Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CBR:Quickies RoboCop (Avatar Press)

Officer Alex Murphy.

Shot to death in the line of duty...

Legally he's dead. We can do whatever we want with him!

Thus began the adventure of Alex Murphy, post-mortem known as RoboCop!

Part man. Part machine. All cop.

RoboCop adventures in the funny pages started first at Marvel Comics with a decent well remembered ongoing series in the early 1990s and then was followed by a short but memorable run at Dark Horse Comics.

And then, nothing more...

It was only a decade later that the folks at Avatar Press acquired the rights behind the RoboCop franchise which they used right away to produce a series based on Frank Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2 which contained several elements that would be later used in RoboCop 3 as well.

In that short time, they were able to release a couple of other stories.

When Avatar obtained the rights for Robo, they announced they would take in submissions. A lot of artists and writers were interested in this cult classic franchise and sent various ideas.

Frank Miller's RoboCop was released very slowly (because... Frank Miller, I guess! even though he wasn't the one writing directly) between 2003 and 2006.

Only two one-shots were made and printed through their mature Pulsar in-print.

Here they are...

Comic title: RoboCop: Killing Machine
Written by Steven Grant
Art by Anderson Ricardo
Format: One-shot issue RoboCop: Killing Machine #1.

The first one-shot was released in August 2004, titled RoboCop: Killing Machine.

The story follows some rich kid that got bored. And took for habit to hack into Old Detroit's cyber-grid and cause power failures all over town.

Murphy and Lewis arrived on the scene and helped prevent a panic.

Which annoyed the kid, so he tried to hack back into RoboCop himself! But our hero also has a human brain to help prevent such a thing from happening, Murphy kicked the kid out... but not before he was able to gather access into old OCP files.

You see following the company's collapse (post-RoboCop 3?) most of the archives were lost.

The kid-hacker found an old forgotten Robo-protype in some forgotten underground storage facility... and took control of the machine via remote control!

Now a "killing machine" on the loose and looking for a rematch against RoboCop!

Long story short, the protype needs a human brain to function.

In the end, RoboCop defeats the machine... but it appears that the kid's lost inside the machine for good...

Overall: A story going back to the themes of addition, childhood gone wrong, cyber-punk criminals and RoboCop's obsolescence. As you can see, most of RoboCop 2's themes.

This one-shot special was written by Steven Grant, who is no stranger to RoboCop since he's the one who also was responsible for Frank Miller's RoboCop. He took this (very short) occasion to come up with an all-new robot!

Anderson Ricardo's art was kind of cheesy. Nothing that far from the usual comics at the time. But it just feels kind of flat. The flashy generic colors certainly don't help.

But in the end, it's a fun short little story. "That time RobCop and Lewis faced some mysterious robot they never heard from anymore". And the whole thing feels and ends like a Twilight Zone episode.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Comic title: RoboCop: Wild Child 
Written by Steven Grant
Art by Carlos Ferreira 
Format: One-shot issue RoboCop: Wild Child #1.

Released in January 2005, RoboCop: Wild Child was the sole only other on-shot Avar released.

The story appears to take place after RoboCop 3 this time.

During another one of Detroit's finest famous strikes (as per RoboCop rule).

Now the city is running wild with chaos!

That is when this gang of kids decide to make the best of it and cause havoc wherever they go, attacking shops and innocent bystanders.

But RoboCop is on the scene! He gets on their tail.

The leader Heaven wants to take his head as trophy.

That is... until Officer Lewis joins in!

Turns out Heaven's her little sister!

She ran from home years ago and has always acted like a spoiled brat.

Heaven and her gang decided to take advantage of the current lack of an organized authority at the moment to smash things up and blow up stuff.

Overall: A pretty bad comic.

This story should have had Lewis' moral dilemma at its heart or at least be allowed to breath spread out over more issues... instead this feels like such a forgettable and rushed idea.

I dunno what's the worst. Between the 2-dimensional stereotypical characters, the unwelcome addition to Lewis' family or Robo's even-more-stoic-than-ever attitude which could only place this story after the very first scene in the very first film (remember the conclusion of that entire first film? "Call him Murphy" and all that??).

Grant really let the ball down on this own...

There's also the usual plain bad gratuitous T&A usual from Avatar Press comics - which I can usually deal with. But it all feels so boring and uninspired in this story where nothing happens for dozens of pages for only getting Lewis' "surprise" sister introduction at the end..

It looks like a fanfic. And it smells like a fanfic. A very bad fanfic.

Let's just forget this thing ever happened...

I give this one a: 1.5 / 3 Score!

And that was all of Avatar Press' RoboCop comics!

Just these two mere special issues.

More was actually planned for 2008 but it never came out due to Avatar Press going through some rough times back then and then losing the license to Dynamite Entertainment.

Another 3-issue mini was at least known off since it was advertised in Wild Child. It was titled RoboCop: War Party and would have seen both Steven Grant and Carlos Ferreira coming back for another RoboCop story. Not much is known besides it would have seen Murphy and Lewis come to face a war between gangs, apparently.

But from the looks of what we got, perhaps it was for the best...

That's all for this time's Quickies!

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