"Negative Space #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Ryan K. Lindsay
Illustrated by Owen Gieni
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 8th, 2015
Guy Harris is going to kill himself. The noose is tied. He's accepted his fate. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess), he's got a bit of writer's block when it comes to his suicide note. He just can't get it right. On the surface, this should be seen as a good thing. Maybe it means deep down he doesn't want to end his life just yet. That may be good for him, but it's bad news for Kindred, the multinational corporation that harvests emotions, as they were counting on Guy's death to boost their numbers big time.
The Kindred corporation gives off a very Cabin in the Woods vibe. Rick is the hot-shot technician pulling the strings in Guy's world to put him in this position, manipulating everything around the man to get him to finally pull the trigger and end his life. Rick is a character that you hate from the moment you first see him, with his douchebag haircut and smarmy facial expressions. He's just slimy. Artist Owen Gieni did a terrific job with this design.
This is in stark contrast to Guy, who is basically a big lump. While he's severely depressed and certainly not your average leading man, you just want to hug him and tell him everything's going to be alright. There's a sense of virtue in him, like he's the kind of guy that would do the right thing even if it meant putting himself in danger. This is seen in how he reacts to some of the stuff that Rick throws at him, including giant explosions and a terrifying car crash. In real life, you might walk right past him, but in this story he's the star.
This level of character development should come as no surprise, as writer Ryan K. Lindsay has a definite talent for it, as seen most recently in Headspace. Although we're only given a brief glimpse into the lives of these two men, we get an instant sense of who they are. We're immediately pulled into their world and care deeply about them (or in Rick's case, hate their guts). We don't know what Guy's life has been like up to this point or what has caused him to get so close to the edge, but we've all had low points in our lives, so we can relate to Guy on some level. He's got one friend in Woody, a barista at a coffee truck that seems to really care about him. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend like Woody.
My only qualm with this issue is that we didn't see much of the monsters just yet. Gieni's cover promises some pretty nightmarish creatures that I'm looking forward to exploring further. That's not to say that this issue doesn't have its horrors. There's one moment in particular that hits like a gut punch. It really shows the lengths that Kindred is willing to go to bring in those sweet depression emotions. They are playing for keeps.
Negative Space is a damn near perfect first issue. It's a comic that grabs you with a helluva hook and never lets go. You're instantly pulled into this world and intrigued by the conspiracy that's lurking just beneath the surface. This coupled with the strong and emotional character development makes it a must read. It's definitely not your average horror story, and that's what makes it so special.