Writer: Ryan K Lindsay
Artist: Owen Gieni
Release Date: 27th Jan 2016
A great thing about reviewing comics is that, if you are brave enough, you can choose obscure titles or genres that you wouldn’t generally read. Sometimes you find something you love. Of course, the down side is that you justify to yourself exactly why you don’t read that author or genre, but you still have to write an unbiased review. I’d never heard of Negative Space, nor read any Ryan K Lindsay (HEASPACE) before. I’ll have to remedy that now, because this story is terrific.
In part three we follow Guy and Beta through the Evorah Temple of Sadness to the detonation site. Destination reached, it’s just the simple task of getting Guy – someone so depressed and out of luck he got writer’s block scripting his suicide note – joyful enough to charge the happiness bomb. Sounds simple, huh? If you just read those last three sentences and thought “What the fu…?”, I don’t blame you. I’ll be honest, that is only a fraction of the craziness that is this story, but it’s Goddamn wonderful and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Even though the premise is so fantastic, the basic theme of Negative Space is this: Sadness and depression – especially in today’s age – can be a overwhelming and unsolvable concern, yet everyone has the capacity to find happiness. It’s a basest human ability, but one so many people can’t connect to these days. I think that is why you relate so strongly to Guy in this story. You can understand (at least a little) what it is to be sad, and you want to bear witness to his redemption.
So once more we are swept along on this emotional exploration of Guy’s sense of being. I’m not going to give it away, but his journey is quite the rejuvenation, especially when he reveals the catalyst for his actions. There is such a wonderful vulnerability to the script and art that I would challenge the hardest of hearts to read this without rooting for Guy and Beta. Half the emotional punch in issue three is that the conclusion is reached with such humility, and this makes it impossible not to empathise with Guy.
The story wouldn’t be half as powerful without the art of Owen Gieni (MANIFEST DESTINY). It really is nothing short of spectacular. There is so much detail to the art it’s incredible, it even carries an almost textural quality of colour pencils or acrylic paint. This style lends itself to the environment, more so in this issue than in others. The organic nature of the undersea temple construct, the Evorah themselves, indeed the bizarre bubble-jacket style uniform Guy and Beta wear all profit from it. There is one double-page panel wherein Guy is reflecting on past memories that particularly stands out in this issue, and indeed is pivotal to the story. It’s profound, should be fully examined, and I can’t say anything about it as it’s a spoiler. Trust me though; it’s one to be savoured.
Negative Space is probably one of the most emotive comics I have ever read. It’s like trying to watch a Pixar movie without crying, except Negative Space makes you happy. Not happy in a funny ha-ha way either, happy in that you have a genuine case of the warm and fuzzies reading it. And this is a comic where the enemy are basically walking, toothed vaginas with spiked tentacles. Go figure.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @jockdoom