Review - Negative Space #1

"Who gets writer's block on their suicide note?"

If you've ever got the sense that there are things out of your control, you're probably not that far off. That they're not in your control and still manage to control you in some ways is a little deeper, speaking to the timeless debate of determinism vs. free will. All of the above and more are on display in Negative Space #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Ryan Lindsay and illustrated by Owen Gieni.

When one man's writer's block gets in the way of his suicide note, he goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation.

Lindsay has made a name for himself of crafting works that delve deep into the human psyche, with his latest work in Headspace being a perfect example. Negative Space continues in this regard, as Guy struggles to reconcile his depressed emotions with his value as a living adult. Lindsay doesn't delve too deeply into the psychosis aspect of depression and suicide in Negative Space #1; instead, he uses it as a springboard to carry the story in a different direction. Guy goes through a series of events that put him in a position to make a somewhat startling discovery that will rock both his beliefs and the world he lives in to their cores. Lindsay weaves such a discovery into the tale as a means of showing what Guy is truly up against.

Negative Space #1 is illustrated with a detached surrealism that bolsters the destiny vs. free will narrative of the story. Gieni relies on a painted finish that helps exaggerate the appearances of the characters, running a gamut from the clearly depressed Guy to a much more boisterous employee of the larger corporation at the center of the story. The caricature-like appearance of the characters keeps the reader feeling as if they're reading about some ethereal dream, as Gieni doesn't shy away from appearances that feel otherworldly. The very first page is a very strong showing by Gieni that effectively captures the despair of a man on the brink. And the reveal on the last page shows a much more sinister motive, as Gieni gets a chance to showcase something pretty terrifying in appearance that dramatically changes the tone of the series going forward.

Negative Space #1 is a first issue in a mini-series that's bold and interesting, even if it will definitely feel familiar to readers. That's not to say the book itself is played out; rather, there are themes within that certainly aren't groundbreaking and will require some innovation on the part of the creators to make it feel fresh. Lindsay is making a habit of getting to know what makes a person tick and in Negative Space #1, Guy is no exception. Gieni's illustrations are airy and loose, giving the reader a glimpse into the somewhat chaotic world that Guy is a part of. Negative Space #1 is an ambitious first issue that could play out to a dramatic finale.

Negative Space #1 is in stores July 8.