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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting thriller populated by stereotypes
The story running through issues #1-5 of Image Comics' ongoing title `Mind the Gap is collected as Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP. This was a page-turner of a story, both to find out what happens next and to get away from the cast of stereotypes, but the story won out over the characters. Being closer to 60 than 50 in age, to me the characters seemed to be...
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Mice Guy

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2.0 out of 5 stars Bad mystery
Elle is a beautiful young woman from a wealthy family who is suddenly struck down on the subway and is now in a coma – whodunit and why?

For some reason the mystery genre and comics don’t seem to gel. Take Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories for example. Spencer believes piling on one puzzling scene after another is enough for a mystery story. So...
Published 1 month ago by Sam Quixote


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting thriller populated by stereotypes, 26 Sept. 2014
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP (Paperback)
The story running through issues #1-5 of Image Comics' ongoing title `Mind the Gap is collected as Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP. This was a page-turner of a story, both to find out what happens next and to get away from the cast of stereotypes, but the story won out over the characters. Being closer to 60 than 50 in age, to me the characters seemed to be drawn from central casting and ticked off a checklist - female doctor suspicious about the circumstances surrounding patient and married to female police detective investigating the case; boyfriend of patient comes from trailer-park background with drunken father and mother who left them when he was young; patient's younger rich-upper-class brother who talks like a zombie (or an actor faking a "British" accent); manipulative, powerful and ruthless mother; caring and emotional new-age best friend; the list goes on. However, the story was interesting enough that you didn't actually care about the stereotyping, as the characters were all handled very well by the scripter, and were fitted in to the story with no rough edges showing. It could easily have been a popular high-quality American TV series.

The story itself involves a girl (from a wealthy family) who works at a theatre, and who ends up in hospital after an `incident' on a subway platform. No one knows what happened to her, and the attending hospital doctor is quickly elbowed off the case by a more senior doctor - the family are big donors to the hospital - but she gets suspicious about the handling of the case. The family and friends all make appearances at the bedside, and we learn much of their varied backgrounds from their interactions, conversations, and several flashback scenes over the course of this volume.

We know something suspicious is going on, not just from the nosy doctor's investigations, but from the hooded mystery-man who puts the patient's therapist in the bed next to her (that deer certainly fooled me; hilarious) and blows up his house; and the mysterious phone calls he has with his employer, who is revealed in the (not-quite) final panel to be [spoiler].

After all that, there is then the patient herself, who "wakes up" inside her coma, where she is able to look into the "real" world, as well as - apparently - talk to other comatose people whose personalities are also wandering around. However, there is also a character who explains to her that everything is going on in her head, and that she can control what she is seeing in this strange place - which doesn't compute with her also seeing the other comatose patients wandering around - so the writer or I have missed something in the explanation of all this... probably me, as I was reading this at one o'clock in the morning when I couldn't get to sleep. Our patient - Elle - also discovers that she can `possess' the bodies of the coma patients just before they actually die, and so communicate with the living...

This really was a very interesting and entertaining comic book - though as I mentioned above, apparently passing itself off as a TV show look-alike. There is still a great deal to discover about this world, particularly about Elle's abilities. This could turn out to be a supernatural story, or there could be a scientific explanation, and I look forward to finding out which. I remember a Stephen Gallagher novel from many years ago, in which a group of people were injected with an experimental drug that allowed their unconscious minds to communicate with each other (or something of the sort), so that was the first thing that I thought of when the dreamworld revealed itself.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bad mystery, 17 Jan. 2015
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP (Paperback)
Elle is a beautiful young woman from a wealthy family who is suddenly struck down on the subway and is now in a coma – whodunit and why?

For some reason the mystery genre and comics don’t seem to gel. Take Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories for example. Spencer believes piling on one puzzling scene after another is enough for a mystery story. So in the first Morning Glories book you get deathtraps, patrolling murderous death squads, ghosts, cults, doppelgangers and more supernatural ephemera, the idea being you’re interested in finding out what it all means to keep reading. We’ll call it “the Lost phenomenon”, but really it’s just bad mystery. There’s no plot and the reader has no clue what’s going on so there’s nothing to make the reader invested in anything that’s happening. In fact the only real mystery behind the series is why it’s popular at all!

Contrast this with a great (non-comics) mystery story: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. What makes it great? Simplicity. It isn’t one non-sequitur after another ad nauseam, it’s a handful of people trapped in an isolated location being killed off one by one – and one of the group is the murderer. You understand the situation and the story, you know the parameters of the mystery and it’s fun seeing the puzzle work itself out.

And so we come to Mind the Gap, Volume 1 which isn’t as bad as Morning Glories – Jim McCann is more restrained than Spencer and a story does begin to emerge by the end - but is definitely a good example of a bad mystery. Why? The mystery itself is boring, static and, besides not really knowing what’s happening, I also didn’t care to find out.

Elle is knocked unconscious and put into a coma. Is there a threat to anyone else in the cast for the same thing to happen to another character? There doesn’t seem to be. There goes the tension! More importantly, what is the story – find out how Elle was put in a coma, right? So who are we following – who’s actively trying to figure this out? No one!

What are the characters doing and why should we care? There’s Dr Geller who’s got a rivalry with Dr Hammond. Ok. Dead end there! What about Dane, Elle’s artist boyfriend? He’s not doing anything besides fighting with Elle’s bestie who’s sleeping a lot. She wakes up one time when Elle is able to talk to her from the spirit world but that’s it.

Is Elle our main character? She’s in Purgatory talking to ghosts trying to figure out a way back to her body. For some reason she can inhabit other peoples’ bodies but not her own – not quite sure why. Because if she could then that’d be the end of the series?

So here’s the situation: Elle’s spirit is bumbling around in Purgatory while the rest of the cast stand around pointing fingers. The paper-thin plot barely advances and, besides some shadowy guy in a hoodie calling people on a cell phone, nothing much happens. This is such a frustratingly boring comic! Then the story emerges towards the end and it’s a cliché. Brilliant.

The saving grace is Rodin Esquejo’s artwork which is far too good for Jim McCann’s crap script. This pairing is the comic book equivalent of Simon and Garfunkel. Esquejo’s artwork isn’t just gorgeous – the Breakfast Club tribute cover and the image of Elle as Bee Girl from that Blind Melon album are just two memorable pages – but is also incredibly evocative. I could actually feel the characters’ emotions through the imagery, it’s so convincing and real, and you see the script through the art. That’s how good the artwork is and it’s so rare to come across in comics!

The magnificent Adrian Alphona (current artist on Ms Marvel) draws most of the final chapter which explores Dane’s troubled past with his deadbeat dad and his relationship with Elle. Fantastic artwork again but also outstanding layouts. Alphona packs in so much story into his pages that sit so perfectly alongside each other, especially the pages without panels. Mind the Gap would’ve been a total loss if not for Alphona and Esquejo’s art keeping me engaged.

I get the title – “Mind the Gap” – could be a reference to the warning you see in subways, tying in to where Elle was found, as well as an instruction to the reader to “mind the gaps” in the storytelling because it’s a mystery. But there’s really nothing here story-wise that I liked enough to want to pursue or recommend to others to pick up. I think I’ll steer clear of anything else by Jim McCann. The only positive I got out of this was another artist’s name to look out for: Rodin Esquejo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant surprise!, 20 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP (Paperback)
I took a chance on this and was not disappointed, the art is great, same artist as Morning Glories and the story is interesting. Will definitely get volume 2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely-produced thriller with supernatural elements, 24 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP (Paperback)
This comic collection relates how an attack on the central figure leaves her in a sort of near-death limbo in which she can investigate how she was attacked and by whom.

Other characters include her family, her friends, the medical staff at the hospital where she is being kept and other characters in limbo.

There is a conspiracy going on which several participants try to unravel. The volume does not resolve the story and the reader will have to wait for Volume 2 to see how the story develops

It is well-illustrated and intelligently-written.

Recommended to anyone who likes a comic with twists and an intelligent plot.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow, 28 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP (Paperback)
Meh. As I read this I just kept thinking something was missing. It felt like I should be enjoying the story much more than I was. It's an interesting premise that I thought was going to be good, but the plot just didn't grab me. It jumped around a lot, trailed along slowly and didn't manage to make me have any feelings for the main character. There are also a lot of movie and song references which became annoying very fast.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mystery book, 19 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP (Paperback)
A well written book with lots of cultural references which can become slightly distracting and feel like unnatural dialogue at times.

Bought this because I assumed it was based in London with the "Mind the Gap" title as I love fiction which explores the mystical side of the city but it seems like the author is just an anglophile taking everything that is currently "hip".

Also am not a fan of the computer generated art. The story is based around a mystery which doesn't look to be being wrapped up any time soon.

All that said the characters were well rounded and engaging and the author created a believable world.
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Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP
Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers TP by Sonia Oback (Paperback - 30 Oct. 2012)
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