Here we are, the penultimate chapter of Silver Images our retrospective review of the 7 IMAGE Comics launch books of the IMAGE Comics Founding Fathers.
Cyberforce Issue 1 (October 1992)
Image Comics / Malibu Comics
Words Erik Silvestri Pictures by Marc Silvestri
If you’ve made it this fair without checking out any of the selections in this series then for one shame on you and then maybe take a few extra moments to check out our reviews of Youngblood, SPAWN, Savage Dragon, Wild C.A.T.s (Covert Action Teams) and Shadowhawk
Right, you’re back.
Thanks for sticking around it means a lot.
So here we are with our look back at the 47th best selling comic of 1992, Cyberforce Number 1 by Marc and Erik Silvestri.
Yes that’s right Erik Silvestri.
Marc Silvestri is clearly the star, the credited creator of Cyberforce and the reason why we’re all here.
Marc has apparently employed his Brother Erik to help out with scripting details for this debut issue as well as the other four issues that would make up the Volume 1 of Cyberforce.
Information on Erik is hard to come by but the searching I was able to do suggest that he played a role similar to Brandon Choi’s contribution to the foundation of Wild C.A.T.s (Covert Action Teams) and the Wildstorm Universe. Erik was the credited writer on this initial 4 issue Cyberforce Miniseries in 92/93 as well as the first year of the ongoing series that followed along with a spin off mini series for cast member Rip Claw. And then, again much like Brandon Choi, he’s never seen or heard off again. I am sure that Erik has gone on to have a happy, productive and fulfilling life and I thank for him whatever part he played in bringing Cyberforce into the world.
Marc Silvestri was part of the unofficial X Men Faction within the Original Image 7. He had made a big name for himself with runs on X Men in the late 80s and early 90s. After he handed the art duties for X Men over to Jim Lee he would go on to an acclaimed run on Wolverine’s solo book working with Larry Hama.
The ink had barely cooled on Silverstri’s last issue of Wolverine before the Fall of 1992 brings us Cyberforce.
There is a possibly apocryphal story that the Marvel Comics Event Secret Wars was named after a focus group at Mattel, the publisher’s toy partner , decided that the two things that would resonant most with the action figure’s target market were Secrets and Wars.
I can only speculate that the creation of the Cyberforce brand was a similar bit of corporate synergy. The internet was just beginning to establish a foothold in popular culture. Cyberpunk writers like William Gibson and Neal Stephenson had already begun to popularise the idea of networks of interlinked computer systems and the Lawnmower Man had pushed the idea even further into mainstream pop culture when it became a minor box office hit in the spring and summer of 1992.
So of course it makes perfect sense that Cyberforce are mutants. In a world that hates and fears them Cyberforce are the only thing that stands between ordinary folks like you and me and enslavement at the hands of the devious and villainous Cyber Data!
Well stick with what you know I guess.
In our review of the first issue of Wild C.A.T.s (Covert Action Teams) we called out the very clear links between Jim Lee and Brandon Choi’s Covert Heroes and the Mutants of Xavier Mansion. This is also painfully obvious when we look at the debut line up of the Silverstri Brothers’ own super hero squad.
So let’s meet our heroes.
- Ripclaw: AKA the knives for hands guy AKA Warblade from Wild C.A.T.s AKA Wolverine in KISS Cosplay
- Velocity: Sexy Girl Quicksilver
- Stryker: Cable but with 3 cyborg arms for extra radness!
- Heatwave: Like Cyclops but solar powered instead of channeling a dimension of pure force.
- Impact: Colossus with glorious flowing early 90s locks.
- Cyblade: Pretty much just a straight copy of Pyslocke, right down to the purple Psychic energy knife.
The first issue provides us the reader with a pretty stock standard “get the team together” story. We open with Velocity on the run from a group of unnamed, armed and armoured goons that look like something out of a game of Space Marine.
They have understated but sinister schemes for the runaway speedster but luckily Rip Claw is here to save the day.
Somewhere across the nameless city Stryker and Cyblade protect a mayoral candidate from an assassins bullet as Stryker proclaims “This city aint ready for a mutant mayor. Aint ready for mutants period.”
Impact and Heatwave arrived to help Ripclaw keep the Cyberdata extraction team at bay before bringing Velocity back to Team HQ.
But it’s a matter of from Safety to Where for our intrepid heroes as the Cyberdata black ops squad raids the mansion that the mutants of Cyberforce call home, this time with extra reinforcements.
Despite a stock standard formulaic plot and derivative characters Cyberforce was a modest commercial success. I don’t have specific sales numbers but it likely had sales figures that publishers today would kill for. It was a Top 10 book like Spawn or Wild C.A.T.s but it still outsold the number ones of Savage Dragon, Shadowhawk and Rob Liefeld’s Supreme spin off. There were plans to put Cyberforce on the small screen next to the animated adventures on Wild C.A.T.s and Youngblood but the collapse of the 90s Comics boom put an end to that.
After the initial three issue run Cyberforce would return as an ongoing series which ran for 4 years and 35 issues. Silvestri’s involvement in these was minimal as he went on to expand the Top Cow Universe with characters like Witchblade and the Darkness. There have been a number of reboots of the years culminating in a 2012 Kickstarter funded reboot of the series which you can read online if you’re keen.
What this Book Gets Right:
- Hitting the Ground Running: Cyberforce issue 1 doesn’t give you much time to stop and catch your breath as it propels you through the 20 pages of introductions and explosions.
- The Art: There’s a chicken and the egg question when comparing Silvestri and Lee’s art from this period but there’s no denying the art in this issue is kinetic and compelling and colourful.
- Character Design: Although the concepts are far from original all the characters introduced in this issue have great looks, many of which have endure to this day. And I mean seriously Stryker has all those extra robot arms to make him rad to the power of sick.
What this Book Gets Wrong:
- Not the X Men: Their an underground team of mutants, on the run from sinister agencies seeking to capture, control and exploit them. Now where have I heard that before….
- More of the Same: The third team book in the Image Launch Line Up doesn’t really stray too far from a well trodden path to make it standout. It doesn’t have the bonkers, brain cracking bedlam of Youngblood or the White Hot Superstar Status of Jim Lee’s Wild C.A.Ts it’s just sort of there saying “me too, I can be extreme and radical”
- Too much Cyber: I am going to put my grumpy old man pants on her for a moment but really anything with the word Cyber as a prefix in its name really hasn’t aged well and should’ve gone the way of the dinosaur back in about 1998.
Final Verdict, should I read this book? Sure why not, it’s easy-reading forgettable fun. It won’t change your world but if you find a copy in a dollar box then treat yourself.
Next Time: We round the corner into the home strait and everything goes gold as we dive deep into Whilce Portacio’s Wet Works.