Publisher BOOM! Studios has been producing Robocop tie-ins for the last month exploring the new rebooted universe. So far they’ve tied directly into the character we see on the screen, but this week we’re given a look at an interesting beta version of Robocop used in the war with Iran. This issue explores one of the Robocop failures; is it good?
RoboCop: Beta (BOOM! Studios)
Writer Ed Brisson takes us right into the thick of things of Iran and does it well. It’s no stretch to think cyborgs like Robocop could be used in Afghanistan today so the story is relatable and prescient. I haven’t seen the reboot yet, but that didn’t hinder my reading pleasure here. Brisson opens the book with the death of our Robocop Beta and quickly dives right in with the issues of man becoming machine.
Interesting bit with the hands. Doesn’t the new movie version have his hands?
Fans of the movie should note that Raymond Sellars (the Michael Keaton character) is a major player in this issue. He needs his Robocop working and he needs it now. Unfortunately Robocop’s pesky human memories keep popping in: memories of guilt and empathy that befuddle and flummox the tin man. It’s safe to say the story isn’t groundbreaking, especially when it comes to seeing Robocop deal with his humanity — but it’s well paced and timely considering what soldiers tend to do to civilians when at war. The dialogue is also easy to follow and interesting and should keep your interest throughout.
New rule: don’t mention Frankenstein when making cyborgs.
It helps when you’ve got great art by Emilio Laiso to spice things up. His style reminds me of Stefano Caselli, who did great work on Avengers: Intiative during Marvel’s Secret Invasion arc. The style comes off slightly cartoony, probably due to the thicker inking, and renders the characters just slightly outside of reality. Throw in some gore and violence and it makes the images a tad disturbing, which fits a story like this nicely. Laiso also does great work with the nightmare flashbacks as the images bleed into each other; they do a fine job of creating a sense of confusion and doubt as far as what we’re supposed to believe in this broken man’s brain.
Is It Good?
I was pleasantly surprised by this done-in-one story. It doesn’t break new ground per se, but it tells a well rounded story with great pacing and great art. Recommended.