Earlier this year, Top Cow Comics launched a Kickstarter project to do something truly inspired. They wanted to raise enough money to relaunch and re-imagine their original series, Cyber Force. Sounds like a pretty cool prospect, but it gets better. They wanted to raise enough money in order for them to be able to give the comic out for free. And raise enough, they did. Issue #1 hit the shelves and digital devices alike last month, and this week we are being graced with the second – and still totally free – installment.
The CDI Black Ops group have long disbanded and are now struggling to fit into the real world. Their dependency on a blue fluid that stops their bodies from rejecting their cybernetic enhancements has led many of them to extreme measures, including an attempt to hold the chairwoman’s daughter at ransom. After a deadly attack on the remaining members of the team, Ripclaw turns to his last resort: finding Morgan Stryker.
First of all, it is worth highlighting that this comic is 100% free. No matter what you normally pick up on a Wednesday, you would be a fool not to grab a free copy of Cyber Force #2 when you hit the comic book stores this week. Cyber Force #2 is available from December 5th and this series just keeps getting better. There really is no reason not to pick this up or download it come Wednesday. In their Kickstarter video, Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins (head honchos of Top Cow) state that the reason they are doing this isn’t just to share Cyber Force with the world but also to get people who don’t normally read comics to give one a go and read it regularly. So this is the perfect time to get into comics. Or, if you’re already a comic book reader, why not take this opportunity to give Top Cow a try?
This month sees a flashback to the CDI Black Ops team on one of their less successful missions. While the narration catches us up on the technology the Cyber Force team are running off of, we see the group make a blatant mistake which ends in a rather brutal scene involving the slaying of an entire family. It’s tonally typical of a Top Cow comic – dark, gritty, and occasionally difficult to take. But it wouldn’t be a Top Cow if it was an easy read.
Artist Khoi Pham does a great job with Silvestri’s elaborate and luscious character designs, which are worthy of giving the comic at least a second or third reading just to take in the fantastic detail of each. It is worth mentioning that this is one of Pham’s only non-Marvel books, showing how big a project he must consider this to be if he is straying away from his comfort zone in order to do this. Kudos to him for giving Cyber Force a go. Top Cow fans should be pretty happy with his penciling work, as it will sit well next to the style of Sejic and even Silvestri’s own art. It may be worth noting that Sejic was involved in the finishing of the art of the comic, and – as always – his touch does not go unnoticed. Pham is a welcome addition to the Top Cow arsenal and I look forward to seeing his work in the rest of this series. And, while I don’t want to spoil anything, I will say this: Pham’s splash pages are to die for.
As for Silvestri’s script, it is clear from the Kickstarter video, the website’s promotion of Cyber Force and even the comic itself, that this is a project close to Silvestri’s heart. The dialogue is what regular readers expect from the comic’s creator: harsh, heartfelt and pretty foul-mouthed. The pages showing Stryker’s attempt at a normal life are almost as upsetting as the more horrific things that happen in the comic and the final lines of the issue are pretty damn bleak.
There are great things in store with this series and I applaud Silvestri and the rest of the Top Cow team for handing it to us for free. A lot of work has gone into this series and it deserves a lot of love in return.