1980 was a good year to be a kid. The Empire Strikes Back, Flash Gordon, and Superman II were on the big screen, while cartoons like Battle of the Planets, Thundarr the Barbarian, and Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo dominated the small screen. And in comics, Chris Claremont’s fantastic Dark Phoenix storyline was hitting the stands. And later that year, a little known comic character was introduced who has not only survived 26 years, but also secured a seat at the Justice League’s dinner table. In DC Comics Present #26, a teenage superhero named Cyborg was born.
Fast forward to today, and Cyborg is all grown up, establishing himself as a first-class superhero. He’ll be getting his own film in the near future, and more immediately will be a part of Warner Brothers’ Justice League and The Flash films. And kicking off Cyborg’s new heights in popular culture is Cyborg Rebirth #1. The comic begins with a terrific splash page with Cyborg taking on a massive electronic monolith. As Cyborg trades blows with this monster, we pop back in time and get the Spark Notes version of his origin story. Personally, I found this a helpful refresher that also added depth to the story’s context (much like when I read Deathstroke Rebirth #1 – see my review for more). While his origin story is already known amongst fans, Cyborg is a unique enough combination of man and machine for it to still be interesting. he author of Cyborg Rebirth #1, John Semper Jr., does a bang-up job with this first installment in DC’s brave new Rebirth world. Both Cyborg’s thoughts and his adversary’s dialogue have a clinical, computer feel to them, which is fun. As well, Semper Jr. is able to convey great compassion for Victor Stone (aka Cyborg) when exploring Stone’s backstory. The problems between father and son are real even before Vic’s tragic accident and his transformation into Cyborg.
Illustrating Cyborg Rebirth #1 is Paul Pelletier. Pelletier’s artwork is very well done and perhaps its greatest quality is the anguish readers can see on the characters’ faces. He has captured the real heart of Cyborg’s story, something that could easily have been lost in the action.
Cyborg is arguably the most relevant superhero in DC’s wheelhouse today. Sure, he’ll never be the most popular with the DC’s Holy Trinity around – Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. In the Justice League comics, he’s in last place when it comes to popularity. But his interconnection to all things technological makes him more relevant than an alien with an S on his chest or a man who dresses as a bat. Today, we are in the midst a technological revolution – one whose outcome remains uncertain. A storyline with Cyborg can tackle issues from real world threats like national security; hackers; and high-stakes, high-tech espionage. Cyborg stories can challenge our beliefs about A.I., the positive and negative impact of computer technology, and the use and abuse of a wealth of information at everyone’s fingertips.
Cyborg is the superhero for this generation and Cyborg Rebirth #1 does a good job conveying that.