Review: Cyborg #2
“Walker and Reis’ Cyborg fall into the same wheelhouse as Peter Parker and Miles Morales respective Spider-Men, as well as G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel, in that all of the characters are just trying to find their way in the world while doing what they think it the Right Thing. The creative team run with that notion by sprinkling some cyber-punk sensibilities and 21st century flare, which will keep me returning next month.”
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Ivan Reis
Release Date: Wed, Aug 26, 2015
Part-man/part-machine tales are as part of the DNA of sci-fi as the search for little green men and travel to different planes of existence. While those tales can be phenomenally engaging in the hands of the right wordsmiths, in the wrong hands, those stories can fall flat, coming across and dull, perfunctory, and rote.
Thankfully, writer David F. Walker’s work on DC’s new solo series Cyborg falls into the former category, showing a man who’s an amalgam of flesh and steel who isn’t hampered by his station, but is making the best of the hand he was dealt and is dealing with it with a large amount of grace. Victor Stone, the eponymous Cyborg, has been a DC Comics mainstay for years, being a fixture with the Titans franchise that stretches back several decades. When DC launched its New 52 line of books, the Powers That Be decided that it was time for Cyborg to get the attention he deserved, rewriting his history to be included as a founding member of the Justice League.
And that was a smart move. While Victor has been around for decades, few writers (Titans writer Marv Wolfman notwithstanding) have mined his backstory or his character motivations to the extent that Walker has in just a couple issues. In Cyborg #2, out this week in comic shops, Victor is wrestling with his technology evolving and changing, which he seems to view as both alternating invigorating and worrisome. Walker is nimble at conveying both in just a few short panels, showing off and reveling in his new abilities as he easily mows through his father’s robots at STAR Labs, while displaying vulnerability after his father’s chastisement, reminding his dad that he’s trying to process some weighty issues. Rather than rely on exhaustive, on-the-nose exposition or internal monologues to express what Cyborg is feeling, Walker chooses to use the character’s actions to convey to the reader the internal struggles that Victor is contending with. It’s very reflective of many folks Victor’s age (who’s in his 20s), at a time when we’re all just trying to do the best we can despite the chaotic doubt that blows through our souls. Couple that with Victor’s parental issues, and Walker has managed to take a character who could be unrelateable and alien to casual readers and transform him into a hero who strives with the same struggles as we do.
That’s not to say that Walker and artist Ivan Reis don’t manage to fill the comic to the brim with superhero derring-do. This is a comic book featuring a cybernetic man who just happens to be a member of the Justice League, after all. While Victor is attempting to come to terms with the changes to the technology that make up his person, cybernetic aliens from another universe have become very interested in Victor and have plans of their own to lead an all-out assault on our world. Reis not only makes the meld of tech and flesh seem organic—no pun intended—but the cybernetic aliens have a creepy quality not seen often in techno-themed stories. The creatures have an aesthetic that feels like an amalgam from the puppet masters in the film Dark City and a Philp K. Dick novel. They’re both beautiful and repulsive in their makeup, and it’s a reminder of Reis’ skill and how he’s elevated his craft with every passing year.
Walker and Reis’ Cyborg fall into the same wheelhouse as Peter Parker and Miles Morales respective Spider-Men, as well as G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel, in that all of the characters are just trying to find their way in the world while doing what they think it the Right Thing. The creative team run with that notion by sprinkling some cyber-punk sensibilities and 21st century flare, which will keep me returning next month.
Related: Preview: CYBORG #1