Hello, I’m a unicorn. Today, we look at a Cyber Force #1, an early Image Comic. I got this comic without knowing anything about it previously other than the company it came from, so let’s see how they did establishing this universe.
The cover is lame. It’s a wraparound that just shows our “heroes” posing for battle while surrounded by guns. There’s Fu Manchu squatting in the bottom left corner. His power seems to be fingernails that a bag lady would be proud of and having a raspberry for a leg. Next to him is a woman with a a rubber spine and metal body armor that manages to conform to her every muscle and curve. In between them is a guy with four arms all holding guns. Guess what his name is? That’s right, Stryker. He is sporting shoulder pads and a bare chest. That’s a design idea that I never really understood for both male and female superheroes. Who thought it was a good idea to leave the vital organs unprotected in combat? Next to him is a guy wearing very goofy headgear that has his hair flowing from the top and a power glove that’s converted Pepto Bismol into energy. Finally, we have our generic Thing/Hulk ripoff that’s in every early Image team comic. He’s wearing the same stupid headgear as Pepto Bismol man and standing with his back to the reader. They all blend into each other so I have trouble telling where one begins and the other ends. Also, three out of the five look like they really have to poop. On the back we get a good look at the mooks that they’re fighting and there are three giant heads floating at the top. The one on the left has a scull face. There isn’t much to say about him/her because it only appears on one page at the end of the comic. In that page, it’s hard to tell whether Scully is male or female. The one in the middle is our main heroine and resident damsel in distress. She looked somewhat familiar when I first read it, but I couldn’t place where. My friend so cleverly pointed out that she looks a lot like Domino from the Marvel Universe. They both have the same pale face with the dark shape over one eye, but our red headed heroine’s shape is a lightning bolt. I shall call her DomDID (Damsel In Distress.) The lady on the right is wearing the same headgear as Pepto Bismol and Not Thing. I’m not going to be referring to them by their names because you’ll probably forget them as soon as you read them like I did.
We open the comic with raindrops falling on DomDID’s face. We have a blue textbox in the corner. It’s a time stamp that reads “DFHDFYHDFHNGJZD.” Okay, not really, but it may as well, because the lettering is unreadable. It hurts the eyes just to look at it. We also have dialogue. It says that they’ve made contact and their target is headed West at forty MPH. WAIT. Forty miles per hour?! It doesn’t look at all like she’s going forty mph. Art 101, when you want someone to look like they’re going fast, draw speed lines. Otherwise, it just looks they’re running at average speed. We see her jump over a fence and think to herself about how she can”t get caught again. Wait, “again”? When was she captured before? Why does she need to escape? Why are the villains chasing her? For all we know, she’s running from the police because she’d just robbed an old lady or was plotting to murder a blind man in cold blood. Soon after she clears the fence, the villains explode through it. How did she not notice how close the villains are? From the way her thought bubbles connect to the panel it looks like they were no more than ten feet behind her.
We also see Fu Manchu watching her from a rooftop. He quotes a poem by Robert Bearclaw. It’s meant to seem deep but all it does is make the writer look unoriginal. There’s a lot of somewhat pretentious narration about what our mysterious evil people will do to her. We flip the page and see a two page spread revealing that Fu Manchu’s name is…RIPCLAW!!!!! BWAHAHAHA…. Ripclaw? Really? That’s the best name you can come up with? It’s just so…silly. The only reason that ‘s called Ripclaw is because he has claws. Since apparently, according to the narration, he’s guided by the spirit of the bear, why not BearClaw?
We then cut to an explosion and another unreadable blue textbox. I get that they’re trying to make it all digital looking but it is nearly impossible to read without getting a headache. We see two people speaking in techno babble. In the next panel we see a little boy named Timmie looking right at us and talking about F.D.I. monitors and a helpful textbox explains that they are Failure Detection and Isolation and other techno babble. One of the workers says that they have something on the cyber com. A textbox explains what any one can guess. It’s basically a goofy sounding way of saying that it’s their communications device. It’s Fu Manchu’s request for backup. End scene.
We cut to a political rally, and oh great Krypton! We have yet another of those blue textboxes. There is a candidate giving a speech about how humans and mutants should get along while the four armed mutant/cyber thingy internally monologues about how humans aren’t ready to get along with mutants. Why not? It’s not like we’ve seen how much mutants and humans hate each other. We’ve just been told that. In X-Men, we see why people fear mutants and how they lash out at them. Here, not so much. Heck, they can’t hate each other that much because Four Arms is guarding a mutant candidate for mayor of New York, and he has accumulated a pretty good sized crowd. Even though Four Arms is in the wings, he still can get a perfect view of an assassin. He pushes the candidate, who apparently is a Senator, out of the way. Senator huh? Yeah, people hate mutants so much that they elect one as a Senator. Four Arms shoots the sniper and find another potential assassin. He can’t get a clear shot so the second man gets away.
The would be assassin runs into Cyblade, the rubber spined woman from the cover. She tells him not to bother using the guns. The assassin, holding his idiot ball, shoots, proclaiming, “I’m not paid to think.”
Rubber Spine blasts a giant hole through him, quipping, “Well then you should get a bonus for this. Don’t spend it all in one place.” Really? That’s the best you can come up with? Not “I hope you get the whole payment?” “I bet you feel quite holy now?” Another would be assassin escapes to the car, and his getaway driver asks what happened. Well, what do you think happened? The plan failed, went down the toilet, it did… not… work. They start to drive away but run into Impact, aka Not Thing, who rips the car in half. I think. It’s kind of hard to tell with the artwork.
DomDID pauses to catch her breath and gets a gun pointed to her head. How did she not see the mooks sneak up on her? It’s not a huge alleyway and we don’t see them behind her in an establishing shot. Also, this alleyway is large enough to have four heavily armored people to stand in a line behind one another. On another note, they changed the textboxes from the obnoxious blue ones to a readable one. I guess the editor finally noticed how hard they were to read. Then Fu Manchu appears on top of a building in a shot with wonky perspective. making it look like the evil guy is twenty feet tall. He leaps at our villains, one yelling, “It’s that crazy Indian from Cyber Force!” Wait, Indian? This guy is whiter than I am and I make Snow White look tan. So Fu Manchu starts murdering the people that are just doing their jobs. I’m sure it’ll be easy to explain this one to the families and children of those murdered mooks. He finishes killing them all and turns to DomDID, who wanted to thank the murderer with ten knives coming out of his hands. He points out how dumb that was and they’re attacked by the third floating head from the cover. Fu Manchu monologues about how he wants to fight the Stupid HeadgearLady but can’t because of DomDID. He also says that DomDID has every reason to fear her. Which is good for her, but the reader has no reason to be afraid. They try to escape on the fire escape but the Stupid Headgear Lady shoots through the bars, knocking them to the ground. According to a minion that’s why they call her Ballistic. Personally, because of her uncanny shooting ability, I would’ve called her Bull’s Eye, but what do I know? I’m just an internet critic.
So Pepto Bismol finally shows up, attacking from above. Geeze guy, get with the times. Fu Manchu asked for backup ten pages ago. For some reason he brought an airplane that’s totally not the Black Bird from X-Men. I don’t get why he’d think to bring it, though, because he can fly. He blows some stuff up and probably killed the people in the nearby buildings. This scares Headgear Lady enough that she retreats even though she’s literally ten feet away from DomDID and could easily grab her. All she says is that she’ll be back. Or, you know, she could just hit her over the head and take her away without much interference but nope, mission off. And I thought COBRA Commander was incompetent. We get a confusing dialogue with a lady dressed like an ancient Egyptian talking about taking in street kids, and is informed that DomDID escaped. She sends a lackey that looks an awful lot like Tom Riddle after her. There is also a scene from DomDID’s past with an abusive father, and in the interest of taste, I won’t make fun of it. To be fair, it’s not done distastefully, and it makes it easier to sympathize with her. DomDID is probably the only character who we can sympathize with in this.
DomDID wakes up in an mansion with the Timmie from before and his dad. She asked them where she is and they say that they can’t tell but she’s free to leave anytime. Well, that gives off a mixed message. “Sure you can leave, but for all you know, we’re in the middle of the desert. Make sure to take plenty of water.” They offer her a sandwich and Timmie randomly comments that she’s very pretty. Whoa there kid, coming on strong, aren’t we? She decides to stay and they give her a tour of the lab. she somehow knows that Timmie’s dad’s name is Chip even though it was never mentioned before. We also find out that Timmie is a robot. Chip notices that the security has been breached in their mansion that totally isn’t Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. There’s an explosion and the comic ends revealing that Stupid Headgear Lady and the Skull person from the cover has found her. Dun…Dun…DUN!!! Wait, how did they find her if even she didn’t even know where she was?
This comic isn’t awful, but I hesitate to say that it’s good. It’s hard to tell that who are supposed to be the good guys and we don’t know the motivations behind anything. Why did Stupid Headgear Lady want DomDID? Who is the Cyber Force and how did they become a team? If they’re all mutants, why do they have bionic body parts? What was up with the Egyptian Avatar lady? Why don’t the mutants and humans get along? It feels like I missed an issue and this is really issue #2. We know next to nothing about these characters, so when they kill, we can’t sympathize with the. Characters like the Punisher, Deadpool, or Wolverine work because we know their back story and why they do what they do. And they usually kill people who are bigger monsters than themselves. We see why these monsters must be killed and they suffer the repercussions for killing them. These characters have none of that. They kill indiscriminately and we can’t sympathize with them because we have nothing to sympathize with. To the comic’s credit, though, at least the team members get along well instead of the leader randomly getting angry at a character for little to no reason. Also, as early 1990’s artwork goes, it could be worse. If you don’t believe me, Google Rob Liefeld’s worst art. The “heroes” are just generic looking, but I can tell for the most part what is happening. Also, every character is gritting their teeth like they really need to poop. Overall, though, don’t bother reading it. Read X-Men instead because that’s all it is: an X-Men ripoff, and not a very good one.