Advance Review – Come Into Me #1 (Black Mask Studios)

Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Writer: Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler
Artwork: Piotr Kowalski, Niko Guardia (colours), Ryan Ferrier (letters)
Release Date: 8th March 2018

The brainchild of Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, the co-writers behind The Dregs (which I believe I may have mentioned once or twice), Come Into Me is a brand new body horror series from Black Mask Studios, featuring artwork from Piotr Kowalski, which goes on sale next month.

With Thompson and Nadler pulling the strings, there was absolutely no doubt that I was going to pick this one up, but the more I heard about the premise behind the series – not to mention the more I saw of Kowalski’s striking artwork – the more I knew that this one was definitely for me.

The first issue introduces us to our two main protagonists.  The first, Sebastian Quinn, is a genius entrepreneur who has invented a technology that effectively allows two minds to share the same body.  He sees it as a high-end medical procedure where doctors can diagnose illness firsthand by actually stepping inside the body of their patient, but the first live demonstration of the process he calls “Inbeing” (which you can see in the preview below) doesn’t exactly go to plan.

Our second lead is Becky, a young woman who wants to enroll in the clinical trials, despite not having a partner.  She wants to know what it feels like to be someone else, and has some bold ideas about re-branding Quinn’s technology to be farmed out to the masses as a new, cutting-edge form of social interaction. Her words spark something in Quinn, and he agrees to let her trial the technology by sharing his body.  And, well, for the rest of the story, you’re just going to have to pick up the issue for yourself.

Thompson and Nadler are no-strangers to ‘out there’ concepts, but there’s something genuinely intriguing about what they’ve come up with here.  The ability to share consciousness with another human being is a truly fascinating conceit, but there are also subtle horror themes at play such as lack of body control and loss of privacy which add a somewhat menacing slant to such a seemingly groundbreaking technology.  The pacing is immaculate, and the exposition and character introductions are handled fluidly, making for an easy read – doubly impressive given the ambitious nature of the premise.

The real horror twist of the story is only delivered on the very last page, digging its hooks into the reader and all but guaranteeing that they pick up the next issue.  It’s an approach that sounds easy but frequently proves to be incredibly challenging in the world of comics.  Give away too much and there’s no impetus to keep reading.  Give away too little and the reader doesn’t feel invested enough to continue with the story.  But yeah, it’s safe to say that Nadler and Thompson land perfectly in the sweet spot here, giving us an issue full of questions and with just enough answers to keep us moving forwards.

Kowalski, perhaps best known for his work on Image Comics’ SEX, does a great job with the artwork here, using a somewhat grounded, realistic style that really helps to underscore the (relative) believably of the story.  There are heavy nods to the work of Director David Kronenberg too, particularly when it comes to the “Inbeing” process itself, with all manner of bio-organic weirdness being utilised to bring the two minds together.

The characters are expressive throughout, Sebastian in particular, and the flow of the layouts help the story to keep flowing smoothly. Niko Guardia’s colour work also deserves credit for the more horrific notes of the story, particularly during the aforementioned opening, utilising a fairly hash palette throughout with heavy block colours and a distinct lack of dead space.

Ultimately, while for now it feels primarily like a harsh look at the desperate nature of social interactions, the horror undertones of the story – particularly once the reader turns the final page – are definitely more than enough to make this new series stand out.  Taking a long, hard look at body image and the deeply ingrained desire for approval and connection, Come Into Me is a new series that’s guaranteed to get under your skin.  Definitely one to keep an eye out for next month, folks.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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