Ballistic, Stryker, Ripclaw, and all the other names that easily fit in a Mortal Kombat game are back in Top Cow’s crown jewel title Cyber Force. Can a property so visually 90’s make a contemporary leap for new audiences while still maintaining what gave it a fan base?
CYBER FORCE #1
Story: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill
Art: Atilio Rojo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Published by: Top Cow/Image Comics
When Cyber Force first launched in 1992 its shiny metal, unbelievable arsenal, and razor sharp clawed characters fit in with the hot over pouched X characters in comics at the time. The stories took a back seat to creator Marc Silvestri’s big-time action visuals and as comics changed to put its mainstream focus on narrative, Cyber Force felt a bit left behind.
This new series comes as a bit of continuation and reimagining. Though it isn’t touched upon in this issue the events of Aphrodite IX allow for a new timeline in Top Cow continuity. Sort of how Days of Future Past rewrote the X-Men movie canon.
In the 90’s Cyber Force was a group of mutants who had their abilities augmented by a corporation bent on taking over the world. This new version of the group has the characters start out as seemingly average humans who become collateral damage from acts of terrorism against global power tech companies. We’re reintroduced to Morgan Stryker, as a security guard from one of these companies who happens to have a daughter named Carin bound to a wheelchair (fans of the original Cyber Force will recognize her). Together they’ll form the nucleus of this new group and be put on the front lines of stopping a heavily militant terrorist whose manifesto is philosophized on the idea that if humanity won’t come back from their dependence on technology they’ll have to do it for them.
Is the only way to stop a terrorist bent on stripping away technology, more cybernetics? Does losing parts of yourself mean losing your humanity? Writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill bring political and ideological questions of this day in age to the high octane history of these characters. Issue one doesn’t set up the complete picture of this world but it does enough of its dangers to warrant the extreme acts of violence on the pages. Those who rely on technology are in immediate danger in this world and that’s about everyone.
Hawkins is a writer who can sometimes overindulge in his efforts to convey big ideas in comics. In Cyber Force #1, the talking points of our reliance on technology are obvious but take a back seat in favor of good storytelling when they need to in moments such as the family dynamic between Stryker and Carin after they both see the other post surgery.
It’s always a bit of a let down when Marc Silvestri doesn’t draw interiors of comics he’s synonymous with but artist Atilio Rojo does an admirable job. The attack in the opening of the book and big splash pages show an understanding of the kinetic energy Cyber Force was built on in the 90’s. In the 90’s we would have said it’s pretty and it’s good, it’s pretty good.
As someone who’s never been a big fan of Hawkins work and fairly indifferent to Cyber Force during the early Image days, I’m delightfully surprised to find myself wanting to read the remainder of this new series. For the first time, it’s got a true balance between something genuine and an over the top action comic book.
Here’s the rest of this week’s #1 comics:
ADVENTURE TIME BMO BONANZA #1 (BOOM! Studios) (W) Laura Langston, Cynthia Cheng, Nicole Mannino, Boya Sun (A) Laura Langston, Nicole Mannino, Boya Sun (CA) Meredith McClaren
It's springtime in the land of Ooo and BMO is ready to celebrate! This special one-shot features short stories centered around everyone's favorite sentient gaming system.
MOTHER PANIC GOTHAM A D #1 (DC/Young Animal) (W) Jody Houser (A) Ibrahim Moustafa (CA) Tommy Lee Edwards After the fallout of MILK WARS, Violet Paige finds herself in a Gotham City unlike any we have seen before.
CROW MEMENTO MORI #1 (IDW) (W) Roberto Recchioni, Micol Beltramini (A) Werther Dell'Edera, Angelo Mennillo (CA) Davide Furno Follow David, the new Crow, through the streets of Rome, as he seeks holy vengeance against the terrorists that murdered him and his girlfriend.
GOOSEBUMPS DOWNLOAD & DIE #1 (IDW) (W) Jen Vaughn (A/CA) Michelle Wong When Mitra and her two besties find a phone with the latest and greatest technology and apps, they think they are dreaming. But when push (notifications) come to shove, they might be living a nightmare!
BATTLECATS #1 (Mad Cave Studios) (W) Mark London (A/CA) Andy King The Battlecats leave Stormholt on a perilous quest. King Eramad III sent our heroes on a hunt for the legendary Dire Beast in the haunted region of La Marque.
BREATHLESS #1 (BLACK MASK Studios) (W) Patrick Shand (A) Renzo Rodriguez When a scientist discovers the cure for asthma in the venom of a new breed of monster, she quickly finds herself on the run from Kenilworth Pharmaceuticals and the monsters that they've hired to kill her.
FACTORY #1 (Titan Comics) (W) Yacine Elghorri (A/CA) Yacine Elghorri Mad Max meets Fallout in the nightmarish vision of life on a dystopian planet!
PEEK A BOO #1 (Zenoscope) (W) Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Victoria Rau (CA) Derlis Santacruz A mother seeking solace with her two teenage children after a recent tragedy signs up for a group hiking and camping tour.
SHADOWMAN (2018) #1 (Valiant) (W) Andy Diggle (A) Stephen Segovia (CA) Tonci Zonjic DON'T FEAR YOUR DEMONS. FIGHT THEM. Orphaned as a child and raised on the margins of society, Jack Boniface never knew his place in the world. Until he discovered it waiting for him...in a darkness far older than the reign of men... WORLDS FINITE CEREBUS #1 (AARDVARK VANAHEIM) (W) Dave Sim, Sandeep Atwal (A) Dave Sim, Gustave Dore (CA) Sandeep Atwal Can Batvark, Homophobe, be coerced into have a boy sidekick like on the cover? Spoiler Warning: No