reMIND vol. 2 – Jason Brubaker

3 out of 5

Coming from a background in animation, Jason Brubaker’s long-gestating – it started as an animation project – reMIND initially suffered some from that influence, but the bright, confident presentation and interesting story very much overcame that.  With the second, and concluding volume of his story – in which a talking cat washes ashore a sleepy town, with tales justifying some of the town’s lore involving underwater lizard men… – Brubaker very much improves on his comic form, delivering many exciting, dynamic panels and sequences, but also still makes some choices that, I imagine, stem from viewing this as a movie / animated series instead of as, firstly, a comic: fully backlit scenes and a flip-flopping narrative make a bit more sense in that format, or with voice actors, but here it’s narratively questionable.  What started out as a story of a girl’s talking cat is now that cat’s story, uh, until it isn’t, and an overly complicated story has to skip and hop through its lore in a somewhat underwhelming fashion in order to get us to a conclusion.  That all sounds wholly negative, but let’s bear in mind that plenty of comics by writers who’ve been in the biz for decades have plotting / scripting problems that mirror this, and they aren’t married to nearly the same level of artistic wizardry that Jason brings to the table: the look of the pages (and handsome construction of the hardcover book) never ceases to wow, despite my criticisms of it maybe not always fitting the format, and the intricacies of pacing may be forthcoming in future projects, but Brubaker has good dialogue and comic timing, which helps give his already lively characters proper “voices.”

Volume 2 of reMIND is a more balanced presentation than volume 1, although getting into the nitty-gritty of the story means we lose some of the amazement of being able to wonder what’s going on, and thus also exposes some areas that could use tightening up.  However, I find myself returning to the book because of how good it looks and feels, and it definitely holds up as a piece of entertainment and solid artistry.