Comics: Mindbender #6 - Reviewed

Rachel reviews Mindbender #6

Scout Comics releases Mindbender #6, which completes the series’ first story arc, on April 4, 2018. The story follows Alex Oberman, confined for 16 years in a mental institution, never speaking, as a result of the fact that an unknown power within his mind took over his body and caused the death of multitudes, including his parents, when he was seven years old. When he finally meets an institution nurse he believes he can trust, he attempts to explain the chaos taking place in his mind at every waking second, but by tapping into his mind once more, causes havoc and destruction at the institution, thus allowing him to be free once more in the world.

Writer of Mindbender, as well as publisher at Scout Comics, James Pruett has created a dark, compelling and mentally engaging series with this title. Issue six offers an exciting and climactic ending of this current story arc, which will be available as a trade paperback in May. In issue six, the moment we as readers have been waiting for finally takes place; we finally get acknowledgement on just who Alex is, the source of his powers, as well as what his place in the world is. The idea behind Mindbender is fascinating and Pruett’s writing style is one that forces you as a reader to read and reread each page, ensuring that there isn’t any hidden message you may have missed. I found this series one that wasn’t simply a fun read; it was thought provoking, it was frenzied and at times it was confusing as hell. That being said, most of the comics I read I do so for pure enjoyment, so finding a series that made me feel like I truly had to devote significant attention to it was actually really interesting for me. I have always been fascinated by the idea of parallel universes, and Mindbender explores this interest in a way that I have not seen done before. The idea behind Mindbender and the characters within the series is incredibly smart and definitely outlines a plotline that I think will keep readers engaged and desiring more. With the ending of this arc on a note that felt rather complete, I am curious to see where the next issue and story arc will go from here. Without divulging any spoilers, there are clearly a few new key players on the horizon, as opposed to issues focused solely on Alex and his past and skillset. I have struggled putting my finger on just what makes this series so unique for me, I just feel like it reads so much differently than a lot of sci-fi themed graphic novels that I have read, in that it truly is both engrossing and mentally stimulating. I think we all have encountered works, TV shows for example, where it is fairly easy to multitask while still being able to get the gist of what is going on within the series. There are those other series, however, where you have to give it your constant, undivided attention, or you will be left completely confused or you will find yourself no longer having any inclination of what is going on. Mindbender is a graphic novel written in a style that mirrors the latter. It is one that you definitely have to devote your entire attention to and read without a distraction which to me is really special and unique for a graphic novel. I am highly impressed by the work Pruett has clearly poured into this series.

Artist Federico De Luca brings another level of horror and insanity to this series. Though marketed more as a sci-fi graphic novel, there are certainly elements of horror to the story and De Luca captures that fact and brings it to life with his art. Vibrant scenes full of swirling colors only add to the intensity of this series. De Luca is an artist that certainly has a skill for providing expression and realism in his work, which with such an in depth storyline, is exactly what the series needs. This climactic issue was even more vibrant than the prior issue and I found the use of various shades of violet and blue especially satisfying. Without giving too much away, there are several scenes in which Alex experiences more of an out of body experience that are so compellingly stunning that issue six truly felt like a fantastic end to an arc in every way.

As I mention earlier, I found issue six very resolved. Although I know that more is planned for the series, the fact that the first trade paperback does have such a complete feel to it is highly appealing. I do hope that the next six issues are done in a similar style, as I think it makes such an intense read that much more satisfying. Pruett and De Luca do great work together and I certainly anticipate their continued collaboration on the rest of the series.  

-Rachel Rutherford