This week Cyborg gets the DC Rebirth treatment, and Sabrina comes to Riverdale in Jughead #9!
Cyborg Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
I’ll be honest; Cyborg has never been one of my favorite characters. Sure, I’ve enjoyed his inclusion in the Justice League thanks to DC’s New 52 initiative, but when it comes to his solo outings I’ve never really felt any interest in the character. However, with DC Rebirth it’s a time for new beginnings, and with that in mind I picked up the new Cyborg Rebirth from John Semper Jr and Paul Pelletier. Could this be the entry point into the character that’s often eluded me?
Like many of the Rebirth specials, Cyborg Rebirth serves as a good introduction to the character, and foundation building for what Semper has planned for the series. Much of this issue finds Victor Stone, aka Cyborg, battling a gigantic tech monster named Malware, who’s currently trying to access some valuable information from Silas Stone’s lab. Cyborg must do everything he can to protect his father’s information and research from falling into the wrong hands. But who, or what, sent Malware after this tech to begin with?
That’s the mystery that John Semper Jr. will be covering when Cyborg starts up proper in a few weeks, and it’s a pretty compelling mystery. Like I said before, my interest in Cyborg is very minimal, but I liked the way that Semper wrote the character, and he did a good job of making this issue be a good introduction to Cyborg without bogging down the issue with a ton of exposition.
Paul Pelletier’s art looked a little looser than usual in Cyborg Rebirth. Typically his work is really solid and tight, but in this issue there were definitely some panels that had some weird facial expressions and odd angles. Despite this, Pelletier is able to make his pencils count when he needs to, and he depicts the fight between Cyborg and Malware really well. His design for Malware was also pretty sweet too.
So after reading Cyborg Rebirth, am I more inclined to check out the character’s solo series? A little bit. While I’m intrigued by the mystery behind Malware and why his creator is so interested in the mechanical members of the DC Universe, this definitely feels like it has one of the weaker hooks of the Rebirth series. Whether that hook improves as the series goes on remains to be seen, but I’ll definitely check out the first few issues to see.
Jughead #9 (Archie Comics)
Followers of these reviews (all two of you) know of my love for Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, so a review for her appearance in the new Riverdale shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise. While I’ve only read the first issue of the Jughead spin off series, I’ve been following the Archie series from the beginning, which surprises even myself. When I saw that the Ryan North and Derek Charm issue (which serves as their debut on the title) was going to introduce one of my favorite comic book characters into the new Riverdale timeline, I had to pick it up.
First things first though, I have to put this out there right now, so SPOILER ALERT if you care: Sabrina doesn’t show up until the very end of the issue.
Okay, that’s not entirely true, but if you’re picking this up expecting Ms. Spellman to be trading jokes with Jughead and his pals from page one, you’ll be disappointed. Instead new writer Ryan North takes a pretty inspired turn by having Sabrina be the new mascot at Pop’s Diner, where she’s conveniently dressed up in a giant hamburger costume that obscures her face. This gets the attention of Jughead, who’s possibly smitten by this “Hamburger lady” (Jughead’s only been attracted to food, so the possibility of him having feelings for a human being is foreign to him), and turns to Betty for advice on getting to know her. After stopping by Pop’s every day and becoming more and more friendly with the “Hamburger Lady”, she eventually asks Jughead out on a date. As Jughead waits for her to meet him, it’s revealed that she’s Sabrina, the newest resident of Riverdale.
While I’m a little annoyed that I’m going to have to wait another issue to really get a sense of this new take on Sabrina, I have to admit, Ryan North’s script is pretty fun. As someone who only read the first issue of the Jughead series, I’m impressed by how genuinely funny this book is. Sure, there are some cheesy moments here and there, but a majority of North’s jokes stick the landing, and he even carries over the margin one-liners from his other book, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, to great effect. Really the only thing that’s odd is trying to figure out where this story fits in with the main Archie series, as the group that’s hanging out in this issue is definitely not agreeing with each other in that book.
Speaking of the main Archie book, Derek Charm’s art fits in perfectly with that series. His line work and character designs are all really solid, and even though I’ve only seen page of her, I’m already sold on his design for Sabrina. Charm also has some fun with the layouts in this book, with one highlight being the multiple thought balloons that show the inner neurosis of Archie, Betty, and Jughead (okay, maybe “neurosis” doesn’t apply to Jughead).
I’m surprised that I’m saying this, but I really enjoyed this issue of Jughead, and I can’t wait for the next issue. Much like the Archie series, this is fun palette cleanser of a comic that has some great characters and it seems like North and Charm are setting up a pretty hilarious story arc with Sabrina that’s not going to end too well for Jughead. If you’re a fan of Sabrina like me (what can I say? I like Sabrina), you should definitely seek this out. Who knows? Maybe if this is a big enough hit she’ll get her own series in the new Archie universe!