REVIEW: Cyberforce #5
Or – “It’s Free, What’s The Worst That Could Happen?”
Cyberforce has returned, thanks to its fans and a successful Kickstarter campaign, and the first five issues are being presented at no charge. Will this change the comics industry forever? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Scratchy, unfinished art.
Nothing really pops, storywise.
Writer: Marc Silvestri
Penciler(s): Khoi Pham & Laura Braga
Inker: Sal Regla, Khoi Pham & Laura Braga
Colorist: Arif Prianto & Andy Troy
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editor: Bryan Rountree/Betty Gonia/Matt Hawkins
Publisher: Top Cow/Image Comics
Cover Price: $0
Previously in Cyberforce: When Marc Silvestri and the Top Cow crew began the funding efforts for this Cyberforce relaunch, I was trepidatious, but the fans who wanted to read the series responded with enthusiasm. The first few issues of this book seem to be a complete reboot, rebuilding Cyberforce a piece at a time, with grizzled cyborg Stryker tracking down the organization that betrayed him, with help from his friends and a young woman named Velocity, who has just been revealed to be Stryker’s own daughter!
I READ CYBERFORCE BACK IN THE DAY…
In the days of the Image Comics revolution twenty years ago, Cyberforce was one of the least exciting books from my perspective. This has a dual effect on my expectations of a CF revival: First, I’m not heavily invested in the lives of Stryker, Ripclaw, Ballistic and company, so I don’t have to worry about what may or may not have changed. Secondly, Cyberforce never betrayed me by turning into a sea of mediocre (like Youngblood) or a moody back-and-forth manic-depressive “girlfriend” like Savage Dragon and Spawn. This issue puts a lot of characters in motion, but starts with a flashback to “many years ago,” when Stryker and Cyber Data parted company over matters of murder and such. The art is immediately off-putting to me, seeming scratchy and unfinished, with an odd color palette of oranges and purples that evokes another old-school Image book, Wetworks. While everyone has some sort of defining characteristic (Stryker’s multiple arms, Ballistic’s facial scarring), nearly everyone in the issue also has cybernetic body parts that look like scales, making it difficult to follow who is who and what they’re up to.
…I REMEMBER WHY NEVER REALLY STUCK WITH ME.
The story here has some legs under it, and is basically the same as 1993: Rogue agents against the evil overlords that created them for the fate of humanity, but with additional elements here and there. Stryker’s sudden realization of parenthood is a positive example, giving the teenage Velocity a reason to be part of the group, but other elements of plot (Stryker being forced to murder women and children in the opening, the smarmy head of Cyber Data and his computer projections) feel extraneous, like hubcaps on a tractor. Every super-hero comic deals with the fact that they need the action scenes, throwing violence out as the solution to every problem, but this issue adds in a strange scene wherein hero and villain ask the computer operator to tell them whose death will be more damaging to the long-term goals of the company via computer projection. As the issue wraps, we have seen page after page of fighty-fighty, ending with an execution and Mother May I doing something sinister with her computer, amounting to… kind of nothing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: FEELS LIKE A MORE MODERN BATCH OF CLICHES.
The original Cyberforce series always felt very much like X-Men with bionics, and this new version does some interesting things to get away from that conceit. Unfortunately, there is a whole new string of story-telling tropes opened up here, none of which do a lot to distinguish these characters from any of the various terse badasses of the New 52 or Marvel’s deep bench of X-titles. They did, however, lower the number of extra limbs that Stryker has, which seems positive, if only from a balance perspective. Cyberforce #5 falls apart in visually, which combines with the uninspiring story being told to deliver a very disappointing 1.5 out of 5 stars overall. Perhaps the long-term fan can find more that appeals to them, but this issue really does nothing for me…