By Tony Thornley
Marc Silvestri’s Cyber Force has been through a lot in the last 26 years. Starting life as one of Image’s launch superhero titles, it’s run the course from superhero book, to cyberpunk, to dystopia, to this newest incarnation. Matt Hawkins and Bryan Edward Hill have plotted a new world for the Cyber Force, which is only a few steps removed from ours.
A heavily armored terrorist is holding the world captive. She starts by slaughtering an entire nameless facility (save longtime Cyber Force protagonist Morgan Stryker), and then holds the world under threat, purporting to be the being that will save the world from its addiction to technology. Meanwhile Stryker and his daughter Carin undergo experimental procedures, augmenting both in strange new ways.
As an introduction to the team, I actually have to say this is the most engaging of the various takes I’ve read. Hill and Hawkins craft a familiar world. I would be willing to say that the world of this Cyber Force is only a few years away. The action is largely a result of the nameless terrorist’s actions, but it builds an interesting dynamic- almost establishing a paranoia underneath the story of Stryker and Carin.
For the first time, Morgan Stryker feels like a human being instead of a grizzled war machine. The character has struggled to break out of the mold that cast the Punisher or Cable. Here, you feel for him and his new situation. He’s fully formed, if not fully revealed. His relationship with Carin is the most concrete it’s ever felt as well. There’s a connection and depth to their single scene together. These are heroes that we can care for and care about now. It’s a great step forward for the series.
I was unfamiliar with artist Atilio Rojo before I read the issue, but he’s won me over already. The action scenes are visceral and violent. His character work is equally good, though. There’s a lot of pathos in Stryker that he portrays extremely well. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with Stryker and Velocity in their full capabilities. A special note for his colors too–when the terrorist appears, Rojo shifts into a red palate. When we’re in the hospital, the colors are muted and less bright. He’s clearly a skilled colorist, and he’s also very thoughtful in his choices. It adds a lot to the story.
In the end, this is an engaging relaunch to a concept that deserves it.
Cyber Force #1 arrived from Top Cow at Image Comics on March 28th, 2018.