Brother Blood: “I’ve combed through your blueprints, peeled back your armor, stripped off your machinery! But still you defy me! Where in this vile contraption is the part that allows you to RESIST?”
Cyborg: “It’s not in the circuitry, is it? It’s not the machine that resists you… It’s me, my spirit. That’s the part you can’t break!” – Teen Titans “Titans East” (Season 3, Episode 13)
A mugger prowls a street for a target. He pulls out a knife when he sees a fool in a trench coat and hat walking alone down the late night street. “Give me your money, or else! snarls the crook. The target says “Ok, I choose or else.” The mugger stabs towards the coat and sees his knife break on the man’s chest.
The mugger freaks out and then looks at the man’s face, finally noticing the metallic half. “Oh $#!&, it’s not human!” He yells. The would-be victim grimaces and knocks out the mugger. Leaving a note for the cops, Cyborg walks out into the night. “Not human,” he mutters.
Cyborg is DC Comics’ greatest teenage hero. He was a founding member of the Teen Titans and graduated to The Justice League. So who is he? How did he become a cyborg? Why did he become a cyborg? Let’s find out.
Post-Modern Prometheus: Cyborg’s Backstory
Silas Stone: “Open your eyes, son. Look at the world we live in today. We are witnessing the birth of a new race of superhumans! Beings who can fly, tear through buildings and outrun race cars! They will make what you can do obsolete. In that world throwing a football is a joke!”
Victor Stone: (stunned) “You’re never gonna come to one of my games, are you?” – Justice League: War
With apologies to Chris Carter for stealing his excellent title, you should know that Cyborg first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. He was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.
Victor Stone was a college football star with a distant father. Dr. Stone was a researcher at S.T.A.R. Labs obsessed with studying alien technology. The two didn’t get along well, and Victor snapped when his father missed the championship game. Victor confronted his father in the lab during a critical experiment. Victor was seriously wounded when a piece of alien technology exploded as they argued.
Desperate to save his son, Dr. Stone replaced most of Victor’s mangled body with prototype cybernetics. Victor awoke and was horrified to see what he had become. He fled the lab, taking a new moniker with him, Cyborg.
Titan to Leaguer: Cyborg’s History
Cyborg: “After I win, you wanna get pizza?”
Robin: “Loser buys.“
Cyborg: “You mean it’s on Batman?” – Injustice 2
Cyborg wandered the country, bored, until he stumbled upon an alien invasion. Several teenage superheroes were fighting the invaders, and he pitched in. He quickly learned his father had included several weapons in his new body and made short work of the invaders. With no better prospects, Cyborg joined the group and co-founded The Teen Titans.
During the movie Flashpoint, The Flash accidentally created an alternate timeline. With Superman and Batman out of the picture, Cyborg reluctantly became Earth’s greatest superhero. He led the superhero community against the armies of Aquaman and Wonder Woman (don’t ask, too long), who were threatening to destroy the world. He died in the brawl, but was saved when The Flash corrected history. I said, don’t ask.
Following Flashpoint, Cyborg was reintroduced into DC Comics as a founding member of the Justice League. Moving from college football to saving Earth with the Justice League is a pretty good jump.
Mechanized Marvel: Cyborg’s Powers and Personality
Atlas: “No more. I am defeated. You are a better robot.”
Cyborg: “No. I’m a better person.” – Teen Titans “Only Human” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Cyborg’s mechanical body gives him superhuman strength, speed, and durability. His body can store an array of weapons and tools that are all sold separately. He’s got missile launchers, thrusters, laser guns, and his signature weapon, the sonic cannon. The sonic cannon amplifies sound loud enough to shatter steel. I guess Cyborg turns it up to 11,000.
He later added alien technology to his body that allowed it to constantly evolve. This drastically increased his abilities, but had a catch. His body became self-aware and tried to take over the world. Ah well, evil robot bodies are a small price to pay for technological advancement.
Cyborg is a brilliant, but laid-back hero. He had a self-loathing streak because of his dual nature, but support from his fellow Teen Titans helped him get better.
The Actors who played Cyborg
Cyborg made his screen debut in the horribly named final season of The Super Friends called The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Former Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson voiced him in that debacle. The late Lee Thompson Young played him in Smallville before taking his own life at 29.
Khary Payton (Walking Dead’s Ezekiel) began voicing Cyborg in 2003’s Teen Titans and is considered to be the teen hero’s most iconic voice. Payton has also voiced him in many cartoons and video games.
Cyborg has appeared in several direct-to-DVD movies voiced by the likes of Bumper Robinson, Michael B. Jordan, and Shemar Moore.
Thirty year old stage actor Ray Fisher got his big screen debut when he cameoed as Cyborg in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Fisher reprises the role in 2017’s Justice League and is signed to star in a Cyborg movie in 2020 as well as co-starring with Ezra Klein’s Flash in Flashpoint. With all that screen time, he may end up being the actor identified with Cyborg.
Didya Get All That?
Part man, part machine, all hero.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.