Review: Cyborg #1 , written by David Walker, pencils by Ivan Reis, Inks by Joe Prado, and colors by Adriano Lucas
Independently, comics have enjoyed an unmatched time of creative growth, while also successfully attempting to provide an inclusive playing field for EVERYONE.
Doesn’t matter your age, race, sexuality, gender, religion, etc., independent comics are kicking ass on this front.
More so than the big two: Marvel & DC.
I’ll probably catch hell for saying this, within the same review for a DC book, but I’m sort of at my wits end.
Let me explain.
I’m finding myself extremely tired of the constant year in, and year out discussion that comic book fans (myself included) were having to have about why DC and Marvel weren’t hiring more black/ brown/ Asian/ female/LGBT writers. Frustrated that things were changing at a snail’s pace.
Frustrated that the big two weren’t listening. Especially when there were no shortage of talented creators of these backgrounds out there who could kill on all of their comic book titles.
The hiring practices of each company when it comes to such creators, outright sucked.
Like royally sucked, and was laughable at best. I know it’s hard for ANY writer to get through the doors of the hallowed two bastions of our industry, but believe me when I say, it’s a more frustratingly depressing story when it came to other writers from the backgrounds mentioned earlier.
So when it comes to a discussion for better representation of such folks in an industry that I love the hell out of, I was sort of through.
And then comes 7-22-15.
The release of DC’s new solo series, “Cyborg #1”, written by David Walker, pencils by Ivan Reis, inks by Joe Prado, and colors by Adriano Lucas.
Mr. Walker (Shaft, Number 13, The Adventures of Darius Logan, Book One: SUPER JUSTICE FORCE) is a talented writer. His career is a testament to this, and folks, I’m here to say, Cyborg just further justifies this opinion.
And to DC: I’m giving credit where it’s due. You listened, you finally listened. With the mix of Walker, Reis, Prado, and Lucas, you’ve got a bonafide hit on your hands.
Now, just keep up the practice of providing a more equal playing field to talented creators/writers of all backgrounds, and we’re in business. It’s not completely solving the above mentioned problem, but I’ll be damned if I don’t say it’s a step in the right direction.
The story: We follow Vic Stone, a.k.a, Cyborg, on his return trip to S.T.A.R labs after suffering a horrible defeat in a recent tussle in which he and his fellow Justice Leaguers were involved. We’re seeing a sort of development of Cyborg’s abilities in the wake of this, and Vic quite simply wants to figure out what’s going on with him.
Side note: I recommend checking out the DC Sneak Peek: Cyborg #1 for a little bit of background on the “horrible defeat”.
In the same issue we are introduced to the big baddies, the Technosapiens which might be the major threat for the foreseeable future, as we see them waging intergalactic war against another group called the Tekbreakers.
What works well for me is that this first issue provides a fresh jumping on point for any Cyborg fan, or any comic book fan. Within the past 10 years we’ve seen Cyborg introduced in animated television series (Teen Titans, Teen Titans GO!),a video game (Injustice: Gods Among Us), and an animated film (Justice League: War).
He’s even slated to appear in next year’s Batman v. Superman, in addition to having his own solo film in 2020.
So if you’re familiar with the character in any of these other iterations, Walker does an excellent job of providing a jumping on point for old and new fans alike. The pacing for this first issue works really well, and keeps you invested in the plot.
The dialogue is also a plus, whether it’s Silas Stone and his team of scientists marveling over the change which Vic is undergoing, or Cyborg’s own inner monologue as we see him grapple with the complicated relationship he has with his father.
Reis, Prado, and Lucas, kill it, in a good way, with the art for this issue. One part in particular that stands out, and definitely needs to be checked out, is the spectacular full page introduction of the Technosapiens on page 5. The creatures are portrayed in all their sinister glory, and the artwork shines in highlighting the menacing group.
I’d highly recommend, paying special attention to Page 9, panel 3 which is a really great example of the storytelling at work on both the writing and art front. In this panel we see the complicated relationship which Vic has with his father, in just a subtle act of one of Dr. Stone’s team members showing more empathy towards Vic than Dr. Stone is with what’s unfolding in the scene. Even the placing of certain characters here speaks volumes to the background of Vic and his father’s fractured relationship.
The artwork also has me excited to see what’s to come on the action front from this team in future issues.
And on a personal front, seeing a solo series with a popular, and kick butt black male character like Cyborg is an awesome thing to see. Sure there are great examples out there like Miles Morales/ Ultimate Spiderman, but examples of such solo series, are few and far between.
Cyborg has been a talented and capable team player ever since his introduction within the pages of Teen Titans, and it’s good to see him in his own solo pursuits, with such a talented team of creators.
DC/ WB: You’re tackling the wider discussion of at least attempting to be more inclusive with your hiring practices, with the addition of the talented Walker.
And guess what: dude’s kicking major butt, with a great art team, with a solid character of color, heck, a solid character period.
Let’s keep it rolling!
Head here to pick up “Cyborg #1”.
Robert Jeffrey II is an award winning journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as UVC Magazine, JaDore Magazine, BlackSci-Fi.com, and The Atlanta Voice Newspaper. He is a regular contributor for the Tessera Guild, and his comic book work includes client work for the Centers for Disease Control, and Nitto Tires. His comic book writing includes work on such award winning/ nominated series as his creator owned series Route 3, Radio Free Amerika, Terminus Team-Up, and Soul of Suw. He’s yet to fulfill his dream of pop-locking to save a community center.
Head to his website here, and you can follow him on Twitter @SYNCHRKJ, Tumblr @robdawriter , and Instagram @robertk.jeffrey.