THIS REVIEW OF ‘COME INTO ME’ #3 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
by Mickey Rivera. It’s been said before (possibly by a stoned tech billionaire in a recent podcast), and you won’t get the proper sense of it from skimming Twitter’s or Facebook’s recommended viral memes, but the internet has opened up the floodgates of human communication in ways we don’t quite understand yet. One of the major conversations that has sprung up in the wake of this technology is about physical bodies. Gender, race, appearance, health—the body is possibly the most primal source of anxiety humanity has. Come Into Me, a chilling 4-issue horror comic from the writers of The Dregs and Her Infernal Descent, pounces on that anxiety for its own purposes, offering a tale of medical horror that reaches a fever pitch in this bloody third act.
The story is familiar enough. Sebastian is an emergent medical engineering entrepreneur who is vetting a procedure that can upload one human’s consciousness into the body of another. Becky, a terminally ill young woman who is desperate to escape her failing body, tracks him down and compels him to conduct his dangerous procedure on her. Sebastian agrees, bringing Becky’s mind into his own chubby but otherwise healthy body, with unintended consequences. While premise itself doesn’t sound new, Come Into Me mixes brutally honest human moments with biological anxiety, setting it apart from the rest. As the scenario grows darker and more violent (especially in this issue), the book is shaping up to be an engrossing horror fable.
The double-edged nature of Sebastian’s technology plays out through the protagonists. Both Becky and Sebastian, corporeally different as they may seem, feel an overpowering sense of this procedure’s potential to transform humanity. It offers the purest status update possible, a full body instant messaging. It bypasses the posturing and sublimation that occurs when our internal emotions have to make the cumbersome journey from inside our minds into another’s. Eschewing text and images for an unfiltered feed into the life of another human (in all its uncomfortably intimate, often embarrassing glory), Sebastian hopes to guide humanity towards “an objective understanding of one another.” Becky in particular is overcome by its implications, referring to it as “The Social Flesh.” More than just a Being John Malkovich-style voyeurism, she considers The Social Flesh a bodily materialization of the memory sharing we carry out every day on social media, taken to a hallucinatory extreme.
Inevitably, this dream gets dark when Becky discovers she can actually take control of Sebastian’s body when she’s inside him. Her enthusiasm morphs into violent egotism over the course of the first two installments, reaching a critical point in this issue. Sebastian’s procedure begins to manifest ugly physical symptoms as his body remains inhabited by Becky’s ever more powerful mind. Pustules, bulging veins, and a strange abdominal growth manifest on Sebastian’s body. As he grows weaker and slower, Becky begins to realize that she needs to move onto another body if her consciousness is going to survive.
Though it’s cut from the mold classic sci-fi horror comics, Come Into Me relies on the depth of its characters—their shame, their depravity, their hope—to carry it forward. Becky perverts Sebastian’s intentions while simultaneously mirroring them. Both are driven by the desire to become more than the sum of their imperfect flesh and blood. Both are motivated by the loneliness of being trapped in bodies that perpetually disappoint. But Becky’s illness changes the stakes for her. Abandoning the transcendent empathy project, Becky is thrilled by the chance to wield the patriarchal power of a celebrated tech genius. The liberating experience of existing as pure consciousness, coupled with her desire to regain a healthy, “powerful” body turns her idealistic dream of unfiltered human experience into a greedy nightmare.
Piotr Kowalsky nails the imagery with simple, human illustrations. The inking creates just enough jagged shadows to barb the visuals with unease while leaving space for readers to think about what they’re seeing. Calm, flat colors by Niko Guarda similarly stay out of the way while offering a beautifully clean rhythm to the largely grid-dependant panels. Thin, serpentine lettering by Ryan Ferrier gives the text an eerie sway. Come Into Me barely uses any fancy sequencing tricks or panel border experiments. The art is designed to deliver its tech-horror payload with surgical deftness.
As anyone can see by its lurid covers and the somewhat gross title, Come Into Me’s unifying motif is the body, specifically as a threat to the mind. Exploring that concept by way of cerebral, cautionary body horror it offers a visceral rush.
Black Mask Studios/$3.99
Written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler.
Art by Piotr Kowalsky.
Colors by Niko Guardia.
Letters by Ryan Ferrier.
9 out of 10