Robocop: The Last Stand #1 by Frank Miller and Steven Grant (Comics Review)

Growing up, the Robocop animated series was very much fringe viewing for me. I was never really interested in it to the same degree as I was with stuff like Johnny Quest, Tom & Jerry, Aladdin, Superman, Batman or a whole bunch of other shows from the same era. But, I enjoyed watching it all the same and if an episode of Robocop was on, I’d be certain that I watched it in full. I even used to borrow a cousin’s taped VHSs on occasion.

When I heard recently that Boom Studios was doing a mini-series based on Frank Miller’s unused screenplay for Robocop 3, I was pretty interested. I’ve never seen the Robocop movies, so I don’t know what kind of quality they had or what have you, but this news got me intrigued enough to find out more. I’ve actually had this issue for a while, but never quite got around to reading it. But I did read it a few minutes ago, mostly looking for something completely different to the stuff I usually read, and I have to say that this series is off to a so-so start.

Robocop - Last Stand 01As someone who has enjoyed other Frank Miller stories before, I’d been really looking forward to reading this issue, despite my tardiness in that respect. I find Robocop to be a really interesting character, a character who is very much like Batman and Judge Dredd in many respects, but is still so different and with an identity of his own. I enjoy Batman and Judge Dredd quite a bit, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like Robocop too. This comic mini-series, adapted by Steven Grant from Miller’s unused script, proves to be a decent enough fix while we all sit around waiting for an ongoing Robocop comic or something.

The premise of the story is that at some indeterminate time in the future, Robocop has been branded an outlaw and Detroit PD has been disbanded, replaced by a force of armed men and women who answer (presumably) to OCP and OCP alone. All of Detroit is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where the “cops” are crooked as they come and the poor are trodden on more than “normal” while the rich have it all. Robocop in this time is effectively a vigilante who is fighting to save Detroit from its excesses at the corporate hands of the OCP and he has become a legend of the kind that the Batman is in Gotham. Its an interesting premise for sure, and Grant does a decent job of getting that across, but the script sadly leaves a lot to be desired.

The primary negative here is that there is too much of a disconnect between all the events that we are shown. We go from one atrocity and one crime to another without any focus on either of them. The first page provides six different panels that are meant to show different… crimes committed by Robocop but since there’s no contextual frame around that page, it becomes difficult to understand what is going on. The subsequent pages don’t exactly help matters any. I get what Grant is doing here, covering a lot of stuff to show just how widespread the corporate-led anarchy is in Detroit, but I think he could have done a better job of connecting the dots so that there is a true framework of a script here.

This is really the only negative of the story itself. As such, there are pacing issues in the comic and it doesn’t read as well as it could have.

But all the same, its nice to see the scenes of Robocop heroically saving the people of Detroit from corrupt cops and corporate pencil-pushers. There’s a charged feeling to those scenes, especially since you know something is going to happen and are tense with anticipation. It all happens when it happens and its really fun to see Robocop in action like this.

The artwork here is by Korkut Oztekin with colours by Michael Garland and letters by Ryan Ferrier. Overall, I really liked the grim and gritty artwork that is on display here. It fits really well with Miller’s own style that he has used on various Batman books in the past and it fits well with the kind of story that Miller originally wrote for the movie and that Grant has adapted for this series. Its a wonderful meld of story and art in that regard. Garland’s colours certainly go to a great length to establish that, playing up on the subtitle for the series, The Last Stand. It definitely is a last stand, in all respects. However, here and there were a few panels where the art was indistinct and even somewhat inconsistent in terms of how the characters were drawn. And Oztekin’s characters aren’t particularly expressive either. They appear wooden and stiff in those panels, which is a shame since the rest of the artwork is pretty decent actually.

Like I said, the mini-series is off to a decent start and I look forward to reading the subsequent issues soon.

Rating: 7.5/10

Posted on October 21, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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