City: The Mind in the Machine #2 asks a great deal of questions about the legal and moral ramifications of a human being’s right to privacy. When Ben first begins to test his new camera eyes and connection to the highly advanced security system he build, Golden Shield, he begins to advance much faster than his handler Owen could have imagined. Using simple thought processes Ben finds himself able to find his crush, Chloe, randomly in a department store. When Ben questions why there are cameras in the dressing rooms, Owen realize quickly that Ben’s neural pathways have aligned to the point where he is able to access certain images at will. Despite the fact that Ben is starting to show signs of losing inhibitions and beginning to act much more erratically than before, Homeland Security insists that he keep being tested. Ben confronts Chloe and asks her out, but things do not go smoothly on their first date, mostly due to a new wireless feature that gives Ben far more information than he wanted access to. Owen begins to confront the idea that Ben is starting to have too much access to the private information of others, including his own.
Eric Garcia continues to probe the ideas of what man will do when given extreme power, as well as the concept of governmental observation of it’s subjects. The argument goes so far as to show the benefits of stopping dangerous criminals, and then quickly flopping to Ben running his mouth off a million miles a minute about everything Chloe has ever done or experienced, seemingly without cause. One of Garcia’s strength is to encourage serious thought while the reader is simply flipping through a comic book. The story is strong, and the characterization is really coming together for the series.
Javier Fernandez keeps the art work serious and focused, but has the challenge of drawing every intricate detail of a fictional San Francisco and it’s people. From trolley car crashes, to the soft curves of the female body, Fernandez appears up to the task. His intricate work blends easily with the intricate story line created by Garcia. Marc Englert keeps the colors bright for humanity, but brings a certain darkness for the rest of the interactions.
The second issue of City: The Mind in the Machine feels stronger than the first. After the initial setup, Garcia and Fernandez are able to do so much more. I have high hopes for issue #3.