Nov 27, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 641: Cybernary #1, November 1995

A year and a bit after we last saw her, Katrina, the Cybernary, is back to tell us the rest of her story, aided and abetted by Gerber and artist Jeff Rebner. Rebner's art is remarkably different from Manabat's, falling more in line with the Wildstorm "house style," but he still manages to capture some of the grotesqueness of Manabat's vision of this strange underworld on Gamorra Island.

Today's issue was origin story, pure and simple. The exposition covering the previous installments of the story was handled very well (are we surprised?), and the twisted tale of Cybernary's creation is revealed. Her connection, through blood, to the Clan Gamorra, ruling clan of the nation and one of the main, non-alien bad guys of the Wildstorm universe, is a neat plot twist, and one that I never see coming (I'd forgotten about it when I read the comic this morning). It apparently gets taken up more fully in Cybernary's appearances following this series, but my recollection of the current series is that it's a bit of a revenge flick. Like Kill Bill, but with superheroes.

I've been slowly, but surely, working on a book about Steve Gerber's minor contributions to mainstream comics. He does just a few bits of work with Image. There's a brief run on Codename: Strykeforce, a WildC.A.T.S. special, these Cybernary works, one issue (and four pages) of Pitt, and a Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck crossover. They're certainly not amongst his best works, but we can see him working through the grittier kinds of narratives that would eventually lead him to Nevada and Hard Time. But I think there's also some evidence of his dissatisfaction with the industry as a whole. We're not getting the intelligent commentary of Howard or Man-Thing, or even his brief Captain America stories here. This is surface Gerber, lots of flash, but only the hint, the gesturing, toward substance.


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