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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: FTN reviews Robocop Vs The Terminator HC

June 17th, 2014 by Dave Bowling Comments

Writer:Frank Miller
Artist:Walter Simonson
Genre:Action/Adventure, Science-Fiction
Publication Date:July 02, 2014
Format:FC, 128 pages; HC, 7’’ x 10’’
Age range:14

Genre cinema of the 1980s produced two iconic cyborg characters in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator and Peter Weller’s Robocop.

In the early 90s Frank Miller paired up with artist Walt Simonson to bring the two franchises together in RoboCop Versus The Terminator, a four-part story from Dark Horse. And now Dark Horse is reissuing all four issues in a restored hardback edition.

I’ll be honest, I looked forward to this one. As a kid I spent months of my life playing RoboCop Vs Terminator, the Sega Mega Drive game based on this graphic novel. It was, frankly, awesome with RoboCop going up against Arnie’s Terminator, RoboCop 2 from, erm, RoboCop 2, the ED-209 and even Skynet itself.

With a somewhat more complicated plot structure, we instead see a member of the human resistance discover that the Skynet system managed to gain sentience after scanning and duplicating RoboCop’s thought processes. Determined, she heads back in time to kill Alex Murphy before he can become RoboCop. Arriving too late, she instead assembles a plasma rifle from scrap while Skynet sends three Terminators back in time to ensure Murphy is plugged into the system…

Simonson’s artwork is pretty much spot on, with his depiction of RoboCop being a perfect replica of Peter Weller. His depiction of the action is, if anything, even better, illustrating the frantic pace of the storyline. Unfortunately, it is the story that lets things down.

Frank Miller penned both RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3, with elements of both scripts that didn’t make it into the final drafts being used here. And I hate to say so but it shows. The story is all over the place, with more time travel, changing timelines and downright confusion than Back to the Future Part II. Every time one side is defeated they go back in time even further to change things all over again. This does not make for an easy narrative. Furthermore, the Terminators themselves are badly done, especially the two child and dog Terminators. Despite being feted (and rightly so) for Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns, getting involved with RoboCop has never been Miller’s best move.

For once, I preferred the video game…

3 out out of 5 Nerds



Dave was born at an early age to parents of both sexes. He has been a self-confessed geek for as long as he can remember, having been raised through the 80s on a steady diet of Doctor Who, Star Trek, Red Dwarf and (sigh) Knight Rider. Throw the usual assortment of Saturday morning cartoons into the mix and we have something quite exceptional: someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of utter tosh; a love of giant robots and spaceships fighting; and the strange desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound while wearing his underpants over his trousers. The death ray is currently in the works and one day you shall all bow to him, his giant space station and fleet of funky orange space shuttles...