As a way of celebrating its 20th anniversary Top Cow has brought back the series that began it all: Cyber Force. That’s right; it was 20 years ago that Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri (The Darkness, Incredible Hulk) launched his initial Image series to help start the Image age of comics, now he is returning as co-writer, art director and cover artist. Silvestri is joined by co -writer Matt Hawkins (Think Tank, Lady Pendragon) and artist Khoi Pham (Mighty Avengers, Daredevil) to deliver a brand new, contemporary re-imagining if the series that is rooted in cutting-edge, real-world technology.
The original members of Cyber Force were granted superhuman abilities via the cybernetic implants that were grafted into their bodies. Initially, they were created to become the pawns of a thoroughly corrupt corporation; however they were subsequently freed and became united against their creators. The group was soon enmeshed in fighting battles against the major conglomerates in order to protect the world from a total corporate takeover.
Ostensibly, this new series centers around the young Carin Taylor — codenamed Velocity —who has escaped from the CDI-controlled Millennium City (formerly Pittsburg) and is desperately trying to locate the one man she believes can help her prevent the end of the world. However, when she runs across a group of other CDI escapees, they are very leery of her because of her lineage, and that then is when all chaos breaks loose, as the heavily-armed Cyberdata S.H.O.C. (Special Hazardous Operations Cyborg) troops chase her down for retrieval and eliminate anyone helping her with extreme prejudice.
As stated, the new series has been crafted to consider many of the quantum leaps in technology and social media that have emerged over the past 20 years. Coupled with those technological leaps comes an increased paranoid phobia of government overreach and corporate manipulation of our lives. Hence, given the technological leaps and global connectivity, the formerly cutting-edge cybernetic implants of Cyber Force have become all but obsolete. Now they are forced to hide among the general population to wage their counter insurgency activities.
As to the story itself, if you were a fan of the original series, you will thrill to see their return in this series. However, if you not as well-versed in their 20-year history, never fear, as you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of the entirety of their back story to follow the ripping good yarn that is being spun by Silvestri and Hawkins. Both are master storytellers and know how to season the old with the content of the new. As issue #1 starts out, we are full-on in the middle of a fantastic firefight as Velocity is attempting to evade a couple of S.H.O.C. troopers. From there the story races pell-mell through each of the first four issues that we’ve read weaving a story that builds on the past while crafting its own future. This is what hi-octane comicbooks should be in the new millennium. Fast-paced, story and character driven, episodic adventures.
Needless to say, the folks over at Top Cow are not simply content in pushing the envelope in just terms of story and art — Top Cow is the first major U.S. comicbook publisher to launch one of their biggest properties with not only top tier creators, but to do so concurrently for both the traditional print as well as the emerging worldwide digital market for free. You read that correctly, thanks to the support of fans that backed the project through the crowd-sourcing network, Kickstarter and participating comic shops, fans can acquire the first five issues of Cyber Force at no cost.
Those fans that helped fund this project, actually helped Top Cow (along with comic shop owners in the U.S., Canada & around the world, Diamond Comic Distributors, their digital partners, and others) produce and give the first full five issue story arc of the brand-new Cyber Force full away for free. According to sources inside the company, they saw an opportunity to change how mainstream comics were produced and chose this new paradigm in order to reach both new readers as well as lapsed fans. According to a spokesperson, “This isn’t just about making an amazing, action-packed comic series. It’s about changing the landscape of mainstream U.S. comics.”
Cyber Force is an Image Comics super-hero team that was originally created in 1992 by artist Marc Silvestri and writer Eric Silvestri. Initially, Silvestri began by performing both the plotting and pencilling chores, but eventually passed the illustrating of the series on to other artists, including David Finch. Originally published through Homage Studios (a studio Silvestri shared with Jim Lee), as a four-part mini-series, it soon moved over Top Cow Productions where it received a regular monthly series (35 issues, 1993–1997).
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.