Robocop 23 (January 1992)

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Yeah, it’s awful.

Lewis doesn’t appear in the issue. Robocop doesn’t go to Detroit. The entire issue, for him, is set on an Aztec pyramid; something along those lines.

Robocop spends most of the issue talking about what it means to be Robocop.

What I find most amusing about the comic is how everything Furman worked on–this intricate frame job, Lewis’s romantic interest in Robocop, even the development of a more recognizable police force–gets flushed here for a really lame comic book.

Worse, Robocop’s out of helmet for most of the comic so Sullivan’s art on him is weak.

I realize Marvel could have cared less–they didn’t renew the license, I’m guessing–but… wow. It’s an awful comic book. Anyone involved with the writing and editing with any shame should have used a pseudonym.

Even after all these issues, this one’s utter lack of quality surprises me.

CREDITS

Beyond the Law, Part 3; writer, Simon Furman; artist, Lee Sullivan; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Robocop 22 (December 1991)

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Furman can’t wrap up the comic in an issue, which is what Marvel’s Robocop has left so he’s undoubtedly going to leave some things hanging. Or he’s going to force it all into one issue, which is going to be a disaster.

The series is wrapping up to be incredibly silly. When Marvel got rid of Grant, who brought the series into a more realized future, and brought in Furman to eighty-six those futuristic elements… well, I don’t know what artistic possibilities Robocop had, but it at least read well.

Furman more fully utilizes the licensed property elements (more characters from the movies), but not to any successful end. He’s running the series off a cliff out of sheer incompetence (though I think some of these decisions must be editorial, they’re too stupid not to be).

Again, some lovely Sullivan art and some fine human potential. Furman wastes both.

CREDITS

Beyond the Law, Part 2; writer, Simon Furman; artist, Lee Sullivan; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 21 (November 1991)

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So when the series started Robocop 2 hadn’t been released and the Old Man was still a good guy. Now he’s a bad guy. But still not as bad as he was in Robocop 2. This issue ends with him manipulating Robocop into assassinating a foreign dictator.

Meanwhile, Robocop’s cracking heads (but not enough to really find his wife and kid) and the cops are under assault and Robocop’s abandoned them in general and Lewis in particular. I don’t see Lewis’s crush working out for her here.

Sullivan’s back, inking himself and Robocop looks great. Sullivan spends a lot of time on him, making him look good. He doesn’t spend anywhere near as much time on the regular people, which is a problem.

Furman packs the issue with newscasts and details about the foreign dictator and it’s a bunch of fluff. He’s pretending to have layered this story but didn’t.

CREDITS

Beyond the Law, Part 1; writer, Simon Furman; artist, Lee Sullivan; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 19 (September 1991)

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So we finally get Lewis and Robocop about the suck face and it turns out it’s a stupid brainwashing thing? Or, worse, we don’t even find out if it’s a stupid brainwashing thing. It’s never followed up on, instead Furman has Robocop’s human mind battle his computer mind in a scene straight out of Superman III (with some Empire Strikes Back visuals–Luke in Vader’s helmet–thrown in).

It’s Sullivan inking himself again, which runs hot and cold. The art’s nowhere near as strong as when Kim DeMulder inked him on the first ten or twelve issues. It’s okay, but it’s not great like it was. It doesn’t matter much, since Furman’s a boring writer. He’s mildly competent–he knows to have the police sergeant reflect once the brainwashing is over–but there’s nothing particularly striking about it.

Oh, wait. No, he sucks… I forgot all about the super-villainess.

CREDITS

Mind Bomb, Part 2; writer, Simon Furman; artist, Lee Sullivan; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 18 (August 1991)

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Furman goes episodic here. I mean, TV episodic, maybe the five minutes before the opening titles role. It’s all about cops going crazy and whatever it is driving them crazy also effects Robocop so there’s a cliffhanger with him about to shoot a bunch of people.

Sullivan inks himself here, which is an improvement over the latest issues, but is a mixed bag. Some of his faces don’t look very good (a definite improvement, just not as strong as when the series started), but there’s a lot of great detail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Robocop look so good, for example.

What’s striking about the issue is the lame and unrealistic characterizations. Cop going psychotic–only Robocop reacts to serve the public, other cops want to defend psycho cop.

Oh, the villain–her name’s Lot’s Wife. Furman deserves a special place in the Comic Writer’s Penitentiary for that one.

CREDITS

Mind Bomb, Part 1; writer, Simon Furman; artist, Lee Sullivan; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 17 (July 1991)

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Egads that’s bad.

I was all set to say nice things about the art, but then Candelario’s inks made that one impossible.

It’s a terribly written comic book. Besides having a really stupid plot, it’s just got the most atrocious dialogue imaginable.

As a sequel to Robocop 2, it’s somewhat interesting–and it does flesh out Lewis’s character more than the movies ever did, giving her a gambling addict ex-husband, which seems really weak for her character and not anything one would believe in anything but a licensed comic book. I think whoever oversaw Marvel’s treatment of the characters napped through this script review (at the time, I think Orion was going out of business, so maybe the liaison was busy).

It’s a painfully bad comic book, worse than any of the previous ones in fact. It might be the worst issue overall.

I really miss Alan Grant’s writing.

CREDITS

Private Lives; writer, Simon Furman; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Harry Candelario; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 15 (May 1991)

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It’s not a terrible issue. So far it’s probably Furman’s best, only because it’s an all-action issue. The inking is a little better this time too. Maybe it’s the lack of thought balloons for Robocop. Robocop thinking kind of ruins it, at least the way Furman writes his thinking.

It’s not particularly clear but it reads like evil triumphs over good here, that the corporate bad guys get away unpunished. It’s hard to say. Furman uses a news story to wrap up the issue (much like Marvel’s adaptation of the first movie does) and the whole thing–the three parter this finishes–feels like a tv pilot. It pretends to be gritty, but it’s really super positive and smiley.

Sullivan has some nice work, visible through the mediocre inks and the plotting makes it more readable than usual.

It’s a more tolerable read than usual, if still absent merit.

CREDITS

Ashes!; writer, Simon Furman; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Harry Candelario; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editors, Bobbie Chase and Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 14 (April 1991)

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Ok, so this issue of Robocop is a little more interesting than usual–a little more interesting, maybe, than any licensed property comic outside of Dark Horse’s Star Wars ones where there was a “enhanced continuity” or whatever LucasFilm called it–this issue of Robocop features one of the series’ mainstay characters, the sidekick and token black executive, Johnson, going bad.

It means next to nothing to anyone who isn’t a Robocop fan (the third film ignores the Marvel comics continuity, apparently–and unfortunately) but it’s a big deal. It’s also amusing because the opening shot of the character looks like an Obama campaign poster.

Anyway, otherwise there’s a lot of lame stuff, like Robocop’s partner still not getting to him and some evil military cyborg who’s got daddy issues.

Sullivan draws some amazing panels and the inks just fail him, over and over and over again. It’s tragic, really.

CREDITS

Dreams; writer, Simon Furman; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Harry Candelario; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Bobbie Chase; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 13 (March 1991)

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Maybe I was too rough on Furman last issue–I ought to be saving my bile for inker Candelario, as this guy completely wrecks Sullivan’s art. Having gone over ten issues with Sullivan inked well, seeing this disaster is just … upsetting.

But Furman, well, Furman’s not terrible. He’s got a handful of decent scenes. There’s some really stupid stuff in it like the Sergeant from the movies being more interested in OCP orders than being a good cop and a mystery bad guy out to get Robocop. Not to mention Robocop’s partner being in a single, totally useless scene.

It’s an action issue from an era where action issues weren’t the norm. The result is a banal, with more bad than good, comic book.

Furman does incorporate the movies well, but it’s like he never read Alan Grant’s issues. The ones far superior to the ones he’s creating.

Blah.

Blah.

CREDITS

Past Sins; writer, Simon Furman; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Harry Candelario; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Bobbie Chase; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 12 (February 1991)

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I guess I shouldn’t be surprised Furman lacks Alan Grant’s deft touch, since the new editor basically said he would. Furman’s Robocop is, as a protagonist, pretty lame. The series is now a sequel to Robocop 2, but Furman’s Robocop is still all bent out of shape about having been turned into Robocop, something the second movie kind of dealt with. I mean, it ends with him grinning.

The book’s also got a new inker–Harry Candelario–and he looks lousy over Sullivan’s pencils. Robocop isn’t goofy looking, but regular people’s faces lack definition. It’s incredibly boring artwork.

Furman’s also setting up a big conspiracy–flushing the bigger story Grant had been working on–but it’s a licensed property so who knows how much interference they got.

Lots of movie callbacks here, to remind the reader it’s Robocop, even if the character only resembles him visually.

It’s a big snooze.

CREDITS

Purgatory!; writer, Simon Furman; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Harry Candelario; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Bobbie Chase; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 10 (December 1990)

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In one of the letter pages, the editor said Robocop would never meet up with any Marvel superheroes (I guess the licensing worked differently than that Spider-Man crossover with the Transformers) and this issue kind of shows why it wouldn’t work.

The last two issues have been about costumed vigilantes. Some of them are silly, some of them aren’t. And in the issue, it turns into a huge bloodbath. Grant tells this story without making any kind of comment on the superhero comic other than generally–he doesn’t point out the absurdity in the superhero comic as a concept–it’s not like there’s a scene where the Joker just shoots Batman.

It sets up Robocop a little different than the traditional comic book, as these issues sort of dismiss the idea of Robocop as a “comic book superhero.” Instead, it’s something else.

It’s a good issue, though occasionally obvious.

CREDITS

Vigilante! – Part 2: Rough Justice; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Bobbie Chase; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 9 (November 1990)

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Thank goodness, DeMulder’s back.

Grant’s doing another multi-part story here, with Robocop trying to deal with OCP (his bosses) inspired vigilantism. It’s a little strange, just because it’s in a comic book so you’ve got the protagonist fighting the traditional protagonists of the medium. There are some absurd vigilantes and then some more serious ones–it’s never clear where the more serious ones get their wonderful toys.

Robocop’s sergeant shows up in this issue–maybe the first time he does in the Marvel comic series, I can’t remember–but still no Officer Lewis (did Grant forget he implied romantic tension between her and Robocop in the series’s first issue?).

There’s some weak dialogue from Robocop and the gang emphasis reminds a little too much of the previous issue, but it’s fine. I’m a little less impressed than usual, just because the vigilante stuff is so contrived and so silly.

CREDITS

Vigilante! – Part 1: Power Play; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 8 (October 1990)

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Wow, I really miss Kim DeMulder. Keith Williams inks this issue and it really doesn’t work. Robocop’s definition is silly, he looks clunky instead of streamlined. Worse are faces. I was lamenting the lack of Robocop’s partner, Lewis, in my response to the previous issue, but she’s here all the time and it never feels like it. There’s an almost complete lack of personality to the issue, something I’ve got to the point of not expecting with Marvel’s Robocop. Though there was a Roxy Music poster on a wall, which I found interesting (I think it’s the first such reference in the series).

The story’s a solid little episode. OCP, the big company, is trying to lower property values by inciting gang violence; Robocop and Lewis get involved and then have to try to save their CI too. It’s a fine done-in-one.

Grant’s Robocop continues to be readable.

CREDITS

Gangbusters; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Keith Williams; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 7 (September 1990)

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So Alan Grant did Westworld with dinosaurs before Michael Crichton? There’s a dinosaur park in this issue, which came out a few months before Crichton’s novel, and, strangely, things go wrong. They go wrong for different reasons, but still… this issue could have been called “Robocop vs. Jurassic Park.”

There’s a lot of action here and a lot of–well, it’s not procedural, but it’s Robocop solving the mystery, but instead of it being an investigation with revelations, it’s an investigation with action sequences. Grant does a fine job with it, adapting the procedural both for the comic medium and Robocop as the protagonist.

Still, I miss seeing Lewis in the comic.

Sullivan’s dinosaur art is nice and the whole thing works well.

I mean, if you don’t dwell on Robocop’s internal dialogue, which is still way too human. The Judge Dredd influences come back too, with Robocop street judging.

CREDITS

Robosaur; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Ben One; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 6 (August 1990)

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Grant’s resolution to the Robocop at war thing is surprising.

First, the big revelation (of why the Arabs aren’t really the bad guys) is good enough I’m not even going to spoil it. Second, he’s got a very mild, conclusion (albeit some lame lines about Murphy being a good cop again). Third, he introduces cybernetic Un-Men. They’re part machine gun or part moped. They’re perfectly disgusting and I don’t believe they’re suited for desert warfare, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Sullivan’s art much since I’ve been reading these comics, but he does a fine job. Some of it’s a little loose, but this issue has a fantastic fight scene between Robocop and an ED-209. Sullivan makes the combatants both technologically bulky and graceful; he also has a lot of opportunity for scenery here and does well.

Surprisingly creative issue.

CREDITS

War – Part 2: War Crimes!; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 5 (July 1990)

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Robocop goes to war. It’s an interesting idea, Robocop being used as a military weapon–leased out by his owners, instead of policing–but Grant seems more concentrated on the action potentials for this issue. There’s a lot of suggestions the morality of it will come into play next issue, but for now, it’s Robocop versus weird and wacky war weapons (he fights these motorcycle troopers who look like they’re out of a Road Warrior cartoon).

Grant seems to be revealing up the backstory gradually–it seems like a bunch of starving African refugees are going to Spain, who’s either refusing them or sticking them in concentration camps–and it’s hard to believe there’s not going to be some kind of double cross. Not with all the foreshadowing.

So, points for concept, deductions for common sense–what about sand in Robocop’s gears and such.

Grant should’ve thought of that one.

CREDITS

War – Part 1: War Monger!; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 4 (June 1990)

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Grant runs a subplot throughout this entire issue–riots caused by poisoned soda pop–just to fill in time and to give a sense of time progressing. It’s a technique way too nice for a Robocop comic, especially one featuring a fight between Robocop, a cyborg gorilla (what did I just read with a cyborg gorilla–B.P.R.D.: 1946) and a cybernetically enhanced fight promoter. Yes, I really did say cybernetically enhanced fight promoter (Grant gives him noirish narration, but whatever).

Again, the weak point of the comic is Grant’s Robocop characterization. He’s unstoppable in mind, just not unstoppable in body, so at least there’s some chance of danger for him, but the infinite mental resolve is… well, I can’t decide if it’s annoying or lame.

Grant’s making him too perfect, without the slightest tinge of regret over being stuck in his cyborg body.

Still, it’s readable for discerning Robocop aficionados.

CREDITS

Dead Man’s Dreams; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 3 (May 1990)

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Grant’s approach to this series–Robocop on a case–is nice. I mean, his future isn’t the greatest thing ever (again, I think it’s just rehashed Judge Dredd trappings), but there’s a procedural aspect to it. All of the Robocop thought balloons are a problem, as Grant has completely humanized the character–he’s just a guy turned into a robot, with full access to his memories and emotions.

The smiling Robocop on the second or third page is a little goofy too.

But the specifics this issue–Robocop trying to recover the captains of industry’s stolen dream tapes–is a little bit lame. Grant hasn’t established how law enforcement works in the comic; in this issue, Robocop isn’t so much a peace officer as an errand boy who occasionally gets to fight crime.

There’s also a fair amount of retconning of the source film to make for drama.

Still, okay.

CREDITS

Dreamerama; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Keith Williams; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 2 (April 1990)

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The Comics Code approved this one? Robocop kills people left and right throughout.

Hmm.

On we go.

The issue ends with Robocop and Lewis making kissy faces at each other. Apparently, all Robocop writers (except the guys who wrote the original movie), want to introduce this plot element. I’m not complaining. It’s better handled here than elsewhere, it’s just odd. He’s a cyborg, come on.

Besides the idiotic lack of response to the vigilante robots from the rival corporation, this issue’s pretty good. Grant’s got his dialogue more in check with Robocop and there’s some nice moments with petty corporate officers, just like in the first film, which translates well to comics here. I’ve never heard of Sullivan before but he does a fine job.

The only bad scene is Lewis freaking out over Robocop’s injuries. The continuity between this comic and the film is too thin for the scene.

CREDITS

Murphy’s Law; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Rich; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 1 (March 1990)

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Alan Grant wrote Judge Dredd, which probably explains some of his Robocop. His Robocop is talkative and makes occasional jokes; neither facet particularly works.

But Grant’s Robocop isn’t terrible. It’s a sequel to the movie and, while some of the other film characters do appear, Grant’s taking things in his own direction. He’s got evil Robocops (maybe he saw the preview for Robocop 2), “extreme” fighters and gangs on flying motorcycles.

Still, he reins it in. His “Media Break” segments are spot-on; Grant’s future is flashy, but not so flashy it’s unbelievable Robocop might still be tromping through it.

Grant’s doing his own thing here–the episodic adventures of Robocop–and he’s doing a police procedural, just with Robocop occasionally shooting up an alley of bad guys. These bad guys, however, aren’t scared of Robocop. It’s like they’ve barely heard of him at times, which is a big problem.

CREDITS

Kombat Zone; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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