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Monthly (Comic) Book Club - September - Minis by Miller: Ronin and RCvsT18332

COLLECTOR dielinfinite private msg quote post Address this user
I think some brief context would be helpful for Robocop vs Terminator.

The comic was released in 1992 so a year after Terminator 2: Judgement Day and two years after Robocop 2, which Frank Miller wrote, those his script was changed significantly by the time it reached the screen. Miller would also write Robocop 3, though that was changed even more, including an ill-advised studio-decision to make the film PG-13 instead of rated R like past entries had been.

Miller’s original stories for both Robocop 2 and 3 would later be adapted in comic book form as Frank Miller’s Robocop and Roboco: Last Stand. As such, Robocop vs The Terminator can be seen as the first part in a Robocop trilogy by Miller


Curiously, by the time the comic was released, Robocop 3 would have probably been finished or close to as the studio sat on the film for about a year before releasing it in 1993. I bring this up primarily because of an observation I had made when reading Robocop: Last Stand (aka Miller’s original Roboco 3) which I will bring up later when we get to it in the reading
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COLLECTOR dielinfinite private msg quote post Address this user
The first issue is an introduction.

We begin in the future war of the Terminator movies. Skynet is on the brink of ultimate victory but one human soldier manages to break into a Skynet facility and learns that Skynet gained its sentience from Robocop whose human self-awareness interfacing with his programming allowed Skynet to become more than the defense tool it was created as.

She escapes into the past to kill Alwx Murphy and prevent Skynet from ever gaining self-awareness. She succeeds but the terminators in the future detect the disruption in the time stream and send their own terminators back to stop her. This time the Terminators injur her and prevent her from killing Robocop. Robocop manages to get a shot off and sees some of their robotic endoskeleton as the terminators flee.

Overall, I think the first issue does a good job of portraying the two worlds it is combining. We might not get mountains of skulls but the barren future world overrun with robotic milling machines stamping out the last remnants of humanity feels like it belongs in the Terminator world.

In Robocop’s Deteoit we get a glimpse of the city run amok. Very much fitring with the Robocop setting. We see crime out of control, we see guns and violence everywhere, and ED-209 units malfunctioning. We’re just missing the yuppies and the over the top commercials and it’d feel right at home in the Robocop movies.

As far as characters go, the issue moves very quickly. I feel that contributes to a feeling of urgency and efficiency in her character. She’s on a mission and she’s not wasting any time completing it.

As for Robocop, we seem to find in something of a depression. Distanced from humanity he’s become obsessed with his work, spending and and days on the beat. It may seem a bit strange to see him in this headspace since he seemed more well-adjusted at the end of Robocop before having something of a character reset and readjusting at the end of Robocop 2. Still, Robocop’s situation is unique so it’s not like there’s a ton of help available so having him relapse doesn’t feel out of place for me.

Compared to Ronin, Miller’s far more restrained in this issue. We get his rain-drenched, hard-boiled narration but far more sparingly. No blocks of text that overwhelm the page. The text does its job without overstaying its welcome.

Simonson’s art is solid the entire way through. I feel like robotics and machinery are some of the hardest things to nail consistently in a comic book. Typically those movie props have a ton of setail and the way light shines across them contributes so much to their iconic looks and that level of detail can rarely be accurately represented across an entire comic book. I stead you often end up with under detailed shapes that vaguely resemble what they are meant to be and that tends to kill my enthusiasm for the comic.

I think Simonson manages to nail Robocop in nearly every frame. He does reduce the detail on occasion but otherwise he makes Robocop look like Robocop and that goes a long way. The Terminators have seen a bit of a redesign to keep the iconography intact but making them function more easily for the medium. Simonson’s layouts are straightforward and easy to follow and he breaks up the action with large splashes to really show off Robo on the page. The inks and colors do a great job of capturing the moody emotion in the shadows and conveying the metallic surfaces, particularly in those large splashes.

The issue also drops a few references to Robocop 3 that hadn’t been released yet. Dr Lazarus thay was knocked out at the police station is the same doctor that helped Robo in the movie. Cadillac Heights, where the Greek restaurant the guy tried to take Murphy’s ex-wife to is is the same neighborhood that they fought to defend in the movie. Considering Cadillac Heights isn’t a warzone as it is in Robocop 3, I think we can say that this takes place before the movie.
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COLLECTOR dielinfinite private msg quote post Address this user
Issue 2 begins with another glimpse at the end of humanity as the terminator hunt down the last human and are finally victorious against humanity.

In the past we get some comic relief with the ED-209 guarding the hospital. It kills a dog and malfunctions but responds to Robocop and even gives him a salute. The death of the dog isn’t plaued for the gore so it’s not too difficult to swallow as a comedic moment. I don’t actually recall too many of those in Ronin.

I really like that Miller has Robo and the ED-209 on the same side. Yes the first movie had them as enemies but that was mostly due to the events of the movie. After that it would make sense that the two would co-operate. Still many derivative media tend to just stick with what was in the movies without really exploring the internal logic of the world.

Anyways, Robocop visits the time traveler in the hospital to hear her story. Murphy then plugs himself into various defense networks to see if there is evidence for the time traveler’s claims. It seems he finds Skynet and comes out believing her story. Knowing the Terminators must come back to her to complete their mission, Robo goes off to prepare. We get some more ED-209 comic relief as one tries (and fails) to direct traffic before Robocop recruits it.

Elsewhere, the terminators also prepare for their attack. They rob the police armory, in what feels like a far less clandestine approach than Arnold’s in the first movie.

We get yet more ED-209 fun when, after directed by Robocop to scan for cybernetic activity, the two ED-209’s shoot at each other, massively damaging one in the process. I also really like how direct and polite the ED-209’s are with Robocop. They constantly refer to him as “sir” and just overall act like a hard-working, but not very smart, workers.

What’s next is a gigantic battle that pays due respect to the two properties.

The terminators seeing Robocop defending the time traveler decide he needs to be subdued and forced to merge with skynet so he can fulfill his destiny. One terminator attacks the remaining ED-209 so the third can get inside and kill the time traveler. The two ED-209s manage to bring down one of the terminators. The one i side gets atomized by the time traveler, who got her plasma rifle back from Dr Lazarus. Meanwhile, Robocop is in a fierce hand-to-hand brawl with the remaining terminator. After a long and brutal fight, Robo emerges victorious, though heavily damaged.

I thought this was a very fun issue. The terminators felt a lot like Arnold’s character in the first movie, which makes sense since they’re terminators and it’d make sense they have similar programming. Instead of robbing a gun shop, they rob the police armory which allows the book to check off another Terminator reference in their attack on the police station. You could argue that maybe they should have been a bit more stealthy but maybe they figured it was too critical for stealth as the time traveler killing Robocop would mean Skynet would never exist as it would in the future.

The fight itself is incredibly exciting. All the hits feel suitably big and painful and all the gunshots and explosions feel powerful. Miller also does well to let the action speak for itself and Simonson’s art is easy to follow, which could not always be said of Miller’s fights in Ronin.

Basically, I’m really glad the creators let the fight play out over almost half the issue. A lot of times you climactic fights that only last a page or two but this issue really delivers on the Robocop vs Terminator title
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
My familiarity with Robocop and Terminator, like most people I would imagine, comes from the movies. The first Robocop movie is a classic. The second I've seen a few times but it's been a while, and they were probably mostly edited for network TV. I can't remember seeing the third more than maybe twice. And I watched the reboot, which was ok but not nearly as biting as the original. I think I've also seen all the Terminator movies, but none more than T1 and T2.

Being a native Detroiter, I'm also happy to tell you that people crowdfunded a Robocop statute. However, I'm not sure it's on display anywhere. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2022/01/22/detroit-robocop-statue-moved-to-display-space-walley-bing-venus-bronze-gikas/6609591001/
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Issue 1 was a fun read. You get a fairly standard Terminator intro. Mankind is on its last legs but one person (I think she goes unnamed?) has made it to the inside to figure out how to stop the rise of the machines. It turns out that Skynet really got going due to Robocop's integration of human mind and computing. She travels back in time to Detroit to kill Alex Murphy before he becomes Robocop. Cut to Robocop doing Robocop things, until the woman kills him. Sensing the disruption in the future, the machines send back Terminators who stop Robocop's death, and maybe kill the woman. Robocop sees the shooter well enough to figure out that it isn't human.

Simonson seems like a good match for the story. His blocky style reminds you of Miller (maybe a coincidence), and you can recognize it if you've seen some of his Thor work. I will say that the Terminator doesn't translate as well to the comics. Any of those intro scenes in Terminator movies, where you just see the robot versions walking across a field of skulls, the Terminators are frightening. Here they don't have the same visual impact.

As for Miller, writing an uber-violent book seems natural. The Robocop world of Detroit where everyone has a gun is up his alley. It's a little funny when everyone pulls out their gun but then has better things to do when the woman fights back. Everyone at a Pistons game (they used to play at the Palace at Auburn Hills) having a gun seems like a stretch though. The NBA would never allow it, even if this was written 12 years before the Malice at the Palace.

Speaking of which, I do appreciate that Miller looked up a few local things. Livonia is a nice little town right next to Detroit, Cadillac Heights isn't far away (technically a neighborhood inside Detroit), and Cass Corridor is a tougher part of town.
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
#2 starts with another nice Detroit touch, Laimbeer Memorial Hospital. I don't think they'll ever name a hospital after him except for ironically, but Bill Laimbeer was my favorite Piston from the Bad Boys era.

The EO209s give a good opportunity for a little levity. They're badly designed, taking everything literally and fixing every problem with something like a minigun. When Robocop asks them to scan for cybernetic activity and they immediately try to shoot him, that's a solid joke.

The Robocop-Terminator fight is a good one, but it's a little hard for me to imagine Robocop in an actual fistfight. He's so stiff in the movies.
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Opening up #3 reminds me - I wonder what the folks in the 'special thanks' section did? Art Adams, Gracine Tanaka, Adam Hughes, Lynn Varley, and John Byrne are some pretty recognizable names.

The timequakes are a little odd compared to a lot of other time travel movies. When someone changes the past, like when Robocop kills himself, people in the future don't realize it. The past is the way it always was, so there's no sudden change. If anyone remembers the 'old' past it's because they have some special ability. I guess it serves to give the Terminators time to respond and send more robots back but it seems a pinch out of place. They did the same thing in #1 but the timequake, or the reaction to it, seems more obvious in this issue.

Overall, #3 brings the real conflict to the story. The new Terminators brutally attack Robocop and forcefully attach him to the computers, triggering Skynet. Robocop responds by sending the code version of his consciousness throughout the system, allowing him to rebuild himself in the future. I don't remember much about the movie Robocop 3, but I do remember him having a jetpack.
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
#4 wraps everything with a lot of time travel and some interesting ideas, but it was a little flat for me. Having a Robocop army fight a Terminator army sounds like a great idea, but it's brief and we don't get much action beyond a two-page spread. Robocop becoming more robot-like in the future, because he is a full robot at this point, also could have been an interesting twist but there's no real tension. He just keeps acting like Robocop. But the issue accomplishes what it probably should, which is returning everything to how it was at the beginning of the series for Robocop while defeating the Terminators in the future.

On the whole I liked issues 1 and 2 more than 3 and 4. That makes it a fair companion to Ronin for me, which I liked less as it went on. They also both had sexy ladies acting out male fantasies. Miller's gonna Miller.
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