Jim McCann, Rodin Esquejo, and Sonia Oback’s Mind the Gap #1 is one of two titles debuting from Image Comics this week that feature mysterious female leads, with this being the more cerebral of the two. Initially envisioned as a television series, the story centers around the mystery of what happened to a wealthy young girl who is attacked and left comatose on a subway platform, though she is awake somewhere. The first issue introduces a solid helping of familial dysfunction, out of body experiences, and powerful forces pulling the strings.
The subway attack on Ellis Peterssen brings together the cast of Mind the Gap and each of the major players are given enough panel time to come away with a real sense of who they are. While they respond to this important person in their life being in a coma, we learn that the series title isn’t just a play on where the attack took place. Ellis’ mind is functioning as she goes through an out of body experience trying to understand exactly what’s happened to her. There’s clearly another mystery behind how exactly this process works as she seems to be sharing this journey with at least one other person. Blake Robert Plangman makes a Cheshire Cat like first appearance in Ellis’ mind, and this visual comparison is actually confirmed on the backup pages McCann uses to sell his excitement over the series’ debut. Best of all, McCann also uses the end of the book to point out some clues throughout the issue, and promises Ellis’ attacker has been named in the course of the first issue. It’s nice to think he’s playing by a set of rules.
Rodin Esquejo and Sonia Oback’s art for Mind the Gap #1 is striking and engaging here. Esquejo is known for his cover art for Image’s Morning Glories and makes a strong transition to interiors here. Oback’s colors have a gorgeous look and are really what sell the book. Some eye-catching lighting effects are utilized throughout and the falling rain in the real world is particularly impressive. In contrast, the scenes in Ellis’ mind are visually distinct from the rest of the action with their stark backgrounds and ethereal color palette. I’m very familiar with her work on X-Men and X-Force, and this might be the best I’ve seen from her. The book also features the heavy use of music and lyrics, perhaps serving as clues. Lionel Ritchey, Pink Floyd and Blind Melon (complete with the protagonist appearing in a bumblebee outfit) all find their way into the book and letterer Dave Lanphear does a great job of making it work on the page. No Rain‘s lyrics are fitting for the rainy day that opens the story as well as the comatose Ellis hoping someone will “always be there when she wakes.” It’s a neat approach that really made the book stand out.
McCann is a proven commodity and Mind the Gap #1 is a physically huge debut issue at 50 pages, much like Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga #1. The debut of this psychological thriller is a steal at $2.99 and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a modern multi-layered mystery/thriller that employs some clever non-conventional storytelling techniques.
Read more about Image Comics on MyLatestDistraction.