The best science fiction stories are ones populated with otherworldly, futuristic concepts but rooted in the same kinds of struggles we deal with in the here and now on a daily basis. Earlier this year, the California-based publisher Top Cow relaunched their flagship title Cyber Force with original series creator and comic book icon Marc Silvestri back at the helm. And now two issues in, fans are reeling with the fast-paced story they’ve experienced.
In the revamped Cyber Force series, the redheaded speedster Velocity is at the fore, on the run from a megalithic corporation whose tendrils have crept into every part of modern society. Cyber Data International is one part Apple and one part Blackwater, hoping to corner the world’s markets on, well, everything. Velocity, banding together with fellow rebels and whistleblowers once part of CDI, are on the run and looking for the one man, Stryker, who could even begin to mount a rebellion against this monolithic corporate giant. But even if they find him, the real question is – is Stryker still the man he once was?
Newsarama spoke with Silvestri and co-writer Matt Hawkins when this series was originally announced back in July, and we’ve hosted free copies of both the first and second issues online. As we sit at the halfway point and with Cyber Force #3 just weeks away, we spoke in-depth with Silvestri about his contemporary, cutting-edge series and what it’s like to be back where it all began.
Newsarama: Marc, the first two issues of Cyber Force are out – and readers have had time for this new story to sink in, as well as the fact that it’s a free series. On your side, what’s it like now for you with the book finally in readers’ hands and you’re getting feedback from readers and retailers?
Marc Silvestri: Honestly we couldn’t be happier with the response we’ve been getting on Cyber Force. This reboot is actually more in line with what I wanted the book to be way back in `92 so it’s really gratifying that fans and retailers are digging it. And as a huge bonus we’ve heard numerous stories about people that have been out of comics for a while or never even read one, walking into comic shops after hearing about free Cyber Force comics. That’s pretty cool.On a creative level it’s great to see long time readers going along full throttle with the changes we’ve made. It’s always a risk to do a complete overhaul conceptually, tonally, and visually of something you’re so associated with but it looks like we made the right choices. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of walking the tightrope between old and new. So far it looks like we’ve managed to keep the original fans interested as well as bring in a bunch of new ones. Whew.
The new Cyber Force is a huge world with an ensemble cast so we’re asking a lot by having the readers pay extra attention while we unspool things. Personally I love big worlds like Game Of Thrones and it’s that depth of character/universe that I’m aiming for with Cyber Force. There are a lot of mysteries, subtleties and layers to the new Cyber Force but I promise it’ll be worth it!
Nrama: In the series, Velocity and the Cyber Force team are all rebelling against the omnipresent corporation Cyber Data International, who control Millennium City. What can you tell us about CDI as a company?
Silvestri: Cyber Data International actually controls much more than Millennium City, and that’s why it’s so important for us as a species to be paying attention to what they are doing. CDI is pretty much Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and the leader in military technologies all rolled into one globe-spanning company. Oh, and they’re planning the end of the world so yeah, they make a good antagonist for Cyber Force to fight.
Nrama: Unlike in the original series, this one has a big injection of a later Top Cow character – Aphrodite, in this case, Aphrodite V. How did she end up being wrapped into this reboot?
Silvestri: In the Top Cow universe we’ve established that as a character, Aphrodite (all iterations) can’t really be trusted to do anything other than kill really well. Early on we thought it would be provocative to have an Aphrodite model as part of Cyber Force not as a villain but as a teammate. As readers will find out, provocative is an understatement. With all the technology running around the Cyber Force universe it’s how we’re going to explore the human condition that’s the most exciting and humanizing a stone cold killer completely lacking in empathy is gonna be fun.
Nrama: Although Cyber Force has been on the shelf for a while, it remains the highest selling series of all time for you guys. With such a big history between that and it being the company’s first title, did that exert even more pressure on you two to make this something that could last for a long time?
Silvestri: Pressure is a strange thing as far as the creative process is concerned. It either helps tremendously or can completely screw with a person’s ability to even think. Any time a creator/artist throws an idea out to the public the risk of being judged is a given so getting to the point where knowing and accepting that is critical to success. Yeah, criticism stings but like Abe Lincoln (sort of) said, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” But having said that, you do have to do your best because unless you plan on hanging your work on your fridge, the fan/reader needs to be serviced. And they do have the last word!
Nrama: Now that the first issue’s out, I can see similarities to the classic Cyber Force story but also many new things factored in -- namely the futuristic setting. When it came time to do this, how closely did you look at those original issues to figure out what you wanted to do here?Oddly enough I didn’t look at a single issue from the original run. I knew the characters I wanted to use and the universe I wanted to create and I wanted nothing from the original to affect that. And I’m not going to spoil anything but its interesting people refer to the “futuristic” setting…hmmm.
Nrama: Hmmmm, indeed.
A huge aspect to this relaunch is the fact that you’re giving away the first five issues free thanks to a successful Kickstarter drive and support from retailers. First off, can you say how much your print run was for Cyber Force #1?
Silvestri: I believe we were up over 80k, which is a pretty damn good number so we want to again thank everyone that contributed to the cause! All of us at Top Cow also want to express our deepest thanks to all the retailers that took part in something different and risky. Retailers paid for the books even though they are given out to their customers for free so I want all the fans to give some extra love to their local comic shop for taking part in the free Cyber Force campaign. Remember they did it to give their patrons a big thank you for buying comics at their store so give `em a hug!Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!