CYBER FORCE #3 by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and Atilio Rojo
With elements of techno-horror and some brilliant characterization, CYBER FORCE #3 stands out from the previous issues in the series. Some minor flaws throughout the issue keep this one from perfection, but it is still an incredibly enjoyable read.
80 %
Scary Good
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A lot needs to be said about Marc Silvestri’s flagship series CYBER FORCE. The first product of Top Cow Studios, the CYBER FORCE comics went on to define much of its aesthetic and gritty narratives.

Twenty-six years after it’s initial release, the series has been rebooted a second time. Sentient android Aphrodite traveled back in time to restart the universe. The world of CYBER FORCE has seemingly moved on from these events, but one question still remains. Where is Aphrodite? The answers to that question come out in CYBER FORCE #3 by Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill, and trust me. It isn’t at all what you were expecting.

The True Face of Cyber Data

CYBER FORCE #3, Page 1. Courtesy of Image Comics

CYBER FORCE #3 is a rather strong outing for the new series. I have really enjoyed the reboot’s intense focus on the new versions of popular characters. This issue, though, feels different — but in a really good way. It steps out of the present day, away from Carin and Morgan. We get to see more of the world surrounding these characters. More importantly, we get to see a new side to Cyber Data, the institution at the heart of the series. From the start, it has appeared vastly different from previous versions. Before, they were the obvious villains. Here, though, there is a greater depth. In this issue, we see them as much more manipulative and destructive.

Building a Bigger Sanctuary Out of Comic Shops

However, despite this clever world-building, the story has started to lag a bit. For three issues now, we have known that the team has a mission. Right now, Stryker and Cyber Data are gathering their team, with each issue focusing on a different member. I absolutely adore the close attention to character in this issue. But I really just want them to go on their mission already. CYBER FORCE #3 falls victim to the same problems the previous issues have. It hasn’t quite gotten to the point of the story yet. I care a lot about these characters. That aspect is a massive success. However, none of that matters if something doesn’t happen soon.

The Mind in the Machine

CYBER FORCE #3, Page 2. Courtesy of Image Comics

As I said, CYBER FORCE #3 absolutely nails its characterization. The primary focus lands on Dr. Morrigan, a scientist obsessed with human consciousness. This obsession draws the attention of Cyber Data, who want to use her skills to build an artificial consciousness. Her story is so fascinating. Not only does it highlight the evils of Cyber Data, but it adds a brilliant twist to the Aphrodite story.

Some really cool science-horror elements work their way into the story, too. Morgan and Carin simply felt like sci-fi superheroes. However, Morrigan’s story truly shines a light on the ethics of these experiments in a brilliant way. Her entire purpose is to “challenge God,” and how that comes across in the issue is perfectly creepy.

The side characters do feel a bit lacking meanwhile. Not enough time is spent with characters like Morrigan’s girlfriend, Emily, or the villains. These elements deserve a lot more exposure. Hawkins and Hill compress these moments to fit everything in. What results is rather high pace with little payoff. Emily especially feels like a wasted opportunity, given that she acts as a foil for Morrigan. Her entire purpose is to expand on Morrigan’s personality. However, she exists for two pages before dying. All of the side characters in this issue felt the same way. I either wanted more from them to make them important, or I feel like they could have been cut completely.

Feeling Green

CYBER FORCE #3, Page 3. Courtesy of Image Comics

Atilio Rojo handles the triple duty of pencils, inks, and colors in CYBER FORCE #3. His work is deeply impressive. He uses a lot of vibrant, saturated colors to really sell a Saturday Morning Cartoon aesthetic. More importantly, his characters look believable. There aren’t any massive superhero muscles or giant female chests. These characters could believably exist in our world. There is something really special in that detail. This story focuses in on the ethics of human experimentation and cybernetics. It deals with some heavy themes. Rojo’s approach to realistic anatomy and landscapes adds a lot of credibility to the story.

I do have one nitpicky thing that bothered me about Rojo’s style. The way Rojo portrays female eyes can be a little disconcerting. The males typically have rather realistic eyes, but Morrigan and Emily and a few other characters have almost Manga-like eyes. They seem too big for their faces. For the most part, it didn’t bother me except for a few select times, and it didn’t ruin the experience. This is entirely a personal preference. However, I didn’t like the way they came across on occasion.

James Tucker Interview at New York Comic Con 2017

CYBER FORCE #3: Final Thoughts

CYBER FORCE #3 has a few problems. Its focus on each individual Cyber Force member slows the story down. No source of tension truly exists as of yet. Meanwhile, certain points of the story feel too compressed, with important information not making it to the page. However, I still really, really enjoyed this issue. The addition of Aphrodite to the team feels incredibly satisfying. Her backstory, filled with elements of science-horror and technological conspiracies, entertains immensely. Yes, the story has some problems, but what it provides is a wholly unique reading experience. It is a fast paced and spine-tingling read, and if that strikes your fancy, you need to read this book.

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