Friday, October 31, 2014

Booknote: City: the Mind in the Machine, Vol. 1

Eric Garcia,, City: the Mind in the Machine, Vol. 1. San Diego, CA: IDW, 2014. ISBN: 9781631400421 

In a very near future, surveillance is everywhere, yet it is not enough. Ben Fischer has helped design Golden Shield, which can be everywhere. Golden Shield has one problem: it still needs a human mind because you still need human intuition to do surveillance well (otherwise you end up sending a S.W.A.T. team to kill a bunch of kids playing cops and robbers instead of killing real robbers). Then an accident happens, and Ben Fischer is fused with the machine, whether he likes it or not. Naturally, as Ben's brain is more connected to the machine, his power grows, power that can corrupt him. More importantly, the bosses who were all too happy are now getting worried that Ben will use his new power on them.

The story is very Orwellian, and it is very relevant to today's paranoid security state environment. This comic shows a near future that may as well be almost here. This comic is very reminiscent of other stories you may have read or films you may have seen before. There are elements that may remind you of the film Repo Men, which was based on the novel The Repossession Mambo. There is also a bit of the film Robocop (you can pick your version here given what I thought of was the corporate bad behavior, an element both Robocop film franchises share). And then you may also think of works like Philip K. Dick's "The Minority Report." In the end, if you read enough in this genre, you will see the formulas, which makes City a pretty predictable story. The comic does have a good blend of action and suspense, which should appeal to fans of this genre. I liked it, but was nothing that would "wow me" as a lot of it is stuff I have seen before, and in some cases, have seen elsewhere done better. That is why I just can't rate it higher. I liked it, but it was just another entry in the genre for me.

The volume is a compilation of the comics. I may look for the next volume just to see how the story develops. For now, I am just rating it 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure note: Once again, this is where I tell you that I read this via NetGalley; it was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. And thus we appease The Man once more.

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