Crossovers in media only serves to brings fans of two franchises the chance to see those characters get together. It’s more often than not just for fans and is rarely (although it’s happened) canon to either continuity. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion. I like seeing some of my favorite characters team up…although usually it’s more like fighting, THEN team up. That I don’t like.

RoboCop Versus The Terminator is a different story. Although Arnold plays a reprogrammed-to-be-good Terminator in two out of three movies we’ll always know them as soulless killing machine out to wipe out the human race. Meanwhile, RoboCop is always a huge force for good and justice in the world, the “future of law enforcement”. This is one of those franchises (like anyone who fights the aliens from Alien or the hunters from Predator…or when they fight each other) where you’d expect to see the hero of one franchise face the villain of the other.

The version I have is a trade collection by Diamond Comics as part of their special “Star System” catalog. It collects the four-issue miniseries into one book. Here I’ll be reviewing the book, but links to the individual issues, with spoilers, will appear at the end of the review.

RoboCop Versus The Terminator Diamond TPB

1/4th the man he used to be.

RoboCop Versus The Terminator

FORMAT: comic/trade paperback graphic novel

PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics (1992), collected by Diamond Comic Distributors as part of the Star System

WRITER: Frank Miller
ARTIST: Walter Simonson
COLORISTS: Rachelle Menashe & Steve Oliff
EDITOR: Randy Stradley
SPECIAL THANKS: Arthur Adams, Gracine Tanaka, Adam Hughes, Lynn Varley, Ruth Salisbury, & John Byrne

The story takes place in a world where Skynet, the defense satellite that would decide to wipe out the human race and created the Terminators as well as time travel, was given sentence through RoboCop. A solider named Florence reaches the time machine and travels to “modern” day Detroit (the near future to us) to kill Alex Murphy before he joins with Skynet. However, she arrives sometime after Officer Murphy’s death and rebirth as RoboCop. Skynet sends Terminators to stop her from changing the future as the matrix of time swings back and forth between a world where humanity thrived to a world where the Terminators succeed and kills off humanity, then builds ships to wipe out every planet in the universe. In the end (and I won’t spoil it here), it’s Alex’s humanity versus not only the Terminators but the RoboCop/Skynet fusion as well.

I go through my complaints in the individual issues, but none of them are really major save one and that’s not even a story breaker. Time travel and time travel paradoxes (or rather ignoring them) makes up a huge part of the tension, especially in the last two issues. Time travel is a tricky game in science fiction and Miller seems to have taken the “screw it, just tell the story” approach. At the very least it serves the story. Two points that bothered me was everybody in Detroit having guns and in one scene pulls them out in a manner that the NRA would be saying “what the heck, man?”, only with possibly stronger language. Also, he found a way to sneak his personal brand of cheesecake in there that somehow also managed to work..except that at this point Murphy doesn’t have any kind of body and one that…doesn’t have certain urges. Vintage Frank Miller but somehow it worked. He wasn’t as crazy as he is now.

The art is…decent enough. It’s not spectacular but I wouldn’t call it bad, either. There are a few points where the 90’s tries to sneak in (comic art in the 90’s, late 90s most notably, had a lot of issues) or looks rushed in a few spots, but that’s it.

What I really want to talk about is how Diamond collected them. It looks like, outside of the cover, that it just put four issues of the comic together, even leaving the ads. There are also these mini stand-up things of RoboCop, a Terminator (T-800 for fans), Florence, and an ED-209, which for some reason RoboCop can now command. I’d complain about that but it was kind of cool in action. The stand-up pages are made of a harder form of paper, a little stronger than posterboard I think. It makes it hard to scan which is why I don’t have pictures. Getting the covers for the reviews was hard enough without me worrying about destroying the book. I think I heard these were in the regular comic books as well, which I personally don’t care to pop out and makes holding the book open a minor chore.

The trade is getting a new release this year and it’s one I recommend. I’m not usually into the dark, violent stuff but this I want to hold on to and read again. Miller does a good job with the human characters and the Terminators (getting a peek into their minds as well as Flo and RoboCop/Murphy) and it’s a good read, including for fans of the two series and newcomers to either franchise. Give it a look.



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