Review: City – The Mind in the Machine #1

Of the three series that Darby Pop Publishing announced with their new line of books City: The Mind in the Machine has been the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. The concept of a man seeing through a cities camera system is just freaking cool and gives so many potential story lines that my brain began wandering long before reading this issue. But how does it all begin? Sure we know the hook of the series, but it would be bad form to just start us there. The issue kicks off with a look at all of the cameras in San Francisco running at once. In walks Ben the lead on the project currently known as “Golden Shield” to demonstrate to a Homeland security rep the potential of the project. They activate Golden Shield and suddenly an alarm goes off and a picture is constructed of a robbery and hostage situation. Golden Shield takes over and reroutes police and emergency workers to the situation, but here’s the kicker… it’s just some kids playing in a living room. The home security rep tells them that it’s missing the human element and that basically they’re going to pass on the project because of its coding flaws.

Ben goes through some typical problems at this point, his project is sunk unless he can fix it and he’s late on his rent. After spending the weekend coding he takes a break and hits the subway. He sees a suspicious character on board and sure enough there’s a chemical attack on the subway. Ben briefly wakes up and here’s the voice of his friend and boss Owen; he tells him he’s lost his vision but that he can help him if he gives him approval. When Ben wakes up again he discovers that he’s become the human component of Golden Shield.

City - The Mind in the Machine #1-1It has a RoboCop vibe to it to be honest. It’s interesting because even though Ben gives approval you have to wonder how Owen was able to create his new eyes so quickly. It could just be a comic book moment in which I’m overthinking it, but it could be that Owen either made the accident happen or at the very least was prepared in case something like this should arise.

It’s a solid first issue. It gets a lot of the leg work out of the way so that the story can really get interesting. I know it’s only going up from here from the preview that was released to support the title and that’s what I’m looking forward to. Like I said the concept is awesome, but we need this first issue to set the stage. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.

The plot for this issue is okay. Ben’s awkwardness with women and behind on his rent was very Peter Parker feeling and while that’s not a bad thing, it was a bit too thick for me. Overall though it had a good set up and I enjoyed the police raiding a living room of children without so much as looking in the window first.

The art work was also very solid. There were times when it carried the story and especially when it came to the cameras. Javier Fernandez does a great job of capturing camera visuals that we’ve all become familiar with thanks to TV and movies. To see it in a comic and done well in a comic was very impressive. Fernandez’s artwork definitely fits the story and I’m looking forward to seeing him illustrate more tech in future issues.

Now this issue didn’t knock my socks off, but that’s probably my fault. I’ve been dreaming of this book for a while now and I’m already looking forward to several issues in the future because of the potential. That’s not to say that this issue didn’t live up to expectations because it did, but I almost wanted it to be a little longer or to have trimmed certain scenes down so that more of Ben with the computer eyeballs could have been shown. Even still I’ll definite be back for the next issue and ones after that.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Eric Garcia Artist: Javier Fernandez Publisher: IDW/Darby Pop Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/12/14