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Evelyn Cream? Is that you? – COPS #14

November 25, 2011

C.O.P.S. (Central Organization of Police Specialists, if you missed that on the cover) rolled out in 1988, right when I was at the tail end of my cartoon consumption. A couple of years later the splendidly imagined Pirates of Dark Water would be the absolute last hurrah, but C.O.P.S. marked the end of the line for my after-school viewing. Organized sports came to occupy more time.

The show only lasted one year. Fitting.

It was a melding of He-Man and futuristic law enforcement, following a well-equipped police department as it did battle with a motley crew of equally super-powered baddies. Not to go too wild with the comparisons, but there was also a tinge of 1980s G.I. Joe in there as well, with a metropolitan constabulary receiving a tech upgrade instead of the military. The most memorable character was Big Boss, an obese Kingpin-esque crime lord with an Edward G. Robinson voice. I used to love imitating him. It would be years before I realized I’d actually been doing a Robinson imitation all along (and a damn good one, if I do say so myself — though who can’t do that imitation?).

The show had — of course — an accompanying action figure line (why else would it exist if not to market something?), along with a kinetic opening montage. The latter and the “Yeah, SEE?” were the only good things about it. It kind of blew. I hadn’t realized until recently that there was a comic to go along with the televised shenanigans. It’s not all that good, either, and thus faithfully adheres to its parent’s mediocrity. This particular issue, though, has a nice/terrible hook. That makes it worth a gander.

In “Buttons on a Vess” (ugh), written by Doug Moench, with art from Alan Kupperberg and Robert Campanella, Drago, a low-level hood who knew head COP Bulletproof (the Evelyn Cream-ish gent on the cover, whose real name is Baldwin P. Vess — hence the “ugh”) when they were both young, is out for revenge. Revenge for what? It’s all about “Lucille,” and Drago wants some help from Big Boss:

Lucille Bluth, perhaps? Whatever the point of contention, Big Boss gives the little fella the services of Buttons McBoomBoom, a hired gun with a penchant for automatic weaponry (including some built into his torso) who looks like he shares a tailor with Orko.

Bulletproof is having concurrent ominous nightmares where he’s a kid again, yet with his adult cyborg body and also a shocking fear of, yes, bullets:

There are many useless skills that I’d like to have, but being able to trace patterns with a machine gun has to be near the top of the list. THE LITE-BRITE OF DEATH. Impress your date!

Before long the bad dreams come true, and Bulletproof is hounded by Buttons to that terminus of so many pursuits, a warehouse. But Mr. McBoomBoom shows that, if there isn’t honor among thieves, there is some sort of half-ass code:

Time for some “I’LL SQUASH THAT BUG!”:

Now for the coda, which is either God-awful or mildly amusing, depending on your mood going in:

The missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle. I’m sure of this: Orson Welles is punching something in heaven right now. Oh, and I’m also sure that Bulletproof used to deliver papers while mostly nude.

I never got what the deal was with Bulletproof when I was watching the show as a kid — his shirt didn’t come off (no more papers to deliver, I guess), so I thought his gimmicks were his shades and the Jheri curl. Then one episode I saw his metal skin and realized he was a Cyborg rip-off. Fantastic. That about sums it all up. It was a fairly diluted universe.

The comic, despite the best efforts to Citizen Kane it up, is equally underwhelming. It’s a nice memento of another time, when I finally came to a “I’m getting to old for this shit” realization, but that’s not much to hang your hat on. FOR DEVOTED C.O.P.S.AHOLICS ONLY.

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