By Philip Schweier
Apr 5, 2017 - 8:15
SCENE: Professor X lies on a table, unconscious. The X-Men gather around, as Hank McCoy explains that they must enter Xavier’s mind. Doing so, they must battle an alternate version of the professor, who is in complete control of this warped reality.
SCENE: J’onn J’onnz lies on a table, unconscious. The Justice League gathers around, as Zatanna explains that they must enter J’onn’s mind. Doing so, they must battle an alternate version of the Martian Manhunter, who is in complete control of this warped reality.
SCENE: Commander Data lies on a table, unconscious. The crew of the Enterprise gathers around, as Jordi explains that they must enter Data’s mind. Doing so, they must battle an alternate version of Data, who is in complete control of this warped reality.
Okay, maybe none of that really happened. My point is, it so easily could. The players may change, but the scenario remains the same. And thus we are given the wholly unoriginal, completely uninspired Cyborg #11.
In the story, Cyborg uses his alien technology – admitting he has no idea how/why it works – to escape an army of mega-rats. His software compromised, the boom tube takes him to an 8-bit digital dimension where he finds his one time friend, Keiji. As boys, Victor and Keiji created a computer game world known as Perilandria.
Now the lone inhabitant of Perilandria, Keiji is determined to exact his revenge on Cyborg. Vic shared S.T.A.R. Labs’ access codes with him – you know, for fun – but doing so was akin to handing the young hacker a bagful of heroin. Keiji was sent to juvie where he was tormented. Part of his sentence also included being unable to use computer equipment, but when Keiji found an 8-bit game device, he was able to juice it up and escape to Perilandria.
Now Cyborg must battle his way out of this digitized Heart of Darkness, defeating H8-Bit (as Keiji now calls himself) and his many computerized creatures along the way. The solution seemed a bit of a no-brainer to me, but maybe I read to much, and foreshadowing tends to stand out to me.
The artwork is tolerable, through no fault of artists Will Conrad, Tom Derenick and Tony Kordos. Elements from the “real” world are fine, but the 8-bit elements are poorly rendered, and it seemed as if they relied too heavily on Photoshop to achieve the desired effect.
In the mid-1980s, there was a comic book from First Comics entitled Shatter. Written by Peter Gillis, it was illustrated by Mike Saenz on a first-generation MacIntosh computer. Though groundbreaking at the time, the artwork was low-resolution by today’s standards. Such technology no longer exists (or is incompatible with today's printing methods), but perhaps a variation on this lo-res approach might have worked better
Overall, Cyborg has been a lackluster entry on DC’s schedule. It’s had one or two high points, but they aren’t enough to overcome the disappointments.