Monday, January 12, 2009

Cyblade #2

The winner of 2007's Pilot Season continues its look back at the triumphs and tragedies that made Cyblade the person she is today. Robbed of her memories and inducted into a government super-agent program, Dominique has spent the first months of her new life blindly following her handler, Stephen Rashell. But when he's revealed as a double agent and flees the scene, the responsibility of furthering her education falls to Jocelyn, the woman who provided Cyblade with her very first combat training and then, er… killed her father and brother.

Series author Joshua Hale Fialkov draws repeatedly from the well of recycled ideas throughout the issue, rarely pausing in between to add something of his own to the mix. The issue's characters fall flat universally, rarely demonstrating more personality than a cardboard cut-out, and fire off dialog that delivers a rare mix of cliché, vague presumption and run-on sentences (like I'm one to talk). Since this is a retrospective origin tale you've got to assume that readers will know the lead character survives the ordeal, yet Fialkov constantly places her in desperate peril as a major plot device. It's even the cliffhanger for the end of this issue… Cyblade is in great danger, tune in next month to see if she survives! I don't want to spoil anything, but I'm betting she manages to pull through, and then goes on to become a key member of Cyberforce. Call it a hunch.

Of course, it's only natural to assume a book that's focused on a rivalry between two busty female characters would include a hearty helping of skin, and on this front, Cyblade does not restrain itself. The sheer number of awkward camera angles and weak excuses to catch the ladies threadless in this issue provides a certain degree of comedic brilliance, although I'm quite sure that isn't intentional. Within the first six pages, we're treated to an array of gratuitous crotch shots, an assless battle suit and a wrestling match in the shower. If it weren't for the conveniently placed debris that surfaces throughout the latter scene, I'd be sure this was the storyboard for a late-night Cinemax original.

Rick Mays and Lee Ferguson provide artwork that suits the tone. Their work is similar in that they both employ a clean, spacey style that's generally attractive. The characters that fill this issue share a dumb, vacant stare that makes it difficult to believe they're actually saying what's written in the word balloons, but at least the rest of their bodies look good in doing so. As always seems to be the case with a Top Cow series, the real visual power here is in the colors. Guru eFX does a tremendous job of enhancing Mays and Ferguson's work, adding substantial depth and mood to the page and generally making the artists out to be better than they really are. Rather than merely enhancing the atmosphere that's already present in the artwork, this issue's coloring brings almost everything to the page itself.

Not the best book I've read this month, but also not the worst. Cyblade has some serious issues, but it's light reading by design and at that it's successful. I blew through this issue so quickly, I felt like I'd been shortchanged a couple of pages, when in actuality it was just a combination of light dialog and constant action. It's nothing substantial, flip through it on the shelves and put it back when you've finished three minutes later.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 4

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