THE FUSE #1
story ANTONY JOHNSTON
art / cover JUSTIN GREENWOOD
I hate crime television. CSI and Law & Order (in all of their versions), Criminal Minds, Bones, even the hit Castle just don’t appeal to me whatsoever. It has something to do with a silly hangup I have about a character having to be seriously injured or, more likely, killed for there to be any story at all. It feels cheap, like a laugh-track in a sitcom. I told you it was silly. But I love crime comics! 100 Bullets, Jinx, Alias, even Powers, Gotham Central, Criminal; the list goes on, and I adore them all. I also love me some sic-fi, so when I heard about a book promising to give readers both a crime comic AND a sci-fi comic all rolled into one I was immediately sold. While The Fuse #1 was, indeed, a crime comic, as well as a sci-fi comic, just as it promised, the issue felt more like your typical crime comic, with only a backdrop of sci-fi, than anything close to a complete melding of the two.
Both the crime elements and the sci-fi elements in The Fuse are quite strong. Writer Anthony Johnston does a wonderful job of setting the stage – an orbital space station 22,000 miles above Earth – and he does a good job of telling readers who the characters are and what their deals are, but he fails to really pull the crime and sci-fi together. Justin Greenwood’s pencils are adequate, and I love the attention to detail in his work. The colors in the ish are the shining part of the art, however, and Shari Chankhamma has a great eye and is a name you should be looking for on comic shelves. The lead characters are solid and quite intriguing, but Johnston really excels with his dialogue, and if those punchy page-enders continue, The Fuse is going to continue to be a fun read.
The Fuse #1 is a very typical crime comic book in that it uses a lot of the same old tried and true tropes to set everything up. There’s a crime, of course, but it’s a crime that isn’t really important to anyone but the lead character, who happens to have recently lost a longtime partner, and a replacement partner with a air of mystery. It’s all too familiar, and I’ve seen it so many times before. That failure could have been easily remedied if the sci-fi elements of the comic were a bit stronger. Besides the setting being a space station, there just wasn’t much science/fiction going on in the book, and the space station itself felt more like just a big city than an honest to goodness unique setting. I was hoping for a completely different take on the traditional crime comic, but all I got was a good crime comic with a sci-fi setting.
The Fuse is a really good first issue to a crime comic that is setting up to be equally great, but it’s just not the science fiction story that was solicited to me. So, if you were looking for a good sci-fi comic this isn’t it. What The Fuse is, however, is a really fun crime comic with a lot of room to add sci-fi elements as issue numbers rise. If you dig crime comics, this one is definitely for you, but if you were hoping for that same something different I was looking for when I bought the ish, you’re going to be let down.
The Fuse #1
Writing: 3.5 out of 5
Art: 3 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5