Monday, March 12, 2018

Review - Come Into Me #1 (@blackmaskstudio)

"What is marvelous our mind's ability to generate emotion."

People will often say "I know your pain" or "I know what you're going through," but very rarely do they fully understand exactly what it is that person is experiencing. Empathy is only as good as the experience of the empathizer so being able to truly get into another's head would do wonders for increasing empathy. Such an action bears a cost though as imagined in Come Into Me #1 from Black Mask Studios. The issue is written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, illustrated by Piotr Kowalski, colored by Niko Guardia and lettered by Ryan Ferrier.

When an entrepreneur with a god complex creates a technology that allows two minds to share one body, he doesn't anticipate the degenerative effects of long-term trials. Come Into Me is a contemporary comment on connected culture and our longing for approval in the digital age. This is a world where technology and flesh become indistinguishable, begging the question, "How much sharing is too much sharing?"

What Thompson and Nadler are getting into in Come Into Me #1 is very unsettling, but more for the physical aspect of it than anything else. The script is predicated on the notion that people want to share more of their consciousness with one another in a way that transcends words. Thompson and Nadler do a great job of positioning that quest as a scientific pursuits couched in a seemingly never-ending quest for further venture capital funding. That gives the main character Dr. Gillis and interesting internal debate that regularly moves between an obligation to doing what's right and an obligation to turn a profit. Thompson and Nadler do a great job of characterizing that struggle, using that as the underpinning of the entire story and funneling the narrative through that point of view.

Kowalski's artwork is very unsettling in a way that works exceptionally well for the story. The characters aren't given an abundance of detail in their physiques or facial expressions which helps promote the overall theme of the book being one of shared consciousness. Kowalsk also manages to make the entire concept extremely unsettling in that the way he presents the procedure is somewhat grotesque, underscoring the inherent ugliness in the actual surgery behind the transferring memories from one individual to another. The panels are arranged very cleanly and speak to the expected order that a character like Dr. Gillis would bring to his study. Guardia's colors are pale and washed out, save for some bold contrast in the terms of red and pink viscera.

Come Into Me #1 is an interesting concept and will likely evoke comparisons to one of the stories in the Black Mirror episode "Black Museum." Both that episode and this comic offer a notion of more intimately sharing the memories of another without really thinking of the unintended consequences. Thompson and Nadler pen a script that's sufficiently unsettling in that regard, exploring both the physical and mental toll such an action takes on all parties involved. Kowalski's artwork is equally as unsettling, effectively capturing the uncharted territory that the players find themselves in. Come Into Me #1 is chilling in both its subject matter and approach, posing an interesting dilemma when it comes to truly sharing one's mind with another.

Come Into Me #1 is available March 14.


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