What’s the scariest thing you can think of? It’s not society falling apart is it? What about the opposite, a force of some sort taking over everything and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it? Now that’s scary, and it’s sort of the point of this new series from BOOM! Studios…but is it good?
Cognetic #1 (BOOM! Studios)
I was a big fan of the writer and artist’s previous work called Memetic. Writer James Tynion IV and artist artist Eryk Donovan told a story of an internet meme that made people lose their minds. In a way this story is similar as it shows us another take on humanity; we think we’re in control but there are a few folks out there who beg to differ — they can control us. Sort of like if Professor Xavier roamed the Earth, decided to say hi and is excited to kill and destroy for us for fun. At least that’s the vibe I’m getting in this issue.
Why does this comic book matter?
Like I said, the previous work by these guys was great. It was well written, offered some interesting ideas and told a horror story that takes a modern day thing and turns it on us. There’s some interesting elements at play here in regards to communication and word bubbles too. The cover sort of gives it away that there are two characters with mind control abilities which sets up a compelling premise. There are people (or maybe they aren’t human at all) who can control us and have been living among us for ages. Why and where did they come from? The fact that a pretty cool myth is playing out for us to read and enjoy is exciting.
Well said smart dude.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
As I said, there’s some interesting use of dialogue bubbles and color. The bad guy speaks in a different color than those he speaks to which, when he decides to take over a mind, changes their word bubble color as well. Meanwhile another character spends a lot of this issue texting and she has a different color when speaking as well. It’s not yet evident how her powers are different than the bad guy, but there’s something going on here.
The comic adequately sets up the big concept at play here which is how do we know we’re in control of anything? The microbes on our skin think they’re in control, but really they are just sitting on us as we traverse the world. It’s a concept that makes us feel very small and when the bad guy starts taking over minds and sending them off roofs it’s plain to see we have little control of anything.
This issue also captures the fear and loss of control we all felt after 9/11. A tragedy occurs that’s nearly as vexing and frightening. Why is this happening and who’s to blame? These are questions you’ll ask yourself (as we asked ourselves before) and it hits close to home.
The art is good with a unique style that makes all of the characters seem small in a big world. The world is lived in and detailed with a weight yet the style isn’t so detailed it looks like a photo. Let me put it this way: You’ve never seen a giant chair made of bodies like this before.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s some confusing bits, not least of which are the first few pages. There’s some characters talking about a dolphin and if it’s intelligent – poignant and fits the overall story – but I’m confused as to what happens. Nothing that happens later seems to jive with what occurs here. Did the dolphin have powers too? Because that’s what I thought after reading this issue.
It’s a bit of a labor to read portions of this story, not because it’s poorly written, but because it’s so heavy on the dialogue. More than once I wanted it to get on with it and show us something a bit more interesting than a woman texting on her phone. Thankfully it turns itself around when the s--t hits the fan, but it’s almost too little too late.
The dolphins will kill us all!
Is It Good?
Aside from some lengthy dialogue and an opening I’m still confused by this is a good issue. Once again Tynion and Donovan have crafted a compelling horror story that’s close to home in a variety of ways that will surely hit you right in the amygdala.
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