If ever there was a comic book that should be turned into a television show, Image‘s Mind the Gap is it. With Dane locked up and Ellis struggling to get word to her friends, you get a sense that the book’s second arc is getting into season two. A comic that feels like a prime time drama has its drawbacks, but fortunately the creative team helps make the reader’s commitment to the story completely worth it.
Jim McCann is a master of reference and allusion, and issue #7 continues his referencing of everything from pop culture to science. Be prepared to do a bit a googling as you read anything he writes. I always walk away from his work thinking, “Wait, was that meant as an homage to… Let me look that up.” This particular issue references statistical data, which isn’t my strong suit. The great thing about what McCann does is that he makes you want to look the things up even when it is something you would otherwise avoid. Sure, not all of them are necessary to understanding the story, but you are invested in what Ellis goes through and how the events surrounding her weave together.
We learn more about our heroine Jo this month. While her commitment to Ellis has not been fleshed out yet, it is something that readers will gravitate to. Jo’s budding relationship with Frankie makes for a nice subplot, and her ability to go from caring friend to kick ass New Yorker is endearing. Jo’s a grounded character while she’s surrounded by men with hoodies walking down halls and batshit crazy mothers make strange phone calls. I also really like Dr. Geller, though this issue does not do her as much justice. In a TV show, we could have an entire episode focusing on Dr. Geller’s ability to juggle her relationship, her suspicions, and her run ins with the worst nurse ever. Still, the story moves along well, and the pacing helps satisfy your craving for more information.
However, the unwary reader can easily become a little worn out. Unlike a TV show, Mind the Gap does not air weekly; we only get it once a month. That is a big gap for such a sophisticated story. Additionally the books are fairly long, and when you are constantly reading the last couple of issues so you do not miss a single piece of the puzzle, it can be an undertaking. By the time you get through with all of the reading and referencing, you find that you have committed yourself to a couple of hours worth of McCann’s shifty cast of characters.
Rodin Esquejo art and Arif Prianto‘s colors never miss a beat. This book is about emotion and secrets, so facial expressions are important. Esquejo has a way with expressing pain that works well. In this issue, I found myself appreciating that quality as we experience Ellis through the little girl and the terror she feels. His art is not the most detailed, but its focus on faces is integral to the story. Prianto’s use of purples and greens in particular that gives the book a unique feel. I am not sure I am art savvy enough to put it into words, so I will just say it looks pretty.
I itch for the story to progress. Dane’s innocence and my feeling that this is all some sort of experiment makes me antsy to know what is actually going on. Ellis’ time in this new body is short, and that means less interaction between her and Jo. I want to know more about their backstories. Why does she have such an extreme relationships with all of these other players? If we are not going to get it through flashbacks, then I would not mind seeing her interact with them all more one-on-one. Either way, consider this warning: This is a book you should be reading, but be prepared to be sucked in. If you are already reading, make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.