Review - Fracture Vol. 1

Superheros thrive on secret identities. There are a variety of reasons as to why a superhero would want to keep their identity a secret, the most salient one being proven in DC's Identity Crisis. But what if you're a superhero who doesn't know your secret identity? How would you find out? And what would you do when you did?

Fracture from Action Lab Entertainment is a three-issue series that tackles these questions. It's written by Shawn Gabborin and illustrated by Chac Cicconi (colors and lettering by Dave Dwonch).

Jeff is a man with expired dreams and not much else. He's prone to spending Friday nights on the couch, lamenting what could've been. When that's not enough, he doubles (triples?) as supervillain Malice and superhero Virtue. Oh, and he has a wife and kids he doesn't even know under the name Brian.

Fracture is a book that explores a break from reality. It's similar to Josh Fialkov's Echoes (a brilliant work) in that it addresses a subject that probably doesn't receive as much attention as it should in multiple personalities. In this case, Jeff is forced to piece together his multiple lives and figure out how to make them all coexist.

Jeff's friend Kyle is someone who plays a role in the series. He's a pharmacist who offers something to help Jeff with his breaks from reality, but even he has a secret that Jeff doesn't know about. It comes to light later in the series and let's just say it's something that Jeff never saw coming.

Gabborin has an interesting premise in Fractured. We've always read stories about superheroes forced to don a secret identity for whatever reason, but rarely do you read a story about an unknowing superhero. Jeff and his multiple personas seem to break in and out without warning, which is a little jarring both for him and the reader.

It was a little difficult to keep up with the changes from Jeff to Malice to Virtue, back to Jeff, then back to Malice, etc. This may have been intentional on Gabborin's part to give the reader a sense of what Jeff was going through, but the shortness of the series makes it difficult to keep up. It wasn't until midway through the second issue that I had a full handle on what was actually happening. The journal entries included at the end of each issue helped bring things in line.

Cicconi's art is somewhat static. Some of the panel layouts are interesting, but some of the panels themselves just seem like a snapshot in time. Yes, this is what a comic is. The problem is that the way some of the panels depicting action are drawn sort of stop the action in a way. It doesn't seem like the art keeps up with the frenetic pace of the storytelling.

Fractured Vol. 1 is a somewhat disjointed series, much like its title character. The title combines comedy, chaos and randomness into a story about one man struggling to reconcile all facets of his personalities. It's a new look at the concept of the superhero and a secret identity, forcing the reader to think about their preconceived notions of what makes a hero, what makes a villain and what makes a person. Usually, everyone has all three in them at any given moment.

Fractured Vol. 1 is available for preorder now. Check out some interiors below.