Review: Negative Space #3

The third issue of Negative Space is as good as the first, which is particularly special given that it's a huge script-flip. [Full disclosure: I publish some things I write at Loser City, where the writer of this comic, Ryan K. Lindsay, has a column.]

In the time since the second issue of Negative Space came out, it was a shoe-in for my selection of best stuff to happen in comics in 2015.  The first issue might be the strongest #1 I have ever read, and the premise of the comic is just so easy to elevator pitch while simultaneously being locked into some really deep, very human shit.  Owen Gieni's art constantly sets the perfect tone, with designs and a style that makes this comic stand out.  That hasn't stopped, and Gieni has at least one mind-blowing page in this issue.

The first issue deftly set everything up, and the second issue set the climactic events of the series in motion.  The third issue really takes us deep inside of Guy, the main character, and pulls back the curtain on what has made Guy the person that he is.  Balancing this kind of exploration of a single man's life--his motivations, his desires, his depression--with a story much, much bigger than any one person is the mark of a great story.  Negative Space hinges on the success of this balance more than most other stories, and delivers more as well.

Negative-Space-#3-1We sort of got a glimpse of it in the second issue when the Evorah descended upon the artifacts of the dead Vikings, but here we get a much more salient peek at how inanimate objects figure into this world.  The fact that what will probably amount to the MAJOR plot point of this entire story revolves around a goddamn bottle opener is excellent: it takes seriously how much of ourselves we imprint onto the everyday objects around us.  Recently I started cleaning out a lot of my stuff, and I was constantly surprised by the things I felt strong attachments to.  None of them amounted to the kind of life-changing significance you will find in this comic, but it really was the silliest little objects.

Yes, I had the drawer full of letters and notes from exes and crushes, all buried under heaps of old photos and various scrawlings from previous people that I have been.  Those are the mementos I went in expected to get rid of, and so it was relatively easy to do so.  But I swear if there weren't t-shirts that I will NEVER fit in again that I couldn't let go of.  In my mind, those t-shirts, and various other stupid things like them, were tied to integral moments in my life: moments that defined me, my dispositions, and my outlook on future events.

Of course, those moments are gone, and those things are, in and of themselves, sort of shit.  But what better place for Guy to find himself and what is most important to him than in a piece of himself that was seared in anguish onto a kitchen utensil?  Even the things which inspire memories that hurt us connect us to the past in meaningful ways.  At the right time, that can mean everything.  Acknowledging an importantly human emotional truth while the hero is in the throes of a monster attack as he tries to take down a massive evil corporation?  That's fantastic.

Score: 5/5

Negative Space #3 Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay Artist: Owen Gieni Publisher: Dark Horse Price: $3.99 Format: Print/Digital Website