Comic Review – Cyborg #1 (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I picked up Cyborg #1 from DC Comics, part of their new ‘DCYou!’ initiative that has seen the launch of a few new titles in the wake of Convergence with a focus on underutilised or slightly more eclectic characters that haven’t had a great deal of focus since the line-wide relauch in 2011. Despite being a member of Justice League line up since then, Cyborg hasn’t had his own book like all the other leaguers until now. Cyborg was written by David F. Walker, pencilled by Ivan Reis, inked by Joe Prado, coloured by Adriano Lucas and lettered by Rob Leigh.

Cyborg opens on a battle in a distant galaxy between two tech-based alien races, the Tekbreakers and the Technosapiens, with one group retreating in the face of an insurmountable enemy that seems able to absorb their defeated prey. Throughout the issue we return to this fight, as a few survivors escape and their pursuers analyse the tech they left behind. This action allows the Earth based scenes room to breathe and to be far more character focused, something that Victor Stone has been lacking in the past few years. Here we see him arriving at STAR labs, against the backdrop of protesters outside, to discuss some of his recent upgrades with his father and his team, and to figure out why his tech seemingly evolved in the face of his impending (or actual) death. While Silas Stone fusses over the intricacies of his implants and what they mean, Victor feels more like a lab animal than a son as his father fails once again to truly pay attention to him, focusing on the science of his son rather than the human being that he still is.

By having all of the action and suspense in this issue take place on a different planet, Walker deftly weaves a narrative around the actual character of Cyborg that takes elements that have been touched on very briefly before and constructing a real emotional core for the book. Victor talks about how he would rather be seen as a monster than totally ignored, and struggles with the fact that his father does just that and hardly seems to notice. Talking to his friend Sarah, who treats him like the man he is, allows him to open up and relax, and we get to see how affected he is underneath his stoic JL member facade. Reis’s pencils are strong here as usual, and while the STAR labs scenes look great it is in the action scenes between the Alien/Thing-style Technosapiens and the soldiers that look particularly good. Prado and Lucas finish the art off really well to give a beautiful looking book.

Considering how every other founding member of the current iteration of the Justice League has had a solo book since the DC relaunch and are now all in the low #40 issues, this series has been a long time coming. It’s nice to see then that the first issue of Cyborg indicates that this is the book the character deserves, with a strong emotional resonance and great character work and art. Pick this up at your LCS or digitally now.

Score: 8.5 Operating Systems out of 10

Comic Review – The Disciples #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I read The Disciples #1 from Black Mask Studios, which they were kind enough to send me a copy of. Billed as a ‘space ghost story’, The Disciples was written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Christopher Mitten, with colours by Jay Fotos and letters from Thomas Mauer.

The Disciples takes place aboard the Venture, a starship crewed by a small team of bounty hunters (think Firefly) on their way to a new mission. Dagmar, Rick and Jules have been hired by a senator to retrieve his daughter from a cult on Ganymede, having fallen in with them and their billionaire leader. After having to pay a few bribes at a space port, and joking around with each other before entering stasis, the Venture’s autopilot takes them through hyperspace straight to Jupiter. But something horrifying has either hitched a ride, or has come aboard in the planet’s orbit…

I’m a big horror fan, and sci-fi horror is always great fun. Alien, The Thing, Event Horizon, anything twisted and with a creeping sense of dread. That said, I felt like there wasn’t a huge amount of horror in this ‘ghost story in space’, at least until the final page. There was a small amount of (admittedly intriguing) foreshadowing in Dagmar’s “weirdmare”, but the rest of the issue focusses more on character introduction and a set up of the normal, every day that this crew faces before turning it on its head at the end. However, I don’t really see this as necessarily a bad thing. By all means make me care about these characters before they get ripped to shreds a few issues down the line – something often neglected in horror. Niles writes a very capable and interesting sci-fi background story with a likeable cast, and the promise of terror that he has a proven track reckon in to come.

db538d38-7515-47b1-9858-358f038aa429Mitten’s art really stands out in The Disciples, with gritty and scratchy line work that showcases the grim future, and the horrors of Dagmar’s dream and the nightmare at the end. The imagery of the hyperspace jump was gorgeous though, and the scale of the lunar backdrop when the crew arrives at their destination is grand. Fotos’ murky colours enunciate all of Mitten’s art, painting a gloomy picture of the future.

The Disciples is off to a great start, and while I had expected a little more horror right from the off this first issue benefits from the set up and great art as a lead in. Check this out at your local comic book shop, or you can get it digitally over at www.blackmaskstore.com.

Score: 8 Weirdmares out of 10