Review: ROBOCOP: THE HUMAN ELEMENT TPB

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In the recent blockbuster, “RoboCop,” the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years…well, you know the drill. Boom! Studios has just rolled out the collected trade paperback to a strong tie-in limited comic book series to the latest “Robocop” movie. Entitled, “Robocop: The Human Element,” this anthology brings together a stellar roster of talent. From the first story, I was intrigued. This is actually a decent first step to doing more with the Robocop character.

We begin with “Beta,” script by Ed Brisson (Sheltered) and art by Emilio Lalso (3 Guns), that sets the tone nicely. First thing to know: there’s nothing nice about Robocop. In this particular story, we have a study of a man lost and found within the framework of a Robocop. It’s has a “Twilight Zone” quality to it that you’ll enjoy right to the end.

“Memento Mori,” script by Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts) and art by Joao “Azeitona” Vieira (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) is an interesting shift from the first story. Both the script and art are loose and dream-like. It’s a fun crunchy little interlude with a jittery TMNT vibe.

“To Live and Die in Detroit,” script by Joe Harris (Great Pacific) and art by Piotr Kowalski (Marvel Knights: Hulk) returns us to a more conventional action comic feel. It’s a great extended riff on what Robocop is all about: no-nonsense justice, not even a hint of wiggle room.

“Hominem Ex Machina,” script by Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters) and art by Jason Copland (Daredevil) is the last story and it brings its A-game to this series. I think this one is probably most in tune with the new movie’s character-driven focus. As a character, Detroit officer Alex Murphy, trapped inside Robocop, is intriguing and Moreci and Copland do a great job in giving us a taste of the conflicts and action that can arise when you jump into a Robocop story. Here, Alex is struggling with some vicious flashbacks, an indifferent Dr. Norton, and an impatient Detective Lewis. Oh, and all of Detroit is going up in flames too.

There’s definitely a fine art to crafting a good movie tie-in comic. In this case, Boom! Studios had a real challenge with playing off the themes of a reboot of a character who was last relevant in 1987. I think there are a lot of good things going on in the new movie and this book will spur interest in rentals. And this book should lead to further exploration of Robocop in comics.

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“Robocop: The Human Element” is available as of June 25. Visit of friends at Boom! Studios right here.

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Filed under Boom! Studios, Comics, Comics Reviews, Movie Tie-in, Sci-Fi, science fiction

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