Overview

Cyberforce #1

Review

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Cyberforce #1

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz
  • Art: Pat Lee
  • Inks: Eric Sander and Rob Armstrong
  • Colors: Dream Engine Colors
  • Story Title: Rising From the Ashes
  • Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 22, 2006

Ron Marz and Pat Lee unleash a whittled down, simpler Cyberforce, featuring a nearly all-female cast and a blood-stained reunion in this terror-filled first issue.

Hot on the heels of preludes within the Image 10th Anniversary Hardcover and JLA/Cyberforce, Ripclaw (alias Robert Bearclaw), the last male member of the team – Stryker is now a part of Codename: Strykeforce, Impact’s whereabouts are unknown and remain unrevealed, and Heatwave is long lost to Hell and believed gone for good – was killed and reborn as a psychotic, alien force. The extraterrestrial DNA which gave the members of Cyberforce their unique abilities is now awake and Bearclaw’s dominant consciousness; and it has made him little more than a single-minded horror pulled straight from the most memorable of monster flicks. One by one he has hunted the remaining DNA-wielding ladies, Velocity, Cyblade, and Ballistic, and the series opens with these three teammates gathering for a last supper and a final showdown with their errant, ersatz colleague.

Ron Marz had done a commendable job at outright dodging the crazy continuity bullet that would (and by all means, should) have killed the re-launch of such a history-heavy series. Thankfully, most of the groundwork for writing a straightforward, new team comic had been paved for him in advance; creator Marc Silvestri and writer Joe Kelly structured the above mentioned synopsis points within the above mentioned prologues. Setups notwithstanding, it’s a rare thing for a super-team revamp to avoid shocking readers with every lost and obscure face from past continuity, all for the sole purpose of creating enough online outrage and controversy for increased sales. Instead, Marz (for the nonce, at least) has given readers a quiet, foreboding tale that is a mere tickle of event and character combustion. There’s a short toast to the past, and then the action takes precedence, smothering all other concerns for a riveting – and brief – foundational read. There is some complexity brewing, as a petite, opening outer-space sequence portends, but anything beyond the three women and their fight against the possessed Bearclaw are tales for a more committed readership to enjoy. For now, the story is light, and beguilingly viscous.

The artwork by ex-Dreamwave auteur Pat Lee is reminiscent of his muted, noir-ish, slate-and-black style as he wielded in Darkminds. The method suits this opening arc, bolstering the dangerous, brutal execution of plot. While Lee’s vaguely anime-inspired fluidity of line could be considered a poor choice for a big-guns, superhero team book, his work on the past, grand fantasy tale Warlands, and the recent X4 (Fantastic Four and X-Men crossover miniseries), has more than proven that, should the ambiance of the book need to veer back into four-color spandex territory, Lee would be more than adept at handling such an aesthetical turnaround. In addition, and as a boon to the artistic depth of the book, Cyberforce also employs Alex Milne as background designer, and the level of scenic fulsomeness – which I assume is highly due to Milne’s contributions – places the complete visual effect well above the average superhero mag.

I’ve never been a fan of Cyberforce, and I’ve only ever – with much twisting of the head to avert my eyes from the painfully childish storytelling – skimmed through the older, inaugural series, which was exceedingly a product of its time. Still, the idea of a passé concept handled by modern creators using modern comic-storytelling techniques intrigued me enough to warrant a trial period for this new volume. This first issue is a good start, and the creative team appears highly proficient in crafting a well-paced, provocative, and – best and most extraordinary of all– sensible Cyberforce tale. For the first time in the history of the series, I can say without pause that the future for these characters looks bright, because it looks bleak, and good drama always uses such honest sentiment to achieve its ends.

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