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DC Comics has made a fortune on their theatrical versions of their comics, like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Catwoman, and now Justice League. The film version of Justice League was released in theaters on November 17, 2017. Being based on the original 1960 comic version, the film followed six superheroes, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Superman. Like all superhero movies, this group of superheroes is faced with saving the world. In this case, they’re saving the world from an ancient supervillain, Steppenwolf, who’s returned with his army that of Parademons that feed off fear; and in the midst of this journey to save the world, they miraculously bring Superman back to life. In the end, the superheroes defeat Steppenwolf and his Parademons, but Cyborg, a black superhero, is the one who is needed the most to stop this villain. This is especially important because unless you’re actively into the original comics, Cyborg is a hero who hasn’t been blasted in the big blockbuster films before, AND he’s black.
Cyborg’s real name is Victor “Vic” Stone who was initially a human but was turned super-human. In the original comic version, he was used as a test subject by both his parents, Silas Stone and Elinore Stone, which eventually gave him an IQ of a genius and he eventually began to resent his treatments and neglected his intelligence and began to focus on athletics. While visiting his parents in their lab, their inter-dimensional experiment went wrong, causing a creature to enter the lab. The beast killed his mother, Elinore, and injured him severally. His father got the creature back into its dimension but had to turn his son into half of a robot to save his life. The film’s biography of Cyborg follows the same storyline except it doesn’t go into much detail of his mother’s death and the inter-dimensional experimenting.
Social Issues and Cyborg
In the film, Wonder Woman, the only female superhero in the team, uses her differences to relate to him and get him to join the team. On a social aspect, having Wonder Woman connect to Cyborg was noteworthy because black people and woman are both subjected to societal limitations though their limitations are on different levels. Wonder Woman hid away after losing someone she fell in love with while fighting crime. Many could relate her reaction to losing her love to the fact of women being emotional creatures, and Cyborg’s struggle to accepting his powers being used for good could be compared to the fact that he’s black. So, having these two characters connect seemed intentional on a social point of view.
Blackness and Cyborg
Black people struggle with double consciousness, which is the idea of viewing yourself through the eyes of multiple cultures/races causing a lack of self-identity. Which is what the character, Vic (Cyborg), deals with because he is part robot and feared people fearing him—which coincidentally is the same fear that many black people (black men specifically) could relate to. So, his powers and struggle to accept his skills serve as a double entendre. And in the film, his powers are what’s needed to separate the Mother Boxes, which is what ultimately stops the world from undergoing complete destruction. Cyborg being necessary for saving the world can be viewed as a sigh towards the continuous problem of racism. Telling people that blackness shouldn’t be feared and black people shouldn’t fear their blackness being feared. They should accept the fact that they too can achieve greatness and very-well may be the key to saving the world one day. Though the point of a white-woman “saving” a black-male and showing him that his powers are useful could be made into a counter-argument, it doesn’t change the fact that Cyborg being brought to the forefront is a massive step for the black community, and how he can be the perfect superhero for black boys and girls.
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