Cyber Force #2
FREE SPOILERS, FREE SPOILERS FOR EVERYONE!
It was free. So I'm not complaining, per se. But it could be better. And to be honest I technically paid for it.
Cyber Force #2 is a continuation of Marc Silvestri's relaunch and complete reimagining of his original Image Comics series. With the 20th Anniversary revitalization of the Top Cow Universe, what better title to get a complete makeover than Silvestri's own personal pet? But wait, there's more! Using the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Image went the extra mile and made the title FREE.
Ready for my beef? Here's my beef: I have never read such an excellently composed book that was so absolutely and utterly boring.
Let's start with the art: phenomenal. Perfect detailing with sharp, brittle lines and well-laid composition, if a little traditional. Silvestri is the sole reason I contributed to this project, but my discovery of internal penciller Khoi Pham was a fortuitous surprise. His work is almost stylish enough to keep you from noticing the dry, monotonous coloring by Sunny Gho and pedantic, by-the-book faces that, sadly similar to Silvestri's own work, never actually emote. (Also, the dialogue bubbles are blue. Why?)
Basic plot is as follows: Carin Taylor, aka Velocity, continues to flee pursuit by CDI, an immense corporation in the business of churning out bio-mechanically enhanced human beings. She's still on the run when suddenly some generically violent “dystopian corporatist regime” things happen, and Carin meets more theoretically important characters you only truly care about if you were reading indie comics in 1994.
The story has the same problem as the art; it looks excellent initially and takes some searching to find exactly why it leaves one feeling so let down. I'll give you a hint: there are no distinct characters—just different bodies all acting equal parts angsty and boring. The plot is solid, with perhaps only a shade more exposition than it needs, but there's nothing at stake except charcters we're not compelled to care about. The dialogue, again, is naturally cadenced and well-placed. The crucial failure here is characterization, or lack thereof. All characters seem like typecast robots only present to advance the plot and art. There's no personality or life in the story, just movements carefully programmed to imitate.
Cyber Force #2, and the series as a whole so far, fall into the same trap as did most Image titles back in the 90's: too much emphasis on the arts and techniques of the industry, not enough actual care for the characters and the stories. The sum of this exceptional collection of grade A components is a cold, impersonal story that comes off as mechanical and unfeeling as its characters. Faces fail to emote. Dialogue doesn't distinguish individuality—only plot. This is an oversight too far gone to reverse.
I'll keep following til it's not free anymore. God knows if I spent twenty bucks on it already, I might as well enjoy Silvestri's covers and Pham's art (which I still love, regardless) for a few more issues. But for anyone looking for a story with heart? Look elsewhere. This ain't it.