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December 24, 2010

Archaia Reviews: Cyclops #1

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Written by: Andy
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Cyclops #1
Writer:
Matz
Artist: Luc Jacamon
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment

This week Cyclops #1 from Archaia Entertainment hit the shelves. No, it doesn’t feature a dude in blue spandex with a ruby quartz visor, nor does it have anything to do with a giant muscle guy with one eye wielding a club. Rather, this “Cyclops” refers to a group of soldiers in the near future who have a microcam in their helmets, broadcasting their actions to all the world. These soldiers are known as Cyclops.

*Spoilers lurk ahead*

The year is 2054, and The Great Security Council (made up of Russia, China, India, the European Confederation, and the U.S.A.), vote on whether or not to allow the United Nations to outsource their troops to private companies. The vote passes, and Multicorps Security wins the bidding for the first round of troops. Enter Douglas Pistoia, a recently married young man of potential who just can’t seem to lock down a job…until he applies at Multicorps. They hire him, and when the company is charged with putting together their first team of Cyclops soldiers for the U.N., Douglas is in that group, and shows great promise as a soldier. So, his platoon is sent to Turkey as part of a peacekeeping contingent, and this first chapter ends right when they touch down in the country, broadcasting live for all the world to see.

I thought this issue was solid. The premise is unique, and is fleshed out nicely at a fast pace. The main character, Douglas, gets plenty of face time, too. Lots of stuff goes down in terms of delivering the exposition; Douglas gets interviewed at Multicorps, is hired, painfully says goodbye to his new wife, trains for military service, and by the end is already on his first mission with consideration of becoming a superior officer. If all that stuff wasn’t important enough to spend more than a few pages on, Matz and Jacamon probably want to cut right to the chase with the 7 remaining issues, and I’m pumped to see what they have in store for us.

I really liked the sci-fi elements of this story, most noticeably in the Cyclops gear itself, which is pretty darn cool. It has active camo, allowing the wearer to blend into the background, as well as the ability to lower the users body temperature, blocking them from heat sensors. Plus, they’re self healing. As mentioned though, the most prominent feature of these suits is the namesake camera mounted on the helmet. These remote controlled microcams give visualizations to command in real time, proving invaluable for instantaneous decisions, as well as conveying breaches of rules of engagement. They’re also a major money maker for Multicorps because, you know, “TV loves a war.” It really makes you wonder if we may be headed this way at some point in the real world; A time when reality TV gets really real, with cameras always watching… It’d be like Mojo World!

Creators Matz and Luc Jacamon are the same two fellas who brought us three exceptional volumes of The Killer, a story about one incredibly talented hit-man. Matz does a nice job fleshing out our major players, who in addition to Douglas include his wife, the Multicorps black tie guys, and Anderson, a brutal warrior who doesn’t like to follow orders but always gets the job done. Again, this issue has lots of exposition, and while handled well, Matz hasn’t really been given a chance here to show off what he can really do.┬áJacamon’s art is fantastic. It’s clean and vibrant, capturing action and expression quite nicely. Since I’ve been following his work in The Killer, I was expecting some recycled faces to pop up here and there, but not so! Everything he brings to the table is fresh and fluid. I can’t wait to see him really cut loose on the upcoming battle scenes.

Cyclops throws the reader into a world that’s highly political and morally ambiguous. The existence of the Cyclops soldiers raise many questions; Should the leasing of non-government troops be enacted in the United Nations? Is a semi-live broadcast of an active battlefield appropriate material to air on TV? Should it be acceptable for companies to profit off of this lethal brand of combative journalism? Is it the right of the people to see how the soldiers who are defending their way of life conduct themselves in combat? I could go on. The point is that this ain’t your daddy’s comic book; It’s for adults, and for people who aren’t afraid to think about where our fragile world is headed.

To quote one of the news broadcasters of the Cyclops cams, “We’re afraid something will happen, but very hopeful too.”

For more from Archaia Entertainment, click here.

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

A copy of this issue was provided for review by the publisher.

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