Comic Book Review: Cyborg #21


I was feeling two things when seeing that a new issue of Cyborg was coming out this week. First I was shocked since we went so long since the last issue. It was easy to forget what happened in that issue and the idea almost sank in that DC had finally pulled the plug on this title. Then I was also relieved since that was not the case. When it comes to ongoing books that you want to bite the bullet on and keep alive, I think Cyborg is important in terms of showing how much they care about their diverse heroes. Particularly considering the unique exploration of the machine side of the DC Universe.

From the start of this issue it was interesting to continue to see Cyborg embracing his role as a hero in his field rather than dealing with just his personal problems. His struggle to feel human sometimes or not be seen as property will always be a matter of importance to some extent, but it can’t always be the go to plot device. Not when he has advanced so far that he can actually blend in perfectly as a normal person through the nanites in his body. So simply being out there on missions or expeditions for S.T.A.R. Labs was a step in the right direction since this is the kind of work you expect Cyborg to do when he is not with the Justice League. Everything about his work here felt refreshing. New names, new dynamics that go beyond Silas or Sarah being the face of those who work for S.T.A.R. Labs too. It helped overall that this was straightforward science. Throwing Cyborg out of his element creates an interesting plot, but that can only work so many times before becoming overused.

It did take some time to warm up to the story that they were setting the foundation for. Clearly there is some competition out there in the world of technological advancements, though nothing was fully fleshed out for a good portion of the issue. With that said, the vagueness did peak intrigue when this new character who we will assume is a foe shows a desire to have what makes Cyborg special. Knowing that is of course the Mother Box, you had to wonder what would lead to the introduction of this Mother Box 2.0. After the first encounter, which was solid for a first, it did become clear as to what leads this story in that direction.

In general it is welcoming to have enemies who challenge Cyborg and allies on their front. It was a plus to discover that it was not one, but two forces to deal with. Not knowing where either come from or the people behind them grabs your attention since we are venturing into new territory. Cyborg’s reaction to all of these unknown elements helped since he doesn’t react well to what doesn’t make sense to him.

One thing that continues to impress me with Cyborg is the cycling of stunning artists. This is another one of those titles that doesn’t tend to keep the same artist or art team on board too long, but each one that comes and goes do great work. This issue was no different with the art team of Tom Derenick, Scott Kolins, and Wil Quintana. Quality work was taken in from start to finish when they were given the room to do so much that is new to readers. New characters, machines, settings, bases of operation. For these two opposing forces that Cyborg confronts, they each had their own distinctive style to how they built their machines. One had a more traditional theme going on between the composition and color, while the other gave off the impression that it was more of an independent organization. That said, the one thing you always take notice of first is the way Cyborg himself is drawn. Everyone seems to have their own way like this art team does. He has a more human build to him with less of the wiring or lacing showing. The best word to use would be smooth when describing their approach to rendering him. When we got to the scenes of this samurai, I enjoyed how they switched to a page layout reflecting the setting. The overlapping in other panels was a nice touch as well for the action shots.

Cyborg #21 was a good start to a stronger exploration of Victor’s corner of the universe. This was a great time to develop to enemies, ways for Victor to spring into action, and further address his reputation as Cyborg. There really hasn’t been much worry at all about the future of this title with the creator back in charge of Cyborg’s story. He didn’t disappoint when he said he was taking him in an all new and different direction, with a brand-new cast and all-new baddies.

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