Review - Broken Pieces #0

Aspen Comics continues to expand their universe from Fathom with titles such as Lady Mechanika, Executive Assitant: Iris and Charismagic. They're not done adding to that total as their newest series Broken Pieces is set to debut next month. Fortunately for you Broken Pieces #0 is available in stores. The series is created and written by Mark Roslan, with illustrations by Micah Kaneshiro (letters by Josh Reed).

Broken Pieces #0 looks at the country in the aftermath of a terrorist attack so severe that it dwarfed the destruction of September 11. A biological bomb has been detonated that has lead to a steady increase of infections across the country and the government struggling to contain it rather than cure it. This sets up a moral ambiguity in the way of Trinion, a large pharmaceutical company with a leader struggling to find said cure (and the personal stake for one Director Ludas). There's hints that a particular Project Trefoil may be the savior, but the powers that be want more in the way of Dr. Gabrielle Adams (or Gabby for short).

There's two other stories running through the zero issue. The first focuses on Richard and Gabby, where Richard has a secret he's keeping from his wife. The second focuses on a creature of sorts, affectionately referred to as "The Monster" in the character sketches at the end of the issue. He's around long enough to wreak some havoc on an armed military unit while being half-complete. A military unit tasked with keeping watch on a Trinion scientific outpost. It's a pretty safe bet that The Monster is the secret Richard is keeping from Gabby, who will most likely be forced to learn that in an effort to find the cure.

The issue follows a layout of Past, Present and Future. The Richard piece seems to have occurred in the past, while The Monster piece is the present. Director Ludas and Trinion's cure is in the future. From that standpoint the story flows relatively smoothly. One point of contention though is the panel layout. Some of the pages were a little difficult to follow in terms of which panel to read next. Not only that, but in the conversation between Director Ludas and his surperior. Some of the dialogue bubbles are a little confusing, so the conversation between the two is a little hard to follow.

Roslan's story is somewhat intriguing, but right now it's playing out like many others where the world is faced with a post-apocalyptic scenario. In this case it's not zombies or anything, but one can see the spread of the infection transforming into something else entirely. Further, The Monster is most likely tied to the infection, as well as whatever secret Richard's keeping from Gabby as far as his health goes. There's little detail in Kaneshiro's art, relying instead on defined bodies and objects. This style adds an almost detached realism to the book.

Overall, the story is presented with lots of internal connections, but they're a little hard to see at first. It should come together over the course of the story though. Broken Pieces #0 is in stores August 3. It includes the aforementioned sketchbook section and never before seen art. Interiors below.