic book with my drool.
When I woke up, I thought I was reading Sgt. Rock
Apparently, the writers of Atari Force wedged some sort of "UN Peacekeeping Mission" story (whatever that is) into the script, but the artist only knew how to draw flashbacks from 'Nam.
Need I remind you that, at this point, nine-year-olds across America reading this book for the first time in 1982 were still trying to figure out how exactly all this related to Pac-Man. Soon after, they shrugged and got back to melting green army men with Bic lighters on the back patio.
Just when it might have gotten interesting, they leave you hanging with a teaser that the next issue will be included with Berzerk. Luckily, Berzerk was good enough of a game to offset the potential disaster that was Atari Force #2.
So what have we learned?
Boring characters, trite dialogue, and the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with video games makes this the most disappointing and ill-conceived comic book series ever. The group might as well have been called the Supercream Choo-Choo Force. Nobody would have cared either way.
But who the heck am I kidding? It's just a freebie video game pack-in mag made by D.C. Comics, pioneer of the famous "world's crappiest comic books" formula. In this case, their reputation remains unscathed.
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