The loneliness of Vic Stone

In my last post about about DC Comics, I mentioned that the Justice League book had made it so that Vic Stone, the former high school football player turned into the hero Cyborg, had been seemingly regulated to the guy who summons boom tube-like warp portals, with no life outside of the League.

Turns out I was right. Cyborg doesn’t have his own book or his own adventures, like everyone else in the Justice League does, and the most recent issue of Justice League confirmed that. When the League’s not on a mission, Cyborg spends his day at S.T.A.R. Labs or reading and watching movies, or, “occasionally, Batman needs something.” He lives in the Watchtower, removed from the rest of humanity. If the League broke up, which is something underlining the current arc in the book, he’d likely just stay up int he Watchtower.

Flash and Cyborg talk in Justice League 13 (2012)

(click to see the larger version)

Similar to the treatment of Starfire in the Red Hood relaunch, it seems like DC Comics decided to squander the goodwill toward a character that new readers grew up watching on TV by reducing the character to an unrecognizable husk of a previous incarnation. This isn’t to suggest that the comics should align to the characteristics of  these characters as depicted in the Teen Titans TV series (that would be absurd), but to take such a left turn away from the positive images of those character is just…odd, and incredibly insulting.

In the case of Vic Stone, it’s especially frustrating since he’s a) the only person of color in the book (and in the book that DC considers its flagship title) and b) he doesn’t have his own book to flesh out any of these issues (and given the general failure of books headlined by POCs, there’s not a huge incentive to do it). And, really, given how he states his case, he’s essentially waiting on the white people to ask him to join in. And if they all leave, he’d be all alone, struggling with his own dilemmas of being a black man who isn’t even completely a man now. It’s a tough situation, and one that needs more nuance than Justice League is probably capable of. I mean, we do have the super-teenager lovefest of Superman and Wonder Woman to deal with, and that’s way more interesting.

4 Responses

  1. If you want to read a comic book that brings depth to Cyborg, I do suggest you to read this:
    I tend to avoid the word “masterpiece” because, like the word “cult”, nowadays everybody employs it too often, so it lost a lot of its significance, but that TP is among the very few ones that really deserve this definition.
    In the last 20 years, I read only 2 other comics that I could call “masterpieces”: I’m referring to 2 single issues starring Batman, “Seduction of the Gun” and “The Meaning of Life” (Shadow of the Bat # 72). Maybe I should add “The Long Halloween” to the list.
    Are there any other examples that come to your mind?

    • Hey! Thanks for the comment, as always!

      I may check that out. I’m not so much concerned with past concerns, but what is being done now with the character (or, really, what ISN’T being done).

      And I am soooooooooooooooooooooo not the person to ask about that sort of thing. I’ve been out of the comics game too long to have an working opinion. If you have some other recs, I’m prime for them.

      • My favorite story arcs:
        Amazing Spider Man # 226 – 227 (March – April 1982)
        Daredevil # 227 – 233 (February – August 1986)
        Venom: Sinner Takes All # 1 – 5 (August – December 1995)
        Batman: The Long Halloween # 1 – 13 (December 1996 – December 1997)
        X – Men: Children of the Atom # 1 – 6 (November 1999 – September 2000)
        Punisher Vol. 3 # 1 – 12 (April 2000 – March 2001)
        Daredevil: Yellow # 1 – 6 (August 2001 – January 2002)
        Fury Vol. 2 # 1 – 6 (November 2001 – April 2002)
        Kingpin: Thug # 1 – 7 (August 2003 – February 2004)
        Titans Vol 3: Fractured (August 2009 – April 2010)

        My favorite single issues:
        Redemption (Daredevil # 200) November 1983
        The Deadliest Night of My Life (Daredevil # 208) July 1984
        Badlands (Daredevil # 219) June 1985
        Fog (Daredevil # 220) July 1985
        Batman: Seduction of the Gun February 1993
        Bad Company (Steel # 3) April 1994
        The Meaning of Life (Shadow of the Bat # 72) March 1998
        A Night to Remember (Generation X # 57) November 1999
        Murdock’s Law (Daredevil Vol. 2 # 9) December 1999
        Ladies’ Night (The Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 # 33) June 2010

        Of course I didn’t consider expected titles like The Dark Knight Returns or Batman Year One, because they are graphic novels, not story arcs. Thank you for your reply! : )

  2. P.S.: Also, I considered only the last 30 years. As I told you in the first comment, a very few comics of this list are real masterpieces. : )

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