Cyber Force #1
Matt Hawkins (writer), Bryan Hill (writer), Troy Peteri (letterer), Atilio Rojo (artist), Elena Salcedo (editor), Marc Silvestri (creator)
Top Cow Productions, Inc.
March 28, 2018
Since its introduction in 1992, Top Cow’s flagship team, Cyberforce, has gone through a steady evolution. Marc Silvestri’s tin men graduated from shiny steel-ribbing and an overindulgence of techy references to the latest story, where a mysterious villain promises to free humanity from the clutches of technology.
“What happens when evolution stops being a natural process and becomes a mechanized one?” asked writer Matt Hawkins late last year when Top Cow first announced that Cyber Force would return. “What is the future of this new humanity? I hope to engage these ideas in CYBER FORCE . . . and blow a lot of things apart in flame and steel.”
True to his word, issue #1 opens with violence and explosions that leave Morgan Stryker critically wounded. The decision to save his life is left to his eighteen-year-old daughter, Carin. As a result of her choices, they both become beholden to the company that operates on them.
When we met Carin for the first time in 1992 and again in 2012, she was running for her life as fast as her enhanced legs could carry her. She, like her teammates, started out as an “ultrasapien” whose DNA, we later learned, was the result of alien biology. In Rebirth, we were introduced to humans whose cybernetics were destroying them. Human origins with cybernetic upgrades are once again the order of the day in the new series as Hawkins and Hill explore transhumanism and how technology is shaping our world.
While Hill and Hawkins have indicated that they will stay true to the spirit of Silvestri’s kinetic and explosive cybernetic story, this third iteration has one striking difference from the get-go. As I mentioned, the first two versions feature a close up of Carin doing her speedster thing, but this time, Carin is unable to run at all, revealing a narrative that relies on ableist tropes that, writes Jazmine Joyner, “[fits] into the inherently ableist idea that being disabled means you have a lower quality of life.” Whether or not this issue is given any kind of sensitivity or further exploration as the story progresses is left to be seen.
With Silvestri overseeing the new story, Hawkins returns, alongside Hill. Together, I expect them to pursue Silvestri’s theme of family, which is at the heart of the story Silvestri always wants to tell with his team. While this first issue focuses on the relationship between Carin and Stryker and their current plight, based on the Silvestri cover, at least some of our faves will show up, including Ripclaw, Ballistic, and Aphrodite, while an ominous Killjoy looms over everyone, promising to bring the mayhem. In an interview with Brittany Matter, Hawkins notes that he’d convinced Silvestri to sacrifice some of the original characters that “were kind of lame,” so I’m guessing that means we won’t see any curly-haired surfer strong guys ever again.
There is not a lot to go on in this issue, but as a previous, in-and-out fan of Cyber Force, I have a lot of speculation that I can chew on in terms of what new elements the team might bring to this story. That’s not to say a new fan won’t find anything of interest to work with. The mystery of Stryker’s benefactors and the masked attacker are enough to build the intrigue, and Rojo’s art successfully draws the reader in with bright colours and sharp angles and perspectives. Shifting from explosive reds, whites, and oranges to more subdued colours, Rojo sets the mood of each panel, with particular love and detail given to Carin’s expressive face as she processes everything she is dealing with.
With technology moving at a tremendous pace in reality, Cyber Force is now better suited to explore the rabbit hole of where that technology can take us than it was in 1992. Rebirth already showed us that the team could mature with age, though there was still a heavy reliance on explosions and ’90s-style posturing and posing. Let’s hope that 2018 brings us a better balance of old meets new as the cynbernetic evolution continues.