Art by: Sam Bentley theartofsambentley.com
Kickstarter: Cognition #1
“Cognition is a supernatural adventure comic following the exploits of Cal,
a steam powered automaton inhabited by a human spirit, and Sigma, a
demonically possessed mouse. They share a consciousness and work for the
British Occult Secret Service (BOSS), to protect the Empire from
otherworldly threats during the ‘Golden Age’ of the Victorian era. In Issue #1 we get to see the team swing into action battling a malevolent demon for the possession of an innocent soul…”
The quality of Cognition #1 surprised me from the offset. As I mentioned in a previous review on the site, very little surprises me about small press books anymore. When I see something pop up in my dropbox I can generally tell at a glance what it’s going to be. This book is seriously dark. I didn’t see it coming from the promo images I’d seen. The main characters have a belying cuteness at first glance that really threw me a curve ball of what the feel of this book would be. It’s glorious.
Sam Bentley’s relentless inks in this, set such a tone and theme for the book. It’s pitch perfect. I don’t want a colorist anywhere near this. In the page above the rendering of the rain reminded me of the perfection of Marv walking in the deluge in Sin City, I could almost smell the dampness as I read it. However as I progressed the style he deploys here reminded me more of Arthur Ransom’s work on 2000AD’s Button Man. This is one of the highest compliments I can bestow, because that is one of my all time favourite books. Cognition is creepy, and soaking with atmosphere. Character design in the book is just excellent. Cal & Sigma , like the best of characters you encounter…you like them instantly without really knowing why? Great design like this just fosters an inherent fondness.
Ken Reynolds does a great job with the script here. Demonic possession is a trope we’ve seen a thousand times but Reynolds manages to keep you guessing with some genuinely disturbing takes on the genre. I was racing through panels to find out where the script was taking me. Sometimes ignoring the beautiful art. I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next. This is a book that cries out for, encourages and rewards multiple reading. The shared consciousness between Cal & Sigma for example was a little difficult at first, but once you get it it’s a really interesting and original take on the narration of the story.
The world building here is of the highest quality. I want to know more about B.O.S.S. I want to now more about Cal & Sigma. I suspect that in the original issue #0 these are explored. Luckily there is an option on the Kickstarter to grab this issue in both physical and digital copies. If you don’t though, Cognition #1 is a self contained cracker of a comic book.
Speaking of Kickstarter, the campaign for Cognition #1 has just been excellent. The information, prices , reward structure and constant updates via social media are exactly what anyone who wants to run a successful Kickstarter should be aiming for.
This is an intelligent well written book, that the visceral art is perfectly matched to. Atmospheric, creepy and set in a world I can’t wait to explore further. If Kickstarter is your thing back this immediately. If not buy it as soon as it’s available.
Kickstarter information available HERE