City: The Mind in the Machine Collects 4 issues of the comic into one storyline arc. While a near-future storyline of cyber security gone wrong and big-brother watching should be topical, the whole concept honestly feelt very dated. There simply wasn’t enough originality to plot or art to capture or keep my attention.
Story: Ben and Owen have created a cyber surveillance system linking into security cams around the City. They hope to stop terrorism with the new system. But when Ben becomes the target of a terrorist bombing and loses his eyesight, Owen uses the opportunity to implant cybernetic eyes. When the source of Ben’s terrorist accident leads back to his and Owen’s military customers, Ben will suddenly find himself to be a new target: this time for termination for knowing too much.
What we have is yet another “man gets computer implants and suddenly gains god-like powers”. I wasn’t buying a lot of it – not everyone, especially surveillance cams inside stores and buildings, are linked to a network so it made no sense he could do what he did (there was some babble about him ‘feeling’ electricity). Ben’s powers became more than a bit unrealistic in their scope and yet surprisingly underwhelming in actual execution (only enough to further the story and nothing really creative, I felt). Even the open ending was far too much of a cliche.
The artwork, while full color and sufficient, was also very busy without necessarily being detailed. It was suitable for the story but somehow lacking in a distinctness. The characters all felt like they were in a superhero comic book from the 1990s.
Of course, the bad guy was completely evil and no one with any sophistication in reading would have not figured out his identity by the fifth page. As well, I’m not quite sure I’m buying that Ben’s computer coding friend also knows how to/has access to all the medical teams that would be needed to implant new eyes and have them work along the optic nerve. It was things like that which kept straining my credibility to the point of insult.
So while not a terrible title, it definitely didn’t have much going for it in the way of originality or distinctiveness. I never became engaged at any part.
Reviewed from an ARC.