Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Brian Wood
Artwork: Jorge Coelho, Doug GarBark (colours)
Release Date: 9th May 2018
In issue one of Citizens Arrest we were (re)introduced to a Detroit of the near future being run, more or less, by OCP. A new CEO has plans for development, a mayor is being used, malcontents are ‘dealt with’, and all the while an ex-cop is hoping a neutered Robocop can be returned to his former glory for the greater good. It was the beginning of a promising story, albeit an overly familiar one.
We begin with an unnamed radio presenter – presumably an illegal/underground broadcast – reminding us that once Detroit had heroes, specifically one shiny Robocop-shaped hero, now sadly lacking. We fast-forward to a public gathering and a funeral march for a fallen public figure, unceremoniously offed in issue #1, before immediately cutting to our intrepid CEO unveiling another stage in the plan to literally burn down old parts of Detroit and rebuild gleaming spires from the ashes. Disappointingly, we only get one throwaway reference to the R/cop app from the previous issue that had me so intrigued.
Citizens Arrest #2 then continues bouncing back and forth between a quick, short series of panels showing riots, media coverage, civil unrest, corporate chit chat and Robocop with his new buddy Leo doing not a lot. We have a brief character bonding moment if you will where Leo ‘helps’ Alex Murphy by tossing his gun into a river. Given we know Leo is working to have Murphy restored to Robocop proper it comes off as a hollow gesture, made more so by the lack of investment in Murphy’s emotional state.
Meanwhile Leo’s wife is getting to work hacking the code that is preventing Murphy from acting as Robocop and making use of his signature firearm (the one tossed in the river). Except she doesn’t really work at it… she goes and asks for and is simply given this presumably confidential code… and later off screen fixes it. No fuss, no drama. Well, except that OCP are watching and aware if something going on.
A lot of the juxtaposition of corporate high society ideals against the common peoples struggle is glazed over in a snippets of media hyperbole, much as we’d come to expect, but in trying to capture the cynicism of the media reporting (on both sides) the emotion and drama of the struggle at the centre of the story – the fact that the people of Detroit being dehumanized by OCP – is completely lost.
I am trying not to be overly negative here. There is a decent story trying to get out here, but it feels like most of the good stuff ended up on the cutting room floor.
Unfortunately I have to say that this issue is lacking in any kind of dramatic tension and doesn’t build upon the foundation of the first issue in any significant way. Precisely one thing happens – Robocop comes back online – and does so in the blandest way possible. Oh, and a minor character removes a barrier to progress off-page with no effort. Robocop himself appears to have little to no motivation either (because the clumsy attempt at killing/framing him is so incredibly disjointed). Then we have the “Surprise! Fooled you!” moment. Meh.
With an iconic quote, the stage is set for a classic Robocop vs OCP confrontation next time out. I really hope that issue #3 can get the juices flowing, because this series desperately needs drama, tension, and maybe even a little action?
The writer of this piece was: Alex McElhinney
Alex Tweets from @UnicronsBeard