There are very few characters that I honestly feel I’m an authority on. Sure, there are plenty of characters that I love, but my knowledge on many of them is only a surface level. I know the basics. I understand the concept. I get the gist.
But then there’s RoboCop.
When I first saw Paul Verhoeven’s first film on videotape, I was totally blown away. Funny, nihilistic, action-packed, dramatic all rolled into one.
Even better, RoboCop kept getting bigger. For some crazy reason, people decided that RoboCop should be a kids’ toy. He became a cartoon. There are lunch boxes. There candy dispensers. There are backpacks. There are drink cups with bendy straws.
I know this because I have them all.
Over the years, I have collected hundreds of items based on RoboCop as a pop culture icon.
I even have the full-sized Data East arcade game in my basement. I had it fixed so that it doesn’t charge a quarter per play anymore.
Over the years, RoboCop has been tried again and again in comics, and largely, these efforts have failed.
These failures came as a result of a failure to understand the RoboCop character that was presented in the 1987 film.
Even Frank Miller, who wrote “RoboCop 2,” “RoboCop 3” and at least one RoboCop comic series, never seemed to get him down right.
To me, RoboCop is most assuredly “Part Man, Part Machine. All Cop.” He’s a little bit human. He’s a little bit machine. But when it comes to being a police officer, he’s all over that.
That’s what I think people kept missing. They wanted him to be desperately wanting human contact. They wanted him to be a robot to tell a story about.
But they kept missing his driving force: Righting wrongs as best as he was allowed.
Sometimes his programming would screw him up. Sometimes his lingering emotions would. But he always wanted to get his job done, and he would do it efficiently, logically and mechanically — without the a hint of zeal or bravado.
So through all these eras of RoboCop, it was rare for me to see stories that met all these standards.
When word came around that Dynamite Entertainment was doing a new RoboCop comic, I was quite wary.
But after two issues? I’m pretty impressed.
First off, artist Fabiano Neves delivers crisp illustrations. He avoids a highly stylized look in favor of realism, and that’s a big help with a RoboCop comic. He also handles action with smooth professionalism.
But most of all, I credit writer Rob Williams captures the feel of RoboCop’s world:
- He nailed the Media Break and its commercials.
- He understood the crummy life on the streets.
- He gets the sleaze of the big business.
- He even understands the weary life of inner city cops.
But most of all, he’s got RoboCop down just right.
He’s a cop with a job. A job that has to be finished no matter what else happens around him.
And that’s just what happens in RoboCop Nos. 1 and 2.
He keeps doing the job, even as it collapses around him.
And that’s what I expect out of RoboCop.
Speaking of doing the job right, that’s just what Dynamite did.