The third issue of Brain Boy brings the Psy vs. Psy story arc to its roaring conclusion, but not without offering tantalizing hints at what adventures, dangers, and mysteries may be on the horizon for telepath Matt Price. Writer Fed Van Lente has successfully developed and deepened the character of the egotistical, young telepath, who has grown something of a conscience over these first few issues. Raised by Albright Industries’ Bio-Vancements division after the death of his parents, and often found working for the U.S. Secret Service on psychic safety patrol for high-ranking government officials, Matt Price’s life used to be all fun and (mind) games. But, that seems to be changing, maybe in a good way, or maybe in a slightly less good and much more deadly way. It kind of depends on the situation, and, in this issue, Price finds himself in more than a few situations that will take all of his brain power, and I mean that in the most literal sense. Van Lente sets out some intriguing stepping stones in this issue that invite you further into the burgeoning Brain Boy universe, and he sheds just a tiny bit of light on Albright Industries, albeit to introduce more questions – very engaging and possibly even menacing questions.
Freddie Williams II’s art is as spectacular as ever, but, in this issue, it was his inks that really got me. There is something about the way that Williams draws eyes, and the excellent way that Jeremy Colwell colors them, outlining the eyes in heavy black, that forces you to stare into them, to see past the image and into the character itself. It is a wonderful nuance that results in honest and dynamic facial expressions, from wide-eyed surprise to glowering anger, and the characters continue to live and breathe on the page, even as they adapt to, or are affected by, their circumstances. There is one moment in particular where the art and writing align so perfectly to convey a character interaction that the emotional resonance is almost palpable, and, by the end of the issue, we are able to see just how far Matt price has come as a person, and also how much further he still has to go to unravel the mystery of his past.
Van Lente ups the science fiction quotient in this issue, which I found exciting, and it is delivered in such an eloquent and cerebral way that it almost flies under the radar, which works because Price is not really sure what is going on, but he knows it is something completely beyond his experience that he has never dealt with before. Even though, at times, we are privy to slightly more information than Price, we don’t have the background to be able to unpack what we’re seeing, so we still have to rely on Price to decode the mystery for us. We just get a glimmer of the magnitude of the bizarre that is in store for the series, and that is enough to hook me into reading future issues of Brain Boy, because things are going to get a lot more psychic before they get normal, if normal can ever even exist in the world of Matt Price.