Monday, April 9, 2018

Review - Robocop: Citizen's Arrest #1 (@boomstudios)


"--in Detroit's history, we've never see corruption like this--"

Robocop depicted Detroit as a city on the brink of complete desolation. The sad thing is that the real-world counterpart of the city isn't faring much better. In Robocop: Citizen's Arrest #1 from BOOM Studios, New Detroit offers a glimmer of hope for its citizens. The issue is written by Brian Wood, illustrated by Jorge Coelho, colored by Doug Garbark and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

It's been decades since the RoboCop program first began. Corporations have taken over the schools and the government.and law enforcement is the biggest private contract of all. Traditional police forces no longer exist as all citizens are encouraged--and rewarded--to spy on their neighbors. There is only one authority on the streets: ROBOCOP.

Robocop was always about the privatization of militarization, but Wood eschews that somewhat by introducing a social component. Since the series is set decades after the character's original introduction in the film, Wood characterizes Robocop as a relic of a different era. The story here replaces him with a competitive mentality where the citizens are tasked with keeping the peace and Wood's take sets up a somewhat devilish take on the notion of justice. In fact, Wood's script is very much focused on establishing the series villain and the underlying premise of the new world Robocop is part of, relying on a fast-talking business executive and money-hungry citizens. The issue is paced well in this regard as Wood gets the characters where they need to be by the end of the issue without forcing things.

Coelho's art style is somewhat modern in its approach and very fitting for a Robocop story set in the present day. Each of the characters is illustrated with an attention to detail, courtesy of sharp, defining lines. Coelho lightens the tone considerably by illustrating the characters in an almost cartoonish fashion which also has the tendency to compress their physiques somewhat. Robocop in particular doesn't come across quite as a menacing as past incarnations while the new evil corporate schill looks sufficiently sleazy. Garbark's neon bright, pastel colors continue this optimistic pop, but he also works in darker tones here and there to let the reader know that all isn't necessarily well in New Detroit.

Robocop: Citizen's Arrest #1 is a pretty low-key intro issue that taps into very real fears surrounding a social media surveillance state. Robocop is programmed to be a shell of his former self, losing the ability to make decisions that could mete out justice. Wood's approach to the character and franchise is pretty fresh and new, presenting a very cool twist on the concept of privatizing law enforcement. Coelho's illustrations are a great match for the new tone of the franchise. Robocop: Citizen's Arrest #1 is definitely a solid return to a very popular character who inhabits a seedy, depressing universe.

Robocop: Citizen's Arrest #1 is available April 11.

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