City: The Mind in the Machine #1 (IDW)


Rating: 3.5/5 – Big Brother Looms as Man and Machine Merge.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I enjoyed this debut issue.  The story we get here is primarily set up introducing the world, the main players, and getting us to the point where the story really begins.  Sometime this is necessary when introducing a new series that has a fairly involved premise.  A writer can jump right into the action and use flashbacks to fill in the “how did we get here” or just bite the bullet (as was done here) and let the reader experience the actions that lead you into the meat of the story right along with the protagonist.

Writer Eric Garcia made the right choice.  It gives the reader a sense of connection with Ben Fischer (our main character) to see the sequence of events unfold over the course of issue #1 that set up the premise for the series:

The world’s greatest surveillance system, Golden Shield, utilizes every camera, cell phone, and computer in San Francisco to battle crime. There is only one problem: Golden Shield can’t work without a human mind to operate it, resulting in a controversial melding of man and machine.

I won’t go into any more specifics about actual events in the story so as to not further spoil the issue (I’m not going to consider the solicitation blurb for the issue a formal spoiler, though it sort of is….).  It’s the details of how we get there and where we go from that point that will make or break the story.

I liked this issue, so why a 3.5 rating?  Two reasons.  First: This issue was set up and I’d really like to see where we go from here.  Given Garcia’s start the rest of this story could be awesome and original or it could go down a path we’ve see in a number of other TV shows and movies that touch on the themes of “big brother” type surveillance gone awry.  Second:  While I didn’t dislike the art by Javier Fernandez, it didn’t knock my socks off either.  The figures felt a bit stiff, the big reveal after the surgery (told in a 2/3rd page splash) didn’t ‘pop’ off the page, the design didn’t feel as foreign/techno as it could have.   The colors in the issue felt a bit flat.

Overall this was a solid first issue.  Garcia set up the world and the characters and made me care about them and want to know what’s going to happen next.  The art didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story but didn’t enhance it either.  It did it’s job as a first issue in making me want to come back for #2 and I’m hoping for some cool twists and turns as we go.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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