Inception: The Cobol Job
Jordan Goldberg (story)
Long Vo, Joe Ng, and Crystal Reid of UDON (artwork)
Available On: ComiXology, Comics+
If you haven’t seen Inception yet, you need to go take care of that, as soon as you’re finished reading this posting…
Now me, I’ve seen it twice already, which likely offers a small preview of my feelings about what is without question “the best film of the summer,” a tagging everyone is freely (and rightfully) throwing in its direction. The thing about that easily digestible label is that even though it’s accurate, it threatens to diminish some of Inception’s greatness, which really shouldn’t be judged strictly by the coincidence of its release date and the unworthiness of its competitors. Inception isn’t great because everything else around it sucks…Inception is great, period.
The fact that Christopher Nolan used his The Dark Knight capital to give Hollywood a temporary injection of originality is only one of the things I think has really drawn people into this film. It only suffered a minimal box office drop between its first and second weeks, strongly suggesting the material is receiving great word-of-mouth and repeat business. Could be any number of understandable reasons for that honestly, as the movie does so many big (and little) things right, allowing it to easily push past some minor flaws and clarity issues on the power of sheer ambition alone.
It reminds me a lot of a Grant Morrison comic in that sense, demanding additional thought and attention—so even if you only explicitly understand 97% of it, nothing can change the fact the final product is awesome and smart and brilliant. The entire experience of watching the movie is really more about the feeling of it than the bold imagery (which it does offer), and it’s on this emotional level where it most often succeeds. Dom’s overpowering sense of loss, guilt, and desperation powers everything, and underneath the architecture of it all, the terrible thing that happened to his family and his inability to properly fix it is what Chris Nolan’s movie is about. And in anticipation of its release, Warner Brothers put out a digital comic that I really should get around to talking about.
As this story is billed as a “prequel,” I was really hesitant to check it out before seeing the movie, thinking that I just wanted to discover the whole thing in the theater. After reading The Cobol Job a couple times, I’m glad I thought twice about it, because while it doesn’t include any major, major spoilers, it does provide names and motivations for some of the central characters. So I recommend that you check out this free download after you’ve had the opportunity to actually see the movie, as it does fill in a couple small blanks here and there. Things like why Dom and company weren’t crazy about using Nash as their architect, or why Cobol as an organization is so potentially dangerous to them, and how Saito came into the picture (or always was), etc., etc. It’s a cool little story with some great artwork from a couple UDON artists, offering another enjoyable access point into this great world, which Nolan has created.
Really hope we don’t ever see a sequel to Inception, but this story offers proof that the idea could have some legs in other mediums. I wouldn’t object to more little side-stories like these that allow other creators to experiment with the world a little bit, very similar to the excellent Matrix comics we got after the first movie dropped. But again, if you haven’t seen it yet, please do so at your earliest convenience…it is both a visual and intellectual experience that we don’t often get from big-budget Hollywood films, and it’s confirmation that the smart, bold filmmaker many of us discovered in Memento is still alive and well, and more than capable of creating new, grand ideas to anchor his movies.