Writer Joshua Williamson and artist Carlos Magno go back to the original recipe for “Robocop,” delivering a comic book adventure that clearly stars the 1987 version of Detroit’s most popular police officer, Alex Murphy. While BOOM! Studios has tinkered with the various iterations of Robocop and flirted with kicking off runs from various points on the character’s timeline, it appears as though the original is where their faith in the brand lies.
Joshua Williamson provides a script that is every bit as darkly heroic as the first film, which this story follows. Robocop doesn’t get any character development, but like a rock-solid, exported-from-Detroit plot device, plenty of the action in “Robocop” #1 cycles around him. Officer Anne Lewis is also on hand, with a subplot to boot. Her plans, however, will have to shift to the back burner as Williamson throws in a wrinkle that gives Lewis and Murphy plenty else to do. On his way to setting up those developments, Williamson opens “Robocop” #1 with Killian, an inmate recently released from prison, who asks, “What the [expletive] is a Robocop?” This sends the story steamrolling into action as the page turn reveals everything a reader needs to know to realize both “what” Robocop is and what he does.
Between his work here and his work on “Planet of the Apes,” Magno is becoming the go-to guy for licensed comic book series. Not only does he capture iconic likenesses of the characters present, Magno also packs the comic book full of action and draws details on top of the details without removing any of the characters’ vivaciousness. The artist gets quite cinematic with his page and panel composition, adhering to “traditional” bordered panels, but filling them completely. Colorist Marissa Louise keeps the book sharp and clean, with tones that fit the tale. Letterer Ed Dukeshire earns his keep here as well. One panel in the first firefight of “Robocop” #1 is filled with sound effects of gun fire. Through counter forms and behind the effects, Magno has drawn spent shell casings and Louise has colored in blood spatters, but the sound effects carry the battle, bludgeoning the reader with audio shock and awe while avoiding being overly graphic.
After the first three pages (which includes a double-page spread of a shootout with Robocop exclaiming, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!”) this comic had done its job. From giving the readers a chance to chuckle at the classic game show declaration, “It’d buy that for a dollar!” to Robocop holding his own against greater numbers through a firefight, those three pages tell readers everything they need to know about this series to jump in and enjoy the chaos. “Robocop” #1 has a fantastic mix to offer readers looking to revisit Old Detroit and check in on the OCP.