Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Let's Talk About Old Comics: RoboCop #3

So, this is the start of a potential new series wherein I talk about and review old comics I have. I was going through a box of them recently and found some good ones, some bad ones, and some in-between, so I figured I may as well put them to use on here. Well, that, and I'm too broke to buy new comics and there's no comic book store in town anyways. Derp, derp. In any case, the first comic I'll be talking about is the third issue of Marvel's early 90s RoboCop comic!

Via Comic Vine.
So a brief rundown before we start: The RoboCop comic ran for 23 issues from 1990 until 1993 and was set between the second and third movies. This was pretty evident as Anne Lewis, RoboCop's partner, is still alive and OCP, the corporation that built him hasn't been taken over by the Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation as they had in the third movie.  One of the oddities about the comic itself was that it featured technology that didn't exist in the movie, such as flying vehicles and a much wider propagation of cybernetics. The former caused fans to complain and Marvel eventually removed the vehicles.

Now with that out of the way, let's get down to the comic. "Dueling at the Dreamarama" begins with three masked men with jetpacks robbing a place called The Dreamarama, killing one of the guards in the process. Unfortunately, for them, a certain law enforcement cyborg - a RoboCop, if you will - and his partner happen to be on patrol nearby and chase down the three criminals. The leader of the group orders his two cohorts to attack RoboCop and like idjits, they actually do it. It goes without saying that that was a horrible decision as RoboCop and Lewis pop them both before they even have the chance to attack. One of them does almost succeed in almost taking out Lewis, at least, as he careens out of control and slams into the duo's cop car before his jet pack explodes. We also discover that RoboCop's car is probably armored and fire-proof.

Anyway, the remaining criminal is as successful in escaping as his buds were in dying as he manages to rendezvous with his client seconds before a police helicopter passes by. This is one of the things that probably bugged fans of the RoboCop franchise, as the client is in what I can only describe as a flying van that looks like one of the shuttles from either the original Star Trek or The Next Generation. Oh, and the client is a fat dude who has an addiction to pizza that would make the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles blanch. The guy, who we learn is named Joe (and Mr. Pizza, because why the hell not?) asks if the baddie has the dream-tapes and in response to his demand for more money - as compensation for losing two buddies to RoboCop, even though he was the one who ordered them to attack the guy - Joe commits what might very well be the first instance of pizza being used as a means to murder by shoving an entire pie in the other guy's face and shoving him out of the back of the flying van, while grabbing the bag of tapes. Why that guy took off his jetpack prior to demanding more money, I will never know, but it was clearly an idjit decision. Fear not for Joe, though, for he always keeps a spare pizza around for just these sort of emergencies.

And we're only eight pages in at this point, folks.

While all this was going on, RoboCop and Lewis head over to the Dreamarama to investigate the robbery and we're provided a rundown on what Dreamarama is. We learn that it's a place where people can have their dreams recorded and stored and that other customers can pay to have those dreams put inside their own noggins. We also learn that there's such a thing as "super-crack", which I can only assume is slang for gifs of adorable kittens.

Another thing worth mentioning is the uniforms of Dreamarama's staff, which involves thigh high boots and a sort of pseudo-bondage outfit.

Back to the story, the manager of Dreamarma (a subsidiary of Nixco) explains that out of the four million tapes in the archives, only four appear to have been stolen and each one belongs to the head of a corporation, including the CEO of OCP, RoboCop's boss. The others are Harrison Fodor of Med*Inc, Mac Kline of Media, and Stanislav Nix of Nixco. We find out that the tapes are now in the possession of a guy named Cybex, who is a brilliant scientist who came up with the idea for Delta City (the city that OCP wanted to replace Detroit with in the movies), the ED-209s, and surprisingly, even RoboCop. Unfortunately, he failed the read the fine print of his contract with OCP and the other corps and didn't realize that all of these ideas automatically became property of the consortium of companies. He also created the dream machine used by Dreamarama. Not surprisingly, being cheated out of a billion dollars (his asking price for his concepts) sent him off the rails and he attacked Fodor until a security guard shot him in the back, which had the unintended side effect of causing him to fall out of a window. What is it with the RoboCop franchise and people falling out of windows? Amazingly, Cybex survived, but as a paraplegic and now he wants revenge by blackmail and murder.

Cybex's first target is Fodor, who is a closet machochist who dreams of being tied to a post and whipped with barbwire by a dude dressed as a Nazi. Cybex invades and takes over the security and computer systems at Fodor's mansion, blackmails Fodor into transferring his entire fortune to him, then somehow implants a nightmare in Fodor's mind of him being eaten by a monster.

So what's RoboCop doing during this? Well, he arrests one guy at the Dreamarama for an unpaid fine, then busts up a mugging. He's nothing if not efficient. After that, he gets summoned to OCP headquarters to talk with the "Old Man", the name given to the CEO of the company. There, the Old Man gives a run down on Cybex while the local news begins reporting on murders being committed by test subjects of some doctor's dream therapy experiments. There's also some discussion between the Old Man and the head of Nixco before RoboCop's arrival about the events of the previous two issues of the comic, but I don't possess those two, so I'm lost on what that's about, other than a guy gets turned into a cyborg assassin.

After the meeting, RoboCop heads off to Harrison Fodor's mansion to check on him and ends up having to bust his way in when he realizes that Fodor is in trouble. Unfortunately, that sets off the mansion's defenses and RoboCop finds himself attacked by cyberdogs and after finishing them off, has to navigate a minefield and a laser mesh. Goddamn. He manages to save Fodor and gets a partial trace of Cybex's hideout and heads off to find him. Cybex, meanwhile, reveals that he's prepared for RoboCop by creating a cyber-gorilla, because when you're about to get your ass kicked by a cyborg cop, it's good to have a cyborg gorilla on hand.

All in all, it's not a bad issue, but not having the first two and the fourth issues takes away from it. The art by Lee Sullivan is okay, but didn't wow me, but it's pretty much what you expect to find in a comic from the 80s and early 90s. The writing by Alan Grant was okay as well.

Rating: 6.5/10.

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