My colleague, Michael Compton, beat me to the punch last month when he got his hands-on Robocop: Citizens Arrest #1 before I could. I’ve been a huge Robocop fan since the beginning — it was the first R-rated film I watched as a kid. Keep in mind, this was at the neighbor’s house, whose parents just didn’t give a damn what their kid watched. No way in hell my parents would have let me watch this at a young age.
So here we are, 30 years after the events of the original film and as much as I wish I could disagree with Mr. Compton, I am not able to do so. Robocop: Citizens Arrest has not been enjoyable to read so far. I don’t think I would have scored the first issue as low as Michael, but it’s close. Thankfully, Citizens Arrest #2 improves over the first issue, but not by much.
What’s going on in Old Detroit?
Robocop: Citizens Arrest #2 continues with the events of a newly run O.C.P. There is a new face of O.C.P., however I don’t recall seeing his name in either of the first two issues, so for the sake of my review, I will call him “Big Guy”. Big Guy has a bright new vision for Detroit and in order to make his vision come true, he has to eliminate some of the poorer neighborhoods. Yeah…it’s kinda like Robocop 3. After eliminating a key leader of a section of city called The Ruins, Big Guy’s plan is slowly coming together.
Robocop is out of the picture, but Leo Reza, a laid off cop, is working hard to get him back online. Robocop is in “retirement” mode. He can’t even so much as pick up his trademark weapon, let alone fight the injustice that is corrupting Detroit. Big Guy has shut down the law enforcement qualities of the cyborg but has left him alive for nostalgic purposes. But once Big Guy sees that Reza is actively helping Murphy, he soon regrets leaving him alive and attempts to correct his mistake.
Is it good?
I have had a hard time with this series so far. First off, I can’t buy seeing Robocop dressed in jeans and a hoodie. He was left alive, O.C.P. knows he is alive, so why the disguise? It looks awkward. The idea of the R/Cop app is appealing enough for the modern era — I find it amusing to see the citizens reporting crimes for cash. I also enjoy the Fox-esque news excerpts that keep the feel of the Robocop films. I also dig the young black lady that is expressing her opinions and pleading for a hero over the radio similar to the DJ from the movie The Warriors. But in the end, I should be hyped over a new Robocop story and not all the atmosphere surrounding him.
Brian Wood has some decent ideas, but I can’t entirely agree with his execution. There are moments where Murphy feels like Robocop and other times where it is out of sorts. I get that Robocop is in “retirement,” but it just feels off. Despite my discouragement with the story, Jorge Coelho’s artwork is solid. Murphy has that vacant look on his face when he isn’t wearing his helmet. The look of Detroit is reminiscent of the films and I look forward to the action picking up because Coelho will shine.
I am going to hold on for at least one more issue. Robocop is gearing up for a comeback tour, so I am hoping for the action to pick up. If you are a long time Robocop fan like me, you are more than likely going to have the same hang ups that I have. I can’t really recommend this story so far. I put that decision in your hands.