What You Need to Know About Inception: The Cobol Job Before Watching Inception
Inception: The Cobol Job - A Prequel Comic to the Mind-Bending Movie
In 2010, director Christopher Nolan released Inception, a sci-fi thriller that explored the idea of entering people's dreams and stealing or planting information in their minds. The movie was a critical and commercial success, earning rave reviews and over $800 million at the box office. It also sparked countless discussions and debates about its complex plot, stunning visuals, and ambiguous ending.
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But before Inception hit the theaters, there was a prequel comic that gave some background information on the main characters and their previous heist. The comic was called Inception: The Cobol Job, and it was written by Jordan Goldberg and illustrated by Long Vo, Joe Ng, and Crystal Reid of Udon. The comic was originally published online on the Inception official website and at Yahoo! Movies, but has since been taken down.
The comic tells the story of how Cobb, Arthur, Nash, and several Cobol Engineering thugs attempted to extract information from Mr. Kaneda, a rival businessman of Saito, in a shared dream. However, things went wrong due to Nash's poor architecture, Kaneda's stubbornness, and Saito's secrecy. The comic also reveals some details about Cobb's subconscious and his relationship with Mal.
In this article, we will analyze The Cobol Job as a prequel comic to Inception and as a standalone work of art. We will examine the setting, the plot, the characters, and the themes of the comic, and how they connect to Inception and its universe.
The Dream World of The Cobol Job
The comic takes place mostly in a dream world that resembles a downtown area with skyscrapers, a bank, and an office building. This dream world is created by Nash, the architect of the team, who is supposed to design a realistic and stable environment for the extraction. However, Nash's dream world is not as flawless as it seems.
One of the problems with Nash's dream world is that it is influenced by Cobb's subconscious and his memories of Mal, his deceased wife. Mal appears in the dream as a projection of Cobb's guilt and grief, and tries to sabotage the heist by distracting Cobb or endangering him. For example, she manifests a passenger bus that nearly runs over Cobb, or she appears in a window and tempts Cobb to look at her. Cobb tries to resist Mal's influence, but he can't hide it from Arthur, his loyal partner.
Another problem with Nash's dream world is that it reflects the themes of creativity, profit, and paranoia that are present in the comic. The comic begins with a narration by Miles, Cobb's mentor and father-in-law, who taught him about dream sharing and extraction. Miles believes that creativity should be for the sake of creation, not for profit, and that dream sharing is a way to explore the infinite possibilities of the human mind. However, Cobb and his team use their creativity for profit, working for Cobol Engineering, a ruthless corporation that wants to gain an edge over its competitors. This leads them to encounter paranoia and danger in their heist, as Mr. Kaneda is aware of their intrusion and tries to protect his secrets. The dream world also shows signs of paranoia, such as security cameras, alarms, police officers, and locked doors.
The Heist on Mr. Kaneda's Mind
The goal of the heist is to extract information about RDS-1 Energy Expansion Program from Mr. Kaneda's mind. RDS-1 is a project that involves building an oil pipeline along the entire eastern coast of Africa, and it is backed by Fischer Morrow, a powerful energy company. Cobol Engineering wants to get access to RDS-1 and buy Fischer Morrow's financial backing.
To achieve this goal, Cobb and his team enter Mr. Kaneda's dream with the help of some Cobol Engineering thugs who act as tourists. The team has different roles and actions in the heist:
Cobb is the extractor, who interrogates Mr. Kaneda and tries to get the information from him.
Arthur is the point man, who coordinates the team and handles any complications.
Nash is the architect, who creates the dream world and guides Cobb to Mr. Kaneda's office.
The Cobol Engineering thugs are the muscle, who provide backup and distraction for the team.
The heist goes wrong due to several factors:
Nash's incompetence: Nash is not a good architect, as he creates a generic and unstable dream world that lacks detail and originality. He also makes mistakes that alert Mr. Kaneda and his security, such as running through employee-only rooms or leaving his briefcase behind.
Kaneda's resistance: Kaneda is not an easy target, as he is paranoid and suspicious of strangers. He also has some knowledge of dream sharing and extraction, as he recognizes Cobb's gun as a PASIV device (Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous), which allows people to enter shared dreams. He refuses to cooperate with Cobb and tries to stall him until the police arrive.
Saito's secrecy: Saito is the mysterious businessman who hired Cobol Engineering to perform the extraction on Mr. Kaneda. However, Saito has ulterior motives, as he is actually Mr. Kaneda's employer and RDS-1's initiator. He only wants to test Cobb's skills and loyalty for a bigger job: inception. Inception is the opposite of extraction: it involves planting an idea in someone's mind instead of stealing it. Saito wants Cobb to perform inception on Robert Fischer Jr., the son of Maurice Fischer, the owner of Fischer Morrow. Saito wants Robert to dissolve his father's company after his death, so that Saito can dominate the energy market.
The consequences of the failed heist are severe for Cobb and his team:
Arthur is captured by Cobol Engineering and tortured for information
Nash is killed by Mr. Kaneda's receptionist, who hits him with an ax
The Cobol Engineering thugs are either killed or arrested by the police
The Connection to Inception: The Big Under and Inception
The Cobol Job leads to Inception: The Big Under, another prequel comic that shows how Cobb meets Saito and escapes from Cobol Engineering. The Big Under is written by Jordan Goldberg and illustrated by Long Vo, Joe Ng, and Alex Milne of Udon. The comic was also originally published online on the Inception official website and at Wired.com, but has since been taken down.
The Big Under tells the story of how Saito contacts Cobb and offers him a way out of his predicament: to perform inception on Robert Fischer Jr. Saito also helps Cobb rescue Arthur from Cobol Engineering and introduces him to Eames, a forger who can impersonate anyone in a dream. The comic also reveals some details about Cobb's past and his family.
The Big Under leads to Inception, where Cobb is hired by Saito to perform inception on Robert Fischer Jr., along with Arthur, Eames, Ariadne, Yusuf, and Saito himself. The movie follows their journey through different levels of dreams, as they face various obstacles and challenges. The movie also explores Cobb's struggle with his guilt over Mal's death and his longing for his children.
The Cobol Job foreshadows some of the events and concepts in Inception, such as:
Dream levels: The comic shows that dreams can have different levels of depth and complexity, and that each level has its own rules and time dilation. For example, in the comic, the dream world is one level deep, and one minute of real time equals five minutes of dream time. In the movie, the team goes through four levels of dreams, and each level has a different time dilation factor.
Kicks: The comic shows that kicks are ways to wake up from a dream, either by dying or by feeling a sudden jolt. For example, in the comic, some of the Cobol Engineering thugs shoot themselves to wake up, while others are woken up by the bomb explosion. In the movie, the team uses different kinds of kicks, such as falling, hitting the ground, or hearing a loud music cue.
Projections: The comic shows that projections are manifestations of the subconscious of the dreamer or the dream sharers. For example, in the comic, Mal is a projection of Cobb's subconscious, while Mr. Kaneda's receptionist is a projection of Mr. Kaneda's subconscious. In the movie, the team encounters various projections, such as Robert Fischer Jr.'s security team, Maurice Fischer's lawyer, or Mal herself.
Totems: The comic shows that totems are objects that help dream sharers distinguish reality from dreams. For example, in the comic, Cobb uses a spinning top as his totem, which spins indefinitely in a dream but falls in reality. In the movie, each member of the team has their own totem, such as Arthur's loaded die, Ariadne's chess piece, or Eames' poker chip.
In conclusion, Inception: The Cobol Job is a prequel comic to Inception that provides some background information on the main characters and their previous heist. The comic also showcases the setting, the plot, the characters, and the themes of Inception and its universe. The comic is a well-written and well-illustrated work of art that enhances the experience of watching Inception.
If you are a fan of Inception or interested in its concepts and ideas, you should definitely check out The Cobol Job and its sequel The Big Under. You can find them online on some websites or download them as PDF files. You can also watch Inception again and look for clues and connections to The Cobol Job. You might discover something new and exciting in the process.
What is inception?
Inception is the process of planting an idea in someone's mind through a shared dream. It is considered to be very difficult and risky, as it requires a deep level of subconscious manipulation and a strong emotional connection. Inception is also the title of the movie directed by Christopher Nolan that explores this concept.
Who is Mal?
Mal is the deceased wife of Cobb, the protagonist of Inception. She was also a dream sharer and an extractor, who worked with Cobb on various heists. However, she became obsessed with the idea that reality was a dream, and committed suicide to wake up. She also planted this idea in Cobb's mind, making him doubt his own reality. Mal appears in Cobb's dreams as a projection of his guilt and grief, and tries to sabotage his missions or convince him to join her.
What is RDS-1 Energy Expansion Program?
RDS-1 Energy Expansion Program is a project that involves building an oil pipeline along the entire eastern coast of Africa. It is backed by Fischer Morrow, a powerful energy company owned by Maurice Fischer and his son Robert Fischer Jr. RDS-1 is also the target of Cobol Engineering, a rival corporation that wants to access its information and buy its financial backing. RDS-1 is also the reason why Saito hires Cobb and his team to perform inception on Robert Fischer Jr., to make him dissolve his father's company after his death.
Who is Saito?
Saito is a mysterious businessman who hires Cobb and his team to perform inception on Robert Fischer Jr. He is also the employer and initiator of RDS-1 Energy Expansion Program, and the rival of Cobol Engineering. He first tests Cobb's skills and loyalty by hiring Cobol Engineering to extract information from Mr. Kaneda, his subordinate, in The Cobol Job. He then helps Cobb escape from Cobol Engineering and introduces him to Eames in The Big Under. He also joins Cobb's team as a tourist in Inception, and offers Cobb a way to return to his children.
Where can I read The Cobol Job online?
The comic was originally published online on the Inception official website and at Yahoo! Movies, but has since been taken down. However, you can still find it online on some websites or download it as a PDF file. Here are some links where you can read The Cobol Job online: