cover image Mindset: The Complete Series

Mindset: The Complete Series

Zack Kaplan and John J. Pearson. Vault, $19.99 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-63849-159-0

This twisty and cynical thriller cleverly situates itself at the intersection of heated debates about social media, tech giants, and social inequality. Kaplan (the Break Out series) scripts a fast-moving vehicle constructed of Silicon Valley critique, business-world skullduggery, and tortured ethical debates, with jaggedly colorful art by Eisner-winner Pearson (Blue in Green). After opening with a dramatic flash-forward in which the narrator, Ben, explains away a murder charge by claiming “it wasn’t my choice.... It’s all mind control,” the story winds back to when Ben was just another Stanford grad trying to make it big in tech. A frustrated idealist, he wants to create an app that protects users from being influenced by social media. Ironically, his breakthrough discovery—an electromagnetic signal that can control people’s minds—turns out to be more insidious than the system he’s trying to subvert. Disguised as a meditation app, Mindset’s an instant hit, and its users are unaware Ben and his three brogrammer co-inventors have been granted Jedi powers over their psyches. The app’s world-changing potential, and the billions of dollars at stake, lead to schemes, counter-plots, and murder. The climax loses itself in a fog of poorly explicated reversals, but maintains the propulsive paranoia. Fans of The Social Network and tales of corporate espionage will snap this up. (Apr.)