By: Greg Rucka (story), Carmen Carnero (pencils), Terry Pallot (inks), Chris Sotomayor (colors)
The Story: The Summers avoid another day of eating extraterrestrial chicken.
The Review: Being a straight action-adventure, Cyclops would be pretty difficult to review if it didn’t have the developing relationship between Scott and Chris to flesh it out. I don’t have much experience with Rucka’s work, but from these last few issues, I’m starting to think he either doesn’t fit well with the sci-fi genre or he’s run out of ideas. In the Pete Tomasi mold, Rucka thrives on meaningful character interaction and drama, but seems awkward in action scenarios.
This issue offers a good look at the type of material we’re likely to receive without the Summers bond to prop it up. There’s really very little to say about Chris and Scott’s escape plan, except that it works pretty much as expected: lure the bounty hunters, commandeer their ship, sigh with relief at avoiding another night on the planet of flesh-eating birds. Aside from Scott’s submarine approach to the ship, there’s not much cleverness (read: thought) put into the plan. Basically, Chris hides behind stuff and shoots stun-webs at each hunter. Rinse, repeat.
The only complication is the semi-cute Savva, an indentured servant to one of the hunters. Although she surprises Scott on the ship, it only takes a bit of extra effort to shut her down, so she has to find another way to wrinkle the situation for him. She protests her master’s capture, at least initially, because he’s sworn to fast until his bounty is caught, ergo, he’ll die if Scott and Chris aren’t taken in first. Of course, you’re thinking, So what? The problem is Rucka never adequately answers that basic question. At no point do we see a reason for her slavish loyalty, and frankly, no one seems interested in uncovering one, even though Scott goes along with her plea and she refuses his offer to join them afterward. Everyone, including Rucka, is content to leave her plight to a bromide about the costs of keeping a promise (which, I don’t know about you, I find nonsensical in the context of slavery).
With the focal character being so underdeveloped, it should be no surprise that the other hunters are rather papery themselves. They are, as Chris observes, a diverse bunch,* which doesn’t make them any less equally flat. Aside from the insectoid Cyr-81’s Yoda-like syntax (“8-1-Cyr birds does not like.”), none of them have any distinguishing traits at all.
I must say, it’s not a good sign for Russell Dauterman’s future output that he can only manage three issues before letting someone else take over for a couple months, but I’d prefer a delay between issues than get an inferior replacement. This time around, Carnero makes less of an effort to emulate Dauterman’s dynamism, offering straightforward, middle-of-the-road drawings that look distressingly like DC’s house style. Sotomayor’s bewildering array of lava-lamp colors keeps things interesting, but it’s not enough to make up for Carnero’s plainly plain art.
Conclusion: The Summers men achieve their objective smoothly—too smoothly, in fact, leading to an unremarkable issue across the board.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * Racial equality is racial equality, even when the purpose is criminal.