Thursday, 3 May 2012

New Beginnings - Mind The Gap

For the first time in a long time I have a comic in my hands that I know nothing about. It’s an interesting feeling as it contains the whole “new” sensation that you love as a kid and rarely get to savour as an adult. All I initially know is what I can see in the cover...

On the cover we are given a tense moment in the aftermath of some sort of subway attack. At first glance the victim is being looked over by someone screaming for help but when you look again you can see that the victim and aide are both one and the same, but how can that be?

Written by Jim McCann for Image, this is a new comic with an older take on things. Opening from the cover itself with the attack the reader sees the shockwave spread through the family of Elle and also her closest friends. What it’s also doing is introducing the reader to all of the potential assailants - this is a mystery tale complete with twists and turns, cloaks and daggers.

McCann has written an interesting first issue with the new perspective added that Elle is also a part of this. Even though she is in a coma she exists in the gap and is trying to piece things together herself. Elle is in “The Garden”.  In this state Elle still realises that she is not dead and that her attack was no random occurrence. She knows she is still a target, but why? Can she trust anyone?

Wrapped around and throughout the story we have snippets of a hooded figure who is receiving instruction from a mysterious figure, however it is so well orchestrated that nothing is left to chance.
But how can someone who has not corporeal form or impact make a difference or change things? It’s only when by chance Elle touches the hand of a man in the hospital that things change once again for her, in a very unusual way.

I was impressed with the different levels that I found in the writing. There are a number of different angles to consider as you read the various threads. Each has its own sense and feeling to it without blurring through the others, quite a feat really, and keeps a good pace going, keeping the reader involved.

The artwork is fine and clean, similar to Larroca, but the shading and colouring, particularly the tones add a greater depth to the characters and give them a certain pop from the frames. The surrounding scenes are not overly cluttered or stacked with detail but the focus is always brought to the front of the frames so it works well.

As a completely new comic with a new twist on the “murder” mystery style it’s really nice to read. It’s set in a realistic and believable domain which makes it easy and familiar to read. The story is engaging - it leaves you asking questions and wanting more, which is a really good hook.

It's great value for money too. Completely free of adverts, this a confident first issue, not afraid to use the occasional full page splash panel to punctuate the drama. The final few pages feature an interesting written feature that exposes some of the details you may have missed in the opening chapter. It also makes a strong pledge to you, the reader. This is a classic whodunnit and you have already met the perpetrator. Now it's up to you to try to work it out.

Once again, a confident first issue.

I’d encourage people who are fans of indie comics to give this a go. No supers, no powers and no pretences. Well worth picking up.

Matt Puddy is preparing himself to dial H-E-R-O...

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