Have you ever wished you could erase someone from your memory? Whether they’ve wronged you, hurt you or have been a constant annoyance — any way you slice it, that’d be a nice feature of the human brain. Apparently in X’ED you can… for a price. It’s expensive, but once it’s paid for you can get memories erased — though it requires a person to shrink down and enter your mind; not shrunk down inside the human body like in Innerspace but actually inside the mind.
Neat premise, but is it good?
X’ED #1 (Black Mask)
The book opens with a sad scene involving a man in a wheelchair visiting a young girl. We quickly cut to a businessman who apparently loves to torture folks. From there we meet his sister, who wants to erase the horrible memories of what her brother has done. Once she signs waivers and pays the scientists she’s put to sleep and a man enters her subconscious mind; that’s right, he’s literally traversing among her thoughts, dreams and nightmares.
Why does this book matter?
A sci-fi thriller about a next-gen form of psychiatry is a pretty radical idea. Psychological terms are used and thrown about to explain the areas the protagonist is exploring as he attempts to expunge the girl’s brother from her mind.
Science fiction goodness.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s safe to say writer Tony Patrick has a hit of a premise on his hands. We’ve all heard psychological terms bandied about, but to literally see them is exciting stuff. If you have any interest in the world of psychology this book needs to be on your radar. The protagonist has clearly entered minds before and it’s a lot of fun to see his knowledge go to the test with an old woman’s baggage.
Of course everything turns to shit and it gets a lot harder for him than he expected. The book ends on a twist of sorts and it’ll be fun to see how it changes the game. That’s a good thing since Patrick has introduced us to a wild and new world only to have the opportunity to show us another next month.
There’s also a neat robbery using tech I’ve never seen in movie, comic or novel before that should get science fiction nuts excited.
The art by Ayhan Hayrula works quite well too especially in the mind scenes. The mind very much looks like Dhali’s “The Persistence of Memory,” which is fitting given the location. His style reminds me of Image Comics’ The Activity as it’s detailed, realistic looking and quite grounded.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The script meanders a bit and takes awhile to get going which is unfortunate. A lot of time is spent showing us the brother this system wants to erase, which probably wasn’t all that necessary. In stories it’s important to frame the characters who die or will die as very bad so we don’t feel bad for him, but four pages in an already short comic seems excessive. There’s also the chance this guy is very evil and the reader seeing it is important as he might end up being the villain of this story. Still, that’s a lot of page real estate spent with no payoff here.
Anyone looking for characters might be disappointed too. The premise and making it believable take center stage here and really we never get to know our protagonist or the organization that sends hitmen into minds. That makes it tough to trust and understand them. Are they evil or a very legal organization? The protagonist clearly has baggage and Parker will most likely continue to explore him but there isn’t a lot in this issue to make you care about him.
Is It Good?
X’ED delivers a premise science fiction fans haven’t seen before; the act of entering the psychology in a physical form is compelling and worth checking out for any fans of psychology.