Cyborg is a character that has risen to prominence for DC Comics in recent years, but still has a ways to go. A core member of the Justice League in the New 52, he didn’t get a solo series for more than 3 years after that relaunch.
Cyborg Volume 1: Unplugged takes Victor Stone away from the rest of the Justice League and pushes him to the front of his own book. In this book, Vic Stone shows that he is more than capable of carrying his own series. You can find my full review for the collected edition below.
Comic Books Collected: Cyborg Volume 1 Issues #1-6 and DC Sneak Peak: Cyborg
Written by: David F. Walker
Artist: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Eduardo Pansica, Felipe Watanabe
Where to buy: Trade Paperback
Where to buy: Digital Comic (Kindle/Comixology)
Key Characters and Organizations:
Dr. Silas Stone
Dr. Sarah Charles
The Metal Men
The official synopsis, from DC Comics:
In these tales from the first six issues of Vic Stone’s new series, plus the sneak peek story from CONVERGENCE: CRIME SYNDICATE #2, the machine that gives Cyborg his powers is evolving! The only problem is that machine is his body—and he has no idea what’s causing these changes!
Most good Cyborg stories include all of the core elements of the hero. There is of course the father/son struggle between Dr. Silas Stone and Vic. There is also the struggle to retain as much of his humanity as he can. There is a budding romance between Vic and Dr. Sarah Charles. And of course, some fun action taking on some tech monster with sinister plans.
All of these core elements are included in Unplugged and they are balanced well. They never feel forced or shoehorned into the story. One aspect that is slightly brushed over in the middle is the father/son relationship. They address it early, but drop it after that. It’s possible I missed some things by reading this out of order from previous appearances of Cyborg.
The romance between Vic and Sarah is handled well and not overdone. They clearly have feelings for each other, but aren’t sure if or how they should proceed. There is an interesting twist added to their story, which I won’t get into for spoiler reasons. That twists has both of them look at their relationship with new perspective.
Cyborg looks as cool as he ever has in this comic. He is becoming one with the technology that saved his life and is learning to harness the machine. Aided by some wonderful art by Ivan Reis, you can really sense that Vic built with as much machinery as he is man. This helps to better understand the internal struggle that he faces on a daily basis.
The action in the story does feel a little forced at times. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not what I was looking for. For Cyborg’s first solo outing in a while, I would have like to see a smaller and more personal story, as it pertains to the villain. There is a little bit of unnamed monster fighting.
It is awesome to get to see Victor Stone take center stage in this comic. Too often, he is relegated to the role of tech guy for the Justice League. While those comics do a great job of conveying the emotional struggle he faces, he doesn’t always get to take charge with his superheroics.
In Unplugged, he gets to be front and center when the action hits. He shows that he is more than capable of taking on a supervillain by himself. Even though other heroes are involved to some degree, this is clearly Victor’s story and any success or failure is up to him.
The supporting cast all do well with what they are given. The standout of the group is a surprise guest that joins in the middle of the run. The doctors at Star Labs – Stone, Charles, and Morrow – play important parts in the story, but still feel slightly underused. That group has good potential and I would like to see them developed more in future story lines.
The villain of the story are slightly underdeveloped. We learn some about their motivations and goals, but they aren’t terribly compelling. With some tweaks to their story, there is some potential, but I don’t think they will develop into an arch-nemesis.
If you’ve ever seen any artwork from Ivan Reis, you don’t need me to tell you how beautiful it can look. Reis isn’t the only artist who did work on this series, but they do a good job of keeping the look of Cyborg and the story consistent throughout the book.
The coolest looking part of the series might be the look of Victor Stone’s suit. In some previous series, he was given a large and cumbersome costume. While that can look good in certain scenarios, I prefer the sleeker look he is given here. It actually makes Victor look like half-man/half-machine. With the bulkier look, he too often looks like a normal human in armor.
The rest of the art is also well done. The design of the Tekbreakers is good and helps to create a physical, cybernetic threat that is often expected for Cyborg. The action panels are handled pretty well, although there was nothing in particular that stood out on first reading.
Victor Stone is a strong solo character with a surprisingly underrated supporting cast. Between Silas Stone, Sarah Charles, Thomas Morrow, and the rest of STAR Labs, there is a potentially very intriguing long-term series that could be developed for the character.
It’s also possible that Cyborg’s best medium might be outside of comics. His origin story would fit perfectly on the big screen. His father/son struggle and attempts to prevent becoming 100% machine make him such a compelling character. Luckily, we will be seeing him plenty in the coming years, with Ray Fisher set to play the character in the Justice League and The Flash movies, as well as a potential solo film down the line.
Cyborg Volume 1: Unplugged is a very good beginning and shows that Vic Stone is capable of headlining a solo title. As one of the few solo titles available for the character, this book is highly recommended for fans of the character or anyone looking to learn more.