Even though Mind The Gap #1, the new Image series from Jim McCann and Rodin Esquejo, opens with lyrics from Lionel Richie's "Hello," the songs that wind up in my hea after reading it are "The Space Between" by The Dave Matthews Band or "Coma" by Guns 'N' Roses. Because Mind The Gap is literally about the space between life and death inhabited by the comatose. And it's pretty compelling, too.
A young woman named Ellis Peterssen has gone missing, and we learn she has good theater-nerd buddies, a distant mother, an over-protective father and an absolute douchebag little brother when she's brought to the hospital after being found unconscious on the 50th Street subway platform. While her "loved" ones react curiously and her doctors seem to respond even more curiously, Elle herself is in some strange stream-of-consciousness netherworld where she's occasionally dressed as the Bee Girl from the Blind Melon video while trying to remember who she is, and she's being guided about by, you guessed it, a cute and suave mystical British bloke who smokes and talks all clever and who is named Blake Robert Plangman but prefers the more pedestrian "Bobby."
Is this a real metaphysical realm, or is it all how one woman's mind is choosing to parse the experience of being in a coma? Blake Robert Plangman Call Me Bobby seems to think it's the latter, which would make sense, because Blake Robert Plangman Call Me Bobby, Luv is the kind of guy a theater chick whose word association for 'the world' is immediately 'a stage' would dream up as her companion.
There's a whodunit afoot – mainly about what exactly happened to Elle and who did it, and we've got suspicious bickering doctors, suspicious family members and suspicious bearded-dickhead other-doctor with a briefcase of mystery. Not to mention the criminal 'masked guy in hoodie' with an unseen puppet master who likely juiced her with some kind of drug. But the more curious thing is what happens when she wakes up in another person's body by sheer accident – intimating that there's more going on here than just hallucination.
McCann's got a solid foundation here, although some of the dialog makes me twitch for some reason – either it feels like it fumbles a bit riding that thin line between clever and "clever," or I'm too far removed from my theater-nerd days to remember how annoying we were when we talked. We're not sure yet whether this is going to go full-on sci-fi or remain an ambiguously human story. Esquejo's art is at times absolutely wonderful, and Elle's reaction to the last thing she remembers is visually arresting and is pretty much the most solid hook into the book. The rest of the characters, I'm not sure I really like enough to invest in them yet, but that little emotional jab brings the tale home and helps us break the ice.
Mind The Gap #1 is definitely worth a look-see, and it has plenty of room to grow. No capes, no bombast and no standard comic-book fare, and that's a good thing. Just an interesting trip through the mindscape of a woman lost in the space between.