Writer: David F. Walker
Artists: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
Publisher: DC Comics
While author Philip K. Dick once asked if androids dream of electric sheep, DC Comics’ resident robotic guy gets queried about his nighttime activities as well as eating habits, bathroom regimen and other aspects of being half-human, half-machine.
Writer David F. Walker digs into all aspects of Victor Stone in Cyborg, a solo series befitting the storytelling potential of the superheroic supporting player, a former Teen Titan and current Justice Leaguer. And now’s as good a time as any to get to know the character, with Ray Fisher playing Cyborg in upcoming Warner Bros films including his own movie (tentatively scheduled for April 3, 2020).
His place in the DC comic-book universe, though, makes for a different kind of book than one with Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman, where we all know their backstories backward and forward, Walker says.
“My favourite thing about writing Cyborg is being not only part of the legacy of the character but also helping to steer this character toward having his own world.”
Cyborg #2, out now and featuring artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, continues to fill out Vic’s section of the DC landscape – including delving deeper into his complicated relationship with his father – but also seeding a big-time threat.
An invasion of Earth is coming from multiple cybernetic extra-terrestrials, and they are very interested in Vic’s tech, which has the ability to evolve and adapt.
“He’s able to do things with his cybernetics that he never was able to do before, and that becomes a metaphor for the changes we go through in our lives where it seems like we don’t have control,” Walker says.
“That change can be something as simple as going through puberty or it could be losing a loved one or getting a new job, but change is probably the biggest constant in the universe.
“Everything changes and we don’t always do well with that change.”
The accident at S.T.A.R. Labs that led to Silas Stone outfitting his son with mechanical and high-tech enhancements also took the life of Vic’s mother, an emotional aspect of Cyborg’s story Walker says he’ll be mining in future issues.
“People forget he’s pretty young, he’s in his early 20s, and to lose a parent like that, especially his mum whom he was much closer to than his father, would have had a really dramatic impact on him.”
Still, the complicated father/son dynamic is the stuff of legend for the writer, and he’s using it to explore the ways parents have trouble reconciling their children growing up, treating them like little kids instead of the adults they are.
Plus, Walker says, “Vic Stone’s father doesn’t really start paying attention to him until he becomes this elaborate science project. I’m having fun playing with that and exploring how they view each other.”
The Cyborg scribe reads a lot of young adult fiction so that’s been finding itself in the new comic, but he admits to bringing personal stuff into it, too, like simply living life and experiencing change.
Walker remembers the time when he was Vic’s age vividly, “because at that time I thought I knew everything. I thought I was the smartest guy in the world and I was in many ways still a kid.”
He was actually introduced to Cyborg at a formative time in his younger years. Walker was a hardcore Marvel Comics fan in 1980 when he first spotted on a newsstand Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans #1 that featured Vic Stone, who immediately became one of his favourite heroes.
“In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say he was the reason I picked up that first issue and why I kept coming back,” Walker explains.
A huge part of the draw at the time was that, other than Storm of the X-Men, there weren’t many black characters in mainstream comics. But also, “in a book full of misfits, he seemed like the biggest misfit of them all,” the writer says. “I’m sure that in my teen and preteen years of angst and alienation, that appealed to me quite a bit.”
Now as the character’s primary on-page caretaker, Walker’s pulling the team player out of the supergroup and focusing on restoring and exploring the humanity Cyborg’s always had.
“He’s going through different changes, not just learning about how his latest technology has evolved but learning how to interact with these people who are really, really close to him,” Walker says.
“In a lot of ways this’ll be the first time he’s been home for an extended amount of time since he became Cyborg and joined up with the Justice League. It’s him trying to navigate these waters or these prior relationships that have changed considerably because he’s changed considerably.” – USA Today/Tribune News Service