“Cyber Force” #1 by Marc Silvestri, Matt Hawkins and Khoi Pham, if nothing else, is an affordably priced comic book read this week. The result of a Kickstarter campaign that enabled distribution of a free introductory issue with a recognizable creative team, “Cyber Force” #1 is innovative in marketing if nothing else, playing upon people’s appreciation for Free Comic Book Day with a free comic book. “Cyber Force” #1 differs from those free offerings significantly in that this issue is twenty-two pages of story and features a creative team that produces some fine free artwork.
Set in a dystopian future under corporate rule that is populated with enhanced human beings, Millennium City (geographically aligned with what we know as Pittsburgh) is home to young Carin Taylor. Carin’s mother is the Chairwoman of CDI, the corporation that bought the shell of downtown Pittsburgh and constructed a new city from the wreckage. Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins have Carin react to the seeming oppression in her life in stereotypical teenage fashion: by running away.
Although the interactions between characters are tight but mysterious, this comic is a gigantic info-dump that hops all around the timeline, stitching bits of story together and trying to make the reader care about characters introduced here. The problem is there really isn’t enough of those characters shared (save for potentially nostalgia) to make them attractive or interesting.
The art by Khoi Pham, Sal Regla, Sunny Gho and Stjepan Sejic does a nice job of visually selling “Cyber Force” #1. Pham’s work here, I imagine thanks largely to his artistic co-creators, is much stronger and more keenly detailed than his recent work on “Scarlet Spider.” The visuals bring a steampunk aesthetic to the cybernetic modifications of the characters in this issue. It’s a visual adjustment that works quite nicely, especially with Sunny Gho’s palette that is heavy in oranges, yellows, browns and greens.
Parts of “Cyber Force” #1 reminded me of “Robocop,” from the cybernetically enhanced people to the corporate leadership around the renovation of a decrepit city. Other parts weren’t quite so tuned in to a story I may or may have not read before. Those parts are largely contained in the last few pages of this issue. Those pages don’t do anything to make the characters any more interesting, but the plot twists and significant story beats are put down in that segment of the comic, giving readers something to look forward to. Lucky for them, the next issue is also part of the Kickstarter campaign and offered at no cost.