If you loved the classic 1987 Paul Verhoeven film Robocop you will love what Joshua Williamson and Carlos Magno have done with Robocop #1. It is better than what you might expect from a licensed property like this, thanks in large part to the level of detail and clear love for the source material.
For those not enlightened, Robocop is an action film about a man who is killed in a horrible fashion by organized crime, only to be resurrected as a crime fighting robot. He saves the city of Detroit and in the process blasts a lot of fools. What makes the character so compelling is that he still retains part of his humanity, making him more than just a mindless machine. Since that first film the Robocop name has been tainted with bad sequels and a recent re-boot that I found sub par. Thankfully Williamson avoids any convolution by only referencing to the first film, and gives comic fans a Robocop book they can really sink their teeth into.
Many people should be aware of Joshua Williamson by now. Ghosted and Nailbiter continue to impress at Image. Those are two book that flex his pulp and horror muscles. Now with Robocop #1 we see another new tone from Williamson: 80s action film. And he pulls it off. He very smartly starts the issue off with an action sequence that gets readers right into the action. When I open up a Robocop book I want to see bullets upon bullets being fired, and this issue does just that. Williamson includes a nice sequence where Robocop slowly walks up the stairs in a loud manner. The villain comments on how stupid, loud, and slow he is, right before he gets some justice dealt straight to his face. It’s a funny moment that also really nicely gets across how he moves in the environment. After that first action sequence the issue slows down. A mysterious bearded criminal named Killian sets something in motion that could lead to dangerous consequences. We aren’t sure what his motives are quite yet, but it’s intriguing enough to make me want to read the next issue.
The art by Carlos Magno is the standout here. Some of these pages are detailed to an extreme level. He draws with a clean line yet he implements lots of etching and tiny pencil marks. It makes the book feel pretty grimy in a good way. It fits perfectly with that dirty 80s vibe, and he really just nails that look and feel of the original film. Even if the story in later issues doesn’t turn out to be any good, I could still see myself reading this just to see how Magno draws Robocop wrecking dudes. I should also mention Marissa Louise who does a fine job on colors. There is an abundance of rich and vibrant colors that complement Magno’s pencils perfectly.
Joshua Williamson and Carlos Magno have created a solid first issue with Robocop #1. Williamson displays a real confidence with this material and Magno’s art is truly great. Fans of the original Robocop film should definitely check this out.
The Verdict: 8.0/10