You have to take a few things into context before reviewing an anniversary reprint comic like Cyberforce #1 30th Anniversary Edition. Thirty years ago, Image changed the face of comics, so it is only right they are taking the time to look back on the events of 1992; I wasn’t reading comics then. I missed the whole revolution; Gatecrashers aims to review new accessible #1’s. With all that in mind, what purpose apart from celebratory does a reprint of this nature serve? Has it stood the test of time? Will it bring a whole new audience to Cyberforce? Let’s see if we can answer these questions…
The first thing to say is, yes, this comic is very much a product of its time. The dynamics of the team represent everything popular in comics and pop culture at the time. You have a strong guy, a sexy ninja, a Wolverine-esque character, and so on.
The first couple of pages start interestingly enough, with the classic of an unknown character in distress. To say the issue is well written is a stretch. Eric Silvestri had no track record going into this series and was just in the right place at the right time, and I do wonder how much he and Marc actually collaborated on story.
Early Image comics had a preconception of being poorly written and solely focusing on big, flashy art work. With that preconception in mind, new readers might be surprised to find a story that is pretty easy to follow. It doesn’t fall into the trope of being over convoluted for the sake of it like other Image titles of the time. Yes you could say it is a little paint by numbers, but I would argue that for a new number one, that isn’t a bad thing and this comic ticks a lot of boxes for what you would want in a new story.
All the characters have a small amount of time in the spotlight to get a feel for them. Their powers/abilities are showcased, as well as their characteristics. This gives new readers a feel for which characters they are going to gravitate towards, and the villains also are given a substantial amount of setup. It is clearly defined from the outset what their mission is, whilst also leaving some grey areas to explore further down the line. A good comic, in my opinion, is full of questions and answers, and this delivers on that front. Lastly, the world in which they inhabit is well established, so looking back at the opening scene, you know why the girl was so afraid. What I do like is all the made-up tech and the jargon to go with it. I mean, if you are going to create a story so reliant on tech, why not go crazy with it, then, as a creator, you have full control over the rules!
Marc Silvestri was always hailed as the best artist of the Image Seven, and I think that argument shines through in this issue. In 1992 if you were a fan of Silvestri’s previous work on X-Men and Wolverine, then picking up Cyberforce new off the shelf would have been a comfortable switch.
The panel designs and layouts lend themselves well to good storytelling. I assume he would have picked up a few tricks from the caliber of creators he was working with on those two popular Marvel series. It is little things like not opening on a splash page that will, again, shift new readers from any Image tropes they had in mind. There is a beautiful establishing shot of NYC where the colours brilliantly add to the story’s atmosphere.
The art does hold up more than the writer as a product of the 90s. That being said, if Silvestri drew this comic today, it would be completely different. If it would be better, however, is open to interpretation.
The rest of the Cyberforce #1 30th Anniversary Edition is made up of an interview, cover galleries, and process art for the comics, cartoons, and toys. At the end of the day, this anniversary issue is a must-have for Cyberforce fans. But what the release of an anniversary comic does is make Silvestri’s work more accessible to a new audience. There may be readers out there who have seen his work on more mainstream comics that can now pick up his first creator-owned series without rooting through the back issue bins! For a first issue, it ticks a lot of boxes, does the basics right, and delivers a story that readers will want to revisit after the cliffhanger.