“Headspace” #1 is yet another solid debut from Monkeybrain, features the writing of Ryan K. Lindsay and art from the tag team of Eric Zawadzki and Chris Peterson with a color assist from Marissa Louise. Lindsay and company provide the most information about Shane, but he really becomes the hero of the story only by default. As Lindsay states through Shane, he’s not sure why he’s there or who put him there. Shane lives in a fairly tranquil community known as Carpenter Cove. At least it’s tranquil until the story pulls back and shows readers the big picture. That big picture includes dragons and demon monkeys, flying patrol bikes and cybernetic bartending dogs. It’s a trip to loo at, and the story around the imagery never quite comes together enough in “Headspace” #1 to do anything except trigger questions and induce wild wonderings.
Lindsay handles most of the story through caption boxes, which keeps the “Headspace” #1 rolling along and enables his artists to pepper the readers with all sorts of oddities. Parallel to Shane’s wanderings through Carpenter Cove is the story of a man named Max. Max is given explicit instructions to make a move for his own freedom, which he does, under narrational caption boxes.
Eric Zawadzki handles the artwork for the majority of the tale, which is set in Carpenter Cove. He handles his own inks and colors throughout his pages. Zawadzki’s pages are cooler and heavy with a range of greens, blues and cool greys adding tranquility to Carpenter’s Cove. He does have one little bobble in a sequence where Shane uses a grappling hook. The path of action requires a bit more than cursory reading to digest the flow, but the rest of Zawadzki’s work is solid. Some spots clearly inspire greater interest from Zawadzki, but there is no denying his artistic flexibility as he covers a wide range of scenery and creatures. Co-artist Chris Peterson’s pages are more rough-edged and realistically grungy. Those six pages focus on Max’s story as he makes a dynamic escape. The coloring in those six pages is also brighter and bolder than that of Zawadzki’s pages, but it adds a frenzied paranoia to the escape.
A science fiction infused comic version of an unwritten, undreamt Rogers Waters concept album fueled by insomnia and Red Bull about a shred of “The Truman Show” that’s been soaking in a tepid Twilight Zone bath, this story truly is wide open. Max’s escape is most definitely tied to the goings-on in Carpenter’s Cove, but which is influencing the other? Lindsay, Zawadzki, Peterson and Louise add another ninety-nine-cent gem to Monkeybrain’s catalog and one that is sure to boggle a few brains. It doesn’t have monkeys, gorillas or dune buggies, but it does have dragons and bartending cyborg dogs. After all, isn’t this what comics should be about? It’s enough to invite me back for another installment next month.