(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)
Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Hello by Lionel Ritchie (Spotify, YouTube).
Time for another installment of my short reviews of comic-books! Today, I'll briefly comment my impressions after reading Dark Engine Volume 1: The Art of Destruction, Start Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever and Mind the Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers. The bottom line is that, sadly, I didn't enjoy any of them very much.
This first volume of Dark Engine collects issues one to four, written by Ryan Burton and illustrated by John Bivens. When I read the synopsis (that involves alchemists, magic and time travel) I thought it really intriguing, but then I was very disappointed with the actual content of the book. The plot is unclear and uninteresting and the art does not help in following the story: confusing and with dark colors, I didn't find it to my taste. I can't recommend this comic-book and I, for one, am not interested in reading the next volume.
The City on the Edge of Forever is, apparently, one of the most famous episodes of the original Star Trek TV series (in fact, it won the Hugo Award in 1968) and this comic-book published by IDW is said to be an adaptation in five issues of the teleplay as written by Harlan Ellison. With this credentials, I was really interested in reading the comic-book, but was once again disappointed.
I have never been a Star Trek fan (I've only watched a couple of the movies and the odd episode here and there) and this book is a perfect example of why. The plot of The City on the Edge of Forever is exactly the opposite of Dark Engine: simple, naive and predictable. The art by Juan Ortiz and J.K. Woodward, is excellent, but doesn't make up for the dull story. Recommended only to hard-core trekkies, I'm afraid.
Mind the Gap, written by Jim McCann and illustrated by Rodin Esquejo, is the best of the lot, but nothing to write home about. I became interested in this comic because I am a huge fan of Esquejo's covers for Morning Glories and, in fact, the synopsis of the series seems to be on the same line of mystery with a paranormal twist. Esquejo certainly delivers (although there are some weird facial expressions in some places and the page compositions are a bit stiff) but the plot is only so-so.
For a book that relies on creating mysteries, the pace is too slow and there some conflicts and potential twists that are hint at but not shown clearly, resulting in a somewhat bland storyline. This volume collects issues one to five and in the last ones the plot seems to me more focused, with a nice cliffhanger at the end of episode 5. For that only, I think I might give a try to the next volume, but it is not high among my priorities.
All in all, three comic-books that disappointed me for different reasons and that I think you can skip without missing too much. Mind the Gap shows some potential, so you might want to take a look at it to see if it catches your interest, but be warned that it is not especially outstanding. I hope to be more lucky with my next comic-book readings.