Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review - The Fuse #1


"Madam, I thank you, but I must ask you to step away from the crime scene and allow the professionals to work."

Eventually, we'll make our way into space and onto other planets. While making the trip to Mars will be close to a year in travel time, traveling to a space station orbiting the planet will be a little more manageable. When that space station is actually a floating city though, things get a little more complex, as they do in The Fuse #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written by Anthony Johnston, illustrated by Justin Greenwood, colored by Shari Chankhamma and lettered by Ed Brisson.

Working homicide 22,000 miles up on an orbiting energy platform, in a five-mile-long jury-rigged steel city stuffed with a half million people, with no help from your so-called colleagues back on Earth, is more than tough…it’s murder. Detective Dietrich is the new guy on the force and he's partnered with Klem Ristovych, a seemingly unlikely partner for the young and ambitious Dietrich. His first day on the job throws him right into the thick of things, with two dead bodies by the end of the issue and a whole lot of questions that need to be answered.

Johnston wastes no time dropping the reader into The Fuse, using Dietrich as a vehicle for the reader. Dietrich has a passing knowledge of the Fuse in terms of what it's like, but actually being there is an entirely different experience that is a little jarring to newbies. He's very straight-laced yet intelligent detective; the rigidity of his personality is a foil to the experience and bullishness of his new partner Klem. The dynamic between the two of them is very strong and really carries the story along at a fast pace, begging the reader to keep up with all the action. At its heart, The Fuse #1 is a police procedural, yet Johnston infuses it with some energy to make it feel fresh and the world feel more organic.

Greenwood's art is well-defined. Characters stand out from the backgrounds, thanks to very strong lines that establish them amidst the chaos. Greenwood excels at that chaos by the way, presenting settings chock full of action and really hitting home the fact that The Fuse is absolutely teeming with activity, both good and bad. The world is very much set in the future, but grounded in the past based on popular themes such as overcrowding and metropolis settings. Chankhamma's colors also match the illustrations well, providing a color palette that's equal parts washed out and grim. Greenwood stacks the panels in multiple fashions, which makes the book feel almost like a photo album at points than a comic book.

The Fuse #1 jumps right into the action and doesn't wait for the reader to get comfortable. The pairing of Dietrich and Klem is effective and carries the exposition side of things, with Johnston offering a view of the city through the duo of a grizzled veteran and rookie on The Fuse. Greenwood's illustrations are sufficiently appropriate, helping draw the reader even further into the seedy underbelly of the floating city. Fans of old-school science fiction tales might be in for something grand with The Fuse, as it offers a healthy mix of intrigue and bleak future dystopia.

The Fuse #1 is in stores now with interiors below.






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