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Robocop Volume 1 Graphic Novel Review

Robocop Volume 1 Graphic Novel

“Robocop Volume 1” is an overstuffed story.

In case you need a little backstory on this “Robocop Volume 1” graphic novel, the 9 issue mini-series contained within is actually an adaptation of Frank Miller’s original screenplay for “Robocop 2.” As we know, that version never saw the light of day, but now, thanks to Boom! Studios and writer/adapter Stephen Grant, Frank Miller’s version now exists in comic book form. So, how does it fare? Well, that all depends on how you feel about Frank Miller and or “Robocop” most likely.

Taking place after the first movie (the original not the recent remake), this “Robocop” tale finds Detroit in utter chaos with the police on strike and ultra violent crime on the rise. Most troubling, however, is the fact that OCP continues to try and rule over the city. Not only is the shady corporation trying to build an alleged paradise with Delta City by forcibly knocking down old neighborhoods, but they are also putting fake cops on duty called Rehabs. Moreover, OCP is also constructing a second Robocop made from a pure psychopath. Thankfully, Robocop is still on duty during all of this, but he has been severely taxed by all of this stress and work. Can he triumph over OCP and the villainous thugs that roam the street or is he doomed to failure?

While no one can claim Frank Miller didn’t have anything to say in his “Robocop” sequel, the story is simply far too cluttered with ideas. While his commentary on the media, politics, the economy, ethics, corporations, law and humanity is certainly relevant and worthy of exploration, the ideas are lost amidst endless violent action and far too little characterization. It’s not hard to see why this sequel was never shot because it just wouldn’t work on screen. The script has no real heart or emotional connection as Miller is far too obsessed with his own ideas. It’s sad to say, but Alex Murphy and Robocop are completely overshadowed in the story and often play second fiddle to other concepts and characters. Even his partner Anne Lewis gets very little time on the page (and even less time with Robocop). The only time the story legitimately feels like “Robocop” is with the nods to Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 classic first film (I won’t spoil what those are).

Story problems aside, this graphic novel does boast some extraordinary artwork here by artist Juan Jose Ryp as his detailed, stylized work really sets the tone for the story. Between the rubble pieces, explosions, character expressions, the run down environments, and dented armor, this uber talented artist elevates the otherwise so-so material.

Note: A cover art gallery is featured in the back of the graphic novel. Frank Miller himself also created the cover for the graphic novel.

Overall Thoughts: Aside from Frank Miller fans and mildly curious “Robocop” fans, “Robocop Volume 1” has very limited appeal.

April 8, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , , , ,

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