Robocop: Last Stand #7 (of 8)

This issue of Last Stand has me wishing I had been timing how long the comic took to read. It’s an all action issue. There’s Robocop versus Japanese cyborgs, good guys at OCP trying to survive slash beat the “suit” villain (which gives Last Stand’s sidekicks more to do than Robo sidekicks usually get to do). There’s a two page resolution, which features some of the civilian cast but they weren’t important enough to get any page time during the main action.

And how is the main action, since there’s nothing else to the book?

It’s good, sometimes really good. But it also reveals how clunky Robocop comes off in big action sequences. Oztekin doesn’t solve that problem (or even acknowledge it), but the rest of the issue? The all-action comic with a single fight scene determining the end of the story? Oztekin does a fine job. It’s a good fight, with Grant getting in some occasional, effective banter.

Then the issue ends—in those two pages—with such ambiguity it’s hard to imagine what they’ve got in store for the grand finale. Because it doesn’t seem like anyone’s got any idea what they’re going for with tone for the ending. The issue’s been twenty-ish pages of constant conflict; Grant and Oztekin don’t have room to shift gears fast enough. Considering Oztekin doesn’t have room for giant explosions by the end of the issue, the resolution to a Robo subplot—or, more, the nod to a resolution for a Robo subplot—doesn’t figure into the issue’s plotting, which is too bad. Especially since Last Stand #7 is Grant’s last one on the eight issue series, which also makes you wonder where exactly this script came from… did Grant write it back in the Frank Miller’s Robocop (Robocop 2) adaptation? Did Boom! get it with the license?

Regardless, Grant and Oztekin (and their editors) did the incredible—they turned an exceedingly troubled pseudo-cyberpunk action sequel into a successful comic book. Oztekin’s the star, obviously, but whatever Grant contributed—seemingly—was exactly what the book needed.

Robocop: Last Stand #6 (of 8)

Robocop: Last Stand #6 is where the comic finally gets around to one of the main Robocop 3 plot points (and advertising focuses). The jet pack. Flying Robocop. The way Grant handles it is to bake it into an even bigger cyberpunk-y but mainstream sci-fi moment. This plot point, however, seems to have come from the pilot movie for “Robocop: The Series,” which was written by the original film’s screenwriters and may well have been their Robocop 2. See, the Robocop fan hat is every present and often shameful.

So the issue has Robocop getting his wings, fighting the Japanese cyborg in his helicopter fleet (again with the helicopters) as the people of Old Detroit fight the final OCP cop push. Grant structures the Old Detroit stuff like a subplot to Robocop’s subplot about going renegade. It barely makes a ripple anymore, especially since that not-jet pack twist is so big.

Grant’s also got his villain—who he and Oztekin still can’t imbue with any personality, which is still a big problem—but the pacing of all the action is great. There’s villain versus good guys at OCP, there’s Robocop versus helicopters and karate cyborg, there’s the imminent massacre of innocent people. Grant and Oztekin set up the stakes—so maybe Grant put in just enough time with the regular folk—and then just set the issue spinning.

The finale, with Robo getting ready for the last battle (not stand), is awesome. So basically Last Stand goes #1 through #5, then #6 and #7 (#8 is a detached epilogue). All it needed to be complete is another two issues to open it. Instead it’s sporadic but not episodic, just a bunch of great action. This issue, where Grant has to engage with the infamous Robocop 3 jet pack, is sort of a victory lap. Grant and Oztekin got the comic through a lot, earning a lot of trust, so why not the jet pack. Oztekin’s take on it, visually, is pretty cool; I mean, it’s Robocop-in-a-jet-pack but whatever. The helicopters are more of a problem.

It’s also impressive they’ve got Robocop positioned as the big hero for the finale given how detached Grant’s narrative distance to the character has been throughout.

Robocop: Last Stand #5 (of 8)

This issue opens with a “you really should have seen this coming” twist. It’s an intense open, then the issue moves right away into a lengthy action sequence. Pretty much the whole issue. I went into this issue expecting it to start a “second story” or at least make sense as a halfway point in the series, which Boom! traded in two down the middle. And maybe the finale is the start of the series’s third act….

Was it Dan O’Bannon who said end of the second act is when things are at their direst for the heroes? It’s pretty dire for Robocop at the end of the issue. He’s lost all his friends, he’s had his heart ripped out (literally and figuratively—his new heart too, he just got it last issue). There was another surprising plot turn later in the issue, which maybe the first one should’ve foreshadowed. Conceptually, anyway. Last Stand has an interesting disinterest with the actual Robocop 3, while still playing with the same toys.

It’s like one kid is really bad at playing with his toys so this other kid comes in and plays with them better. Only there’s also all the awesome Oztekin art. The first kid didn’t have Oztekin, he had a lower budget than needed for the special effects. Though Oztekin, in another Robocop vs. helicopter sequence (second in the series so far, because attack helicopters used to be a really big deal in movies), shows what’s wrong with Robocop’s design in too physical action. He’s visually imposing—while slick—but not visually graceful. Quite the opposite. And it comes through in the issue for a bit.

Another reason the issue feels like the end of the second act is the emphasis on the villain. She’s been around since the second issue or so (her return being an adaptation surprise) and, after last issue, it makes sense she gets more solo page time. She’s fine. The exposition and setup is good. But she’s a villain who needs a performance, otherwise she’s too slight, sort of tedious in her evil. She needs some charm. And Grant and Oztekin don’t bring it in writing or art. They both do fine, they just aren’t interested.

And nothing in Last Stand actually seems to interest Grant so for him to be further detached… it’s unfortunate.

Though predictable.

Robocop has had villain problems since the end credits rolled on the first movie.

Robocop: Last Stand #4 (of 8)

Putting on my Robocop nerd hat a minute (does it ever come off?), the first film’s writers wanted it to be a commentary on how Detroit used to make the best cars and—by the eighties—they made shit. This issue of Robocop: Last Stand has an inspiring, come-together moment for Detroiters to rebuild Murphy in a garage. One has to imagine if it’d made it into a movie, even Robocop 3, it’d have been effective. Well, okay, maybe not Robocop 3 as it is, but a 3 more like Last Stand.

The garage where they put Robo back together again is called “The Stand,” no less.

I’d been waiting for this issue to see if I was right about Boom! and Grant splitting the series into two parts, one through four (for the first trade), five through eight (for the second). The answer—should Last Stand be read in two sittings, one (or eight)—is complicated and immaterial. Last Stand doesn’t work as a “movie,” it works as a comic, where it doesn’t need anything resembling a three act structure—whether it has one or not, the medium doesn’t require it. Not when the book relies so heavily on Oztekin’s art. It’s a mostly action issue—there’s some big changes at OCP, which is some talking heads but mostly action too—as Robocop and his young, still nameless orphan charge lead the OCD cops on a car chase, culminating in Robocop and kid trapped in the sewer, Robocop literally falling to pieces.

This sequence is mostly from the girl’s perspective, which gives Grant a chance to be funny without being crude. Last Stand’s usually got a pretty base humor—the jokes at the expense of capitalist stooges aren’t subtle—and having the kid run the show for a bit is nice. She doesn’t overstay the spotlight. She and Robo trying to find the “rebels” is concurrent to the OCD cops hassling said rebels at their day job. Or at least at Bertha’s diner, where they all seem to hang out.

The tone shift—action chase then tense comedy (in a couple different situations)—gives Oztekin a lot to do. There’s frenetic action in the car chase and then frenetic energy from the participants of the diner sequence, as the cops can’t resist threatening (or trying to threaten) the civilians and the civilians aren’t going to be threatened.

That inspiring come-together finish, where the ragtag group of Detroit natives put Robo back together again is more of a writing thing. Oztekin’s got to match the script’s tempo. The rest of the issue, the comic has to meet his.

The way Grant plots Last Stand, as issues, in half, as a whole, is kind of permanently screwed up but thanks to Oztekin, it’s always gloriously so.

Robocop: Last Stand #3 (of 8)

Robocop: Last Stand #3 gives a great example of what’s lost in the idea of adapting Robocop 1, 2, 3, or 4 to comic books—the damage to Robocop. The movies are all about him getting beat to crap, just about broken, losing limbs, his human face getting revealed, on and on. This issue has something similar, but since Robo doesn’t have anyone to play off of, Grant and Oztekin can’t give any insight into his condition. The comic doesn’t have any Robo-vision shots giving the efficiency level. It’s just a lot of dialogue-free action as Robocop tries to survive an ambush by the Japanese cyborg bad guy. It’s a great sequence, thanks to Oztekin’s art and how he paces it, but it’s extremely detached from Robocop’s trials.

In fact, when he rescues a young girl left homeless by a fire (one the evil company doesn’t let the firefighters fight until Robocop forces them to do so), Grant’s script moves to her perspective (because she’s talking) and Oztekin follows suit (a little, but a little shift in the art’s narrative distance is a big thing).

The issue opens awkwardly once again; turns out the final panel of last issue was one of those panels where Oztekin was doing important, unspoken visual exposition. Once the issue reorients—there’s a twisted back twist to start things off, which might play differently in the trade—it’s straight into the Robocop action. The beginning, albeit with the plot twist teaser and some black comedy, is all evil company OCP plotting and bickering. The comic’s biggest leap in logic is how such a dysfunctional organization could coordinate enough to even set a trap for Robocop. And not because Robocop is too smart, but because there’s no one particularly bright at OCP.

Once the action starts at the burning building, it never stops. The third act of the issue, with Robo playing guardian to the little girl, is just him getting into a souped up car so he can outrun the OCP cops chasing him. It’s got an excellent pace thanks to Oztekin (and presumably Grant) and a rather effective finish.

Though, once again, it feels like Grant is just starting the story. Now we’re going into the second act, at the end of #3. Of eight.

So it’ll be very interesting if the next issue really does end with a “Volume One” feel.

Robocop: Last Stand #2 (of 8)

The previous issue of Robocop: Last Stand had a weird ending; it was truncated. This issue continues that scene and it’s very awkward since the previous context is gone. Maybe Grant’s not so much being quirky with the screenplay adaptation as just not knowing how to break out scenes because this issue goes out on a very similar truncation. Instead of the end of a scene, it’s like the “movie” fades out on a reaction shot.

But once that awkward opening is done—it’s also part of the Robocop and Marie character arc, which is pretty strange—the issue’s incredibly solid. Grant just has a hard time with the two characters. Robo it’s hard because he doesn’t have a story arc (it started before the comic did, with the cops being shut down or maybe Nancy Allen getting killed), Marie because she’s the tech person without any history. She’s a Robocop expert—at one point she tells Bertha how she’s only in it for Robocop, not to help save Old Detroit from OCP and the Japanese bad guys. Oztekin uses a lot of in-panel action this issue, often with Marie and Bertha, because he’s trying to move along conversation without going over to talking heads for exposition. It’s a nice move but it doesn’t leave time to really think about the ramifications of Bertha or Marie’s statements; see, Bertha doesn’t think it’s cool Marie is trying to make Robo fall for her, even if Bertha does just think Robo’s a tool.

There’s some more interesting “sequel” stuff this issue, with Dan O’Herlihy’s “Old Man” from the first two movies returning. He wasn’t back in that Miller Robocop 2 adaptation, so it’s a bit of a surprise (even if it’s an inglorious cameo). Meanwhile, villain lady from 2 is also back, which is a bigger surprise when taking that Frank Miller Robo 2 adaptation into account—the character, while a villain lady, was a different villain lady. Grant does a rather good job bringing the character back here; she’s in charge of the company’s brainwashing unit, which electro-shocks teens into behaving well. It’s all prelude to a solid action sequence.

Lots of good art from Oztekin, but more impressively the way he utilizes the panels to move scenes along. Grant has a some decent scenes too, though—like I said before—the end has a similar truncation problem to the first issue.

I really do wonder if Boom! laid out the comic to be read in two four issue trades. I’ll have to pay attention to the end of #4.

Robocop: Last Stand #1 (of 8)

Robocop: Last Stand is, conceptually, a tough sell. It’s a comic book adaptation of a movie no one liked (Robocop 3) when it came out twenty years before the first issue of Last Stand dropped. It’s ostensibly based on Frank Miller’s original screenplay, but when a different publisher did a “based on Frank Miller’s original screenplay” adaptation of Robocop 2 (just called Frank Miller’s Robocop), it turned out Miller’s Robocop 2 script included a lot of his Robocop 3 too. That much-hyped adaptation, Frank Miller’s Robocop, wasn’t just a bad comic, it was a notoriously late one. It’s also not like there had been any particularly good Robocop comics over the years. But the license kept bopping around as one publisher after another tried to hit Robo-gold.

So it’s interesting Last Stand is so… well… good.

The comic is a perfect storm of creative impulse—Steven Grant’s adaptation of the film (which he’d already adapted for Dark Horse back in 1993) is one event after another, with Korkut Öztekin’s punky cartooning tying them together. This first issue has plenty of action violence, but never gets particularly gory. Or, more accurately, Öztekin doesn’t focus on the gore. He emphasizes the action, focuses on the characters.

The issue opens with the issue’s only direct tie-in to the Frank Miller’s Robocop series, which Boom! (Last Stand publisher) reprinted when they picked up the Robo-license. It’s a TV ad showing the future dystopia, which the movies did a lot better. The TV segment also reveals some of the ground situation—Robocop has gone rogue. The newscasters, again played by Leeza Gibbons (who hadn’t returned for the actual Robocop 3) and Mario Machado don’t buy it. The evil company, OCP, has fired all the cops. They’ve also renamed their urban housing project for some nonsensical reason. Maybe something with the license?

Seriously, if it weren’t for Öztekin, the most interesting thing about Last Stand would definitely be the behind-the-scenes editorial mandates.

There’s an action intro to Robocop, saving a streetwalker from the OCP cops, then the action cuts to a new character, Marie. She’s trying to find Robocop. Only Grant doesn’t establish her name so her identity is unclear; she could even be Nancy Allen. Only she’s not because there’s a flashback to Nancy Allen dying and making Robocop promise to avenge her, which he’s apparently doing now as he takes on the OCP cops.

Meanwhile, OCP is trying to kick people out of their homes in Old Detroit and they’ve only got five days to do it, then OCP and their Japanese financing partners will default. There’s a big expository altercation involving a company suit, Bertha (who everyone always assumed was a Frank Miller nod to Martha Washington, but who knows), and then Robocop. Öztekin gets to do a big action scene involving an ED-209 robot, then the issue ends awkwardly with Marie—introducing herself finally—tracking down Robocop.

The awkward finish, which leaves the scene hanging mid-conversation, is just the sort of awkward Last Stand needs. Grant and Öztekin can only do so much, with a Robocop 3 adaptation, with a Robocop comic, and the truncated finish seems to acknowledge it. Grant’s not willing to make Robocop a more traditional protagonist, but he’s also shifting the spotlight. Not in this first issue, anyway.

The comic functions as a peculiar hook, distinguishing itself—in no small part thanks to Öztekin—from all those conceptual limitations and obligations.

Maybe it’s all thanks to editors Alex Galer and Eric Harburn. But whoever’s responsible… it’s a Robocop comic where you want to read the next one, which is quite a feat.

Even in the future of the future of law enforcement there is room for improvement: Frank Miller’s Robocop (2)

Like most media with a Frank Miller credit on it, Frank Miller’s Robocop does not aged well. More accurately, as far as Robocop goes anyway, it doesn’t improve with age or maturity. It was always as bad as it is now, every reading another bloody stab at nostalgia. Frank Miller’s Robocop is an adaptation of Miller’s original Robocop 2 script. It’s a pseudo-infamous script—Miller, hot off Dark Knight loves Robocop and writes the sequel. There’s a writer’s strike in there somewhere. When the sequel finally does get made, Miller’s script has been rewritten by Walon Green (who wrote some of The Wild Bunch script). The sequel doesn’t get a good reaction, everyone starts thinking it’s because Miller’s script got rewritten. But then Miller’s back for Robocop 3, which should seem weird but actually makes perfect sense because they’re really just using his Robocop 2 script ideas.

So Frank Miller’s Robocop initially comes off more like a Robocop 3 adaptation than a Robocop 2. The first three issues are just Robocop 3, then with 2 elements, but still with a bunch of 3 going on. If only adapter Steven Grant could unravel all these threads….

And he doesn’t. He leaves Robocop entirely jumbled, with Juan Jose Ryp’s highly detailed, precisely messy, very busy art not doing anything to save the comic. Ryp’s art never really hurts it—whoever gives him too many pages for action scenes, for example, is the one who hurts it. Ryp does well with fast paced action. He doesn’t do well slowing down to go through a throw-by-throw. Especially not with the comic’s version of “Robocop 2,” the big villain (sort of) in the finale. It usually feels like Grant’s never seen Ryp’s art, otherwise no one would plot out the scene the way Grant does.

Editing matters. Though with Frank Miller’s Robocop you probably don’t get to tell Frank Miller how his ideas are so bad, even a franchise-desperate movie studio could improve on them.

I’ve read this series something like three times now. Maybe four. Definitely three. I’ve read it as published (often delayed), I’ve read it slowly, I’ve binged it. It never gets any better. There’s never enough story for the issues or even the series. The first three have something like an arc, which suggests Grant might do something similar with the back six, but he doesn’t. Once the big action set pieces start, the comic rushes to get out of there way so Ryp can have too many pages to do boring action.

In the end, all Frank Miller’s Robocop does is raise questions not particularly worth having answered—did Miller write any of these characters any better, did he really have such bad plotting or was Grant trying to make it fit the nine issues (it feels like there’s one missing, though who’d want to read another one).

Robocop 2, the movie, is far from great shakes, but seeing notes on Miller’s script from the studio execs? Seeing those might be interesting, if only because there’s so much to “fix.”

(It’s also strange how few of the “regular” cast show up in the script. Makes you wonder what Miller liked about the first movie).

The Rook 1 (October 2015)

The Rook #1

Seventies and eighties comic book sci-fi is some solid stuff. The Rook tries to tap into the genre to get some nostalgia points and it isn’t hard–artist Paul Gulacy drew a lot of good seventies and eighties sci-fi. The classics, if you would. And I’ll bet Steven Grant even wrote some of them.

Not sure if ROM counts.

Sci-fi in comics has gotten a whole lot more mainstream–especially in indie books–so what do returning giants Grant and Gulacy bring to the genre? It’s nearly camp. It nearly feels like a sci-fi comic from the early nineties because of all the references (“Quantum Leap,” “Back to the Future,” Time Machine actually playing a part of the plot), only the style is from a different era.

But then, The Rook is set in 2015, so Grant’s doing this nineties look at college life. You expect someone to call another kid a square for not drinking the spiked punch. And it doesn’t feel like camp in those moments, because Grant’s just not caring about his cast. They’re not as important as the gimmick. Only the gimmick’s not particularly good.

The Gulacy art carries it all, even after Gulacy starts rushing (somewhere in the second half of the issue). Gulacy has the chops to make the characters likable and sympathetic, even if their dialogue doesn’t give them any personality.

The plot’s amusing, the dialogue’s weak, the art’s good. The Rook isn’t the project Gulacy deserves, but he excels with what he’s got.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Paul Gulacy; colorist, Jesus Aburto; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Last Stand 7 (February 2014)

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It’s an all art issue. It’s an all action issue too, but there’s not even the regular amount of witty banter for an action issue. So it’s just Öztekin doing a fight scene between Robocop and various cyborgs. All the cyborgs look alike. Robocop does have some special gear and there are a couple plot twists and sight gags… but it’s basically just this one fight scene.

I love Öztekin’s artwork but this issue doesn’t challenge him. He’s not doing anything crazy. Gone is the way he paced out intricate action sequences. It’s just Robocop punching one cyborg, then another one. Oh, they gang up on him and he’s got to persevere, but there’s no tension. That lack of tension is Grant’s fault.

Even though this issue has the big fight scene, it feels like a bridging one. What’s important isn’t what has happened here but what’s coming next. Unfortunate.



Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 6 (January 2013)

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It’s funny how interesting art changes things in terms of pacing. Not just good art; there are plenty of comics out there with good art and bad pacing and the issue doesn’t work out. But with good, interesting art?

Take this issue of Last Stand–Grant skirts over a big plot development because it’s better to let Öztekin show it visually than to tell it with exposition. The whole issue takes place over fifteen or twenty minutes it seems and the issue reads in like four.

Except it’s bunch of great art used in perplexing ways. Öztekin still has Robocop, but he gets to visually play with all sorts of crazy other machinery and then also the desperate humanity of the whole thing. It’s big stuff and would have made a cool montage in a movie. But Öztekin does better than a movie could.

It’s a great-looking, solid comic.



Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 5 (December 2013)

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Wow, what a downer issue.

In a lot of ways, it seems like a rejection of the reader’s expectations, which Grant had only recently raised–and only if the reader is familiar with Robocop 3. But this issue? This issue reaffirms the reader has no idea what’s going on.

Unfortunately it does feel rushed. Some of the rushing is for effect–bluntly and quickly presenting plot twists gives the issue a sense of urgency–but Öztekin’s art also suffers. The art’s still awesome, he just doesn’t get to do as many awesome action sequences. The action here is, like I said, rushed.

The narrative also suffers. Grant relies on one or two panel updates–not even the traditional Robocop news updates–to show big changes going on.

It’s a bridging issue. The twists get Grant some more good will–but the comic’s readable no matter what thanks to the art.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 4 (November 2013)

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When I got done with this issue, I looked at the indicia to make sure I was remembering correctly and there really are four whole issues left. I’m a little sad it isn’t five, because this issue is phenomenal.

Grant’s script, except some of the stuff with the corporate guys, mostly keeps out of artist Öztekin’s way. Not in a bad way, like Grant is lazy–he isn’t. He writes some funny stuff for the little kid, who was weak last time but is the perfect sidekick for Robocoo this issue. I just mean Grant lets Öztekin go wild.

Whether it’s a car chase or a dialogue sequence in the diner with Robocop’s friends, Öztekin always makes the right move. There are maybe three perfect panels in the car chase; fantastic.

And the Robocop repair sequence is wonderful. Öztekin’s style, by being so wrong for Robocop, is perfect for it.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 3 (October 2013)

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And the awesome is back. About half the issue is an action sequence from Öztekin. It opens with the Japanese android running around the rooftops–here’s where Grant and Öztekin show off how what they’re doing in Last Stand would have been impossible in Robocop 3. There’s a helicopter sequence lifted from T2, for example, but Öztekin amps it up to be beyond what a Hollywood movie could have done in the nineties.

The action sequence is actually mostly just Robocop saving someone in a fire. There’s more to it, with the big storyline about the evil corporation letting people burn, but the action part of it is a rescue. And Öztekin makes it amazing. It kicks off the helicopter fight and other stuff.

Grant’s got some problems writing the kid. She’s odd, which he could get away with if he acknowledged it, but he doesn’t.

Otherwise, it’s plum awesome.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

3 Guns 2 (September 2013)

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3 Guns ends with one of the more homoerotic scenes I can think of–brown-haired guy wet in a speedo and blond-haired guy (not wet in a speedo) facing off with some more of Grant’s macho man dialogue. You can actually hear “Macho Man” in your head during the scene.

If only artist Laiso spent as much time on his perspective as he does on the brown-haired guy’s chest, 3 Guns might actually look professional. But he doesn’t.

Grant and Laiso don’t spend a lot of time on action, which kind of implies Laiso can’t draw it or Grant doesn’t want to write it. There are a lot of face-offs and interrupted action scenes and they all turn into long tough guy dialogue sequences.

But that last scene? If 3 Guns really were yaoi, it’d be so much more interesting than it is as crappy action.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Emilio Laiso; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 2 (September 2013)

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All of a sudden, the Robocop 3 references are a lot clearer. Grant is in the precarious position of having very familiar scenes or very familiar lines–if anyone else, like me, is familiar with Robocop 3–coming from different characters than in the film.

In other words, it’s becoming about how Frank Miller’s script was changed instead of the script–and story–itself.

There’s the added complication this issue has a lot of returning cast from the second film–and that Avatar adaptation of Miller’s 2 script. It’s mired in continuity, so much so when Robocop actually does get busy doing things, it seems off, like Grant is just throwing him in.

There’s excellent character stuff with Robocop and his lady doctor. Öztekin gets how to draw those scenes as well as the action. He even gives Robocop Peter Weller’s lips.

It’s okay, but too interesting as an adaptation.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 1 (August 2013)

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I’m going to regret making this statement. I’m liking Robocop: The Last Stand. At first I was confused with the art choice–Korkut Öztekin has a punky, very indie art style and it doesn’t seem to fit Robocop. But it works. He goes for these great caricatures on the characters, who writer Steven Grant is writing as caricatures anyway.

So the art works.

The issue I had, first off, was Grant apparently doing a sequel to his years old Robocop 2 adaptation from Avatar. I don’t think it’s an exact sequel and Grant doesn’t waste time recapping or even doing exposition. He does a fantastic job leaking details about the new ground situation–Robocop is a renegade out trying to help people, Nancy Allen is dead, the evil corporation is after Robo.

There’s also a terrible cliffhanger. Grant doesn’t even try to make it dramatic. He just stops the comic.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

3 Guns 1 (August 2013)

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It’s amazing how Steven Grant can write such atrocious, painfully tough dialogue but still plot out a good comic.

I can’t possibly recommend 3 Guns because the dialogue is so silly but the story beats are pretty dang good. Guy on the run is discovered, made to do a job for some bad guys, discovers his former bromance partner is working for the other bad guys, has to agree to the job with his bad guys then Grant reveals the girl is actually playing both sides.

It’d be great film noir if Grant weren’t trying to turn it into an episode of “Miami Vice.” The art, Emilio Laiso, is technically fine. It’s not particularly artistic or good, but it’s competent… It just looks like “Grand Theft Auto” cutscene illustrations. I assume it’s intentional.

3 Guns probably needs good editing, which it’ll never get. So instead of being neat, it’s pointless.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Emilio Laiso; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Mortal Coils 4 (December 1993)


It’s so, so bad. I mean, I thought since Grant turned in a decent third issue, he might be able to pull off a fourth too, but no. It’s just awful. It’s hard to explain how bad it is without sitting down and reading it because it’s just so unbelievable.

Grant goes for this melodramatic ending and then somehow gives his terribly paced limited series too many endings, the first time showing the inspiring human spirit of Robocop with his girlfriend–sorry, sorry, his female lab technician friend–and then having a comedic finale with the U.S. government about to kill Robocop and him getting saved by some asinine nineties punk criminal guy who he teamed up with for a bit.

It’s so funny Dark Horse let their licensed properties tarnish the image. I mean, I always thought Dark Horse at least tried at this point, but not at all.


Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Nick Gnazzo; inkers, Bruce Patterson and Dave Ryan; colorist, Pamela Rambo; letterer, Patrick Owsley; editors, Anina Bennett and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Mortal Coils 3 (November 1993)


Holy cow, Robocop, it’s almost an okay issue!

It doesn’t take much for an issue of this series to be better than before, since the first two issues–and lots of this one–are so exceptionally terribly, but this issue does have some imagination to it.

No, not imagination, sorry, what was I thinking… not imagination. Storytelling competence. Steven Grant’s probably written two thousand comic books, it’d be hard for him not to have one acceptable moment and he does, here in the third issue, and it’s a pretty good moment.

Robocop saves some crooks who are going to strip him for parts and it pays off for him.

Amid Grant’s idiotic Denver as lawless future robot city with Grapes of Wrath bad guys (in terms of setting up labor camps), there’s that one decent moment. Oh, wait, there’s Grant’s super-buff, super-tough guy too. He loves those lamers.


Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Nick Gnazzo; inker, Bruce Patterson; colorist, Pamela Rambo; letterer, Patrick Owsley; editors, Anina Bennett and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Mortal Coils 2 (October 1993)


The problem, occasionally, here at Comics Fondle is the length constraint. Each review of a standard issue is one hundred and fifty words. I have five words to say about Robocop: Mortal Coils issue two. What a piece of crap.

So how to fill the other hundred words?

Does it matter what’s wrong with it?

I mean, does one even have to read further to figure out why a licensed property comic from the nineties is a piece of crap? Doesn’t it go without saying the writing is awful and stupid and misogynistic? I did like seeing some reference to the Robocop movies before Robocop 3, however; I guess that slipped past the editors, since the license is apparently only for Robocop 3. They’re arguably discrete references.

Or the art? Is it a surprise nineties art isn’t exactly… visually tolerable?


There’s nothing worth saying about this comic at all.


Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Nick Gnazzo; inker, Bruce Patterson; colorist, Pamela Rambo; letterer, Patrick Owsley; editors, Anina Bennett and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Mortal Coils 1 (September 1993)


How to start… maybe licensing Robocop 3 instead of Robocop is a bad idea. I mean, it’s not like The Terminator, where licensing got all split up, sequel after sequel. Dark Horse could have gotten Robocop and not had to do sequels to Robocop 3, right?

This issue is Robocop in Denver. It’s kind of like Passenger 57 is Die Hard on an airplane. No, it’s not. Look at how hard I’m trying to figure out how to talk about this tripe.

Denver is apparently worse off than Detroit, which is stupid and doesn’t fit into the movie mythology–it’s another Judge Dredd lift, or maybe a Road Warrior one. I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s amazing how lifeless licensed properties got for Dark Horse just a few years after they revolutionized the genre with Aliens.

Mortal Coils is going to be awful; banal and inane. Three more issues….


Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Nick Gnazzo; inker, Bruce Patterson; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Patrick Owsley; editors, Anina Bennett and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Wild Child 1 (January 2005)


What can I possibly say about this comic book? This partial comic book (it only runs twelve or thirteen pages, though Avatar charge three bucks for it). It barely features Robocop and does so in what I assume was going to be the Avatar Robocop continuity, which never got off the ground (the company, OCP, is in ruins, the cops are on strike–Robocop and Lewis are the only two working cops).

It’s a deep dark secret from the past coming into the present story, only the exact nature of the secret is never clear. A relative of Lewis’s returns to wreck havoc on Detroit and it’s up to Lewis and Robocop to stop her. Without killing her because she might be Lewis’s sister or her cousin or her neighbor’s second cousin’s mailman’s sister’s step-child.

I’m sure Grant was being intentionally opaque, but it’s really awful. The whole thing.



Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Carlos Ferreira; publisher, Avatar Press.

Robocop: Killing Machine 1 (August 2004)


Avatar was charging three bucks for twelve pages of story? When’s Marvel going to get on that bandwagon?

Amusingly enough, Killing Machine‘s about the best Robocop story I’ve read from them. It’s just a simple adventure of Robocop. It establishes its ground situation, it aggravates the situation, it just works. More, there’s even some actual character stuff with Robocop and Lewis.

The artist, Ricardo, he draws a lousy Robocop, way too cartoonish, nowhere near enough detail (or height, Ricardo draws a short Robocop). But other than Robocop–and the evil robot, which I’m pretty sure is actually a Spider Slayer (Marvel must’ve missed it)–Ricardo does a good job. He gives Lewis a fair amount of personality and his composition is solid.

Instead of releasing stuff like this one-shot to placate fans waiting for the Frank Miller series, Avatar should have put out (fairly priced) comics like this one.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Anderson Ricardo; colorist, Greg Waller; publisher, Avatar Press.

Frank Miller’s Robocop 9 (January 2006)


Here’s what I can’t figure out–there’s this interspecies kiss between Robocop and Lewis in this one and then Robocop goes rogue, like some kind of vigilante–why the hell do Frank Miller and Steven Grant and the boys at Avatar think someone without nuts–without sex organs of any kind–is going to be getting all passionate on his partner. His partner who he has one scene with in this entire stupid comic book.

Frank Miller’s writing sucking isn’t new. It didn’t start with All Star Batman or whatever; he was a lousy writer from the start. And I write that sentence loving Batman: Year One and lots of Dark Knight Returns and a couple of the Sin City series. His Robocop is an unholy monster; Avatar did a disservice to the franchise printing this crap.

Of course, taking nearly three years to publish it is something else entirely.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Mark Sweeney; editor, William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Frank Miller’s Robocop 8 (April 2005)


Once again we have the almost naked Officer Lewis bossing everyone around and it’s better than usual. The entire issue would have probably taken about four minutes on film, which is about how long it takes to read. One has to wonder what the Robocop producers thought when they read this script–and how long it took them to bring in a good writer like Walon Green to fix Miller’s crap.

But since it is an action issue, I can’t tell what’s going on. I can’t even tell when Ryp’s trying to draw an explosion. It could be anything yellow, like a mold or something. The comic fails on almost every level, except Grant does manage to get some sympathy for the beseiged police officers.

It’s cheap sympathy sure, but at least he’s finally realizing the reader should care about someone in the story, even if it’s almost over.



Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Nimbus Studios; editor, William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Frank Miller’s Robocop 7 (October 2004)


So there’s that scene in Unforgiven where Clint Eastwood shoots the unarmed man and comments he should have armed himself, which is something like what happened about twenty-five years earlier in Hombre, but whatever.

This issue has Robocop killing a bad guy in a torturous manner. Apparently, Miller thought having government employees torture people was awesome way back in the late eighties, which answers the question of whether he was a fascist before 9/11 or just after.

It is an unpleasant, irresponsible, asinine scene, which probably sums up this entire series. I liked Steven Grant’s column when I read it, but I appear to hate his writing. Not because he writes fascist, sexist crap, rather because he can’t construct a narrative. He’s a nice guy though. Interviewed him once.

The comic’s winding down, stupider than ever. With two issues left, I shouldn’t be dreading reading them so much.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Nimbus Studios; editor, William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Frank Miller’s Robocop 6 (June 2004)


I can’t even tell anymore. Is this issue better than the last or is it the same or is it worse? I mean, there’s a lot of television stuff, a lot of stupid future post-nuclear war stuff–and a big fight scene between Robocop and Robocop 2 I couldn’t follow (Ryp is not given to comprehendible action scenes, something Grant should have thought about)–and it’s over in a few minutes.

Nothing like a four dollar comic you could read three times waiting for a McDonald’s coffee.

I know I’ve read Frank Miller’s Robocop before, so I wonder if, at this point then, I had given up as I have now. I’ll be finishing the comic, I’m a passive participant. I don’t think my brain has shut off completely. The benefit of having seen both Robocop films based on this source material means the occasionally jolting memory.

Three left.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Nimbus Studios; editor, William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Frank Miller’s Robocop 5 (February 2004)


And, almost magically, it goes to crap again. Not total crap–even though Ryp has got Lewis sexualized to the point she’s got less content than a swimsuit model (there’s nothing like realizing mainstream action movie misogyny has absolutely nothing on comic book misogyny, whether in Miller’s late eighties movie script or Grant’s early 2000s comic script), she does have a decent enough chase sequence at the beginning. Since Lewis can die, it’s a little more interesting watching her in peril. Though they haven’t yet even tried to put Robocop in peril, so who knows….

But the second half of the issue is the corporate goons going after Robocop and about to replace him with Robocop 2, who they’re testing out by having it kill civilians. Grant doesn’t seem to get how having utterly repugnant bad guys, especially in a comic, makes things boring.

And another lame cliffhanger here too.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Nimbus Studios; editor, William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Frank Miller’s Robocop 4 (December 2003)


You know what, this issue isn’t terrible. I mean, it’s bad, but not in comparison to the rest of the series. Robocop is in it, more than usual, and as comic relief instead of the protagonist, but whatever, at least he’s in the comic book. And some of the ideas–presumably Miller’s–are actually somewhat entertaining here. Ryp’s sexpot female after sexpot female is annoying, but, again, whatever. It moves faster than the previous issues and is less painful.

Some of it might–might–have to do with Grant finishing the issue with Lewis. Even though she’s barely been in the comic book (and I love how this Amazon War thing is such a great key phrase for everything, nothing like introducing all sorts of nonsense complicated world events for the reader to keep up with), she’s the closest thing it has to an empathetic character.

So, terrible, but fine.


Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Nimbus Studios; editor, William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

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