In last week’s issue of CYBORG, by John Semper Jr. and Paul Pelletier, Vic Stone’s night out with Sarah seemed to help him subdue some of his doubts about his soul. However, the army of machines targeting Vic are determined to dismantle any peace of mind Vic may have found. REBIRTH’s villain Malware was just the beginning, and when a new threat named Killg%re shows up to wreck Vics night, we learn that there is someone even more insidious orchestrating these attacks

READ: Find out how it all began in CYBORG REBIRTH!

Cyborg #2 picks up right in the middle of Cyborg’s fight with Killg%re, who proves to be a formidable opponent. Not only does Killg%re thrive on electricity, but he can also control it. This means that he is able to manipulate the technology around him, which allows him to kidnap Vic’s father while maintaining the upper hand in his fight with Vic. Killg%re can also quote Shakespeare (an impressive skill on its own) in the middle of all of the chaos, so basically Killg%re is a master at villainous multitasking.

CYBORG #2 is the most action-packed issue so far, and we finally get a glimpse of what Cyborg is up against. If Killg%re was just the beginning, and Vic barely got away, then Vic has a tougher fight ahead of him. Unfortunately, the machines’ goals and aims are a little convoluted, and Killg%re is so powerful that it makes the fight a little uninteresting. John Semper attempts to set up a complex and sympathetic enemy by having Killg%re point out the parallels between slavery and humanity’s flippant use of technology. Killg%re even refers to his master’s plan as an emancipation. However, Cyborg isn’t buying it, and I didn’t either. For starters, at one point Killg%re states, “I once spoke in the stilted tones of a primitive machine,” but he also says that he’s from a planet of advanced cybernetic technology, and he came to earth to gain more power. So which is it? I couldn’t tell if the machines suddenly became sentient, or they were always sentient but were somehow enslaved by humanity. Maybe Killg%re is just referencing slavery to manipulate Cyborg’s emotions? His true intentions are unclear, and I don’t know how much of the ambiguity is just because of sloppy writing. 

The art during Killg%re’s monologue about slavery did redeem it a little.  Rather than observe these scenes through flashbacks, we only get to see little snippets of the information as it courses through Vic’s mind. As you’re reading the panels, you get a sense of how Vic experiences the world. It was a really unique way to provide an exposition, and it almost makes you forget that Killg%re hasn’t stopped rambling the entire fight. Almost. However, the art can’t completely make up for a loquacious villain and a boring, one-sided fight.

READ: Get caught up on CYBORG and read our review of issue #1 here!

While I thought that the reference to slavery was handled poorly, I did enjoy Semper’s reference to Hamlet. Since Hamlet is a play that is so focused on its title character’s isolation and paralysis, I thought it fit well with Vic’s personal struggles. Even though there’s not a lot of characterization in this issue, the reference to Hamlet foreshadows the future of Vic’s emotional journey. Overall, CYBORG #2 is focused on the action to a fault. I can’t tell if the enemy is contradictory on purpose or if the issues just aren’t being written well. Hopefully the next issue will clear up some of the inconsistencies.

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