The machine that gives Cyborg his powers is evolving! The only problem is that machine is his body and he has no idea what’s causing these changes!
Can an ongoing series set in the New DC world really work for Cyborg? It’s a question that Ivan Reis and David Walker tackle in the first issue of the hero’s ongoing series. When he graduated from the Teen Titans and became an MVP in the Justice League world, Victor Stone took on new life. We’re closer to seeing the hero on-screen than ever before — as one of the fabled “seven” players in the JLA, now seems as good a time as any to spend intimate time with one of the newest characters on the League.
It may require a double take from the reader, but it is worth mentioning that Cyborg recently underwent a fairly massive redesign. While it is a little sad that the previous outfit, with its machine emblem and mostly black-and-white suit, has been retired, the new one by artist Ivan Reis is both slim and sleek. It is dismaying that the only artist that may actually be able to draw this correctly is Reis, as the new outfit is one of the most complicated and effective character designs featured in the DC You.
This directly ties into what might be the greatest strength of the comic: the intensive detail in Reis’ art. This story has incredible levels of polish that really shows the nuance demanded by a character shortchanged like Victor Stone. The initial splash recognizes Cyborg’s costumes and outfits from the New 52 to now, documenting just how much change Victor Stone has gone through over the years. Reis has had defining runs in the New 52 for quite some time on titles like Justice League and Aquaman, and even previously served to simplify Cyborg’s hulking Jim Lee design in the first couple of pages of his run on Justice League. I’m glad to see the artist put such great time and detail into this comic.
David Walker, writer of acclaimed Dynamite’s series Shaft, is the writer of Cyborg #1 and is someone who seems to understand the complicated tightrope he’s walking between the original Marv Wolfman version of Cyborg and the new version of this hero, who comes with a simplified backstory courtesy of the New 52. This new Cyborg is still hung up on some of the same things that the original version was. To be honest, it’s kind of nice to see him go through some of his previous struggles again, as it’s often easier to relate to the problems that younger characters go through.
Not to worry though, this Cyborg isn’t too young… he seems to be in his 20s. We mentioned it above, but this story makes Victor Stone’s newly redesigned body into a key plot point of the series. This is refreshing, as Cyborg has had a large number of previously unexplained costume redesigns in an extremely condensed period of time.
It’s really refreshing to to see frightening horror elements in a book like Cyborg as well. Aquaman, another book drawn by Reis contains similar elements of terror. Not only that, but this first issue of Cyborg also gives the titular man-machine a brand new supporting cast, setting the series up for the long haul.
Ultimately, the creative team on this book attempts to tackle a lot in their first issue. They have to introduce Victor to new readers while acknowledging his condensed history for the sake of established fans. They set up his new team of sidekicks, lay down groundwork for a completely original villain, and ensure that that villain is one that only Cyborg can face. The road Walker and Reis have chosen to take isn’t going to be an easy one — that being said, this first issue of Cyborg is a more than confident approach to the solo exploits of Stone. Here’s to a long run to come.