From the writer of outrageous time travel comedy Out Of Time, comes Mind Hacker, another slice of out of this world, office based insanity. This time the action is set in a world where personalities can be augmented and training days can be outsourced. But can this comic deliver the same laughs as it’s predecessor, or will we need our own mind hacked?
Publisher: Luke J Halsall
Writer: Luke J Halsall
Artist: Chris Manson
We are welcomed to the world of Luke J Halsall’s Mind Hacker, via a series of very self aware intro scenes, in which we meet Dr Clive Eagles, an expert in personality transplants as well as his team of misfit colleagues. These include Doris (his mummified demigod boss), Marisha (a 90 year old drug addled hag, who survives off the fumes from her high caffeine energy drinks) and Danny, the galaxy’s most boring man.
As we saw in Out of Time, Halsall has a wonderful ability to create sit-com style comics packed with strange, yet compelling characters and put them in equally strange and imaginative scenarios in order to make us chuckle – and this he definitely buckets here. It has the mundanity of The Office or Office Space, mixed with the surrealism of Spaced and the sci-fi of Red Dwarf. Some of the concepts on show here are just genius, such as the outsourced training systems run by ‘Information Diagnostic In Official Training’ (or I.D.I.O.T.) or Danny, the worlds most boring office worker who is capable of putting entire planets to sleep.
Luke is joined on Mind Hacker by artist Chris Manson who seems to be having as much fun in this world as Luke is. He brings a very classic cartoonish, but almost animation like quality to the story, with every page feeling like it could spring to life at any moment. The clean simple lines and a great eye for the strange detail in the story make this into a really great overall combo and helps to really keep up with the anarchic and hilarious tone of the characters.
While Mind Hacker is packed full of great ideas and gags, unfortunately the book as a whole doesn’t really thread together into a coherent first issue. Once we are introduced to the world of mind hacking, our story then veers off into a completely different direction with the training story. While this is still fun, and would work great for a third or fourth issue, we wanted to know more about the world of mind hacking and the back story of our lead character in this first instalment. It also felt like it was trying to be too clever in places, with a few too many fourth wall breaking scenes, involving the character tearing down panels or cutting to scenes where the writers talk to an imaginary audience. While these were all good fun and added an element of self awareness to the story telling, they felt a step too far and we would rather have seen a bit more actual exposition than so many of these smart tricks.
Fortunately these quibbles are not enough to take away from an overall entertaining first issue. The concepts and ideas are there, as is the presentation, they just need to brought together into a bit more coherent whole. So if Mind Hacker was one of Dr Eagles patients, we’d recommend a bit of light tinkering, rather than a complete character transplant, and with that then this book would definitely have a 100% winning personality!