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Terminator/RoboCop: Kill Human #1

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Terminator/RoboCop: Kill Human #1

Credits

  • Words: Rob Williams
  • Art: P.J. Holden
  • Colors: Rainer Petter
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 27, 2011

Two of the biggest genre-defining works of science fiction of the last 20 years are about to meet under the Dynamite banner.

Terminator/RoboCop: Kill Human #1 begins a story that promises to coalesce the two distinct properties and tones them into one rock ‘em sock ‘em good time. Do writer Rob Williams and artist P.J. Holden hit the mark?

The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no.

Kill Human starts off in the Terminator universe where what could be the last stand in the human resistance is quickly falling under Skynet’s defenses. We meet Lauren Amendola, a tech savvy freedom fighter who is quickly becoming the last breathing member of her strike party. The plan was a desperate one involving breaking into Skynet, the central nervous system of all Terminator machines, and assaulting its mainframe. Naturally, nothing goes as planned and Lauren finds herself alone in a robotics museum on Skynet property. Can you guess which ancient pieces of cybernetic hardware she comes across in glass cases (hint: one is in the title and the other will only give you "ten seconds to comply")?

In a desperate move, Lauren brings RoboCop online and he saves the day from an onslaught of Terminators bearing down on her. She very well may be the last human on Earth, so the protection of this "citizen" quickly becomes Murphy's priority. That lasts about three seconds and then the book ends rather confusingly, story and art-wise.  

The art by P.J. Holden is serviceable to the story, but becomes muddled and confusing in the third act of the book. I literally scanned the last two pages a few times to follow what happened. Not because it was so shocking, but because I have no idea why it happened. I understand the reason for cliffhangers, but it's so haphazardly tacked on, it seems like a shock for shock's sake. It's not exclusively a story, pacing, or art issue, but an amalgam of all three that have made the whole package never reaching beyond mediocre. Were those alternative orders given to RoboCop? Are those Terminators alive or dead on the last page? He can't talk to Skynet, but can Skynet talk to him? Too many questions and not enough good set up in the first two acts to make these queries forgivable.

One of the major problems plaguing this project seems to be striking the correct tone. Terminator boasts an apocalyptic landscape and is a metaphor for how humans will become lost to technology, the very things they create. Whereas RoboCop is borderline satire depicting the extremes a society can reach all projected through an ultraviolent and darkly comedic lens. Placing Robo in the middle of a Skynet war does not yet feel organic.

Perhaps Kill Human #2 will bear a solution so clever and well-rendered that my general gripes with this chapter would be considered null and void. In the meantime though, this chapter (for both franchises) just misses the target. 

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