Best Superhero Ever
Even before he underwent his pivotal transformation, Officer Murphy was a superhero. His only super powers were his courage and his strength of will. He was a man who fearlessly confronted evil without regard to his own safety. To make a difference in the fight against the violent criminals that dominated his town, his life was not too great a price to pay. And indeed, before he became Robocop, he paid that price.
Set in a fictional South Detroit not so far in the future, as the story begins the city is controlled by a corrupt corporation, Omni Consumer Products (OCP), with ties to the criminals from whom they are bound by contract to protect the citizens. Officer Murphy is imported from the suburbs as part of a sinister plan by part of the corporation to harvest dead cops for use as police cyborgs.
The plan works quickly. Due to severe staffing problems, no backup is available as they chase a step van full of well armed criminals into an abandoned mill. Rather than let the criminals get away, Murphy and his partner pursue them into the mill alone. They get separated and Murphy is brutally tortured and slain. He is survived by a wife and child.
Weeks later, Murphy awakes when his machine-enhanced brain is switched on, and finds himself in an armored, mostly mechanical body. He has been surgically transformed into Robocop. He is soon deployed into South Detroit and proves to be swift and precise in the performance of his duty as a police officer.
His memories of anything but his past work as a police officer were supposed to have been erased, but when he meets one of the criminals who killed him, memories of his old life begin to stir. He accesses the police mainframe computer, identifies his killers and procedes to hunt them down. When he catches the ring leader, clues lead to the ring leader's ties within OCP, a powerful and corrupt vice president.
When Robocop confronts the vice president. he discovers he has been preprogrammed for system failure should he try to arrest any OCP personnel. The vice president calls in a prototype military robot and a swat team and Robocop is damaged and peppered with bullets as he tries to escape. Luckily his partner rescues him and brings him to the only safe place she can think of - the very same mill in which he died.
There the people who killed him try to kill him again, but with the help of his partner, Robocop kills them instead. Having learned from his former confrontation with the evil VP at OCP, this time he makes no accusations and attempts no arrest, but crashes an OCP board meeting and lays the evidence before all present. The story ends rather gratuitously as the VP attempts to take the Chairman hostage. The Chairman promptly fires the VP, freeing Robocop to fill the VP full of holes.
The story ends when the Chairman asks, "What's your name, officer?"
"Murphy," Robocop replies.
Why is Robocop the Greatest?
To me, Officer Murphy represents the most courageous people of the American working class: the police, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians. These are people whose job it is to save our lives, and many of them risk their lives again and again in the performance of their duty. These people are often real life heroes.
Officer Murphy exceeds expectations because not only does he give his life willingly in the performance of his duty, he is more than ready, actually he is eager to do it again. He has superhuman powers because bullets bounce off his titanium body, he has the targeting precision of a computer and his cyborg limbs are stronger than any human's.
However, the characteristic that truly makes him the best superhero ever is the fact that despite everything that happened to him, despite the fact that he sacrificed not only his life, but his family and his humanity, he remained fundamentally the same person inside, and wanted only to do what is right.
To continue to love justice when so much injustice has been done you is truly a superhuman feat. May we all aspire.
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