Ironically, within weeks of the actual city of Detroit declaring bankruptcy, BOOM! Studios brings readers “RoboCop: Last Stand” #1, set in a futuristic, dystopian shell of Detroit filled with urban decay and corporate depravity. It is almost as though the real-world city has been serving as the ultimate viral promotion after removing a corrupt mayor from office and charging him with myriad illicit activities so numerous they beg to be the backbone of a fictional movie or television show. The city shown here is only slightly different, however, as the story is based on Frank Miller’s ideas for the never-produced “RoboCop 3” film. This comic book series puts “2 Guns” scribe Steven Grant in the writer’s chair to translate and expand Miller’s story over the course of this series.
Grant has no problem capturing and communicating the squalor of the city’s conditions and the desperation of its residents in the face of oppressive conditions. Miller and Grant don’t have much real estate in this first installment to insert much dark humor, electing instead to establish RoboCop’s mindset (without using any captions or thought balloons, mind you) and contrast that with the recent developments fueled by Omni Consumer Products (OCP). The corporation is knocking down buildings that are serving as living spaces for homeless and destitute denizens. When the wrecking ball driver stops to draw attention to this he harshly replaced, which provides a cheer-worthy moment for RoboCop to show up.
Artist Korkut Ã–ztekin showcases some artistic influence from Miller and Klaus Jansen, but unfortunately suffers from a lack of consistency. There are really only a half-dozen characters to focus on throughout the issue, but a few of them shift a little in their facial features and anatomy, blurring together a bit. Ã–ztekin has no problem making this story gritty and harsh, which is exactly what RoboCop needs. The artist also makes an interesting choice by framing media panels with circuitry, a gimmicky but effective concept that is consistently applied throughout the issue. Unfortunately, the lack of overall consistency puts a large amount of onus on colorist Michael Garland that results in lots of vague, color-hold-filled backgrounds, which work to emphasize the characters to a degree, but also become a distraction.
While RoboCop isn’t stomping through the streets of my Detroit, at least we haven’t fallen victim to OCP. Yet. Letting that concept stew in my brain a bit makes me nervous, but at least I can look to the future knowing we’ll have a statue of Alex Murphy’s heroic identity soon. Until then, I’ll look forward to more of “RoboCop: Last Stand” and continue to remind myself that no matter how bad things get, they could always be worse. Grant and Ã–ztekin have fun kicking the tires of Miller’s story and, even though there are some excellent RoboCop moments, it seems as though the best is yet to come.