Who would have known that when Top Cow relaunched their universe some time back that their original title, Cyber Force, would also get a new look? Sure, the team was involved peripherally in the reboot and if I recall correctly I saw them take part in Broken Trinity as well. I may be one of the few who remember when Cyber Force first reared its head with Image many, many moons ago as one of the flagship titles of the new publishing company, with art by series creator Marc Silvestri. 21 years later, the series gets a fresh look alongside the Top Cow Rebirth series, and Marc Silvestri is still along for the ride – however this time he’s taken on the writing duties and has gone a different route to make the series return.
Cyber Force is a series that returned with a publisher who was able to use Kickstarter as a way to relaunch the title. Now, where many companies would use this as a way to complete a book and deliver it to the masses, Top Cow did something different. They wanted to change how comics were distributed and used Kickstarter as an experiment for the medium. The first 5 issues of the series – concluding with this one – has been free. Seriously. If you see the title on the shelves and it’s one of the first 5 issues? No cost. Just get it and let your LCS ring it through with a cost of nothing. And what better way to get people hooked than by getting them to read not just the first issue but the entire first arc and have them vested in the characters. But the original backers didn’t just get away with making it free for everyone – they also were provided printed copies themselves with variant covers just for the backers.
But how did this issue do? I think pretty good – not great, but pretty good.
Marc Silvestri has given new life to characters that – I’ll be honest – I lost interest in a long time ago. In fact, I didn’t know that Cyber Force was even still around for a long time until I saw them in Broken Trinity and Artifacts. And the Rebirth of the Top Cow universe – which set everything onto its head – really gave it a new feeling but with that level of familiarity as well. The foundations of who the characters were remained the same, although I’ll admit I don’t recall seeing Aphrodite in the original series when it first came around. (It’s also good to note that this Aphrodite is not the same character currently seen in Aphrodite IX – although I’m guessing that the protocol is still the same.) But, unlike many of the characters in DC’s New 52, this is a damn good re-introduction to older characters.
The art in the book is by Khoi Pham and Laura Braga, with ink support from the same artists as well as Sal Rebula. The art is actually quite different from the title’s original counterpart in 1992, but it still manages to suit the book. It’s a little more simple at times, but detailed at others. These artists have, in my opinion, researched what worked in the original series and made sure that those elements remain, but still manage to include their own style to the Cyber Force mythos. They get some of the characters done in a way that I really like – I like their take on Velocity and Ripclaw – although some of the scenes with Stryker are… tolerable. (Truth be told, I never liked the Stryker character much at all and this series actually hasn’t improved my impression of him.) But throughout the run so far we do get creator Marc Silvestri doing the cover art, and that is just absolutely gorgeous!
What was nice to see was that the characters were not just a rehash of the same iteration from 20 years back. I don’t recall Ripclaw being able to send claw-type protrusions flying from his body towards his enemies and then returning to him, prompting Stryker to call him “Thor”. Regardless of my feelings on Stryker, it was nice to see some characters that I had not shown an interest about in years strike me as interesting again. With the next issue actually going to take some money out of my pocket, I will say that this series has me interested to see where they are taking it, and although the arc has ended there is a cliffhanger to the next issue (that reminds me of how episodes of Buffy used to end where something happens and then you see the credits).
OK, are you interested in reading the book now? Well head on down to your local LCS and pick them up – all issues should still be on the shelf! Or, if you want to really give it a try right now, Top Cow has made these first 5 issues available free for digital download! For that price you really cannot go wrong in giving it a shot!