Cyborg #1

by Aaron Reese on September 27, 2016

cyborg #1

Written by John Semper Jr.
Art by Paul Pelletier
Published by DC Comics

Cyborg #1 has some things to enjoy and some things that will make you roll your eyes. Among the best things is Paul Pelletier’s densely layered artwork. The background of nearly every panel is filled with buildings, civilians, flying debris and police cars. It gives Detroit and its various settings a breathing atmosphere.


At nearly every turn, this issue shows off Cyborg’s powers supercomputing ability. Instead of focusing on his ability to bash and throw heavy objects, Victor Stone, aka Cyborg, uses the infinite information at his fingertips to identify and isolate threats to public safety. He is jacked into almost every computer on Earth. He can run credit card numbers in his head and track down burner phone purchases, check licenses and run background checks in the blink of an eye. He can lift several tons of steel and smash a speeding armored car, but his real superpower is information access.


After starting with a fast-paced action scene involving on-the-spot hacking, smashing and gunfire, issue #1 slows way down and focuses on Victor’s inner turmoil and secret fears. To clear his head, he accompanies his father’s lab assistant to a hole-in-the-wall jazz bar. This could have been a great scene. It’s not. Up until Victor sits down to have a soul-gazing chat with a blind saxophone player, the dialogue had been too overt to be believed, but for an action comic aimed at teenagers, meh, it was fine.


However, this jazz scene was four heavy-handed pages about the value of living in the moment. Two pages after the point was delivered in the most ham-fisted, on-the-nose, yammering way (with no end to the conversation in sight), I was dying for a robot to burst through the wall and start smashing stuff. At least the scene wasn’t confusing, I guess. The message couldn’t have been clearer if the saxophone player had diagrams, pie charts and Powerpoint.


This issue gives us plenty of fun moments, like Cyborg talking about streaming every episode of Mr. Robot in a nanosecond or when he systematically dissects every piece of a criminal’s life and assesses the date of his release from prison. That’s all good stuff that we should look forward to in future issues, but this issue was wildly uneven.


It’s unclear if writer John Semper Jr was trying to divide time evenly between Victor’s life fighting crime as Cyborg and trying to be a normal young man. Or maybe he wanted to tell an intimate story in the first issue and decided later that it needed some action. Whatever the case, this issue was an unbalanced introduction to the series. A quick once over on the blatantly unsophisticated dialogue would have gone a long way to improving the overall first impression. Instead we have to wait until next month to see if Cyborg will get a comic worthy of his presence.


Our Score:


A Look Inside