Part Man, Part Machine, All Comic Panels: A RoboCop Comics Retrospective (Part 1)

Hello, my friends!  Well, it’s time for me to try my hands on a different kind of project on this site.  To help ring in a special occasion, I welcome you to this special event know as…

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After making its debut in theaters, our favorite cyborg crime-fighter has gone on to numerous adventures in various media.  He’s taken part in two sequels, a theatrical reboot, two cartoon series, two TV series and several video games.  This particular science-fiction franchise is celebrating its 30th Anniversary, so I’ll be doing my part by looking at all of the various comic books that he’s been in over the course of his existence.  Because of the numerous issues in his library, I’ll be giving basic plot synopsis for the issues.  As such, let us begin.

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Released in theaters on July 17, 1987, the original film was written by the creators themselves Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner and directed by Paul Verhoeven.  In the film, police officer Alex J. Murphy is tragically gunned down by Clarence Boddicker and his thugs.  Afterwards, an up-and-coming employee of the powerful company OmniConsumer Products named Bob Morton brings him back to life with his RoboCop program in an attempt to provide constant protection to the corrupt city of Old Detroit.  Throughout his venture, Murphy’s human element slowly begins to emerge from within his mechanical body as he realizes what happened to him and he begins his personal quest to hunt Clarence and his men down.  After discovering that they secretly work for a high-tier OCP employee named Dick Jones (whose ED-209 was passed over by the company due to a fatal malfunction), he must find a way to bring this corrupt alliance down once and for all.  Made on a budget of $13 million, it went on to gross over $53 million in the U.S. while being critically-praised for its themes and satire among many things.

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It wouldn’t be long for Marvel Comics to acquire the comics rights and make a black-and-white magazine (left) in 1987.  Written by Bob Harras and drawn by Javier Saltares & Alan Kupperberg, it would later receive a colorized re-release in 1990.  As far as the adaptation goes, it hits the major plot points of the film with some notable differences.

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First up, it opens with a pair of cops getting ambushed and gunned down by Clarence Boddicker & his men, a scene that was not in the movie.

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Also, when RoboCop starts to realize what happened to him, we get a quick scene of him visiting his grave instead of going to his old home and getting quick memory flashes of his family.  This sort of makes sense later on since the only image of his wife and son we get here in when Alex Murphy is about to initially die from his gunshot wounds.  So when he tells Anne Lewis that he “can’t remember them”, it adds up here.  That line sort of doesn’t make sense in the film since he’s able to recall short memories of his wife and son.

Back to the differences, as a major one occurs in the climax.  After Leon pins our hero under a pile of heavy scrap metal, Clarence tries to finish him off with a grenade.  However, RoboCop is able to wiggle his way free and grabs it before he tosses it towards Leon and wipes him out.  Afterwards, he shoots another grenade that’s tossed his way before he strangles Clarence to death.  In the film, Leon is taken out by a wounded Anne Lewis who reaches a Cobra Assault Cannon.  Afterwards, Clarence tries to take out RoboCop with a metal rod.  Fortunately, Alex takes him out by jamming his Terminal Strip into the fiend’s neck.

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Finally, the comic has an added ending.  After RoboCop saves the day and shoots Dick Jones (the true mastermind) to his death, a final newscast explains that the impending police strike was averted due to OCP agreeing to the police’s demands before ending on a quick interview with Anne Lewis who’s recovering in the hospital.  One weird (yet minor) thing I noticed is that with RoboCop’s 3 Prime Directives, “Protect The Innocent” (#2) and “Uphold The Law” (#3) had each other’s spots.  By this point, they’re among the most well-known aspects of the character in their specific order.

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Other than that, the comic represents the film really well.  However, the R-Rated film’s comic translation had its curse words omitted and its violence somewhat toned down.  Makes sense, given the Comics Code levels of censorship placed on Marvel and DC.  Given the medium, there’s also a few truncated scenes and also the omition of the hilarious satiric commercials which removes the hyper-realism of this particular world that enhanced the film.  Despite that and the semi-sketchy style of the art work, it’s still a good and enjoyable read for all ages, even for those who aren’t old enough to watch the movie.

1990 would be another notable year for the franchise as a whole.  Following a short-lived 1988 animated series, RoboCop 2 hit theaters on June 22, 1990.  Directed by Irvin Kershner (who also directed “The Empire Strikes Back” and the second unofficial James Bond flick “Never Say Never Again”) in his final film and written by Walon Green & famed (now infamous) comic book writer Frank Miller, the movie sees our titular cyborg looking to stop the devious operations & production of a new drug called “Nuke”, which is being distributed by a gang led by Cain and his villainous kid sidekick Hob.  At the same time, OCP plans to take advantage of Old Detroit’s growing debt and ultimately take control over the city.  There’s also plans for a more-advanced version of RoboCop that the company has in store, led by Dr. Juliette Faxx.  Made on a budget of $35 million, it only made over $45 million in America.  While it was praised for its action scenes and special effects, the criticism was aimed at unrealized/underdeveloped plot threads, the title character’s regressive development and the over-abundance of violence.  Belated film critic Gene Siskel even named it one of the worst films of 1990 on the TV show “At The Movies”.  The script’s development is a whole venture in-and-of itself, which I’ll discuss in Part 2.  As for the comic adaptation (which saw a magazine release, a deluxe edition release & even a three-issue mini-series), Alan Grant handles the writing duties while Mark Bagley does the pencil work.  Like before, it mainly follows the plotline from the movie.  While there are the usual alterations from film to comic present (toned-down violence, removal of curse words, trimmed/shortened scenes, etc.), a weird thing that’s present here is certain scenes placed in different spots.

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In the film following the part where RoboCop drives by his wife’s current house and she sees him, the OCP representatives confront him at his police station and convince him (somehow) that he’s nothing more than a machine.  Immediately afterwards, Ellen Murphy herself stops by to see him.  However, Alex is freshly influenced from the OCP agents as he tearfully sends her away.  For some reason, the comic adaptation decided to place that moment just after Cain’s brain, eyes and spine were surgically removed for the RoboCop 2 procedure.  Either way, this plot thread ends here early on and nothing else is done with it, making it utterly pointless to the story.

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Another odd scene swap (interestingly enough) takes place after Alex tearfully sends his wife away in the movie.  It’s where Mayor Kuzak learns from the head of OCP himself (credited as “Old Man”, who was also in the first film but more altruistic there) that the company intends to take advantage of Old Detroit’s growing debt by buying it and running the city itself.  Instead, it’s been placed after the opening newscast.

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One weird difference that I came across was when I followed the comic alongside the film.  There’s a minor character named Linda Garcia who’s a prominent technician and cares about RoboCop’s well-being.  When she appears and speaks her dialogue, I was stunned to find out that her character was gender-swapped in the comic.  Fortunately, fellow technician Tak Akita was left in tact (Chinese features and all).

To wrap things up with one last detail, RoboCop’s armor was given a blue tint for the movie.  In the comic, he’s sometimes seen in his classic grey armor while other times has him with blue tints or even with him entirely in blue.

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Odd, especially since Cain was given a redesign for the comic with a top hat, a nose ring and a black full-body coat.

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In the end, it’s as flawed as its source material.  However, it does give a general idea of what the movie is like if the more graphic content was removed.  It’s OK for what it is and can be entertaining enough, if nothing else.

A second theatrical outing wouldn’t be the only thing that the franchise would receive that year as Marvel began a 23-issue series.  Alan Grant (before working on the RoboCop 2 comic) would become the writer for the book while Lee Sullivan handles the penciling duties.  Kicking things off for this series was a two-part story involving a rival company and their version of a robotic crime fighter.

The first two issues see OCP’s Delta City plans being challenged by an opposing company called Nixcorp.  While RoboCop saves a man from a hoverbike gang called the Urban Kurs, his actions are captured on film by a man named Dek Kyng who takes them back to Nixcorp and their company head named Mr. Darkstone.  After analyzing RoboCop for his technical specs, they end up getting adapted into their version of OCP’s signature cyborg called the Nixbots.  RoboCop gets involved in the investigation when he sees that the man he saved is Powky Yule, a former Kombat Fighter (Yes, two years before Mortal Kombat came out, we were already trying to spell Combat with a “K”).  His search takes him to the local Kombat Arena where he ultimately tracks down and arrest Dek Kyng.  On his way back to the station, Nixcorp proceed to ambush him with their army of Nixbots.

It turns out to be a failure on many levels for RoboCop: His robotic body gets damaged during the scuffle, a by-stander got hurt & causes him to go into an existential crisis and Dek Kyng gets captured in order to use him for a later use.  Don’t think OCP still isn’t resistant to having devious people.

While Old Man and his assistant Donald Johnson were still altruistically good (since these issues were released before RoboCop 2), an underling named Laszlo wants to put the ED-209s back in operation.  Remembering what happened in the first film, Old Man rightfully shoots that idea down.  However, that doesn’t deter Laszlo as he contacts a street gangster named Scarface (not whom you’re thinking) who sets up a plan with his gang.

It gets set in motion when Anne Lewis is chasing one of them down for “shouting obscenities at cops”.  However, it turns out to be a trap when she gets captured herself by the rest of the gang members.  While Mr. Darkstone and Laszlo each send out their robotic armies out, RoboCop (while recovering at the police station) overhears Old Man and Donald Johnson discussing about Lewis’ kidnapping.  As groan-tastic as this plays out, this actually motivates him to go save his partner.

With the gang members hiding out in a desolate building with their hostage, the ED-209s arrive first to try and take care of the situation. However, the Nixbots also arrive as the two robotic armies proceed to fight each other.  Shortly afterwards, RoboCop arrives and takes care of the remaining members of both sides.

During this and despite her hands being bound behind her, she manages to ram two gang members out the window to their doom before the remaining thug regains control and prepares to execute her.  Fortunately, RoboCop finished off the opposing robots in time as he uses his infrared scanner to shoot at the ceiling and causes the thug to fall through the floor to his defeat as Lewis gets saved.

For issues 3 & 4, we reach a story where dreams can be used as actual blackmail.

RoboCop and Anne Lewis track down a trio of thieves who all have certain jetpacks called Hov-Paks.  They take out two of them, but the third one escapes with the item that he and his team stole from a place called “Dreamarama”, which turns out to be four Dream Tapes as he hands them over to his employer, an obese man named Joseph Pizzarelli.  Taking advantage of the thug who’s discarding his Hov-Pak and raising his service price because he lost two of his men, Joseph shoves a pizza in his face and takes the Data Tapes before sending him to his demise.  Meanwhile, RoboCop and Lewis drop by Dreamarama and learn about what goes down within this building.  They record a person’s controlled dream onto a certain tape and allow others to view them.  We even learn from the building’s manager named Rick Sonders that Dreamarama is a subsidiary of Nixco as RoboCop and Lewis learn about what was stolen, four dream tapes from the Executive Dreamfile.  Murphy would eventually learn from “Old Man” that he’s one of four company presidents whose Dream Tapes were the ones that were stolen.  He also learns from OCP’s head man that the ideas for Delta City, Dreamarama and even RoboCop himself originally spawned from a man named Prof. Cybex.  After accidentally signing his ideas away to Med-Inc., he attacks the company head (named Mr. Fodor) before he’s shot out of the building’s top floor towards the ground.  Surviving the grave fall but mostly crippled for life, he’s now back to enact his own revenge as he acquired the Dream Tapes (due to Joe Pizza serving as his right-hand man) for his own means of blackmail.

Cybex enacts his devious plan by cybernetically attacking Mr. Fodor at his own home with a barrage of nightmarish holograms on his own Dream Tape.  After RoboCop makes his way through the house’s security system and ultimately frees Mr. Fodor from his own mental cell, he makes his way towards Prof. Cybex’ hideout.

Unbeknownst to all, Nixco reveals what Mr. Nix and Mr. Darkstone have done with Dek Kyng.  He’s been given robotic implants so that he’s now become their mind-controlled assassin.

RoboCop manages to sneak into Cybex’ hideout, but he’s taken aback as a cyborg gorilla & a robotized monkey overwhelm and defeat him.  This allows Cybex to strap our hero down and send him off to dream while he analyzes his circuits in order to learn about him.

While that happens, the devious professor proceeds to hypnotically attack “Old Man”.  At that moment, Kyng comes in and is about to shoot Cybex, but the robotic primates notice and attack.  After Cybex and Pizzarelli take their leave, RoboCop is able to free himself and snap OCP’s head man out of his hypnotic prison before he heads after his targets with Kyng following suit shortly after towards a construction yard.

Murphy manages to defeat Pizzarelli, but Cybex blindsides him with a wreaking ball before the robo-gorilla attacks him.  However, Kyng comes in and shoots Kyng out of his hoverchair.  Fortunately, the shot also took out the cyborg gorilla and allowed RoboCop to knockout Kyng with a punch that also shatters the control band before he runs out of power.  Fortunately, Donald Johnson closes out the two-parter as he reacquires RoboCop in order to get him back to crime-fighting status.

Issues 5 & 6 sees our favorite cyborg going outside his city limits and engage a foreign affair in the two-parter “War”.

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OCP is approached by General Sanchez, leader of the Spanish military, who informs “Old Man” and Donald Johnson that they’re engaged in a war with Northern Africa and are unable to engage in combat without other countries rallying against them.  As such, RoboCop gets enlisted as their ace in the hole.  With his three Prime Directives erased and armed with enhanced armor & new weapons, he’s informed that he’s being sent into Algeria in order to infiltrate a secret Arab base in order to capture their leader General Abu Dara a.k.a. The Deserthawk, due to his starting the war “for his own political ends”.  As Murphy gets flown off towards his mission, we also learn from “Old Man” and David Johnson that they placed their own tracer onto RoboCop and even an auto-destruct function in order to erase any trace of the company’s involvement.  Sometime later, a Media Break news chopper reports on the refugees trying to flee on the Gibraltar Bridge and seek refuge in Spain, but the opposing military refuses to let them in.  Eventually, they have their helicopters blow up part of the bridge in order to halt the refugees in their path.

Meanwhile, a fully-armed and fully-armored RoboCop is forced to jump out of the transporter plane because of enemy jets (who were aware of his approach due to the OCP limo driver secretly informing them several hours prior) and mainly shoots them down with his precise aiming system & his Auto-9 handgun.  After he lands and cloaks himself from enemy radar, he makes his way towards the base, taking out the opposing traps and troops along the way.  After commandeering one of their battle-cycles (called a Gyro Rider), he proceeds to attack the enemy base and make his way inside.

Unfortunately, he’s quickly captured in an Electro-Net as Abu Dara emerges with his men.  However, he frees RoboCop in order to explain his side of the conflict.  Because of the simmering heat and the searing desert sands, he’s actually found a way to nourish his country’s own people with his own Hydroponics, growing various crops below the desert floor.  However, Abu Dara explains of a pair of major setbacks as it’ll be three years before there will be enough crops to self-sustain his people.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s not able to get necessary support from a trio of water companies in order to grow his plants.  Just then, his bionically-enhanced hawk spots incoming Spanish Troops.

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After letting the Deserthawk know that he was unaware of his decoy status, RoboCop sets out to the Farrah Oasis in order to breakthrough the jammed signals with their back-up Com-Facilities on his own, since he tells Abu Dara that he’ll need the manpower he can get in order to protect the base.  However, he gets ambushed by a group of militant Spanish ruffians led by El Zook.  Despite the struggle, RoboCop fights his way through the opposing group and even gets some help from Abu’s hawk as he finally reaches the oasis.  However, he’s shocked to find an ED-209 waiting for him as he gets severely damaged.  Fortunately, he grabs a palm tree and uses it to smack the towering behemoth as it shorts out in the water.

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Murphy then contacts OCP in time before his auto-destruct gets activated as he informs “Old Man” and Donald Johnson that they were double-crossed by the Spaniards and let’s them know how they can stop the incoming war.  Back at the base, the Spanish military is about to engage Abu Dara and his men at their base.  Fortunately, they get informed in time that the war has ended.  In the news broadcast, it turns out that OCP will fund the entirety of North Africa’s water supply in exchange for half of the shares in their hydroponics system as Murphy is getting prepped for his return trip home.

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A few months before Michael Crichton’s famed novel was published and three years before its theatrical adaptation hit theaters, Issue #7 saw our favorite cyborg tangle with dinosaurs in his own manner.

A preview day for the press at the Detroit Dino Park turns ugly when a pair of Deinonychus break out of their cage and attack the reporters.  Fortunately, RoboCop was also on hand to help out.  However, their hides are too thick for bullets to harm them.  While he does manage to subdue one by shooting a tender spot behind its leg, he takes out the other one by pinning it and stretching out its mouth in order to break its jaw.  Afterwards, Murphy is met by the park owner Mr. Spengel and his partner Anton Wizzel a.k.a. “Dogbite”.  Spengel is bummed that his cloned dinosaurs were killed and that the electronic lock on their cage has been tampered.

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After he gets told about an opposing dinosaur-themed called Robosaur World (which is somewhat rundown), RoboCop heads over to investigate.  He meets up with park owner Hank Mabon and his sailor robotic helper Bos’n (whom he acquired from a Ocean Theme Park in Malibu).  Hank says that even though his park is in dire straights compared to the Detroit Dino Park, he didn’t commit any act of sabotage as RoboCop’s sensors inform him that the old man is telling the truth.

That night, he spots Bos’n sneaking into the Detroit Dino Park.  However, he gets called away when the Urban Kurs return in order to rob a meat truck that’s bound for said theme park.  After RoboCop easily takes the opposing hoverbike gang, he proceeds to accompany the truck towards its destination.  Meanwhile, Bos’n overhears a conversation between Mr. Spengel and Anton on how the media attack should help draw in a bigger crowd.  Just as they spot it and prepare to take it out, RoboCop arrives with their meat delivery as Mr. Spengel accuses the sea-faring robot of foul play within his park.  Murphy uses his Terminal Strip in order to scan Bos’n and also finds it innocent.

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For the park’s grand opening, RoboCop is accompanied by Anne Lewis in order to keep watch.  Unbeknownst to them, someone makes a call to Mr. Darkstone over at Nixcorp as we learn that the foiled beef heist was part of the overall plan to foil OCP’s Delta City plans.  Just as RoboCop catches sight of the possible perpetrator (who turns out to be Anton), the lock on a cage that holds the park’s Tyrannosaurus Rex named Tyranno unlocks as the beast begins its rampage on the bystanders.  Murphy realizes that since “Dogbite” normally runs the parks electric system, Wizzel was behind the sabotage.

RoboCop finds himself in a prehistoric fight for his life as he nearly avoids getting chewed on by unleashing a massive electric shock.  However, Tyranno starts to crush him with his foot.  With his cyborg body getting slowly destroyed, he sends out an ultrasonic signal to Bos’n who proceeds to ride a mechanized Triceratops into battle.  This proves to be enough of a distraction as RoboCop grabs a park sign and throws it up at Tyranno, stabbing it in a vital part of its neck and killing it.  After learning from Mr. Spengler that Anton has escaped, Mabon and Bos’n are thanked by our hero for coming through for him in his dire hour.

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Over in Issue #8, we see that in the midst of a street gang war, there stands a chance for someone to step away towards something better.

After RoboCop and Anne Lewis save a video store owner from burning alive in his own business, they ask him what caused the blaze.  When the man says that it was either a careless cigarette or even an electrical fire, Murphy’s sensors pick up his untruthful explanation.  Just then, he notices an Urban Kur gang member who was watching from afar and taking off.  As such, RoboCop and Lewis track down a few of the street gang and chase after them.  Despite them mainly escaping, they do capture one member as Lewis offers him $100 if he can tell them who caused the video store fire.  The kid, who’s called “Einstein”, tells them that it was caused by a rival gang called the Psykoids.  Because he’s a younger member of the Urban Kurs, his superiors never inform him of important gang details to which they let him go.

Over at an amusement park, an OCP employee named MacKenna meets with the Psykoids and their leader named Skub.  It turns out that the upcoming gang war is part of OCP’s plan to reduce the land value and then buy it up for cheap as part of “Old Man”‘s plan to make Delta City a reality (this is where we start seeing his sudden deviousness from RoboCop 2).  Meanwhile, Einstein meets back up with his fellow Urban Kurs as their leader named Blade (not the Daywalker, sillies) suspects him of being a possible traitor since he was busted by the cops.  Einstein lets him know that he didn’t snitch on them and heads out, while Blade sends two members after him in order to make sure he keeps to his word.  Fortunately, RoboCop and Lewis manage to overhear the conversation from afar thanks to a listening device.  However, they’re informed by headquarters that all police officers are ordered to pull out.  Despite that, RoboCop and Lewis decide to proceed with their venture.

Later, Einstein gets caught by Blade’s goons while he was placing his $100 into his hidden stash that he was saving in order to quit the gang life.  After he’s taken to their leader, Blade is convinced that he’s sold his fellow members out.  With Einstein unwilling to explain how he got his money, he gets placed onto Blade’s hoverbike as he and the rest of the Urban Kurs head out to rendezvous with Dave Derango (since he has their weapons) before tangling with the Psykoids.  Fortunately, RoboCop manages to toss a Magnetic Tracker onto Blade’s ride before he and Lewis follow after him.

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When the Urban Kurs arrive just outside of the amusement park, Derango also shows up in his hover van but doesn’t stop and flies into the fair grounds with the gang and our police pair following suit.  After Derango gets shot at and ultimately crashes, the Urban Kurs prepare to punish their member while grabbing their weapons.  However, it turns out the be an ambush as the Psykoids surround them and open fire, beginning the gang war while Einstein tries to take cover.  Meanwhile, Lewis splits up from her partner to cover more ground while RoboCop engages the gang members and promptly defeats them with Skub taking himself out as he tries headbutting Murphy but ends up hurting himself on the armored helmet.  However, Blade caught up to Einstein and prepare to slit his throat, still under the misconceived notion of a traitorous act.  Fortunately, Anne Lewis gets to shine as she shoots Blade in order to save the lad’s life.  From there, she gives Einstein his recovered money and make a fresh start by leaving town immediately.  As such, the kid heads out to close out the issue.

Issues #9 & 10 sees RoboCop dealing with masked civilians taking the law into their own hands and the unintended consequences it can have in a two-part tale called “Vigilante!”.

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A masked man named General Power saves a beaten man from a pair of thugs before accidentally shocking him during his thanks.  Just then, RoboCop arrives and prevents General Power from escaping.  The two have a brief fight, but Murphy ultimately defeats him.  However, the previously-saved man leaves while questioning why his savior is being arrested for doing a good deed.

Later, two members of the Urban Kurs named Zits and Kaktus chase after a young boy named Dink and attack him before his father (who turns out to be the guy RoboCop just saved) chases them off and takes his son home.

At the police station, it turns out that General Power isn’t the only costumed vigilante getting arrested as several others have been caught as well.  However, Sgt. Warren Reed gets informed by OCP that every last one of them are to be let go and only receive misdemeanors.

Back in their apartment, Dink and his father tune in watch the hit TV Show “The Detroit Vigilante” where the titular figure takes his hovering camera and goes out to stop crime.  At OCP, we learn from “Old Man” and Donald Johnson that while the show is having a positive effect on the city, it’s also what inspired the copycat costumed vigilantes in the first place.

Meanwhile, RoboCop takes care of a warehouse heist (briefly coming across its protector named “Warehouse Guardsman” in the process) before he confronts the Detroit Vigilante and his agent.  Despite Murphy telling him that their show has caused a rise in “vigilante-related crime” and even pulling off D.V.’s mask, his agent exclaims that the program (which comes with its own disclaimer of telling people not to copy the titular character’s actions) has attracted millions of viewers and that “OCP will let nothing jeopardize it” before they take their leave.

Later, a tragic event occurs as Dink is once again chased down by the same two Urban Kurs.  The kid tries running across the street to get away, but he gets hit by a taxi.  RoboCop, who was watching the event unfold, discovers from his sensors that Dink died from the impact before he chases down the two Street Kurs and takes them out.  Just then, Dink’s father comes out of his apartment and is saddened to find out that his son is newly-deceased and learns about what happened.

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The grief-stricken dad then vows to enact his revenge on the Urban Kurs despite RoboCop’s warnings.  After a quick scene where a pair of costumed vigilantes named Kevlar Gloveman and Johnny Bazooka rob a couple on the streets, Murphy contacts OCP and demands that they pull The Detroit Vigilante from the air.  However, Old Man refuses to do so and tells him to not arrest any masked vigilante.

At that same time, the grieving dad dons his own makeshift costume and starts hopping across the rooftops as RoboCop follows in his police car.  After arriving at an outdoor grill called Greazy Al’s where the Urban Kurs are hanging out, the man begins his attack on the gang by dismantling part of the neon sign onto them before throwing some daggers their way.  Shortly after RoboCop finally arrives, the man leaps down to attack.  However, Murphy steps out of the way as the guy lands on the ground and injures himself.  With the Urban Kurs itching to enact their anger, RoboCop tells them to back away as he takes the man into his car and drives off.

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Later, the Detroit Vigilante is out shooting another episode of his program when Kevlar Gloveman and Johnny Bazzoka unleash a surprise attack and corner him.  Unbeknownst to them, another costumed vigilante named Sewerman (who has comedically shown up twice prior) oversees the commotion and sends up a signal flare for help.  As such, the likes of General Power, Doc Chainsaw, Beer Gut Man and several others answer the call.  However, the Urban Kurs also catch the signal and spring into action.  Fortunately, so does RoboCop.

Soon enough, a three-way battle between the villainous pair, the costumed civilians and the street gang erupts on the streets.  Despite being ordered not to engage, RoboCop steps in and breaks up the fight.  However, the masked dad manages to get out of Murphy’s damaged cop car and finds a nearby missile launcher as he prepares to wipe the Urban Kurs.  RoboCop manages to shoot him, but he’s too late as he gets the shot off and strikes the Detroit Vigilante’s car, causing a massive explosion.  The issue then ends as Media Break reports that everyone except RoboCop was decimated in the blast and that the vigilante program gets pulled from the air.

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With issue #11, we get a different writer and artist team in Evan Skolnick and Herb Trimpe for this done-in-one story involving a battle between cyborgs.

As a humanoid machine gets up and kills its creators, his narration states that he used to be known as Daniel O’Hara.  When he used to be a human, he was an OCP employee who diverted funds and took tech from the company to create his own version of the RoboCop program called the Cyber-Wraith project.  When OCP caught on to this, he was fired and RoboCop ultimately gunned him down.  Now that he’s been reborn via his own project, Cyber-Wraith prepares to get revenge on our cyborg hero.

Meanwhile, Anne Lewis is chasing down a pair of goons down an alley.  Fortunately, RoboCop comes by and helps her arrest them.  As they drive back to the station, Murphy starts hearing a feint voice in his head.  Later, two police officers named Cohen and Juarez are on patrol when they come across the Cyber-Wraith just walking through the streets.  After they contact headquarters, Sgt. Warren Reed gives him authorization to fire.  However, they soon regret their action as the Cyber-Wraith fires a missile and blows up their car, taking them both out.  Not too long after returning to the station, RoboCop and Lewis overhear the situation and head out in an armored cruiser.

RoboCop #11-War On The Streets!RoboCop #11-Target Acquired!RoboCop #11-Realization!RoboCop #11-Trouble In Combat!

She tries firing a powerful shot at it, but misses as the Cyber-Wraith strikes the car with its own chest beam.  The resulting impact sends Lewis flying through a nearby window and takes her out of the fight as RoboCop emerges from the wreaked vehicle to save his partner.  As he watches from afar, Cyber-Wraith suddenly recognizes the cyborg who took his life and goes after him.  With Murphy still receiving his thoughts as “Transmission Residue”, he quickly scans his own files and realizes that it’s actually Daniel O’Hara.  As RoboCop tries talking to his foe, we learn that he had to kill O’Hara because the fiend held a group of people captive and he killed one of the hostages.  With the talks failing, Murphy fires a missile launcher but it goes right through the Cyber-Wraith.

After getting attacked by a hand beam, RoboCop’s sensors discover that his foe is able to disintegrate himself and have opposing shots phase right through him.  He proceeds to blind the Cyber-Wraith with a “Visor Radiation Flash” before firing a successful shot at him, damaging his chest.  However, O’Hara is able to fire another hand beam and cause massive damage to Murphy, even destroying his left arm.  As the Cyber-Wraith detaches himself from his legs (it hovers as well) and ties up RoboCop in order to finish him off, Murphy suddenly realizes the one thing he still has that can help take his foe down: his humanity.  As such, he jabs his Terminal Strip into the Cyber-Wraith and bombards him with the image of how O’Hara died.  Murphy then shares his own brutal death with him as it overloads the fiend’s system and permanently defeats him.  The issue then ends at Cohen and Juarez’s funeral with RoboCop and Lewis among the attendees as Murphy (referencing a conversation they had earlier) tells her that someone (likely her) understands his pain.

RoboCop #12 (Marvel)

In issue #12, Lee Sullivan returns to his pencil duties, but he’s accompanied by a different writer in Simon Furman as our favorite cyborg must venture to a part of the city where even the law doesn’t dare go to.

As RoboCop saves a young boy from a bomb that explodes his car (while Lewis carries his unconscious mother as well), the kid informs him that his dad was taken.  With a sudden flash from his memory comparing the boy to his own son James Murphy, he heads out on his rescue mission.  During an episode of Media Break, we learn that the missing dad named Tod Holt was attacked and kidnapped by Black Market Organ Dealers while his wife Anne was found unconscious.  The reporters also mention how OCP is being pressured to have more RoboCops on patrol due to the rise of street crime.

Meanwhile, Murphy and Lewis are searching for the missing dad.  RoboCop then replays the recent car bombing that led to Tod’s kidnapping and Anne’s beating.  He actually came across the gang, but their leader named Carl “Tusks” Allen tosses a bomb into the car with the kid and tells Murphy not to follow them or else he’ll activate a trigger and blow up the car.  As such, the felons got away as RoboCop and Lewis had to deal with the explosive situation.

After a quick scene where a man in silhouette is informed by Metro West Records that Murphy was there earlier and accessed all of Tusk’s criminal files, RoboCop and Lewis arrive at the outskirts of a sector of Old Detroit where crime is so bad that even OCP doesn’t acknowledge it: Purgatory.  Because the felon operates out of a bar that’s within the barred sector, RoboCop still decides to head in.  However, Lewis doesn’t follow since Purgatory is forbidden to all cops.

As he makes his way through the grim streets, he’s suddenly attacked by a different street gang who finally have a law-enforcing official to oppose them.  With their excessive gunfire actually managing to strain RoboCop’s armor, they prepare to finish him off with a missile launcher.  Fortunately, Murphy dodges the blast and promptly defeats the gang before he finally reaches his destination: a bar called the Sin Bin.  Once inside, he easily defeats Tusks and his gang as Lewis later sees the criminals brought to her so that they can be arrested.

RoboCop #12-Something Sinister Lies Within These Walls!

Afterwards, the issue ends with RoboCop arriving at a building that he acquired the address from after roughing up the gang leader.  As he looks through the skylight window, he discovers that it isn’t a body-shop or even an organ dealership.  It’s actually a lab that’s making their own versions of RoboCops.

RoboCop #13 (Marvel).jpg

Following a quick commercial advertising Auto-Destruct (a way to blow up a rogue RoboCop), issue #13 continues the story from the previous issue as the man is silhouette is informed by his assistant that our main cyborg violated his programming by venturing into Purgatory.

RoboCop #13-Shady Talk!RoboCop #13-Sanity Within The Technical Madness!

He tells his aide not to contact “Old Man” and that he should keep watch on the situation, reporting only to him.  Back at the building that’s making its own RoboCops, one of the scientists named Homer Thyle isn’t exactly pleased with the operations since he originally wanted to prove his worth in bio-mechanical engineering.  However, he realized how foul it became when it involved kidnapping civilians and turning them into their own cyborgs.

RoboCop #13-I'm Going In!RoboCop #13-Surprise Within The Shoot-Out!RoboCop #13-Shock & Hope!RoboCop #13-You're All In Trouble!

Just then, RoboCop jumps through the skylight and shoots the resisting guards.  Because one of them tried (and failed) to use a surprise grenade, the explosive destroys the walkway as Murphy falls down next to a make-shift cyborg and gets his own shock at the horror of it.  As Homer thinks to himself how he finally has someone who gives him the courage to stand up against this heinous act, RoboCop gathers the remaining scientists and places them under arrest.

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Meanwhile, Sgt. Reed meets Lewis just outside of Purgatory and says that they’re going to be in trouble with OCP since one of their own ventured into the forbidden territory.  However, Anne says that RoboCop strongly believed in upholding his own sense of duty and that they should follow suit. However, Reed isn’t willing to go in or send any other cop for assistance.  As such, Lewis discards her police outfit and decides to head in “as a civilian”.

Back at the building, RoboCop discovers a hospital ward with several bodies lying on beds.  While his scanners detect an abnormally low amount of neural activity, a closer examination discovers that they’ve been lobotomized.  Still, he decides to press on.  Suddenly, he gets attacked as an ED-209 suddenly appears and engages him.

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Back at OCP, the assistant lets his silhouetted authority figure know that he sent the ED-209 after RoboCop but wants to blow up the place just to be safe.  However, the man declines that notion since A. Murphy is too valuable to the company B. He wouldn’t have a plausible excuse to give to “Old Man” & C. He’d actually like to “reason” with the heroic cyborg.  He then says that if all else fails, he’ll send an “outside contractor”.

RoboCop #13-Witnessing The Ruckus!RoboCop #13-Best Resignation Ever!

Meanwhile, RoboCop continues to get blasted by ED-209 as he lands in a supply closet.  Afterwards, the mechanical fiend fires a mini-missile at the room, blowing it up and assumes that his target has been destroyed.  Afterwards, Homer comes across a lone guard (who was watching RoboCop from afar prior to the recent attack) who prepares to shoot the test subjects and erase any evidence.  Fortunately, Thyle is able to subdue him with his own laser beam before officially giving his resignation.

RoboCop #13-More Robotic Clashes!RoboCop #13-Saved By An Unexpected Ally!RoboCop #13-A New Foe Enters The Fray!

Meanwhile, ED-209 checks over the charred remains of the supply closet.  Fortunately, it turns out that it contained spare limbs for the project as RoboCop attacks and tries to use his Terminal Strip in order to take control of it.  However, ED-209 smacks him away and prepares to finish him off.  Thankfully, Homer returns and blasts the robotic fiend with his laser beam as he prepares to tell RoboCop everything.  Meanwhile, the mystery man has his “outside contractor” investigate the remains of the building as Cl. Flak explains that they’ve been ordered to capture our hero dead or alive.

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Continuing the narrative from last time, Issue #14 opens on Donald Johnson as his thoughts gives us a bit of insight on his character as his driver carries him across town.

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He grew up in the slums of Old Detroit until he joined OCP and began to shape his dream of bringing positive change to the city.  However, he didn’t expect RoboCop to become the shining example of that dream.  At the warehouse, Murphy learns from Homer that the building and the operations within its walls is OCP property.

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After he packs his belongings up, Thyle offers him the chance to leave this place behind.  After all, Murphy would be combating the same company that originally made him.  However, he declines since the current problem wouldn’t go away by itself and he wants to prove that no one, not even OCP, is above the law.

After Homer takes his leave, we head back inside the factory as Cl. Frederic Lac (a.k.a. Colonel Flak) tells his men to damage RoboCop but to not kill him.  Just then, Murphy’s sensors picks up the felons within the building and opens fire on them.  In repsonse, Flak’s men head out to engage him.  Their gunfire actually damages RoboCop’s “Forward Systems”, rendering him blind in that aspect and forcing him to take cover.

After a quick scene where Donald Johnson is reminded by Media Break of the events of RoboCop 2 and reveals that he has the self-destruct trigger, Murphy is about to be ambushed by the thugs.  Fortunately, his “Echo Sounder” catches a felon coming up from behind and he manages to shoot him, causing him to misfire his missile launcher and distract the other thug long enough for RoboCop to emerge and take him out.  However, another felon immediately opens fire with a laser gun.  It turns out that Murphy was distracted by the possibility of finding eternal rest in death.  Just then, Flak comes in and destroys the laser gun in order to deal with RoboCop himself.

Meanwhile, Lewis runs as fast as she can through the dark streets of Purgatory in order to reach her partner.  Back at the factory, Flak is able to beat up RoboCop and aims to kill him in order to claim his better robotic body.  Just then, Homer returns and tries to ram him with his van.  However, Flak is able to stop it cold and prepares to finish off Thyle.  Fortunately, this allows RoboCop to recover as he grabs his Auto-9 and shoots at his foe.  Unfortunately, Flak is able to withstand the gunfire as he blasts Murphy towards the fence before he pins his head to the ground with his foot.

Thankfully, RoboCop manages to end the fight as he thrusts the corrupt colonel at the electric fence and shocks the foe.  Just as Homer comes over and explains that he too “couldn’t just walk away”, Donald Johnson arrives and admits to hiring Flak since it would take a long time to find suitable candidates in order to create an army of RoboCops and that he had to bend the law in order to create this vision.  He then offers Murphy the chance to share that dream with him, but RoboCop turns him down since no one should place themselves above the law to reach that better dream. However, Johnson takes out the self-destruct trigger and activates it in order to take Murphy out.

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As we reach the fourth and final part of this particular tale, Issue #15 opens with the self-destruct sequence well under way as RoboCop’s systems begin to crash.

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Homer tried to convince Donald that his belief in an army of RoboCops being the lone solution to wiping out Old Detroit’s crimes (and even kidnapping random citizens to turn them into his crime-fighting cyborgs) is insane.  However, Johnson exclaims that sacrifices are needed as he departs with his limo driver.  With RoboCop only minutes away from self-destructing, Donald is stunned to see Homer trying to reach the implanted explosive device.

With an assist from RoboCop ripping off a piece of his mid-section, Thyle works to remove the imploding disc from our hero.  Just as Johnson tells his driver to stop him, Homer manages to take the explosive out in time as the driver meets his end in an explosion.  With his own plan unraveling, Donald hops into the driver’s seat and tries to flee.

Fortunately, Homer hands RoboCop his Auto-9 as he shoots the tire and causes him to crash.  Just then, Lewis comes in to assist.  However, Johnson (thinking that she’s a random jogger) manages to run away.  Despite having a clear shot, RoboCop doesn’t fire as Homer believes that he’s still under the influence of “Directive 4” (Any attempt to arrest a senior employee of OCP results in system shutdown).  Murphy goes through his list of Prime Directives and convinces him that he’s not instilled with “Directive 4” (especially due to the ending of the first film) as he heads back inside the factory.

Over at OCP, Old Man prepares to head down to said facility and orders for Johnson’s project files to be destroyed.  Meanwhile, RoboCop is on the hunt for Donald when he passes by the make-shift cyborgs and vows to put a permanent end to this experiment.  Elsewhere in the building, Johnson reaches the captured scientists and orders them to turn the cyborg army on.

As such, they proceed to come online and attack RoboCop just as Lewis bursts in.  As he’s getting ambushed by the cyborgs, Murphy actually considers letting himself get killed since he thinks that his own creation ultimately led to these experiments.  Just then, Anne notices Donald & a scientist coming out and demands them to deactivate their cyborgs.  However, the scientist explains that he can’t due to not having Neural Dempers installed in them yet.  A brief struggle ensues between him & Lewis before one of the cyborgs breaks it up.  Horrified by what his experiment has become, Donald tried to intervene but gets punched by the robotic fiend.

Seeing her partner trapped in a robotic beatdown, Lewis reminds Murphy that this experiment isn’t his fault, but he still has his human memories and is able to “make a difference”.  This gives RoboCop his second wind while Homer saves Lewis from a rampaging cyborg.  Meanwhile, Murphy isn’t able to retrieve his gun in time as another cyborg grabs it and takes aim.  However, it actually shoots the tanks and explodes as the building begins to crumble.  The cyborg then gives Murphy his gun back before sacrificing itself in the flames as RoboCop thinks about Johnson’s misguided vision.

As Old Man looks over the remains of Cl. Flak, Lewis approaches him and says that she’s going to bust him.  However, Old Man says that their evidence has gone up in flames as she prepares to strike him.  Fortunately, RoboCop holds her back and tells her that he recorded all the evidence they need to take OCP down, but they need to recover from the destruction.  Sometime later, Media Break runs a story on OCP scrapping their cyborg project and that RoboCop himself has been released from company control as the issue ends with Murphy, Lewis & Homer heading out in order to “get to work”.

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For issue #16, we have Andrew Wildman stepping in as a guest penciller for this tale where too much TV leads to much dire consequences.

RoboCop confronts a guy who tried to rob a bank while a fantasy image plays out in the man’s head as he sees himself in the Old West confronting an outlaw named Ike Stanton.  Murphy (after withstanding the foe’s gun shots) proceeds to fire a single shot back as the man falls over dead before walking off feeling that his action was a bit “rash”.

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Back at the Metro West Police Station, Homer proceeds to give him repairs while Anne finds it odd that a man who’s hardly a felon would suddenly commit a serious crime.  With RoboCop unable to find any rationale from the situation (due to him approaching it like a machine), Lewis heads out to deal with it on her own.  After she takes her leave, Homer briefly mentions how their recent deal allows him to give him top-notch maintenance, but he tells Murphy to approach this situation as he’s previously done: “The Right Way”.

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At OCP, Old Man talks to a hired person about how his company’s own cyborg made him fund the Detroit Police.  He then tells the mystery person to make it look like RoboCop is dangerous without OCP keeping him in line.

After a quick Media Break discusses about a string of strange robberies being committed by regular citizens, Lewis arrives at the Metro West morgue as the mortician shows her what was recently removed from a corpse’s brain: a microchip called “Implant TV” (foreshadowed in a commercial four issues ago), which allows someone to watch their favorite programs wherever they are.  As RoboCop comes in, he tells Anne that out of 52 arrests, six of them were citizens who were actual subscribers.  As such, he decides to that they need to drop by Implant TV Studios.

Over at said building, a worrisome assistant named Tulley is approached by his unseen boss and thinks about his weirdly new appearance before informing him that their broadcasts are ready to get beamed into their “Prime Candidate”.  Just then, a flashing light warns them of some unwanted visitors.  As such, RoboCop and Lewis arrive outside of the studio as Murphy exclaims this Detroit TV Branch was shut down several months ago.  Back inside, Tulley gets told to deal with them while they summon their “volunteers”, which consists of a business man, a single mother and a gun-toting guy who likes Rambo a bit too much.

As RoboCop and Lewis make their way through a cemetery set, Murphy suddenly sees a grotesque skeleton rising up from a grave.  He shoots towards the general area, but gets told by Lewis afterwords that nothing was there.  Nearby, Tulley discovers that RoboCop’s systems can act as its own Implant TV Receiver if played at the right frequency.  As such, his boss orders him to give our hero “whatever his heart desires”.

After RoboCop fights off more non-existent enemies, the “volunteers” arrive as the gun-toting guy starts firing at him and Lewis.  She takes cover while RoboCop doesn’t respond as his armor protects from the enemy fire.  As such, Anne fires a shot at the guy and manages to wound him.  Just then, she’s attacked by the crazed mother.  With the frequencies still playing in Murphy’s head, he’s suddenly whisked back to his human life where he gets to be with his wife Ellen and his son Jimmy.

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Back with Lewis, she gets some unexpected help as the business man (under the influence of a heroic TV figure) rams the maniacal mother off of her.  This allows Anne to confront Tulley as she orders him to cut the broadcasts.  Unfortunately, he says that he can’t because his boss, Mr. Stook, creates illusions for others to get lost in and that RoboCop inadvertently created his own illusion that he needs to climb out of himself.

Back in his own mind, Murphy ultimately convinces himself that this fantasy is a lie and snaps himself back into reality in order to confront Mr. Stook himself.  It turns out that the boss’ “new appearance” has his head as an actual television.  He also explains that Implant TV came about when he was fired from his previous small-screen gig.  Thankfully, RoboCop puts an end to his scheme as he punches Mr. Stook in the face and smashes his display screen in the process.  As Tulley is later arrested, Murphy is glum that several people lost their lives due to a mad man’s scheme.  Fortunately, Lewis tells him to not follow his “Shoot First, Ask Later” programming and allow his human side to make the call.  The issue then ends in a shady deal where a man receives a single name on a piece of paper: Alex Murphy.

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In issue #17, Lee Sullivan resumes his pencil duties as Murphy’s partner gets some spotlight of her own.

A woman in mourning clothes demands her assistant named Kline not to bother her as he leaves the room.  He then learns from two grunts named Concreate and Clay that she goes by the name of “Lot’s Wife” as she prepares to go after RoboCop & Anne Lewis.

Over at the Murphy household, Ellen and her son Jimmy prepare to take a car ride as she thinks about her police station visit from RoboCop 2 and depressingly wonders about whether her former husband is alive in his cyborg body.  After she thinks that it would ultimately be for the best if he remained dead, RoboCop sees her drive off and ponders how with all of his great abilities, he’s unable to go see her & his son again.  As he goes to take his leave, the mystery man from the end of the last issue is secretly watching from afar and realizes that RoboCop & Alex Murphy are one and the same.

RoboCop #17-Shakedown Central!RoboCop #17-Stay Where You Are, Bub!RoboCop #17-Smothered In Trouble!RoboCop #17-Gotcha, Fatso!

Sometime later, Lewis and a pair of officers bust up an illegal gambling joint called “The Pit” as a shootout occurs before she comes across the main boss: an obese man named Fat Matt.  As he approaches her, she’s forced to fire at him.  Despite a few point-blank shots, he reveals that he’s wearing artificial flesh combined with OCP Body-Max Armor as he grabs Anne and tries to smother her against his body.  Fortunately, she takes out a knife and stabs him in the side before pistol-whipping him as she finally manages to subdue her target.  As Fat Matt gets taken away, a fellow officer mentions to Lewis how “compulsive ones will risk everything for one more hand of cards”.

Sometime later at her apartment, she thinks back to her former husband named Earl who constantly risked himself in shady business for her.  Ultimately, their marriage fell apart and she wound up divorcing him as she believes that he’s been killed a long time ago.  As she relaxes in her bath, she suddenly hears a noise out in her apartment and arms herself in defense.  However, she’s stunned to see Earl back in her life.

Meanwhile, RoboCop takes care of a bust as he efficiently wipes out some thugs while leaving the others alive for their arrest.  After a discussion among a pair of cops that informs us that this was Murphy’s 16th bust in one night, he drives back to the police station in order to recharge himself before going back out on patrol.  He then suddenly sees Lewis drive out without much care.