In “Mindfield” #0, we learn very little about the overall scope of the series, but we get a small dose of who we’ll be following, and the tone in which the series will be told. And it’s vaguely interesting, but it feels like a television show you may already have seen. It’s one of those psychic detective shows, but with special agents; it’s “24” meets that short-lived Jeff Goldblum series about the guy who could see ghosts, with a hint of “The Matrix” thrown in. Those combinations don’t make for a bad comic book, but “Mindfield” seems like a familiar kind of story that doesn’t really need to be told again.
This introductory issue, which provides twelve pages of story and six pages of text-and-sketches, introduces us to Connor, the everyman-with-psychic-powers protagonist. We also meet Erika, Connor’s sassy partner. The Misty Knight to his Danny Rand. The text pages introduce us to more of the cast, and they as dripping with cliche as the two we follow in issue #0. There’s the weary old agent, the tough black dude with an attitude, the token good-guy Middle Easterner that you have to include in a series about fighting terrorism.
Yes, it’s a paint-by-numbers cast of characters in a series could be described simply as “What if homeland security used psychic agents?”
But it’s certainly not all bad. It has fun with the psychic scenes, as Connor “listens in” on the thoughts of the people going through an airport security checkpoint. Artist Alex Konat does a better job with the psychic visions than he does with the more bland pages about guys in suits standing around, and in the visions, Connor sees what the people are really thinking about as they go through the airport. Bondage. Humiliation. Tranquility. Hacking up monsters with swords. It’s a chance for Konat to show his range a bit, and it gives the comic a sense of humor that seems otherwise absent.
And there’s also the twist that this airport scene is but a trial run — a training routine with actors playing the roles. That revelation changes the way we interpret the psychic visions — the husband in line at the airport with the rage-filled visions? Just an actor. Same with the security guard with the bondage fantasies. “Mindfield” #0 doesn’t do much to explore what difference it might make, but it does change the way we interpret this fictional world. Even if the psychic visions were just a brief interlude from a chase-down-the-suicide-bomber sequence.
In his text piece, J. T. Krul seems to have ambitious plans for this series. And its natural questioning about notions of appearance and reality, and what people think vs. what they do — well, that could lead to some interesting possibilities. But this zero issue doesn’t make a convincing case that he’ll pull it off.