The first thing that you’re likely to notice about Black Mask Studios’ latest offering Come Into Me is the title: it’s dirty. It’s okay to admit, we were all thinking it. And the first page of the comic reaffirms that it’s not an accident. The first things we see are a man’s bald head, a hole in a woman’s neck, a bottle of pale fluid, a bulging Adam’s apple, and a doctor putting on protection before he inserts a disturbingly phallic apparatus into the openings in both of the patients’ necks. This apparatus is made to transfer one of their minds into the other’s body through a process called inBeing, allowing minds to exist within a single body.
So yes, Come Into Me–by upcoming Cable writers Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler and artist Piotr Kowalski–is about sex, and the messiness of it, but not literally (at least not so far), and that’s not all it’s about. It’s also a Black Mirror-esque cautionary tale about how we use technology to be in constant connection with the people we love.
Thompson and Nadler have a great hook here, and it’s the kind that instantly gets your mind racing about the potential for new stories that inBeing could create. It’s both a tantalizing and utterly horrific prospect to literally share your body with someone, to be completely connected with them, and that’s a dichotomy that is explored in the first issue, as we’re introduced to characters who fear the technology, and others who can’t wait to subject themselves and the world to it.
The book’s lead, inventor Sebastian Quinn, is set on using the technology for advancing medicine, but a lack of funding after some public failures and his introduction to a woman with a very different view of his technology force him to open himself up to new ways of thinking. He’s a likable, if unremarkable protagonist, though it’s clear there’s more to him that has yet to be revealed. His rather dull personality will hopefully be cured by an additional mind or two in his head.
Fans of Piotr Kowalski from his work on the similarly-suggestively-titled Image series Sex won’t be surprised to find that the artist is a master of visual innuendo. The storytelling and symbolism ranges from amusingly overt to astonishingly subtle, as Kowalski shows off a mastery of shape and composition that will have you looking over every panel multiple times searching for hidden meaning. Kowalski puts an incredible amount of thought into every page, and it really shows, such as on a page where a patient slowly moves in line with Quinn’s reflection. However, that visual ambition doesn’t quite land every time, such as with a rather confusing landscape-oriented page in the issue. It’s easy to see why it happens narratively, but it doesn’t quite have the impact it needs to justify how distracting it is to the flow of the story.
Overall though, Kowalski’s storytelling is top-notch, and it’s only improved by the colors of Niko Guardia, who expertly shifts between the clinical colors of the lab and the feverish tones of the mental scenes. There are some really interesting color effects going on–particularly in the mindscape scenes–that makes me very excited to see what this art team has in store for future issues.
Come Into Me #1 offers a lot for readers to chew on both intellectually and visually, and sets up a lot for future issues to dig into. After such a strong debut, this fascinating blend of body-horror and sci-fi will surely end up as another modern classic in Black Mask’s rapidly growing library of titles.