Rebirth continues as we reach the first issue of Cyborg this week. Can the hero get a reboot of sorts and feel fresh again? Is it good?
Cyborg #1 (DC Comics)
Wow, this cover is like a movie poster! Props to Will Condrad and Ivan Nunes on this one!
So what’s it about? Read the official DC summary:
“THE IMITATION OF LIFE” part one! Cyborg is thrown into conflict with every robotic threat to the DC Universe as a brand new era begins for Victor Stone, courtesy of writer John Semper Jr. (Spider-Man: The Animated Series) and artist Will Conrad (Angel & Faith)!
Why does this book matter?
The Cyborg: Rebirth issue adequately delivered a major action sequence, reintroduced the character well, and added a new level of internal strife for the titular hero. If you’re at all interested in this character you basically have no excuse not to read this issue!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with an interesting concept – via villain captions – about how as a society we throw away a lot of technology. It’s called “e-waste” and it’s piling up; because of the toxic chemicals and metals that make up this tech, it’s incredibly harmful, which is a perfectly reasonable place to to begin thinking about the bad guys of this series! This issue is bookended with said concept and its fruition which creates as sense of impending dread over the entire issue.
Writer John Semper Jr. continues to get inside Cyborg’s head with much of this narrative focused on Cyborg dealing with the new information he learned in Rebirth. That info is reiterated here making this issue a good place to start for new readers. This issue also contains a bit of action unrelated to Cyborg questioning himself so it kind of has it all. The questioning he does is well written though and never boring — that’s because Semper Jr. uses interesting ways of forcing Cyborg to question himself.
I don’t want to spoil it, but one involves a genuine moment I’m sure celebrities face all the time with kids saying things they don’t understand could be hurtful. In another scene, a jazz musician helps him connect with the fact that he has a soul and it’s an empowering moment. This scene leads to the climactic final splash page and it connects the idea of his humanity and how the villains want to kill that humanity.
Will Conrad draws a mean issue here, with Cyborg’s mechanical parts and powers looking spot on, but perhaps more interesting is the how he makes Cyborg look realistic in street clothes while sitting in a jazz club. It may not appear difficult, but I marveled at how Conrad was able to make Cyborg seem natural, yet powerful whilst sitting in a common club. This is in part due to the hoody looking spot on, but also the lighting in the bar (colors by Guy Major). The final splash is pretty darn awesome too, making the giant villain look impressive with lots of detail and interesting parts seemingly added to the creature.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The bank robbery scene definitely serves as a way to introduce the character; props to Semper Jr. for being economical with his scenes, but it also feels “been there done that.” The scene supplies the issue with action, but doesn’t do anything new (plus I think Cyborg stopping the car on a dime like he does should have sent the bad guys through the windshields to their deaths. Wear your seatbelts kids!).
This isn’t really a negative on the comic itself, but with all this talk about Cyborg having a soul or still being human…how come nobody talks about his inability to procreate? I assume he has no penis so wouldn’t this be a talking point about being less human? Just a thought!
“Yeah, but do they make them in a larger size?”
Is It Good?
Cyborg hasn’t been this interesting in ages and Cyborg #1 does a fine job in getting at the core of what makes him human. The character is well written, there’s action, and there’s also a deep sense of self discovery at play here.