Saturday, July 4, 2009

A review, book

a local comic book shop was having a major sale on graphic novels so i jumped at the chance at grabbing as many books as i could without too severely affected my wallet. the first book i grabbed was, Teen Titans Spotlight: Cyborg, by mark sable, ken lashley, and several other artists. i've been an avid reader of the '80s series from dc comics, The New Teen Titans, since i first started reading comics when i was 7 or 8 (maybe younger). the titans started out with robin, wonder girl, and kid flash (to name just a few) as a group of proteges and sidekicks to the world's greatest heroes that formed in the '60s, but were revived with others teen heroes whose identities were all their own (meaning no direct ties to batman, wonder woman, or the flash). 1 of these new young heroes was street smart, african american, half man, half machine, victor stone, also known as cyborg! now, almost 2 decades later, this unique hero was given a 6 issue miniseries, collected in graphic novel form.

upon first read, half way through, i have to say i was disappointed. i wasn't sure if it was the passing, the large amount of characters, or the less than tight graphics of lashley and others. a brief history of cyborg is replayed, but updated to fit more modern times, this time it's revealed that vic, the son of two scientists, is actually born with an iq of 170, but rejects his father's strict ways by excelling in sports and befriending the leader of a local gang. this leader, ron evers, becomes vic's best friend until a gang conflict almost kills vic and results with ron being incarcerated. as the story progresses a lab explosion kills vic's mother while he is horribly scarred and maimed. the only way for vic's father to save his life is to replace his scarred tissue and missing limbs and transform him into a half man / half machine, but what vic refers to as, "a monster." in a complicated series of events ron becomes an anti-war terrorist and seeks vic's, now cyborg's, aid to destroy the work of vic's father, which is apparently being used for war purposes. betraying his friend's trust, cyborg attempts to stop the terrorist group, but accidentally becomes responsible for the supposed death of ron. soon after, cyborg joins the teen titans, and the rest of history.

flash forward to the present and the story becomes complicated, involving both the adult titans (former teen titans like cyborg, now adults and heroes in their own right), and the current team of teen titans (a new robin, a new wonder girl, etc). These 2 teams of heroes become involved in the rescue of vic's exgirlfriend, sarah charles, a well-known robot technician for s.t.a.r. labs., and her fiance, deshaun (no last name). sarah and deshaun were in the process of being married, with vic as the best man (despite his obvious discomfort), but when cyborg fails to show to the chapel they fear he's found out an unrevealed secret the 2 share. cut to s.t.a.r. labs where cyborg is ready to strangle sarah (still in her wedding dress) after he has blown noticable holes in the s.t.a.r. building. the titans (all of them) fail to stop cyborg who's programming has all of their weaknesses preprogrammed in his computer systems. sarah explains to nightwing (formerly robin), that she and deshaun were using the work of vic's father to help ambutees, but that it was also being used to build super soldiers as human weapons. the goverment is also grafting cyborg's design to superhuman creatures, as well as cloning these abominations. in the midst of battle, a second cyborg steps forward, the real victor stone, and the rampaging cyborg is revealed to be none other than, ron evers!

ron is no match for vic who's spent years updating his father's work, making his cyborg systems all his own and virtually unstoppable. ron surrends to the real cyborg and offers to show his former friend the real truth by allowing vic acces to his memory banks. vic learns that ron and other soliders have been black mailed into becoming mercinaries for the american goverment by a man named, orr. fellow titan, raven, teleports cyborg to a warzone where these soliders, called the phantom limbs, are embroiled in defeating terrorists of some foreign nation. meanwhile the titans face an onslaught of creature clones all armed with cyborg like technology that have been activated by the mysterious orr. before vic can convince the phantom limbs to rescend their robotic parts, orr enters the battlefield with a victor stone cyborg from the distant future and a team of super villains (dubbed the "cyborg revenge squad") all with a hate for the present cyborg. the future cyborg has been manipulated into stopping his past self to ensure his future and that of his super soldier army survives. after a titanic battle, current cyborg manages to use his opponents abilities against one other and stand triumphant.

by tale's end, sarah and deshaun are finally married after giving their resignation to s.t.a.r. labs, ron and the other phantom limbs are given harmless prothstetics, the titans destroy the cloning factory, vic reveals to orr that he discovered a back door to the cyborg systems and his plans for control are over, and that cyborg 2.0 is totally deactivated (or dead).

a lot to take in right? remember, i've followed this character since cyborg's creation, but i can't possibly understand how a new reader could follow all of this. that's not to say it wouldn't be enjoyable, but even i got frusterated midway and decided to reread so i could better follow the thought process of the writer. the story is told through cyborg's eye, but it still didn't feel real enough, there wasn't enough of an emotional impact. i respect the level of action and the amount of characters that were tied into the basic plot, the majority of which actually had a true purpose, and all of who were written to character (compared to the other titles that star in). i would absolutely reccomend this to any long time titans fan, but for someone simply craving an action packed adventure -- pass.

3 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

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