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Caliburn24 here with a comic book review of Jim McCann and Rodin Esquejo’s Mind the Gap #5 .

Image Comics has produced some strong independent comic books that are not based on super heroes.  The latest, Mind the Gap, is written by Jim McCann who has penned some Marvel titles as well as his own graphic novel, Return of the Dapper Men.  The artist on Mind the Gap, Rodin Esquejo has produced some fine covers for Morning Glories and some covers for Marvel Comics.  He has moved from cover work to interiors with this comic book.  Mind the Gap crosses a noir murder mystery with a supernatural out-of-body journey.  The afterlife aspect reminds me of the 1998 film, What Dreams May Come, and also the Richard Matheson novel.  The series is a mature readers title for some content and language.  The series centers around Elle Peterssen who is attacked and left in a coma state.  The first issue opens with her friend Jo taking her cell phone call which suddenly ends.  Family and friends try to find Elle and this leads to Elle waking up in a border world and seeing her sleeping body.  The issue titles are on graphic from London’s underground tube graphic.  Esquejo does an almost painterly approach to the figures that is very cinematic.  Elle finds that she is stricken with amnesia and has to piece together the events that led to her coma.  Her family is dysfunctional and may be complicit in the attack.

Elle discovers a young man with a British accent, Bobby Plangman, who tries to guide her in the border world which he calls The Garden.  A female doctor, Dr. Gellar, is suspicious about the treatment of Elle and investigates into the case.  A mysterious man arranges for a car accident that injures a doctor.  Elle sees the spirit of a patient and then is sucked into his body a la the movie Ghost.  The following issues have recaps of the storyline.  Issue #2 opens with Dr. Gellar being surprised by her wife, Annie, who is also a detective.  The hospital personnel see Esteban, the body possessed by Elle, stumbling, but she collapses.  Elle tries to enter her own body, but she is repelled by it.  Elle and Bobby then run into the spirit of Dr. Crenshaw, the doctor who was a victim of the car accident.  In issue #3, Dr. Crenshaw tries to help Elle remember and she recalls Jane Russell was in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and is able to mention Jane’s name to her friend Jo.  Her friend catches the movie and then is excited that Elle made contact with her.  Elle’s father is distraught over her condition and a female employee tries to flirt with him before he sends her away.  Elle tries to recover her memory and then is struck down by a massive image (on two pages) of a doctor trying to inject a syringe.

A hooded man is at Elle’s hospital bed and it is revealed that it is her boyfriend, Dane, who sports several bandages.  He gets to an argument with a mysterious man in sneakers and leaves the hospital.  The issue ends with a phone call involving another unknown man.  Issue #4 sports a fantastic cover by Esquejo that has an art nouveau design with Elle in a red hoodie about to be attacked by a werewolf.  The issue has the doctor trying to get Elle to relax and she dreams about being a figure in a red hoodie surrounded by werewolves in gray hoodies.  Elle wakes up and sees Bobby and Dr. Crenshaw as werewolves until she is able to calm down.  She is able to expel both from the recreation of her house in the Garden.  Elle moves through the house wall and enters a subway where she sees herself being confronted by the man in the hoodie.  The detective, Annie, arrests Dane at the hospital and tells him that evidence was presented that led to his arrest.  A witness came forward and he shows up at the hospital.  It is revealed that it is Dane’s father.

Ok, now we can get to issue #5, “Portrait of the Con Artist.”  It features a cover by Esquejo with a family portrait of the Peterssens and the frame is shattered around Elle’s face.  The perspective moves from the hospital and the Garden into Dane’s point of view.  The issue opens with Dane taken to a police station.  An officer informs him that tests were made that confirm that Elle was intimate with someone before her attack.  They play for Dane a taped phone call he had with his father that ends with the statement, “When it comes to Elle, I’ll do whatever I have to.”  Dane is knocked to the floor and then we shift to flash back with Dane as a kid.  He is at what looks like a fair ground and when he sees his mother, she is faceless and surrounded by some abstract forms.

Dane wakes from his dream and it is ten years before his arrest.  Dane is living with his drunk father, but strikes him and leaves his home.  This moves to a year before the arrest with Dane meeting Elle as he is drawing at the fair.  There is a montage of their dating and then Elle takes Dane to meet her family which doesn’t go well.  The scene goes to a week before Elle’s attack.  Dane’s father receives a letter and a ticket to New York.  He then receives the phone call we saw in issue #3 and the panels now cleverly show the speaker.  Another mysterious man in a hoodie is following Dane’s father and goes to tell a person in a car that everything is under control.  This is revealed to be Elle’s mother.  Elle’s friend, Jo receives a phone call and it is revealed to be Elle in the coma girl’s body.  We get pieces of the mystery, but everything is uncertain and compelling.  The mystery is why you are not reading this comic book.

– Kyle aka Caliburn24

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