Cyber Force #5
Writer: Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins
Artist: Atilio Rojo
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Frank Lanza
I love a good reboot. The last Cyber Force series was especially fun, even more so when it tied into the post apocalyptic story that was being told in Aphrodite IX at the time. But, as all things must do, it ended and left us waiting a few years for the next incarnation of one of my favorite 90’s guilty pleasures.
The current version of Cyber Force begins with a bit of an origin story, chronicling a brief introduction to the Stryker and Velocity of this new iteration. We also have Killjoy back as a primary baddie and Aphrodite returns as an enigmatic friend and foe. I really enjoyed issue #4’s focus on Aphrodite and her origins; it was a unique take on the character, which isn’t an easy thing to do with about 20 years of history.
Cyber Force #5 continues to introduce the core characters in the series and does so in a very succinct and self-contained package. This issue spends the majority of the issue introducing fan favorite Ripclaw to the fold. Ripclaw appears to be trying to live a solitary existence away from the wars he was designed to fight. Much like his inspiration, Logan trouble never leaves him alone for long as he is quickly dragged into defending a doctor and her defenseless charges from an encroaching cartel. Ripclaw wants to avoid the conflict but his conscious gets the better of him and he’s drawn into the battle. He proceeds to do what he does best and by the end of the issue it appears as if Mr. Berresford is back in the superheroing business.
I have always enjoyed Matt Hawkins’ work for Image and Top Cow. He’s intelligent, creative, provocative, and a little bit paranoid. The end result is usually a well thought out and entertaining story that is steeped in back matter. I’m new to Bryan Hill’s work and it appears he’s doing the majority of the scripting here while the team is co-plotting the book. While I enjoyed the story, the pacing of the series so far has yet to take off, and the characterizations are a bit shallow. This can probably be attributed to a long intro arc for the book as they set up the new world order for Cyber Force, or maybe it’s that they assume the reader already has some prior knowledge of the team and its characters. Either way, I hope it ramps up in the next few issues and engages me more.
I’m also new to Atilio Rojo’s work and so far I have not been disappointed. It appears he’s handling all the art chores here including coloring, which is quite impressive considering we’re five issues in on a monthly book and the schedule shows no signs of slowing down or needing a backup artist. His colors are vivid and striking on nearly every panel, and his compositions and storytelling are a real joy to read.
Verdict: Wait and see.
As I said before, I’m a long time fan of Cyber Force, and I have a lot of faith that the creative team has a deep and intriguing story in store for us. With the first five issues, the pace isn’t just hot enough for me to warrant picking the book up in single issues just yet. I think trade waiting this first arc is perfectly fine, and probably best if you’re a new reader to the Cyber Force universe. This will get you a chunk of introductions and establishing stories before the real meat of Hill and Hawkins’ tale kicks in.