Cyborg #22 Review: DC's Cypher Hero

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Cyborg has awakened in a bizarre lab with strangers tampering with his technology. This leads him to panic, and he runs into large robot, which swiftly pacifies the wounded superhero. He later discovers that the lab is an offshoot of S.T.A.R Labs called Starlite Original Businesses. They sprang from S.T.A.R to focus on cybernetics and, in part, building giant robots. However, Cyborg is convinced they have an agenda, and he is intent on discovering it.

Cyborg #22 cover by Will Conrad and Ivan Nunes
Cyborg #22 cover by Will Conrad and Ivan Nunes

Cyborg continues to be a series which DC is having trouble getting a handle on it seems. This issue is a confused mess wherein no antagonist is truly established, factions don't seem to know who they're working against, and Vic Stone is practically lost in the miasma.

Vic Stone himself, and I may write a full op-ed about this at some point, is a character DC seems almost afraid to establish. Marv Wolfman tries to give Vic some personality here by having hack into the S.O.B's servers (yes, the comic makes lame jokes about that acronym) and giving him some lines about loving giant robot anime as a kid. That's the most we've gotten out of Victor since David F. Walker's pre-Rebirth run on the title at least. Even then, those are only two traits, not a full character.

That's to say nothing of the text walls which bog down the pacing of this one. The scene wherein Cyborg begins hacking into Starlite's network has a column of text running down most of the page.

Furthermore, I think writers and artists forget that, even though he is a cyborg, that mechanical body and technology is still his. He rarely seems to have agency over it, and everyone wants a turn at poking at it, altering it, and experimenting on it and rarely with his permission. It's a disconcerting trend.

Cyborg #22 art by Tom Derenick, Wil Quintana, and Pete Pantazis
Cyborg #22 art by Tom Derenick, Wil Quintana, and Pete Pantazis

Tom Derenick's artwork is undeniably the best part of the comic. It brings its own style and even adds some visual personality to Vic. Cyborg himself looks quite good, and the giant robots have a simple yet appealing design to their chassis. The color art of Wil Quintana and Pete Pantazis compliments it well with a dynamic and popping palette.

Cyborg #22 is another disappointing entry for a character who really is one of my favorite DC characters. I want to see him given a fleshed-out identity, more agency, and interesting villains to face. He's rarely granted those things, and this issue is no different. I can't recommend it. Give it a pass.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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