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‘RoboCop #1:’ Comic Book Review (Will the Real Murphy Please Stand Up . . . Again)

It was only a few short months ago that BOOM! Studios followed Sony Studios down the proverbial rabbit hole with their re-imaging (a.k.a. unnecessary reboot) of the venerable 1987 classic RoboCop.  I’m not going to bore you with my feelings about this property getting rebooted, seeing as I already did that with my Fanboy Comics review of RoboCop: Hominem Ex Machina. The only additional comment I will make is that since that review, I did go to see the new RoboCop in theaters, and all I can say is I regret not opting for the root canal instead.

Luckily, it seems BOOM! may have seen the error of Sony’s ways in deciding to take things back to the original where they belong, Verhoeven’s RoboCop of '87.  In fact, BOOM! has wisely gone back to the events pre-dating the events in RoboCop 2 and 3, starting the reader off in an Old Detroit literally seconds after the credits finished rolling from the first film.

Unlike their foray into the world of Reboot-Cop, the new series about the old version gets it right out of the gate on the first few frames.  Thanks in part to artist Carlos Magno and colorist Marissa Louise, the incredible visuals instantly transported me back to the atmosphere of Old Detroit from the first incarnation of the tin-man with a badge.  In fact, the art had a very western-like Walking Dead feel to it, with just a touch of some muted color to provide that desperado feel.  It should be noted that a character who looks like bad news for Murphy even refers to him as cowboy on a few occasions.  Also in the vein of TWD, it looks like this adaptation of RoboCop is going to also keep intact the senseless violence and gore of the original.  Thanks goodness calmer heads prevailed.  More importantly, RoboCop and the rest of the character art is truly a sight to behold.  A lot of detail went into this book, and even if you don’t like to or can’t read, it’s worth picking it up to gaze at the artwork alone. 

It was also a nice blast from the past to see the gang back in all its graphically drawn glory.  Characters like Robo’s partner Anne Lewis and OCP Police Department Sergeant Reed are the most notable of the bunch, and it was nice to see their likenesses again.  It really did feel a bit like a family reunion . . . in a city overrun with degenerate criminals, of course.

Even the story and the writing in this issue is top notch, until the writers hit a bit of a bump in the road.  One of the evolving plot points revolves around a new OCP initiative which requires the disarming of all citizens within Old Detroit in a grab-the-guns-type law written and implemented in less than a 24-hour time frame. (If only the government really worked that efficiently, the line at the DMV might be a few days shorter, but I digress.)  Getting back to the new law, I really liked where the story was going for no other reason– and I’m going to go personally political on you all for a few sentences – than that I thought the writers were going to raise the topic that taking away guns from the upstanding citizens only emboldens the bad guys to commit more crimes, because the responsible people with guns can’t defend themselves.  Instead, we get Lewis crying that the law isn’t right “just because you can’t just make laws” and “citizens will lynch” the police. WHAAA?

Agree or disagree, it’s pretty powerfulsubject matter, and I feel  like the writers really missed an opportunity to address a current social issue that is even more relevant in today’s society.  On the other hand, this IS only the first issue, and I may be jumping the gun (Pun intended!), so it may very well be that my wish will be granted in upcoming issues.

Minus the slight hiccup, I would be remiss if I didn’t say this is one of the better comics I’ve read in a very long time, and I’m truly excited to see where they take one of my favorite film properties of all time.  Mostly, I’m extremely grateful that BOOM! Studios has decided to go back to the future with the original concept, and, to that, I just want to tell them, “Thank you . . . for your cooperation.”