Indie Comics Spotlight: Cyborg 009, Ten Grand, Robyn Hood Wanted


by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Cyborg 009 Chapter 000
If the world ever gets to the point where cyborgs become a norm, whether or not they’ll be subject to the Laws of Robotics remains to be seen. It’s likely though that they’ll have a thing or two to say about obeying and protecting man at all costs to them though, considering they’ll be part human as well. Taking a look at the world as a fresh look on an old story called Cyborg 009 Chapter 000 from Archaia. The one-shot is written by FJ DeSanto and Bradley Cramp, illustrated by Marcus To, colored by Ian Herring and lettered by Deron Bennet.

The story is created by Shotaro Ishinomori and the sneak peek features a young man known only by the numerical designation “009” discovering his body has been cybernetically augmented and “improved” against his will. With that newfound power, he must break free from the clutches of The Black Ghost, a secret society hell-bent on turning humans into cybernetic weapons of mass destruction for sale to the highest bidder. As expected things get complicated and 009 is forced to make difficult decisions.

DeSanto and Cramp’s story is relatively simplistic, but it’s still very stylized. 009 is presented as both aloof and aware somehow at the same time, two traits that shouldn’t work together but do. The cyborgs are poised for a brave new world and how they face it will be what makes the book interesting. There’s a good mix of fighting and dialogue, with the pace moving along at a steady clip.

To’s illustrations are very stylized. The cyborgs are really thrown into the thick of things, effectively handling just about everything thrown at them. To uses some interesting panel layouts, relying a lot on panels inset into full-page spreads. There’s some pretty amazing spreads too, as many of them feature all the cyborgs in full, defiant action. There’s even an illustration of a cool guy walking away from an explosion, so there’s that.

The book blends some interesting concepts and feels like an homage to shows like Voltron. The manga ran from 1964 to 1981 and the issue really boasts some of the ideas that seemed so ahead of their time back then. These are cyborgs experiencing independent thought and it holds up even today. Where their lives take them from here remains to be seen, but it’s a good bet that the world isn’t ready for nine cyborgs looking to be free.

Cyborg 009 Chapter 000 is available now.

Ten Grand #1
Ten grand is a decent amount of money. It could be a car, part of a down payment on a house or a really, really, really nice watch. For some people though, the amount holds greater meaning, in that it’s a way to see your loved one, if for only five minutes. That’s the situation in Ten Grand #1 from Image Comics. The first issue is written by J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Ben Templesmith and lettered by Troy Peteri.

Joe Fitzgerald is something of an angry man with a penchant for taking everything personally. He moves from one seedy bar to the next in an even seedier city, one rife with decay and despair around every corner. Relying on his history as an enforcer, Joe has leveraged that talent into taking any job offered for ten grand. His latest job involves Debbie and her sister Sarah, the latter of whom has taken up with a religious cult called Divine Will, the leader of which is James, a man Joe is all too familiar with.

Straczsynski’s writing is really well done. He presents Joe as almost a hero of sorts amidst a town full of villains, motivated by the death of his wife Laura and fighting for the chance to see her again. He does a great job of interweaving the present with the past, showing both a more optimistic Joe and the subsequent gritty Joe. The premise of taking jobs for the same price of ten grand is also pretty interesting, really hitting home the fact that he’s or less going through the motions in life.

Templesmith is the perfect artist for the work. His style is very dirty, really helping the bring Straczsynski’s writing to life. Joe’s world isn’t pleasant and reading the book you’re really dragged into it courtesy of Templesmith’s illustrations and colors. The palette changes with Joe’s “mood” and helps to keep the reader grounded and aware of what’s happening in his world. There are a lot of rough brushstrokes polluting the panels, their harshness as harsh as Joe’s life.

Ten Grand #1 isn’t a pleasant book, but it is an enjoyable read. The pairing of Straczynski and Templesmith works really well together. Joe Fitzgerald’s motivation is sound and it will be interesting to see where it takes him and how his past has mixed with James. The book has something of a Constantine feel to it and Joe is just the person to deal with angels and demons on a daily basis.

Ten Grand #1 is available now.

Robyn Hood Wanted #1
The finest archers in the land have a tendency to place arrows where they want them. They can hit the bullseye from anywhere and in any place. Sometimes though, the bullseye is placed on them and it makes for interesting reading. That means that Robyn Hood Wanted #1 from Zenescope Entertainment should be an interesting read. The issue is written by Pat Shand, illustrated by Larry Watts, colored by Nick Filardi and lettered by Jim Campbell.

The kingdom of Bree is still reveling in its newfound freedom, courtesy of Robyn. She singlehandedly gave the peasants the freedom of, well, freedom and her legend lives on as a liberator. Meanwhile, Robyn herself is seeking answers (and is on the lam), the combination of both taking her to visit her estranged father. Things don’t go as well as planned and by the end of the issue, Robyn finds herself in yet another sticky predicament.

At this point, Shand is going full-steam with Robyn. He’s really handled the character well and readers don’t need to have read the previous volume to get a full grasp of what’s happening. Robyn is still going through a lot of difficulty with her life on Earth, despite being hailed as a hero on Bree. The issue is paced very well, but there are a few instances where it feels as if Shand is giving away too much information. That’s not a bad thing, although some of the dialogue and story is presented a little bluntly and doesn’t give the reader much room to make inferences. Again, this is fine, because clearly Shand knows where he wants the story to go.

Watts art is strong and really puts the reader in Robyn’s world. Characters are illustrated effectively and stand out in the panels. The outlines are bold and really accent the players in the book. The full-page panel reveal of the villain at the end really stands out, giving readers a glimpse into Robyn’s future. The issue isn’t excessively action-packed, but Watts does well with the action that is featured in the book.

Robyn is an interesting character and it looks like she’ll be needed in Bree again before long. Her time on Earth continues to be trying and not even Bree will be an escape for her now. Shand and Watts are a great team, working together very effortlessly to present a solid book. It’s a five-issue miniseries and if the first issue is any indication, the series should be fun to read.

Robyn Hood Wanted #1 should be in stores now.

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