Mandatory app downloads and a fully automated police force have caused the people of New Detroit to rise up, with newly unlocked Officer Murphy leading the charge. In an effort to stop the uprising, OCP has taken a young family man and intends to use him in their latest tactic to end the threat of Robocop. Let’s check out Robocop: Citizens Arrest #5 from BOOM! Studios and see how many directives are broken!
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Cover: Nimit Malavia
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Robocop: Citizens Arrest: 5 years after OCP “retired” Officer Alex Murphy, aka Robocop, the city of Detroit has changed, and not for the better. A new OCP has a new vision for Detroit, which includes citizens reporting each other for rewards and the destruction of neighborhoods for “progress.” But when ex-cop Leo Reza and his wife find Officer Murphy a handcuffed victim of forced reprograming, they succeed in returning the good cop to his true form. Now OCP had taken a bold move, taking out Robocop and Reza in one blow. Now OCP has an injured Reza in their possession and intent to make him their newest weapon in the battle for New Detroit.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
Last issue ended with Robocop and his friend Leo Reza recovering after a direct assault from OCP. Reza was taken away by OCP and now finds himself transformed as a new model of Robocop. Transformed by the man who once ran OCP, Reza finds himself more of a weapon of destruction than a crusader for justice. He is fully under the control of his OCP masters, and will target anything or anyone they point him at. After an initial mission to verify that his empathy dampeners are fully functional, he proves that he is one hundred percent on their side, the CEO of OCP decides that they need to have another test.
Arriving in his old neighborhood, The Shore, a fully converted Leo Reza steps from his patrol vehicle and calls out to his wife, Sara. Terrified, Sara denies him as her husband, but their young son, Danny, has other feelings. He recognizes this being as his father and runs to him, only to be intercepted by the strong, metal arms of ex-Officer Alex Murphy, the original Robocop. Turning the empathy dampeners higher, Leo’s OCP keepers think of this as a final test, one that Leo himself requested, to prove that he is a team player. They watch through his monitoring systems in his helmet as he confronts the original model. Assured that he is fully compatible with the new OCP directives, the CEO orders him to take out Murphy, and the fight that follows will not only determine the direction of a city, but the direction of a man’s soul.
OLD TECH IS NOT ALWAYS OBSOLETE
Robocop has been a staple in the science fiction/action genre for years. Many writers have taken a turn at telling the tragic tale of a fallen officer who returns to service less of a human but more of a man. Starting with the original Marvel comics of the late eighties, to Dark Horse in the nineties, to the current treatment at BOOM! Studios, some of the best creators in the comic industry have had a hand in the four-color adventures of the character, and this series continues that tradition. Brian Wood (Sword Daughter, DMZ) brings us a Robocop whose retirement has effectively ended his usefulness as a police officer or as a symbol of the people. It takes a new generation to help him regain his ability to act therefore become a symbol of pure justice once more. The inclusion of Leo Reza as a
REDACTED is interesting, as it gives many options if the series should continue. Wood’s focusing on the people around Robocop and how they can affect their own lives is just as well directed a story as Robocop’s return from retirement. The concept of corporate interest versus human interest is well defined in this issue, as it is in the full series. You get names and small stories from all of the citizens, humanizing them and making their plights more interesting. Of the flip side, I could not find one instance in the series of a corporate character, talking head or news entertainer being named. This helps give a sense of corporations as truly nameless and faceless entities who are beholden only to themselves, treating citizens as commodities. Brian Wood is an excellent writer and little things like this further cement that fact.
Jorge Coelho’s (John Flood, Rocket Racoon) art for this issue, in fact, the whole series, gives us a gritty New Detroit as well as that sparkling side the OCP CEO wants to turn it into. Even when he is showing you the technological advancements, there’s an under shadow to the lines that hint all is not as cheery as the talking heads would have you believe. I enjoyed his work and will be on the lookout for it in the future.
BOTTOM LINE: EXCELLENT STORY WITH A MUCH LOVED CHARACTER
Robocop has always, at its core, been a tale concerning the danger of giving the state too much power over individuals’ lives and futures. The fact that it is wrapped in a wonderfully entertaining package that allows for exploration of multiple aspects of that danger is part of what draws you in and has you rooting for the good guys no matter the odds.
Make sure Robocop: Citizens Arrest #5 makes it to your read list, or you might end up regretting it.