Top Cow/Image Comics 2015
Written by Matt Hawkins & Bryan Hill
Illustrated by Isaac Goodhart
Coloured & Edited by Betsy Gonia
We just don’t see enough stories that are well written, interesting and don’t involve someone with superpowers or some high tech gear that’s capable capturing our attention, keeping us glued to the page and excited to read it as each new issue comes out. Matt and Bryan have that here though. There’s no gimmicks, no powers just a guy who suffers from Aspergers and the life he leads in town where nothing is what it seems and he’s caught up in discovering everything he can about it.
His relationship with his controlling and cold mother the town’s Mayor hovering around doesn’t help his adventures much but then it’s also saved his life at times. His enigmatic father is lurking around and the family dynamic well that just adds to emotional drama mix here. His relationship with his mother is important to this issue as Mark does his run for the mail and it’s an overnight trip.
On a lonely stretch of road that never has any travelers he’s stopped by a young woman wielding a gun and she takes him with her. This is just a coincidence ironically enough as he’s been taken by the folks on the news report on the opening page, they are criminals and are in need of a getaway vehicle and his mail truck has a full tank of gas. Just a case of wrong place at the wrong time. Though with Mark’s life coincidences don’t seem to be relevant. The characterization here is simply divine as we see the crooks in masks and Mark’s own unique mind assess the situation and think his way through it all. What we see is wonderful stuff it’s creepy and interesting and more than a little unnerving.
When Mark is listening to the man telling his story the narration is such that you can almost feel what he’s sensing for yourself and that kind of power through words is amazing to experience. The story he tells has a much different artwork than the main story and it serves to illuminate the reader as you get this twisted experience of his life through the artwork.
You’d almost think that this issue was the odd man out in this story but what it does is really help move Mark’s characterization and character development along in such a way that not only do you understand him better, the way he thinks and acts, but you see how he’s beginning to change. To think like both his parents in situations where their attributes will help him and still trying to maintain his own identity. It’s a complex mix of feelings and emotions he is going through not made any easier with his condition but he still has this ability to fascinate. With such vivid writing and such nice clean interior artwork this is one of those stories like a can liken to a literary experience. A gripping, powerful story where the imagination of bringing it to life is on the page and the overall experience is fantastic.
This is a true story, complex, full of emotion and growth that touches the reader in unexpected ways.