Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mind the Gap #4

Written by Jim McCann
Art by Rodin Esquejo

I want to be very clear - I enjoy Mind the Gap a great deal, and appreciate what a unique comic it is.  I'm having some problems with it though.  It tells the story of Elle, a young woman who was attacked in a New York subway station, and is now lying in a coma in the hospital.

That doesn't sound like a comic in which much would happen, but Jim McCann is taking Elle's tragedy and weaving a dense and complex mystery around her - we don't know who attacked her, but just about everyone we've met, from her family, her sort-of boyfriend, a psychiatrist who is now in a coma in the bed next to her's, and possibly even the doctor treating her seem like likely suspects, or are perhaps complicit in what happened.  Working to figure things out (so far, independently) are Jo, Elle's best friend, a doctor who works at the same hospital and has been warned away from her case, and Elle herself, who is spending her time in The Garden, a place she shares with her fellow coma victims.

My problem with the book is that it's becoming a little too precious in it's "Everyone's a suspect!  Everything's a clue!" self-boosterism.  I love and appreciate the various clues that McCann is leaving for us, but I don't know that it's so necessary for him to draw our attention to them.  Personally, I would prefer it if, at some moment when a revelation is made, that it's left to me to figure out whether or not it had been foreshadowed.  Or, you know, the Internet could tell me later.  A good point of comparison would be Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Each page is filled with allusions, nods, and easter eggs, but Moore doesn't fill half the book explaining them.  That's left to people like Jess Nevins on-line, and that works for me.

It's a minor quibble.  This book is very interesting, although I find my attention wandered this issue during the lengthy scene that takes place in The Garden (or in Elle's mind).  I prefer reading about her friends, family, and the goings-on at the hospital.

Rodin Esquejo is turning in some very strong work with this book, although I have to wonder what's going on with the art nouveau-homage covers lately - for a moment, I thought that my comic store had put a copy of last month's Elephantmen in my pull-file.

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