Cyborg #20 – Kevin Grevioux, Writer; Cliff Richards, Artist; Ivan Nunes, Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 4/10
Corrina: Count Your Blessings, Accept Who You Are (This is much better than a 4. Closer to 7)
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Cyborg #20 is the final issue and it finally addresses some of the complaints I’ve had with the character in-story, but does it in a rushed, heavy-handed way that blunts the impact in this final issue.
Kevin Grevioux only had two issues to make his mark on Cyborg, so the fault doesn’t really lie with him, but this plot – involving African diamond slavery and a magical horn that turns Cyborg human is the definition of overstuffed. The issue kicks off by letting us know just how evil the General of the GUR is by having him brutally execute a little boy who tries to steal some diamonds. Meanwhile, Cyborg is sick and wounded, but tries to undo his mistake by wishing the victims of an explosion back to life with the horn. This causes them to turn into flesh-eating zombies, and that’s where this issue starts to feel really over-the-top insane.
In typical fashion, Cyborg and Sarah are running from the zombies and she falls and sprains her ankle. This is clearly a plot device used for Cyborg to delve more into self-pity, and Sarah to call him out on how much better he has it than some people. She makes some decent points about how Cyborg doesn’t need to feel as alienated as he does – Johns introduced the high-tech upgrades that allow him to appear human at all times, but he rarely uses them. However, there’s something a bit icky about an able-bodied person telling a person with a serious physical condition that they should be grateful that they don’t have it worse like other disabled people. The issue ends with a reset button, a pointless sacrifice by a supporting character, and the title fading away into oblivion. This is the second Cyborg run that had interesting ideas, but poor execution before ending with a fill-in run. Some characters just don’t have the luck with solo titles.
Corrina: Ray is being far too hard on this issue.
The complaints I had with the last issue–all the death and destruction–is undone is a classic “look where your life could be” story for Vic Stone. It’s refreshing to finally see Sarah give Vic the verbal takedown that he’s sorely needed in some of the previous stories when questioning his humanity. We’ve seen basically every writer go to this angle, rather than looking for inspiration somewhere else.
What Grevioux has done is thrown down the gauntlet to future creators to focus on another aspect of Vic Stone that explores what he can do and why he’s a hero, rather his stories being all about his disability. Oracle stories didn’t focus on Barbara Gordon questioning whether she could be a hero–she was a hero and it explored her challenges in doing her work. That aspect of Vic, feeling sorry for his condition and angry with his father for his physical transformation, was explored in his origin and he’d moved on even in the course of the original Teen Titans run. This version should do the same.
Grevioux also used the setting to give us a page where the child slave turns on his master, a poignant and intense panel that clearly shows what he might have done with this series.
I do have a problem with using the supporting character’s death as a throwaway and the lecture at the end by the mysterious shaman but, all in all, it’s a fine wrap-up issue for who Victor Stone is and where he can go from here.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.