Imagine if the human mind could tap into every camera and piece of surveillance equipment in an entire city. The untapped potential of our minds could potentially connect thousands if not millions of pieces of data to make one mind-boggling web of knowledge. IDW Publishing has a book on their hands that explores just such a concept… is it good?
City: The Mind in the Machine #2 (IDW Publishing)
Last issue writer Eric Garcia introduced a corporation with software that links every surveillance device in San Francisco together. A controller keeps an eye on everything but the computer isn’t smart enough to decipher what is a real threat and what could simply be some kids playing.
Luckily for them the software engineer who created the device, Ben Fischer, got into a horrible accident that left him blind. He wakes up to find computer eyeballs and an ability to connect to the system he built. Now he’s capable of doing what the computer couldn’t and he can do it very well. Now we’ve got a guy learning on the fly how to connect all these systems, hold onto his humanity and keep his sanity. Sounds like a killer concept eh?
Talking computer speak.
Last issue did a great job setting things up, but it didn’t do it fast enough. The real hook of the series didn’t hit till the last page, so color me excited when issue #2 hit today. Now we’ve got our super man with the power to see every camera inside his mind.
This issue details what that’s like, the growing pains of this power and how it affects his life. As far as his transformation Garcia and artist Javi Fernandez do a great job. From the cool effect of Fischer’s techno-speech when tapping into the computer or his awkward first date it’s clear the protagonist is having a unique experience. The guy loves the power (once he can stop puking when using it) and who can blame him? He can see any from the angle of any camera of the city, hear from any microphone, stop any stop light, etc. It’s a ton of power and the concept of the morality that comes along with such power of that is touched upon slightly. The story is written well and you can put yourself in Fischer’s shoes.
One negative aspect of the writing though, is the bad guys — the corporation who is funding things. All they want is results in typical cliched fashion. Fischer ends up having a revelation on why he was in the accident at all that’s easy enough to predict from the get go. There’s also a ton of dialogue to sift through at times, which all amount to some underwhelming details and expectations you already had.
Seeing into dressing rooms is part of enacting justice…duh!
Fernandez keeps things interesting, even when the word bubbles take up much of the page. He mixes in Ben-Day dots to make things pop and has plenty of neat backgrounds to convey the computer world Fischer is starting to live in. There’s also a few neat blur/digital pixelated effects he uses to convey Fischer’s alienation with his humanity that words alone wouldn’t have been enough to explain.
Yah cuz if he dies that’ll help the program. Sarcasm.
Is It Good?
A good second issue, but not great due to some cliched villain work and a twist you’ll have seen coming. The character development is good though and you’re right there with the protagonist.
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