Opening on the fictional planet Roc's World, the first scene of Atari Force #1 is a big, loud, crowded sci-fi bar brawl. At the center of the action are Dart and Blackjak, lovers and guns-for-hire who, we learn, have been stiffed by their most recent employer, Ki, so now they're getting him back by taking down his entire army themselves. They win the fight easily, clearly more skilled in the art of violence than anyone else in the room by a lot, but are forced to flee when the cops show up, placing them firmly in the role of lawbreaking anti-heroes. It's a very fun and exciting way the kick off the series, starting with a point of high action and with characters who are impressive, look interesting, and bring a nice sense of humor to the page. Also, Dart is as strong a female character as I've seen in ages, in comicbooks or otherwise. She and Blackjak are clearly equals in their professional and personal partnerships both. And Dart is actually a bit more self-assured and capable than Blackjak because, along with all the other talents she brings to the table, she is apparently able to have brief premonitions that help keep her out of trouble. This is how they avoid the cops, who would certainly have taken Blackjak in (and indeed almost do, anyway) if he didn't have Dart to back him up.
Once the story leaves Roc's World, it leaps to the planet Egg, where a couple of nameless merchants are making a stop with their massive spaceship. The captain is a drunk, brash, somewhat arrogant fellow, while his first mate is more level-headed but less informed. The mate is the point-of-view character for the reader while the captain explains why they are there: to kidnap a baby. The native species of Egg are born as giants and grow into literal mountains, sitting perfectly still in their adulthood as part of the landscape of their homeworld. For my money, this is the single best idea in the whole of Atari Force. There's something strangely romantic about it, and though it's a simple concept on the face of it, there are still a lot of questions raised. It's not the greatest scene in the series, or even of the first issue, although the captain and mate do have a funny dynamic. And when they capture one of the babies there is a single panel of it crying that breaks my heart. But there are only three pages of Egg material before the setting shifts again to New Earth and we meet another handful of characters.
The number of characters that García-López was responsible for in this issue is pretty amazing, especially because they all pretty much look different than each other. Tempest and Dart's outfits have some shared elements because they are both children of A.T.A.R.I., but even Dart and Blackjak don't have a cohesive uniform. If he didn't have his weird eye thing, they might not seem to fit in the same story at all. She's all future fashion, he could blend in with Robin Hood's crew.
The cover boasts, "Introducing: The Strangest S-F Heroes of All!" (S-F=science-fiction). I'm not sure if I buy them as the strangest of all, but there are definitely some weird and refreshing folks in here, likable enough to make me excited to follow them on whatever adventures await. It would've been nice to get more of a glimpse of what those adventures might possibly be, or even to see these characters meet one another, but that's not necessary for the initial installment. This is enough of a foundation that a ton of really great stories could be constructed, and that's really all a first issue has to accomplish, whatever route it takes to get there.