“Death of a Cyborg”
Writer: Alan Burnett
Artist(s): Patrick Blaine, Jay Leisten (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Cyborg Superman, formerly Hank Henshaw, has his own reasons for allying with Sinestro to create fear in the world/galaxy/universe. They have nothing to do with creating the orderly lock-step lifestyle that Sinestro desires to impose on everyone.
Comments: Cyborg Supes may be the most nihilistic creature in comics right now. He’s certainly the anti-Clark/Kal-El in every way imaginable. Unable to save his wife and friends, unable even to join them in oblivion, he feels the universe has no other reason than to cause pain, and he wants it to end. Forever. For everyone.
I had no idea that his back-story was a Fantastic Four parody until reading this issue. He’s a kind of “What if…cosmic radiation wasn’t fun and helpful?” poster child. His exploratory flight into space destroys everything he loves, and he’s never gotten over it.
The appeal of these Sinestro Corps Tales is how each individual member of the Sinestro team has their own twisted reason for battling the Green Lanterns, for instilling fear rather than love and hope and bravery in their followers. As a whole, the series is a litany of losers, tragic figures and villains, but all gathered together in order to fight their perceived wrongs, with vengeance aplenty. It’s a sad commentary on the nature of consciousness and existential crises, but it has led to a compelling and individualized set of foes.
Blaine’s way with words isn’t very elegant, but he captures the despair that drives Hank Henshaw, and makes him see heroes as the enemy. His cynicism comes through loud and clear, so much so that you know Sinestro must be on to him, too. All of these yellow ring wielders are working towards apocalypses of their own devising, and this one strikes a compelling blow by the end.
However, too much of the issue is spent rehashing Henshaw’s origin. We spend way too much time on the FF-parallels and too little on the Cyborg’s subsequent adventures that led him to become a dark analog of Superman. His actual interaction with Clark is vague and mystifying, and the art by Blaine and Leisten, though generally clean, is a bit stiff. Proportions in some figures, especially in action sequences, seem out of scale.
While competently done, this book was depressing, with an antagonist who comes off as more of a big whiner than a truly scary player.
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