Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mind the Gap #5

Written by Jim McCann
Art by Rodin Esquejo and Adrian Alphona

Do you ever have this happen to you, where you make some comments (okay, maybe they were complaints) about a comic one month, only to have them addressed the next?  After reading the last issue of Mind the Gap, I commented that I found certain aspects of the book - especially the scenes where Elle, the coma victim, just hangs out in her own mind and The Garden, a shared mindscape for coma victims, and the overly self-congratulatory text pages in the back - to be tiring me out, and causing me to lose enthusiasm for the title.

Then this issue comes out, and neither thing is in it!  Instead of keeping the action in the hospital where Elle is staying, Jim McCann decided to use this issue to explore one of the most important people in Elle's life.  Dane is Elle's boyfriend, and he's been shown to be a difficult person.  Now, he is being accused of attacking her, and his own father has shown up with some pretty damning evidence against him.

The thing is, Dane hasn't seen his father in some ten years.  Most of this issue is told through flashback, as we see Dane's teenage years in a trailer park, where he lived with his abusive drunk of a father.  At age 17, Dane set off on his own, eventually finding himself in New York, and dating Elle.  For the first time since the comic began, Dane is shown as a sympathetic character.

We are also given some pretty big clues as to what has been happening in this series.  The whole point of this book is that the reader has no clue as to who attacked Elle, or why.  One fairly prominent character is shown interacting with 'Hoodie', the hooded character who has been present at every point of the series, although whether or not that character is ultimately responsible for what's happened isn't made clear.  I imagine that there are more than one guilty party in this book.

I've been enjoying Rodin Esquejo's art in this series, but was pleased to see that (the uncredited) Adrian Alphona showed up to draw the scenes from Dane's life.  Alphona's art is much looser than Esquejo's, and had a total Adam Pollina vibe to it that I liked a lot.

This is a comic that was in need of a shake-up, and I'm pleased that McCann chose to do that at precisely the time that I was wondering how committed I was to staying with this title.  Now he's got me on board for a few more months.

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