Soon, Justice League will finally make its way to the big screen. The trailers and commercials are promising an epic ensemble film that’ll do Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman justice. From the sound of things, that’s what happens, but there's one hero who needs this movie to help them more than any other: Cyborg.
Since photos of Justice League began coming out over the past year, there’s been one thing that seems to be agreed on: Namely, that the half-man/half-machine doesn’t look too good, visually speaking. Whenever he’s shown in promotional footage, he always looks off, which has drawn both outright mockery and worry about his portrayal in the film. Across social media impressions and reviews for the film, it feels like everyone’s divided on him, with some thinking that he’s forgettable and others finding him compelling. Because he’s a very CG-heavy character and therefore very expensive, he’s understandably been shown the least out of all the Leaguers (ignoring Superman, for obvious, plot-relevant reasons). But all the same, the other characters in the film have something of a consistent look to them from screenshot to poster to trailer. Cyborg lacks that cohesion, and as a result comes off as forgettable, which isn’t good.
Like many DC characters that aren’t a part of the Trinity, Cyborg started out largely as a B-list hero. In fact, it was doubtful that many had even heard of him prior to the original Teen Titans cartoon. If you were a kid growing up in the early 2000s, he was the black superhero that you were able to see on television on a regular basis; Static Shock was winding down just as Teen Titans episodes started airing, and Justice League didn’t feature John Stewart in every episode. Smallville didn’t do much with the character after introducing him, and he was just sort of "there" in the comics, leaving the Teen Titans Cyborg as the definitive version of the character for most of his fans.
And then a weird thing happened; in 2011, the tech-based hero got a promotion to the A-squad. As part of DC Comics' line-wide continuity reboot, The New 52, Cyborg got boosted to being a founding member of the new Justice League, which was both good and bad. On one hand, he is the one of most famous black superheroes that that people outside of comics have heard of -- Static was too young for the League in this new continuity, and the addition of a second Green Lantern on the new League would’ve just been weird. But on the other hand, when you step back and think about it for a moment, Cyborg’s inclusion is a little... off.
The story of his fictional life, right?