Most folks, upon hearing about a Terminator/Robocop crossover comic, are either super excited about it or are quick to write it off as a gimmicky thing. Judging from Rob Williams' first issue of Terminator/Robocop: Kill Human, though, the former group might have a shot at being right. This one could be a doozy.
As a huge fan of Robocop and one of the few defenders of Terminator: Salvation (aka Let's Finally Leave Schwarzenegger Out Of It and Go To The Future Everyone Wants To See And Holy Crap A Giant Robot With Motorcycles In His Legs!), this effort is right up my alley to begin with, and even I was stunned by the first issue. I certainly did not see that ending coming, and it will be discussed below, so if you'd like to avoid spoilers, you know the drill.
But first, the beginning. We're in the Skynet future, and the opening page features a Terminator crunching a guy's skull as he begs for his life. Cut to the guy's two friends, DeSean and Lauren, scrambling to get away and find somewhere to hide, believing they are the last humans on Earth. Then DeSean immediately gets killed, too, leaving Lauren to scramble into a museum of artificial intelligences past (including a glass case cameo featuring little David and his teddy bear buddy from A.I.: Artificial Intelligence). The fact that Skynet would bother to have its own museum is questionable, but then again, it could easily have been created by the scientists who created Skynet in the first place and can be overlooked if need be. Of course, we've also got Robocop in a glass case, out of use for generations, only to be activated thanks to Lauren's desperate search for weaponry. Cue confusion, memory loss, and an immediate fight to protect and serve the human and fight off a horde of robots. However, the fateful moment where Robocop tries to jack into Skynet to activate ED-209 for backup and switch off the Terminators proves everyone's undoing, in an extremely dark way.
So many stories like this start off with a gritty, feisty heroine surviving in a hellscape that you know she'll be seeing it through to the end, no matter who comes and goes around her, which is why killing her off at the end of the first issue is surprising. This sets up a Robocop vs. The World scenario, as even Skynet believes humanity is now extinct, but with Robocop under Skynet's thrall, how's he even going to manage to get his doldrums up enough? Is he still a slave to OCP directives? He's already fairly self-aware, but can he ever get to the Skynet level of self-determination which would allow him to overcome his programming? I don't know, but I'm eager to find out.
Williams has the hook here, and hopefully he can run with it well. P.J. Holden's art is decent, and he handles Robocop well enough to keep me involved – nothing could turn me off quicker than an overly-stylized Robocop that looks too comic-booky and not enough like actual Robocop. Williams doesn't overcompensate for the limitations of movies, either – Lauren even makes a crack during their attempts to run away that Robocop is "not exactly built for speed," and the reference to ED-209 as a "big fuck off killer robot" puts us firmly in 'Rated R' territory.
I'm hooked. I'm on board. I can't wait to see Robocop figure out how to kick some ass.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8/10