"Headspace #7" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Monkeybrain Comics
Written by Ryan K. Lindsay
Illustrated by Sebastian Piriz and Eric Zawadzki
2015, 23 Pages, $0.99
After serving as the sheriff of Carpenter Cove for some time, Shane was finally able to retire. At least, that's how it would have been if this was a normal town. Instead, Shane was part of an experimental program that sent him into the mind of a killer named Max for years. He didn't so much retire as escape, only to find a pile of bodies lying in Max's wake. Now he's faced with a tough decision. Does he walk away? Or look to confront Max once and for all to put a stop to all this bloodshed. If you've been reading Headspace up until this point, you probably already know what he's going to do.
Shane isn't like normal people. He's the personification of the word "hero." His son was murdered, which would have been enough for some people to pack it in, but he kept going. Now that he's finally free from this mind meld, he could just walk away and leave all of this behind him. That's not who Shane is. He can't live with the idea that someone else would go through the pain and heartbreak that he did. I don't necessarily agree with his decision, and I'm not alone, as writer Ryan K. Lindsay says the same in his afterword to the issue. When you can't predict or even control the path a character takes, that makes for a damn interesting story.
So much of what Shane is going through can be summed up in a single panel about midway through this issue. It's a shot from his perspective, staring down at his hands in a setting that we've become very familiar with in Headspace. We get one more closeup before artist Eric Zawadzki pulls back to show a town in ruins. It's an incredibly effective scene that helps solidify the huge challenge that awaits this man and how he will not – and cannot – back down from it.
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We had an idea of how horrible a person Max is from previous issues, not to mention specific actions, but this time around we get to witness his sadistic nature firsthand. This shows the lengths that he's willing to go and what would happen if Shane did just walk away from it. These scenes, drawn by artist Sebastian Piriz, feel almost too realistic, right up to his last panel featuring a woman cowering in fear of what may come. This cranks the tension in Headspace up to eleven.
As with earlier issues, you get a big bang for your buck here. The book costs just $0.99 and you get the story plus a lot of back matter, including some great commentary from Lindsay and another essay from Dan Hill. I've found and rediscovered some great reads from Lindsay's thoughts in the tail end of Headspace. Plus he gives you a peek into his process, so you get an idea of where the story came from and how he put it together.
You can practically feel the soundtrack picking up in the background as Shane takes some fateful steps in this issue of Headspace. The music swells. The drums pound. One man stands against insurmountable odds in an effort to do the right thing and stop a killer. There's been too much death so far. Headspace continues to be an amazing character study of a man with moral fiber that would make Batman blush. It's the kind of comic that I can't wait to re-read in its entirety, which is convenient as there's a collection coming soon from IDW Publishing.