Thursday, November 1, 2007


CYBERFORCE #1 – October 1992

The Tin Men of War - Part One
Credits: Marc Silvestri (artist), Eric Silvestri (writer), Mike Heisler (letterer), Joe Chiodo (colorist)

Ripclaw and Heatwave save a teenage girl named Velocity from a group of cybernetic hunters from Cyberdata, led by a woman named Ballistic. Meanwhile, Stryker, Cyblade, and Impact stop the assassination of a mutant mayoral candidate. Velocity is brought to a secret base where she meets Chip and his robot friend Timmie, who looks like a little boy. There’s a sudden explosion, and Ballistic appears with a new group of cyborgs.

Imitation & Flattery
Stryker is a no-nonsense military man with a cybernetic eye and arm(s), just like a certain Rob Liefeld creation.

Mutants are feared and persecuted in the world of Cyberforce.

Did you ever think that X-Men comics would be better if they only had more cyborgs? If so, Cyberforce is the comic for you. The original Image creators were heavily criticized for just knocking off old Marvel concepts, and this complaint had some validity. Cyberforce is shamelessly taking the “mutants as a persecuted minority” concept, and applying it to a book about…cyborgs. A blue-skinned mayoral candidate (actually named Perry Bluestone, I swear) is attacked by a group of assassins who don’t want to see the “freak” win. The member of Cyberforce protecting the mayor has a lot of “can’t we all just get along?”-type thought balloons. Later, a group called the “Mutant Liberation Army” firebombs city hall as a response to the assassination attempt. It’s like someone took an X-Force script and used “Find and Replace” to change the names to Cyberforce characters. I almost admire how shameless they are about it.

As an action-oriented story, it’s more fun to read than the other Image books I’ve reviewed so far. There’s a lot of cliché dialogue and (very) unoriginal ideas, but so far, it’s not as cluttered as WildC.A.T.S and doesn’t stall the way Spawn does. Silvestri’s art is great, bringing a lot of energetic action with clear storytelling. Amongst artists, Silvestri tends to be labeled the best artist of the original Image Seven, and I agree. He seems to favor energy over slickness, which is probably why Jim Lee became more commercially successful. The Top Cow house style of today seems to be a heavily exaggerated variation of what he’s doing in these issues.

Many of the editorials in the Image first issues were filled with resentment towards Marvel (I remember Liefeld’s editorial in Supreme #1 as being particularly harsh), but Silvestri doesn’t have any bad words to say. He says that he joined Image because it seemed like a good idea, and then thanks the people he worked with at Marvel, calling them friends. Classy.

CYBERFORCE #2 – March 1993

The Tin Men of War - Part Two
Credits: Marc Silvestri (artist), Eric Silvestri (writer), Mike Heisler (letterer), Joe Chiodo (colorist)

Cyberforce face Cyberdata's soldiers, the S.H.O.C.S. They want to take Velocity back with them, but Cyberforce forces them to retreat. With their base destroyed, Cyberforce moves into an underground bunker hidden beneath a gas station. After grocery shopping with Velocity, Timmie runs into the path of a van being driven by outlaw mutants. The mutants take Velocity and Timmie hostage, but are stopped in their getaway by another S.H.O.C.S. member.

Production Note
According to the cover dates, this issue came out five months after the previous one. Who needs editors?

And now Cyberforce falls into the “creator introduces every cool character he’s come up with since the fifth grade in one issue” trap. The opening fight scene looks nice, but who are these guys? There’s no real introduction given to anybody, they’re just there to fill pages in a fight scene. I get the idea that Cyberforce and Cyberdata are mortal enemies, and that they fight in a G.I. Joe/Cobra, Autobots/Decepticons way, but throwing even more villains out there without any introduction doesn’t work. Calling them S.H.O.C.S., when they work for Cyberdata, is needlessly confusing. This is only the second issue, but the bad guys already have their own sub-division of members. Later on, yet another group of mutant villains debuts without a proper introduction either, making this issue as cluttered as the early WildC.A.T.S stories.

Like a lot of the early Image books, this reads as if it ought to be the two hundredth issue of the book instead of the second. Following Marvel’s lead, the creators want to give all of these characters extensive backstories with one another, but without the benefit of Marvel’s decades-long continuity. This doesn’t work, you can’t just have someone shout, “It’s the S.H.O.C.S!” and expect us to care.

CYBERFORCE #3 – May 1993
The Tin Men of War - Part Three
Credits: Marc Silvestri (pencils), Eric Silvestri (writer), Dan Panosian, Marc Silvestri, & Trevor Scott (inks), Mike Heisler (letterer), Joe Chiodo (colorist)

The S.H.O.C.S. fight mutants Slam, Wyldfyre, and Splitzkrieg in order to kidnap Velocity, and steal some disks stolen from the Megasoft Corporation. The disks have been swallowed by Timmie, who is soon captured by the S.H.O.C.S., along with Velocity. Cyberforce traces their stolen van to the mutants’ hideout, where Pitt is coincidentally spending the night. The S.H.O.C.S. set a bomb to blow up the van and attack. Pitt, the mutants, and Cyberforce team up to fight the S.H.O.C.S. Meanwhile, Stryker, working undercover, joins Mother May I’s mutant terrorist group.

Imitation & Flattery
The mutant terrorist group is lead by Mother May I, a blue-skinned female who looks exactly like Mystique.

More characters you don’t know anything about fight each other. And then something called Pitt shows up. It still looks nice, even if some of the storytelling is getting shaky, but it’s exactly what you would expect from an early Image comic.

CYBERFORCE #4 – July 1993

The Tin Men of War - Part Four
Credits: Marc Silvestri (pencils), Eric Silvestri (writer), Scott Williams (inker), Mike Heisler (letterer), Joe Chiodo (colorist)

Cyberforce invades Cyberdata’s skyscraper in order to save Velocity and Timmie. Mother May I is using the virus inside the stolen disks to destroy New York’s power grid. Her relationship with Cyberdata comes to an end when her jilted lover Kimata shoots her. Before she dies, Mother May I reveals that she is Velocity and Ballistic’s mother. Cyberforce defeats the S.H.O.C.S. and Cyberdata’s men, stopping the virus and taking Velocity back home with them.

I Love the ‘90s
Timmie the robot sends an e-mail to the team. This is the first reference to e-mail in any of the books I’ve reviewed so far.

This issue has a cardstock, metallic cover, for a $0.55 higher cover price.

It’s the big fight finish (as opposed to the big fight beginning and middle). Just like WildC.A.T.S, Cyberforce is filled with too many characters and too much action. At least this issue doesn’t introduce too many new characters, except for the mystery man behind Cyberdata (the mysterious group we know nothing about in the first place). I was hoping to at least enjoy these issues as fun action comics, but they turn out to just be a cluttered mess.

Cyberforce never really caught on (I can’t even remember if it’s published today; I know that Pat Lee was drawing a revival but I haven’t heard much about it sense). Even if there were a full-scale ‘90s nostalgia boom, I wouldn’t expect Cyberforce to really take off. Marc Silvestri introduced Witchblade in 1995, setting up Top Cow’s future as a publisher of dark fantasy titles, with no shortage of T & A. It seems to have worked out for them.


De said...

I remember buying each one of these issues. I'm going straight to hell now, aren't I?

Justin Boatwright said...

Silvestri's art looked much better back then. His work on the recent X-Men Messiah Complex one-shot was pretty bad.

LurkerWithout said...

Cyberforce is actually relaunching either soon, or its possible its already started again.

Luke said...

Wow, this just sounds so... random. I can safely say that no, I have never purchased an issue of Cyberforce, yeesh!

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