MINDSET #1/ Script by ZACK KAPLAN/ Art by JOHN PEARSON/ Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU/ Published by VAULT COMICS
When an introverted tech geek accidentally discovers the secret to mind control, he and his friends do the unexpected. They try to do good, using their discovery to create an app that can cure people of their addiction to technology. Unfortunately, there are powerful people who don’t want to see them succeed and will do anything to stop them. Worse, as the Mindset app becomes more popular, it develops a cult like following, leaving them wondering if they are truly helping people… or just manipulating them in a new way?
William Gibson is one of my favorite writers and I couldn’t help but think of his work while reading Mindset. Zack Kaplan’s script is smartly written and delves into similar territory, with issues of morality and philosophy being explored through technology. This first issue does a great job of establishing the main character of Ben as a seeker of truth, looking for something real in a world focused on appearances, not too far removed from our own on-line culture.
The artwork by John Pearson is distinctive, somehow encouraging a Film Noir vibe while still being brightly colored. It reminded me somewhat of the original Blade Runner, but more in how it presented a future in decline underneath a bright façade than any shared aesthetic. This is perhaps best illustrated in the flashback in which Ben discuses his parents, in which the young Ben is rendered in simple monochrome while his parents (who were both realtors obsessed with their public images) appear perfectly posed in pastels.
Mindset is a unique reading experience. I suspect it will probably read better in a TP format and its slow pace may not be everyone’s cup of tea. That being said, fans of cyberpunk and smart storytelling would do well to give it a try.