A Real Case Of Heavy Metal Family Bonding: Reviewing ‘Cyborg’ #1

Booyah! A new dawn has begun in the DC Universe and Cyborg is one of the heroes seeing a rise. Once more, the human and machine hybrid is headlining his own solo series. Showing off how this proverbial Tin Man still has a massive heart of gold.

No lies told; this is a series I’ve been waiting for excitedly since it was announced. I love the Titans, both teen and adult editions, and Victor Stone is up on the list of characters I love the most. There is the whole human vs technology aspect to the character as well as the great friendship with Beast Boy. But chiefly he’s a very intriguing Black character with heart and brains.

Back during the whole New 52 era they tried to make Cyborg bigger by rebooting him as a Justice League Founder, but he’s always been pretty huge. My man here is not only in comics regularly but the Teen Titans/Teen Titans Go! version has been in pop culture for two decades. He’s been in big-screen films and is a regular on the Doom Patrol show. In the comics, he’s back with the Titans, the Justice League stuff still there mixed into his origins. The character is far better for it.

This is where he belongs.

Right away, Morgan Hampton taps into that energy. Giving us a fun and welcoming introduction that thrusts that title character right into the thick of things. Cyborg singlehandedly taking on, and taking down Mammoth and Gizmo, perennial Titan foes, is a solid place to begin. It’s familiar, while also showing off what this character can do. Our peek into the heroic works is a good segue into the deeper emotional elements of the story.

This is a father & son relationship story in a way, but one that has flaws and issues. It’s not often that we get to see stories with a Black hero getting to be vulnerable. Victor Stone, though, wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t shy away from his emotions. The broken relationship with is father has molded him in various ways. So far with just one issue, Hampton has proven to be the right one to tackle this type of story.

Speaking of guiding hands, calling upon Tom Raney, a veteran in the superhero field of comics, artistically works greatly for this series. Raney has a sort of timeless classic appeal to his work, with enough modern flairs to make it fit the time. Character facial expressions are on point, the motion is smooth and fluid, and there is an almost whimsical rough appeal to all of the work. It works perfectly because Victor Stone’s story is a rough one, and the overall story does not shy away from this.

I really dig it when artists set up panels in a way that allows for white space that can perfectly frame the panels. It breaks things up some but also just creates a very intriguing visual effect. Especially when the panels themselves are slipping and sliding around the page in various shapes and styles. Stacked over each other or slashing across the page, leading right into a big collage double page spread origin montage that distills the story down to simple moments but powerful ones in the right artistic hands.

Color-wise, Michael Atiyeh hits all the same notes as Raney. There are plenty of the brighter, more vivid colors one would expect from a superhero-adjacent story. At the same time, there is a toned down almost darker or heavier quality to other colors on the page. A bit of roughness can be felt there, to enhance that rougher feeling that the artwork evokes. All the fantastical elements feel as fantastical as they should, thanks to Atiyeh and Raney, as the superheroes and robots and like stand out from the world around them.

Yet, they also don’t feel that strange.

A perfect example of this would be the aforementioned montage page and the ones after it. We see various superheroes, including the other Titans, dressed up for the funeral wearing black clothes as one does but with their masks and other signature items still in place. On one hand, it naturally feels strange when compared to our own world, but it feels right for this world. We gaze upon it and never question such things because this is the world that we’re visiting and it’s all normal.

Rounding out this creative team is Rob Leigh on letters. There is a lot that Leigh gets to bring to the page when it comes to a story like this. With the various heroes/robots, there are ways to throw in colorful or different types of speech bubbles and captions. I’m partial to the orange and blue, with a circuitry pattern, caption boxes for Cyborg that just pop. Leigh is always so good at capturing emotion and tone with the way that the letters are put onto the page.

We can hear exactly what a character is feeling and meaning with their words, making their voices crystal clear. Alongside that are the fun colorful, at times ominous, SFX that are front and center where they need to be. Lettering is so important to a comic because it helps finish creating this world for our visiting pleasure, and Leigh does it so well.

Cyborg #1 is now available from DC Comics.

Booyah! A new dawn has begun in the DC Universe and Cyborg is one of the heroes seeing a rise.COMICONRead More

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