Rating: 4.5/5 – “Everyone is a Suspect, No One is Innocent”
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas
After working in the PR and Marketing Department at Marvel Comics for years, Jim McCann left that world to focus on his writing and it seemed to be the right choice. Being no stranger to writing, scripting numerous episodes of the daytime soap One Life to Live, McCann wrote his first graphic novel at Archaia that won him an Eisner for Best New Graphic Album with Return of the Dapper Men. After joining Image with the series Lost Vegas, he continues his creator owned work on Mind the Gap. It’s a story that can best be described as a mystery/thriller with a “who-dunnit” twist involving numerous characters. This first volume introduces the reader to a huge cast, and of that cast there seems to be only a couple of characters that you can seem to trust. Each chapter will leave you guessing, as the story slowly pulls back the curtain, revealing each character’s life.
Mind the Gap introduces us to Elle Peterssen, a wealthy young woman who suffers an attack in the first issue that leaves her in a coma. Just who attacked her and why is the mystery that’s laid out over the course of this first volume’s five issues. As she awakes in her coma state, she finds that the world inside of her mind can be as rich a world as the one outside. She floats within the mindscape, encountering interesting people who are also in the same situation she is, disconnected from the outside world but still alive. She finds that she can do certain things while in her coma, like entering other’s bodies and manipulating the world she’s now become a part of. What she struggles to do though, is put the pieces of her attack back together, and the reasons why she was targeted.
McCann does a great job of keeping the reader guessing, while introducing us to numerous characters along the way who all seem to be connected in one way or another. There are some great twists and turns throughout as McCann plants the seeds of doubt with almost each new character that comes into play. Even after this first volume ends, there’s still a ton of questions remaining to be answered. This book reads like a soap opera in the best way possible with characters reappearing out of nowhere from people’s pasts, but all making sense within the context of the story. McCann doesn’t cheat with his reveals. He builds them up slowly, and then shows the reader exactly how it all makes sense.
The majority of this first volume’s art is handled by Rodin Esquejo. Best known for his fantastic covers on the Image series Morning Glories, Esquejo moves into interior pencils for the first four issues. He has an ultra-clean line that uses computer effects for some of the heavier action scenes. There’s no costumes, capes, or masks so Esquejo has to rely on his character work, and he does so fantastically. Each character has their own look and style, and there’s never a question of who each character is on the page and in the panels. Colorist Sonia Oback does a great job of adding to the art with her great color choices, especially when Elle is part of the mindscape. Issue five has artist Adrian Alphona taking over for the backstory on one of the major characters, and the rougher, scratchier pencils are a great fit for that character and story. I hope this is a re-occuring theme as it gives each character a visually distinct background.
Mind the Gap does such a great job of drawing the reader in with it’s rich character development and mysterious plot. You’ll be guessing up to the very end of this first volume, and then some more as you wait for the next volume. As the inside cover reads, “Everyone is a suspect, no one is innocent”, and after reading this first volume that definitely seems to be the case. McCann balances out each character’s time in the spotlight, while Esquejo and Oback provide them with their own unique look. This first volume fully entertained me as I read it, and left me guessing how it all ties together long after I finished.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture