ROBOCOP VERSUS THE TERMINATOR
Initially published as a four-issue comic book miniseries, ROBOCOP VERSUS THE TERMINATOR, which as the title indicates brings together the universes of ROBOCOP and THE TERMINATOR, has been called (by a ComicsAlliance back cover blurb) “The Greatest Crossover of all Time.” I don’t agree!
The writer was the once-great Frank Miller, who also scripted early drafts of ROBOCOP 2 and 3. That would explain why he was selected to headline this crossover project, and why it clearly favors Robocop over The Terminator. The title, in fact, is somewhat misleading, since The Terminator (as incarnated onscreen by one Arnold Schwarzenegger) doesn’t even turn up here, and nor do its primary nemeses Sarah and John Connor.
In their place are the robots who’ve taken over the Earth at the behest of the evil Skynet computer system. Miller’s most clever and audacious conceit here was to make Robocop--a.k.a. the robotically-enhanced Detroit cop Alex Murphy--the unwitting architect of the robot uprising, with his technological make-up having been instrumental in the development of Skynet. ROBOCOP VERSUS THE TERMINATOR begins with a hot chick resistance fighter travelling back in time to early nineties Detroit to kill Alex Murphy. She succeeds, and so causes the future to be changed, but just before that occurs Skynet’s robot agents send three Terminators, who take the forms of a muscle-bound jock, a hot chick and a young boy, back in time to stop the killing before it can occur. Several more desperate time trips follow in an increasingly mayhem-packed saga with enough explosions and gunplay to fill a dozen Hollywood blockbusters (and copious third person narration to keep us abreast of what’s happening).
Taken purely as an over-the-top testosterone-fest the whole thing works fine, but I don’t think it will satisfy too many TERMINATOR fans. For that matter, it isn’t entirely edifying as a ROBOCOP saga, given that the character here is depicted as a brooding antihero a la Miller’s Dark Knight, with none of the satiric charge of the original ROBOCOP.
Regarding the artwork of Walter Simonson, it’s strong and appropriately excessive--particularly memorable is a full-page depiction of Robocop silhouetted over an explosion and “DIE!” rendered in massive red lettering--thus fitting Miller’s hyperbolic tone quite well. I say this tale could have been much better overall, although it’s probably wrong to expect too much from something called ROBOCOP VERSUS THE TERMINATOR, regardless of its pedigree.