Cyborg: Rebirth #1

Written by: John Semper Jr.

Art by: Paul Pelletier

Publisher: DC

Cyborg is a character that’s sorely needed an ongoing for a while now. He’s been pushed ever since the new 52 reboot as a pillar of the universe and founding member of the Justice League but hasn’t had enough time in the spotlight for readers to really get a sense of his character. Johns did a good job giving him some room to grow in Forever Evil, and his short lived DC You series had some big names behind it, so with Rebirth, I was hoping this would finally be the book that allowed me to truly “get” Cyborg. Unfortunately, while this issue ends of a promising note, it’s mostly filled with exposition and clunky writing that bore more than entertain.

The narrative is told from the perspective of a mysterious narrator monitoring Cyborg’s response to an attempted break-in at S.T.A.R. labs. Using this device, he and the reader learn both about Cyborg’s current superhero abilities as well as his past. While this isn’t a bad framing device for a story, the problem is the character voice is totally wrong and leads to lots of clunky and straight-up poor writing, some of which is almost comical. For example, during its dialogue, the narrator takes an actual dramatic pause when saying “the emotion humans refer to as…. love” which feels so out of character and cliche it drove me right out of the story and into a laughing fit. I had an equally bizarre reaction when at the death of his wife, Silas Stone lets slip a Vader style “NooOOooOOooOO!” which completely destroys the dramatic tension of the narrative and makes it feel like a parody.

It’s these problems that really bog down the narrative. There’s interesting material in Cyborg’s backstory to make an engaging comic, but being so heavy handed and lacking in depth, the script does very little to bring this to life. The bright spots end up being at the very end, which teases a more intriguing conflict going forward and will hopefully be far more enjoyable than the recap here.

On the plus side, Paul Pelletier’s art manages to bring a very fun style to the superheroics of the book. The action scenes themselves are a ton of fun and far more interesting than the rest of the script. Despite the ending of the fight being a little anticlimactic since Cyborg’s powerset is a little vague (something about hacking?) it’s still pretty fun and much more in line with what I was hoping from the book. If there’s more of this in upcoming issues things could get a bit more exciting.

Overall, despite being pretty underwhelmed by this debut issue, I’m not willing to totally write off this series yet. A good few Rebirth books have had pretty bad one shots then gone on to have fantastic first issues (just check out Superman for example, my current favourite) so I’m willing to give this one another go now that the backstory is out of the way. Right now though, Cyborg is hard to recommend, and I’d advise caution before picking it up.