cover image Dr. Cyborg

Dr. Cyborg

Allan Gross. Image Comics, $9.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-1-58240-369-4

This work was originally serialized as an online comic strip, and it shows: the story, about a hard-living amnesiac named Malcolm Syberg who may or may not be a cyborg and is trying to determine the fate of his family, jolts forward a tier at a time, bumping up against a punch line or cliffhanger every fourth panel; and the storylines in this first collection barely get underway before they're slammed shut and yanked in a different direction. What this volume does have going for it, though, is Oeming's artwork. Best known as the artist behind Powers, Oeming has a boldly stylized look to his work, inspired by the flat tones of animation but with a subtler line; the other artists who take over the book near the end follow his stylistic templates precisely. Gross comes up with some potentially interesting characters, like a villain who's obsessed with the number and quality of his scars. The actual story, though, is something of a disaster, populated by deus ex machina pseudoscientific machines and excessively cute jokes (the U.G.A., it turns out, stands for ""Unidentified Government Agency""), frequently losing track of where it's supposed to be headed, and culminating in a ridiculous twist ending. It's been a long time since there's been a continuity-minded comic strip this pretty to look at; alas, this one is tough to read.