CYBORG #23 / Writer: Marv Wolfman / Art: Dale Eaglesham / DC Comics/ Released: June 6, 2018
Released right before Father’s Day, Cyborg #23 begins with a horrified Cyborg being pulled apart by a team of scientists, led by his father. Writer Marv Wolfman does a great job of giving voice to a disabled character being betrayed by someone who should be an advocate for him. Cyborg struggles, throughout the story, to figure out if and how and why his cybernetics have fallen victim to tampering. Wolfman writes a great faux-climax with Cyborg confronting (but also not confronting) his father over whether his agency has been violated.
Cyborg literally talks through a door, to a silent and unrepentant father. He makes peace with the fact that he may never learn the truth from his father. Unfortunately, this is the point of the story that things start to fall apart. It’s at this point that the dialogue begins to feel a tad rushed; even the “introduction” of the villain Master Nijiro, is quite hasty. In fact, the only thing faster than Master Nijiro’s introduction is the battle between Nijiro and Cyborg. Interestingly enough, we do learn that (in stark contrast to Cyborg’s father), Nijiro’s father used technology to better his life to ensure Nijiro’s success/happiness.
The contrast between Nijiro’s relationship to his father and Cyborg’s to his father solidified how problematic Silas is to his son. However, the plot here is muddied by how briefly we explore Nijiro and his raison d’etre. It works for moving the story along, but that’s it. Its brevity takes away the seriousness of his agenda until we suddenly find ourselves in a battle scene.
Although the plot seemed pretty basic, and the dialogue was too slow and too quick in comparison to the rest of the story, artist Tom Derenick came to the rescue. Derenick’s contribution helps to keep the reader engaged. Drawing robots and robot parts aren’t easy, but Derenick’s visual pacing coupled with Wil Quintana’s coloring succeeds in been stimulating in the face of less-than-interesting storytelling.
This is still a fun story to read, and most likely fell victim to “middle-child syndrome”. This isn’t a mind-blowing issue but is clearly an issue setting the stage for a bigger confrontation. Cyborg #23 gets a 3.5 because it covers all the basics of good comic book storytelling, but its art is really what propels it forward to being a great read.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5.
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