In Review: Cyborg #2

A good read, but still a building block issue.

The covers: The Main cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Adriano Lucas (all of who also do this issue’s interior visuals) have Cyborg sporting a huge energy rifle on his right arm (part of his body’s newly found abilities) and turning to look behind him, as he’s being approached by three of the Clive Barker-ish tech creatures from last month. I like the look of the villains, who would inspire terror in any medium, and Vic looks cool standing in the traditional “hero ready” pose. I do wish that the title character were more clearly shown. He doesn’t stand out half as much as the book’s baddies. The coloring is strong; the lack of a color for the background makes the empty space force the reader to look at the horrors approaching. Nicely done. The Variant cover is by the hugely talented Tony Harris and it’s a very freaky image. Before a close-up of a circuit board which features a human brain, a peeled back Cyborg, wearing a loose cloak, is playing with his cat Smokey. Victor is terrifying looking as he does something mundane with his pet. The coloring adds to the sinister nature of the image by using golds and yellows, which jointly bring the circuitry to life and make Vic look rusted, close to ruin. This is a creeper to track down. Overall grades: Main B+ and Variant A 

The story: “Someplace else” has two of the humans from last issue escaping from the mechanical terrors of Issue #1. Entering a compound, the soldier that can stand on his own is greeted by a female in a futuristic wheelchair, who reads the man the riot act. As the soldier is raised into the air to have repairs made to his cybernetic systems she says, “If any of that tech falls into the hands of our enemy, it’s only a matter of time before they figure out where it came from. Do you understand what that means? It means more than another planet lost to our enemy…It means an entire universe.” Hoisted up, the silent man resembles Cyborg. Meanwhile, somewhere else, Cyborg is leaping across a desert chasm, thinking about what people ask when they meet him. The questions range from the stupid to the personal. All seem unrelated to what he’s doing; after completing his jump, Cyborg powers up his left hand and lets loose with an energy blast to one of the many cybernetic horrors. As he gives a scream shooting an enemy, he thinks, ‘One question that always surprises me, even though it’s asked a lot — Do I sleep?’ This comment comes on the credits’ page, showing the title “Target: Victor Stone.” Written by David F. Walker, this issue continues the slow build of the villains making their inevitable way to confronting Victor, while including some backstory on him and his immediate family and friends. I admit to being disappointed with the reveal on 6. It does make sense, given what he’s thinking, but I’d like to see some more super-hero confrontations in this series. There is some action that begins on Page 14, but it’s too quick and doesn’t do much to fill my hankering for heroics. This scene is shown to further, or worsen, Victor’s relationship with his father. Better is the relationship shown on Pages 17 – 19. I’d like to see more of this character, as this individual adds a needed grounding to Cyborg and someone readers can relate to. There is a major story thread introduced with the character of Bobby. What he does and why he does so was very interesting, and lead to a surprising reveal on 20. I’m hoping to see more of Bobby and hear more of the movement that he’s a part of. This issue is laying out more groundwork for a confrontation, of which I’m hoping to see start next month. Overall grade: B

The art: This issue seems to be following in penciller Ivan Reis’ run on Green Lantern: lots of inkers. Joe Prado, Ray McCarthy, and Scott Hanna finish what Reis has begun. All three do an outstanding job, so much so that I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins, so major kudos to each of these gentlemen. Reis’ work has always been sick with details and this issue shows him bringing the same high level of visuals to life. The first two pages are the only pair that feature the “Someplace else” location, and I’d be more than willing to pay to have this setting be a comic series unto itself. The glimpses of this compound and its occupants tease so much. The splash page on 4 is really well done: the screaming hero who’s blasting cybernetically enhanced monsters away, while others rear up behind him. This is the strongest action shot of the issue. The bottom of Page 9 has an outstanding look of joy on Vic’s face that captures the leap in his heart and elevated dialogue. Smokey’s reactions to his transformations were exactly like my own cat’s and made me laugh. I wasn’t keen on the visuals in the lab: I’ve seen this done a hundred times before and there’s nothing new about this; in fact, his father is shown from the same angle in every close-up appearance in this issue — I shouldn’t have noticed this. The person that Vic speaks with for the final four pages was a good addition to this series and his design is different from everyone else shown. The last page has an excellent visual cliffhanger that requires no text to understand. The standing characters have excellent design work, as does the character on the ground. The visuals have a lot of excellent emotion, but I’m longing to see Reis cut loose on some action. Overall grade: B+ 

The colors: The first four pages show that Adriano Lucas has things well in hand with the coloring chores. The pale lime sky is transformed on Page 1 into a violet swirl of energy as the survivors arrive. The violet becomes purple in a tight one panel flashback, which shows the energies employed in the battle were stronger than those used for the transportation. When the soldier’s true self is revealed hanging from the ceiling, he’s highlighted by a pair of molten furnaces, turning his silver body pink. On Page 3 Cyborg is shown in close-up and the highlighting on his silver body is outstanding. Lucas really outdoes himself on the next page with the sky, setting, characters, energy, and text. This is an outstanding coloring job. The remainder of the book features colors found in the real world, though there is an interruption by the fantastic hues of an alternate location, and they, too, look good. I like how Lucas gives Vic’s narration a harsh red coloring, showing that even his thoughts are not human. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene setting, soldier speak, dialogue, Cyborg narration, story title, issue credits, computer transmissions, sounds, untranslatable alien dialogue, villain speak, and next issue’s tease come from Rob Leigh. He’s doing a sensational job with all the variety of fonts in play on this book, with all the computer speak looking especially sharp. I really like the two distinct pieces of villainous dialogue — I love seeing words that are meant to be heard but not understood. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A good read, but still a building block issue. I’m impatient and want to see some super heroics in my super-hero book. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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