New Frank Miller borg series begins: RoboCop: Last Stand

Robocop Last Stand cover

BOOM! Studios’ new eight-issue mini-series Robocop: Last Stand is something of a surprise.  It looks like it could easily stand up next to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, 300, and Sin City.  The art looks very much like an impression of the ugly future-world of Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  Yet Miller is not the artist here.  Korkut Oztekin is the series artist, and seems hand-picked to create a book that looks as if Miller was responsible for every aspect of it.  This means that the art isn’t very pretty, it is violent in the way most Miller books are violent, and the characters tend to be wide-eyed and a bit freakish.  Robocop: Last Stand is based on the unused screenplay Miller wrote for RoboCop 3, but the comic book script was written by Steven Grant.

The best part in Issue #1 is RoboCop himself, appearing in this new series a short time after we last saw him in the original film.  Now he is seen as an enemy of the people of Old Detroit, destroyed and being revamped into Delta City, with the real enforcement group the strange organization called OCP (a mega-corporation called Omni Consumer Products).  OCP is on a manhunt for the former cop named Alex Murphy, murdered but brought back to life in the form of a cyborg cop with “full body prosthesis,” detailed in the original film.  In Issue #1, released this week, we see RoboCop take on what looks like the early stage, scout walker-inspired ED-209 enforcement droid that famously fouled up and killed an OCP employee in a classic original movie scene, and continue his work fighting crime in the city.

Robocop Last Stand interior

It is strange how much this feels like a Frank Miller work, when it is actually difficult to tell how much of his contribution made it into the final product.  It’s probably too much Frank Miller, not enough RoboCop, but like many series, Issue #1 is about setting up the story and background for the series so it’s too early to judge.  Some of the jagged art style may be Sienkiewicz inspired, with plenty of hash lines instead of more of the realism you find in comics today.  This frenetic style appeals to some readers, as can be seen with Travel Foreman’s work in Animal Man.

If you saw this book in a fifty cent long-box at a local comic book sale you would think it is an old 1980s comic.  The look is very 1980s, consistent with the original movie, consistent with the bleak future world as drawn in The Dark Knight Returns.  The sleaze and dark world is also pulled from Miller’s Sin City.  The city is full of ugliness and nasty people everywhere.  Just the setting needing someone like RoboCop to clean up the place.  And adding to the Miller style, the role of RoboCop in Issue #1 is very similar to Batman at the beginning of The Dark Knight Returns.

RoboCop panels

We can’t tell from issue #1 very much about where Miller was going with his proposed RoboCop 3 story, but the story so far is familiar and a throwback vibe to the original film.  Declan Shalvey’s nice cover work is a great lure to pull in readers.  The style of this sci-fi crime story will no doubt appeal to fans of RoboCop–it’s good to see him back in any form, and an eight-issue series will be just enough to whet our appetite for next year’s big-screen remake–scheduled for release February 7, 2014, when this series wraps up.

Check out your local comic book store this week for RoboCop: Last Stand, Issue #1.  And you can’t buy it for a dollar, but $3.99 is close enough.

C.J. Bunce

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