Like so many other readers, I’ve been waiting for a Vic Stone “Cyborg” series for quite some time. When the New 52 was launched in 2011 with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s “Justice League” #1, it seemed as though Vic was fast-tracked for a solo title — except it never happened during the course of the New 52’s first wave. Instead, David F. Walker, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado bring readers “Cyborg” #1 as part of the DC You initiative, and it’s worth the wait.
Joined by colorist Adriano Lucas and letterer Rob Leigh, the creative team serves up a twenty-page debut issue that is framed by a battle in another galaxy, as Tekbreaker forces square off with the Technosapiens. It’s a battle filled with oddities and energy, as Reis draws up some heavy armor for the Tekbreaker squad and some slick, Kelley Jones-inspired carapaces for the Technosapiens. That battle fills four pages, bookending the main narrative in “Cyborg” #1.
Walker opens up Vic Stone’s thoughts and shares them with readers in newly-designed narration boxes that aren’t anchored by the digital red dot familiar to Cyborg’s captions. Leigh has crafted something new for this series that works wonderfully and is sharp, clear, easily readable and unique to the character. The story Walker downloads includes Vic’s origin and insight into his childhood, where he had to strain for attention from his parents. Walker also brings readers up to speed on the eight-page “Cyborg” preview from a month or so back, providing a solid story foundation to build upon going forward. Readers are briskly introduced to Vic’s father, Silas and Silas’ work associates, Thomas Morrow and Sarah Charles. The last one proves to be a reliable friend, someone Vic is able to go to who understands his feelings, especially as the former duo become deeply engrossed in the technical aspects of Vic’s being. Walker hastily adds a new friend from Vic’s football days while establishing a set of protestors outside S.T.A.R. Labs Detroit.
As expected, all of this is meticulously drawn by Ivan Reis and inked by Joe Prado. The pair is afforded the opportunity to carve and detail Cyborg’s world, and they do a grand job in “Cyborg” #1. One small sequence gets a bit murky between the Tekbreakers and Technosapiens, but that gets resolved quickly as the story marches forward. Credited to a lack of depth for those characters, a quick re-read of the sequence is much smoother.
The visuals in “Cyborg” #1 are as smooth as can be otherwise. The Technosapiens are impressive, hideous and powerful, S. T. A. R. Labs is vast and finely detailed and Vic Stone has never been so gracefully human, yet painfully divided. Reis and Prado fill this comic with gorgeous imagery and every single panel has more finesse in it than some comics can squeeze into an entire series. Colorist Adriano Lucas rounds out the visuals nicely, reminiscent of Rod Reis’ work with Reis and Prado in “Aquaman,” but he’s unafraid of forging new ground and trying new styles, textures and gradients. The end result is a visually magnificent comic book that needs to find its way into as many hands as possible.
Walker, Reis, Prado, Lucas and Leigh gel nicely from the first panel of “Cyborg” #1. They don’t use the crutches of the Titans or the Justice League, instead looking at Cyborg from the circuit boards up. While most of the tech-babble is kept high-level and nebulous, Walker and Reis set things up for an eventual “Secret Files”-type peek into the records Thomas Morrow and Silas Stone are compiling. In the meantime, the threat of the Technosapiens is introduced and readers are given plenty to look forward to. It’s been a long time coming, but “Cyborg” #1 is a brilliant debut for an ongoing series that fulfills fan expectations.