In M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Village, the characters are warned to stay out of the woods. In Nobody is in Control Richard follows a stranger into the woods, thinking the man needs help. It’s obvious to me that Richard has never seen that movie or at least didn’t choose to heed the warning. Soon, following the stranger leads Richard to stumble upon a conspiracy that has been going on for decades. The four-issue story arc is collected in this trade paperback from Black Mask Studios.
My favorite part about this story is that it reads like an actual novel. Writer Patrick Kindlon composes dialogue the way playwrights and novelists write it. All of it reads like a natural conversation. These conversations cover a vast array of subjects, from various known conspiracy theories to the flora and fauna of Georgia, to seemingly mundane topics. Even though these conversations seem random they reveal small details about both the stranger’s history and Richard’s past. The narrative Kindlon creates from these fractal character details, and intensive dialogue is full of suspense. I was so engrossed in this book that I read all one hundred thirty-two pages in a single sitting.
There are a lot of interesting layouts throughout this first volume. Artist Paul Tucker maximizes his chances for visual storytelling by using many panels on the majority of the pages. Yet, even the smaller panels are drawn with a level of detail that I had no trouble figuring out what I was looking at in each panel, no matter its size.
Throughout the book there are also info-graphs highlighting the things Richard observes. There’s some trippy imagery as well. Characters transform into the subject of conversations and settings change around the characters as they talk. I’m not sure if these transformations are meant to be symbolism or just supposed to add visual interest because the other characters in the conversation don’t react to the changes. Whatever they’re meant to be, they make dialogue heavy scenes visually interesting and keep the pages from being filled by stationary figures talking to one another. This level of detail also makes for elaborate backgrounds and gorgeous full-page spreads.
As Ivy learns in The Village and Richard learns in Nobody is in Control, sometimes to solve a mystery, a person must venture into the woods. Nobody is in Control is part survival story and part conspiracy thriller, that combines to form an exhilarating story. The art is expansive, and the illustrations are highly detailed. The narrative is unique and unexpectantly works well in a graphic format. This is my favorite Black Mask comic I’ve ever read, and at this point might just turn out to be my favorite comic I’ll read this year. Treat yourself to a different kind of comic book, with awesome art and an enthralling story, and pick up a copy of Nobody is in Control.
Story: Patrick Kindlon Art: Paul Tucker Letterer: Wallace Ryan
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studio provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review