Hello, I’m a unicorn. Way back in August, back even before Textbox attached himself to me like the little parasite that he is–
Aww Kirin, I love you too.
I did a review of an early Image comic called Cyberforce. I highly suggest reading my previous review because I’ll be calling every character by the nickname I gave them, and I don’t want anyone lost. To summarize though, the art was bad, the characters were bad, and I had no idea what was going on. So, let’s see if this does any better in explaining the plot. First, let’s talk about the cover. It’s not very good.
There is certainly stuff going on, but heck if I know what’s happening other than fighting. The coloring on the characters and the “background” makes it hard to tell where one character ends and the other begins. The designs are so generic and 1990’s that I can’t tell who is good or bad, but I can tell that Stupid Headgear Lady is going to need a chiropractor. Also, Skully is really freaking me out. I mean, look at that grin! Brrrr.
We open exactly where the previous comic left off. DomDID asks the team led by Stupid Headgear Lady how they found her. We also get a smidgeon of back story on DomDID in the form of a few text boxes. Even though she looks like she’s in her twenties, she is actually 16, was once a SHOC, and is now a runaway. SHOC is an acronym for Special Hazardous Operation Cyborgs, whatever the Nilfheim that is. I would like to point out that they changed the unreadable blue exposition text boxes to much easier to read yellow boxes. Apparently this team works for a company called Cyberdata, and she is a runaway employee. According to DomDID, the contract should be null because it was signed under duress, and the team of villains pooh-pooh that minor detail. I think I’m supposed to hate them, but I only have DomDID’s word, so all I’m feeling is apathy and mild indigestion from the tacos I had for dinner. Then, there is a weird panel where the “background” is colored and nothing else. The word balloons aren’t even white. Uh…hello? Colorist? Are you there?
DomDID takes off, this time actually looking like she’s running fast, but breaking her back in the process. Skully, (apparently called Killjoy but I like Skully better) debates running after her, but Stupid Headgear Lady had some previously unmentioned score to settle with DomDID. She throws a knife and gets DomDID in the leg. I’m just wondering exactly how long this hallway is. According to the villains, she is going super fast, but they have a conversation and DomDID bounces several feet after being hit in the leg, but she doesn’t even come close to hitting a wall. Then, Cyberforce shows up on a splash page. For whatever reason, Fu Manchu wants to face the character named Buzzcut, the red guy on the cover. Four Arms notes that Fu Manchu’s anger is clouding his judgement, but why is he angry at Buzzcut? Who are these people? How do they know each other? What is Cyberforce? What are SHOCs? Explain comic! Explain!
A big, confusing fight scene ensues, and judging by the build and the broken spine, I’d say the mystery of Skully’s gender is solved. Pepto Bismol searches for Chip and that uncanny valley demon child that is Timmie. Four Arms finds them but gets pinned by Stupid Headgear Lady and Skully. For whatever reason, Stupid Headgear Lady has somehow twisted herself into an S as she shoots at Four Arms. I also love how that the sound effect for his gun is “pchow”. It brings to mind the sound effects for laser guns in sci-fi B movies, and makes this already goofy book even funnier. Four Arms calls for backup and Not Thing helps him out. You’ll notice that I’m leaving out the battle banter. That’s because it’s lame. Really lame. For example, when Four Arms gets pinned by the ladies, he quips “Ordinarily, having a couple of babes on my tail is a good thing. Too bad these two are trying to blow me away.” This is the level of banter we’re dealing with here folks.
Anyway, I think we see see why Fu Manchu hates Buzzcut (who, by the way, is the other team’s Hulk ripoff). He’s racist. The gigantic, mutant cyborg, who, may I remind you, is a minority in his own universe, is racist, and not against the normal people like the Brotherhood. He just tosses awkwardly phrased racial slurs at the Native American guy, just because. Yeah, I see why Fu Manchu (a very stereotypical character in his own right) wouldn’t like that overblown raspberry, but wanting to kill him is a little harsh.
DomDID marvels at the fact that Cyberforce is willing to risk their lives for her and gets yet another gun pointed to her head courtesy of Stupid Headgear Lady. The way the panel is framed though, Headgear Lady is squatting very uncomfortably about ten feet behind DomDID, for some reason. Then, in a sudden twist, she gets a gun pointed to her head, courtesy of Four Arms. The way they’re standing, as Four Arms disarms Headgear Lady, implies that they have a thing for each other. Then Four Arms gets shocked from behind by some Doctor Manhattan/Electro wannabe called Megawatt. Oh, look, a character with a codename that doesn’t have anything to do with death, kill, a weapon, an attack, or cutting. Megawatt comments that he never expected to get the drop on Four Arms. Why didn’t he think he could take Four Arms by surprise? Haha, silly me, looking for back story once again. Megawatt suggests finishing Four Arms off, and, once again proving that this person is about as genre savvy as a potato, Headgear Lady decides not to take advantage of the fact that one of her enemies is at her mercy so that she can kill him herself later. I cannot stress this enough: you’re enemy, the guy who would kill you if you made one false move two seconds ago, is lying unconscious at your feet. Do something about it!
And to further prove her incompetence, Pepto Bismol swoops in and flies off with a very constipated looking DomDID, shocking Stupid Headgear Lady so much that she once again breaks her spine. Now, one would think that Headgear Lady would learn from her mistake and go after DomDID, but nope. She decides to retreat again. Regular Alexander the Great, that one.
So, in the aftermath of the battle, the team decides to shut down that base with a good old explosion. Timmie is saddened to leave because his cat/pokemon robot thingie is broken. DomDID notes that these “freaks like me” behave just like a real family, and I, once again, have to take her word for it, because I’ve never seen Cyberforce interact outside of fighting others. Even then, they often fight their enemies one on one and barely speak to one another. DomDID decides to leave with Chip and Timmie, because the underground makes her nervous for some previously unmentioned reason. Yes, I know that this probably has to do with working for Cyberdata, but I wish that we are shown, not told that she hates being underground. In the meantime, two gentlemen in suits enter the headquarters as Chip, Timmie, and DomDID are leaving. We also get a little back story on the titular team that’s barely been in this. Apparently they’re “very high-tech, low profile, no nonsense, privately funded cybernetically enhanced mutants.” How enlightening.
We cut to yet another team of… heroes? Villains? Mercenaries? I don’t know, and frankly don’t care. Basically, this team of two Hulk ripoffs and one lady with flame powers steal a lot of microchips from a research center. The two mysterious gentlemen approach Four Arms to ask him if he can help them take down the blue avatar lady from the previous issue. He agrees so that he can get at the questionably evil Cyberdata.
We move on to DomDID and Timmie, who are exiting a grocery store. She drops an orange, and Timmie, the brain trust that he is, runs into the street to get it just as the team of possible mercenaries is driving by. They swerve to avoid him. DomDID starts to chew them out, but gets backhanded by one of the Hulk ripoffs. For some reason, the team decides to just kidnap her and Timmie. Why? Because reasons for actions are stupid. They steal Chip’s truck and Timmie puts one of the pilfered chips in his mouth. Then the idiot brigade is attacked by one of the members of the other team that I don’t know enough to care about. The comic ends with the promise (or threat depending on who you ask) that Pitt will appear in the next issue. Who is Pitt? For that, I refer you to http://atopfourthwall.blogspot.com/ which is a webshow about bad comics. Linkara, the guy who runs the show, did an excellent riff of Pitt #1.
Overall, this is not recommended. It suffers from the same problems as the first issue, namely why and how. How did Cyberforce become a team? Why is Cyberdata evil? Why is DomDID so important? Why is the team like a family? Why are the cybernetic mutant thingies hated? Why does Ripclaw (Fu Manchu’s real name) hate Buzzcut? Why are these names so lame? How do those men in suits know Cyberforce? And, most importantly, why should I care? Like the first issue, it fails because the story focuses more on the action than establishing the universe and characters. I still know nothing about Cyberforce, especially why I should like them.The characters are generic, stupid and badly drawn and everything is so melodramatic. Also, why did we need another team of characters? I can barely tell apart the first two teams, so why not focus on them first? That goes the same for the crossover. Crossovers work best when there is a status quo. This is the opening arc for the series and nothing has been established yet. I don’t know these characters enough to predict how they’ll react to a new threat or ally. It would be like Batman crossing over with Superman in the third episode of the animated series, except the I know more about Batman than these guys. To be fair, this comic is still better drawn than a lot of early Image comics, and the leader isn’t a jerk who whines about how the team isn’t a well oiled machine. Cyberforce is actually pretty competent. I actually don’t hate Chip, Timmie, and DomDID, mainly because they are the only ones that act like actual people, and don’t completely speak in cliche and melodrama. Does this save the comic? No. It’s still pretty lame, but you could do worse.