"Headspace #8" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Monkeybrain Comics
Written by Ryan K. Lindsay
Illustrated by Eric Zawadzki and Sebastian Piriz
2015, 18 Pages, $0.99
Comic released on April 8th, 2015
This is it. Headspace rockets towards its conclusion as Shane faces down Max in the latter's very own mind. The fictional town of Carpenter Cove has been overrun by versions of Max, wreaking havoc among the population and creating a dystopian landscape. Shane steps back into the lion's den in an effort to stop Max once and for all...but will it be enough? In the real world, Max is about to ruthlessly murder a couple of innocent kids. There's a lot hanging in the balance here.
A major part of Headspace has always been about Shane's character. This was seen in a big way in the previous issue, where, after escaping from Carpenter Cove, he head back in as he was the only one who could stop Max. He could have just walked away. Let someone else handle it. That's not the kind of man he is though, especially after losing his son. He couldn't live with himself if his actions – or inactions – forced someone else to go through that heartbreak. The issue opens with him defiantly standing up to Max, looking up at the mad man as he sits on a makeshift throne.
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Writer Ryan K. Lindsay balances this tense standoff with the real-world actions of Max as he moves in on Zara, the woman who trained him how to kill. She's tied up in her house as Max approaches her two kids playing in the yard. This builds to a small yet incredibly powerful moment as Zara struggles against her restraints and hears a single and heart-wrenching scream. This scream trails across the entire page, cutting through the scene like a knife and hitting you right in the gut. To top this off, the words themselves are covered in blood splatter. This is an awesome effect that I'm honestly surprised I haven't seen used more often. It adds a new level of terror to the entire scene. Since you can't see what Max is up to, your mind is racing to fill in the gaps. What heinous acts is he performing? What are these poor children going through? The next panel shows Zara's fearful face. Her eyes wide, tears streaming. The same thoughts are going through her mind as well.
There are some interesting inset panels for the scenes set in the real world. Artist Sebastian Piriz cuts out segments of the scene, such as Max holding a knife or Zara's terrified face, highlighting these details. It makes them stand out a bit more, drawing your focus to them. It's a nice touch that helps amplify the tension of the scene.
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Headspace builds to a powerful and emotional climax as Shane is pushed to the breaking point. The final battle is absolutely brutal and leads to a character-defining moment for Shane. It provides this poor man with some closure. This was a thankless endeavor, but he didn't do this for glory. He did it because it was the right thing to do. The closing pages are absolutely beautiful. Artist Eric Zawadzki delivered a gorgeous double-page spread to end the series that's fitting of the epic journey Shane has gone through.
Headspace has one of the most satisfying endings I've seen in years. Lindsay crafted an emotionally draining adventure through the mind of a killer that's unlike anything you'll see on the stands today. It's huge in scope and earnest as all Hell. Watching the lengths that one man is willing to go is inspiring. We should all hope to be half the man that Shane is. This is what a hero looks like. There are no capes or tights. Just a man standing up for what's right with conviction.