Planet of the Apes: The Sins of the Father 1 (March 1992)

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Sins of the Father is pretty darn good for a licensed tie-in.

Mike Valerio’s writing is strong–he mixes a Sherlock Holmes-like investigation into an ape’s death with an explanation of why Maurice Evan’s Zaius is such a tool in the original Planet of the Apes. He also introduces family relationships into the franchise for the first time. It’s neat.

Unfortunately, the art’s wrong. Mitch Byrd is fine artist, but not for an Apes book. Everyone looks cute, whether it’s the gorillas, who are just kind of cute, or the orangutans, who are cuter than Gizmo. It creates a disconnect between the pictures and the words.

But Valerio’s strength isn’t just in his plotting, it’s in how he realizes the society. While it’s not as confined as the movies, it’s also more thoughtful than the majority of Adventure’s comics.

It’s a great tie-in and a good comic.

Robocop: Roulette 4 (March 1994)

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Dark Horse’s Robocop ends here. Finally.

It’s not a bad issue, definitely the best in this series and probably overall (the competition isn’t particularly steep, however). It helps Jeff Butler handles some of the art chores. I don’t know who he is or what else he’s done, but he’s better than Byrd.

There’s some unintentionally funny moments here, especially when they rip off a scene from Robocop 2.

A brief post-mortem on Dark Horse’s Robocop, since there’s nothing else to say about the comic book (it’s bad, but not godawful):

There’s no continuity. Just a general reference to the movies, especially the third one, but nothing to really tie the series together. There are these evil rich white men who control all the bad things (oh, is it just me or is the only real black character in the comic–set in Detroit–a criminal?), but it goes nowhere.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; pencillers, Mitch Byrd and Jeff Butler; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Jim Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Jennie Bricker; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Roulette 3 (February 1994)

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Byrd’s art is pretty awful, but it’s a surprisingly okay issue. Even taking all the stupidity into account, Arcudi does manage a couple all right moments here, like when Robocop goes back to the scene of his own murder.

There’s also a lot of cop talk, not related to Robocop, and it passes the panels. It’s not exactly filler, just more of Arcudi doing whatever he can to avoid making Robocop the protagonist in his own comic (which isn’t bad, necessarily, the first Robocop spent a lot of time with other characters–except they were interesting, Arcudi’s are not).

Maybe the time between reading the previous issue and this one has something to do with it. They certainly weren’t written “for the trade,” so a delay–just to let the brain cells regrow–is a must.

Still, shame they can’t do anything with Robocop; it’s a waste of a license.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Mitch Byrd; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Jim Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Jennie Bricker; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Roulette 2 (January 1994)

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Twenty-four pages of story and nothing really happens. I mean, clearly, things happen. There’s a fight, there’s an argument with the dumb detective, there’s Robocop’s girlfriend–she’s not his girlfriend but whatever (Byrd draws her middle aged, clearly not basing her off the very young Jill Hennessy who played her in the movie), there’s a surprise at the end, there are callbacks to previous Dark Horse titles.

There’s just no content. Robocop is, in the Dark Horse comics, a boring character. He’s outlived his usefulness, dramatically, and it’s just a mess. He doesn’t fight crime anymore, he fights the limited series’s villains, which just makes him a cartoon, cookie cutter superhero.

There’s got to be something I like about it….

I guess the design work on the bad robot is pretty well done. It looks a little like the Robocop 2 in the movie, but it’s still different enough.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Mitch Byrd; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Jim Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Jennie Bricker; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Roulette 1 (December 1993)

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Robocop goes up against the I.R.S.? Who can win? So far, with Mitch Byrd’s artwork looking like the McFarlene school of everything having lines being a far cry above the other series from the publisher, Roulette is the best. It’s not promising, because it’s still set in the stupid post-Robocop 3 continuity where Dark Horse apparently tried to set up the ground situation and made a silly mess. Not to mention having Robocop barely in the comic and his annoying lab tech around again….

There is the whole Robocop vs. ignorant detective, something no one’s ever explored–where is Robocop in the police hierarchy–but it’s dimly handled. Arcudi does a decent enough job with the action and the dialogue even, but his scenarios and plotting (scenarios, especially) are lame-brained.

It’s only four issues though and it does read fast. Except the I.R.S. nonsense, which is just painful.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Mitch Byrd; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Jim Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Jennie Bricker; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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