Review: City – The Mind in the Machine #2

It’s fair to say that I was a bit disappointed with the first issue of this series. It was an okay start to the story, but this second issue has put it more in line with what I was expecting it to be like and that’s a good thing. It also wouldn’t be possible without that first issue. Towards the second half of this issue it develops into something else that I was not expecting, but it was an interesting development that was also a good thing to have. The second issue rebounds in a big way and I’m already chomping at the bit for number three. In the previous issue we spent a lot of time getting to know Ben Fischer and project Golden Shield; the latter of the two being a project designed for Homeland Security to better monitor for terrorism and crime by tapping into a cities camera system, in this case San Francisco. There’s some problems though as the programing doesn’t always get the crimes in progress right, mistaking a group of kids as robbers. Everything changes though as Ben finds himself a victim of a terrorist attack. He loses his eye site, but his employer and friend tells him he can help him if he gives him permission to do something experimental with him. The gist is that Ben becomes the human element that was missing from Golden Shield as he has a computer and robot eyes shoved into his head.

There is an incredible pacing this time around as we see Ben adjusting to his cyber eyes. Everything has a blurry pixelated look and it’s clear that Ben is rather depressed by his new eyes. With Golden Shield Ben is having an even harder time getting used to the system, but one day he begins thinking about Chloe and suddenly he pulls her up on the camera. He notices the angle reveals a bit of her bra and suddenly his camera feed switches to a dressing room. He’s shocked and confused, but as his boss tells him it means that he’s becoming more integrated into the system.

City_02-pr_Page_1They set up another test with Homeland Security and this time around Ben doesn’t need to use the control to change the feed as he does everything with his mind. He finds a carjacking and begins directing local law enforcement to capture the perp; too bad the guy behind the wheel becomes instantly desperate and drives more and more reckless. Ben changes stop lights to try to catch him, but it doesn’t work. Instead he takes over an automated trolley and drives it into traffic to stop the man… all with his mind!

Again I really liked this issue and the pacing is spot on. Eric Garcia builds up Ben’s abilities just right to make everything a natural progression. If you've watched the show Intelligence there’s a similar vibe here (which is what I wanted to see), but I have the feeling Ben’s journey is going to be much better than Josh Holloway.

Javier Fernandez’s artwork shines in this issue. The different techniques used to show the cameras and even just the world through Ben’s eyes is incredible. There are a lot of elements to the artwork and Fernandez does a wonderful job of keeping it interesting to look at, but never confusing. High tech elements in comic books rarely pans out, but City manages to make this comic look like a big budget TV show… actually better!

If like me you were underwhelmed with the first issue of the series then do not give up. I probably got ahead of myself based on the concept, but then this issue delivered so thankfully everything worked out. City is a risky book to pull off as a comic, but the creative team just proved that it could be done and done well!

Score: 5/5

Writer: Eric Garcia Artist: Javier Fernandez Publisher: IDW/Darby Pop Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/12/14

As a bonus we have an iBooks code for the first issue! First come, first serve.

City #1 44K3HJKY99K6