Group Review: The Fuse #1

Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Image Comics before we begin: 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's murder!

Cynical, foul-mouthed veteran ANTONY JOHNSTON (UMBRAL, Wasteland, Daredevil) gets partnered with fresh-faced idealist JUSTIN GREENWOOD (Wasteland, Resurrection) for a new crime series with attitude! Murder, mayhem, and mystery—22,000 miles straight up.

Neil: BUY

I typically don’t like crime stories, since they basically have the same formula every time when you’re reading or viewing them. Usually there is a murder; you have a team of two detectives trying to solve the murder and they go through a series of witnesses to see if who the killer is. Then you find the killer which usually is the person you suspected at first or they throw you a “curve ball” and it’s someone you didn’t expect at all.

In The Fuse, the setting and the tone of the book separated it from your typical crime story.  You still have the hardboiled cop who is tough, and always gets his man, but what set it apart from other books is that his partner is the complete opposite from him.  It’s like the writer melted what works from your typical crime books, and added the Sherlock Holmes elements from the PBS show that work with that character and threw them in space to solve mysteries. It makes for a different dynamic between the characters. I also appreciated that they made the characters not have all the resources they would typically have in solving a crime, I think it will open a world for both characters to be resourceful in finding clues and solving the crime.

The art is great in this book, consistent art in each page, solid use of colors, and I like that Shari Chankhamma decided to go with more bright coloring than dark, it’s been used way to many time in crime stories.  A great book, that breaks away from the typical crime story. I am looking forward to issue two.


Kimberly: BUY

Sci-Fi meets CSI in The Fuse. I am loving this concept and I’ve never seen one like it. It’s detective work on another planet, which was discovered on the Apollo 17 mission. I know I know, mind is blown right? * hand motions of brain explosion* This first issue just gives you a little taste of what Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood have in store. The premise of the story revolves around two police detectives; one that has just arrived on the planet and the other being a veteran to the job. The duo are on a case to uncover a Cabler death. Creative concept CHECK, fitting illustrations CHECK, action CHECK, entertaining dialogue Check, all great components in The Fuse that make it a first rate comic. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot but this is worthy of a spot on the pull list.

Dustin: BORROW

Don’t get me wrong, just because I’m giving this issue a “borrow” doesn’t mean that I didn’t like most of it. The problem for me is that the story travels a lot of ground without actually doing much. There are a lot of intentional scenes that place our characters in the right spot so that a comment can be made or a cliché can be played out and that’s what I felt hurt the issue. Granted it’s building towards a bigger mystery, but the introduction was trying to be clever instead of straightforward. If it had been a longer issue this may have worked, but as it is I thought it ended abruptly and just as the characters were starting to communicate.

Personally I needed them to communicate more because it’s through that, that I will learn who these characters are. Right now, they’re just the over confident new guy and the not-funny aging detective that doesn’t like her replacement.

What I do like about it, is that it’s a police procedural in space. There’s something interesting and clever about that. I think to a degree everyone is a sucker for police procedural even if the interest fades when the routine becomes too transparent. Will that happen with The Fuse? I don’t know, but I’ll be back to see what happens in the next issue for sure.

Score: 2 Buys and a Borrow

Writer: Antony Johnston Artist: Justin Greenwood Colorist: Shari Chankhamma Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 2/12/14