Springing forth from the "Pilot Season" program, "Cyblade" finds a new lease on life with new storytellers providing the tale. The general gist of the story is that Dominique Thiebaut is a sleeper agent for the Cyberdata Corporation, living a "normal" life until her handler, Steven Rashell, needs to bring her online. Her behavior is moderated through a "Brain Box" and this issue sets the stage for the adventures surrounding those implanted with Brain Boxes and those manufacturing them.
With a plethora of independent titles behind him, Fialkov crafts Cyblade's story as a techno-mystery, but lacks a bit of the substance that would make a first-time reader truly care. The comic bounces between scenes without much transitional narration, but does offer the promise of intrigue and action. Make no mistake Fialkov has a plan for the character and the title, he just needs to bring it across a little more directly.
The art is brought to us by Rick Mays, no stranger to the comic industry and a seemingly inspired choice for this title and character. Mays' work, however, is flatter than it has ever been in the past, and almost seems to rely on the colors to make it live. There are areas where his style shines through, but it is largely overpowered by overly exuberant coloring. Mays provides a nice consistency to his settings and a liveliness to his characters that are much needed in a title like this.
EFX's colors, while strong and potent, seem to be a little TOO much, taking away from the layout, composition and subject matter put down on paper by Mays. I would hope that in future issues this will not be as glaring a component.
The cover options are, at best, cliche, and at worst offensive. In reviewing this issue, I did not feel comfortable in the least having a comic covered with a naked woman in the shower sitting on my desk in the home office. Covers, as I recall, are supposed to catch the eye, draw in a reader to at least pick up the book and maybe, just maybe, tease the story. These covers stop at catching the eye, I think.
While there is a great deal of potential in Top Cow's "Pilot Season" program, I feel like I haven't seen the potential truly realized yet. There must be a reason that "Cyblade" won the chance at being a title, I just hope that reason shines through very soon.
(See for yourself: Six preview pages are available.)