Comic Book Review – The Fuse #2
The Fuse #2
Written by: Antony Johnston
Art by: Justin Greenwood
Colors by: Shari Chankhamma
At the end of The Fuse #1, Antony Johnston reminds us that everyone loves a good detective story. How fundamental they are to storytelling. Because humans love mystery right? Man, I’ll be honest, I not so sure about that. I always thought Sherlock Holmes was kind of a dick. “Elementary my dear Watson!” Jeez Holmes, way to make your partner feel like an idiot. And CSI. Where do I start. Just how many angry murdering mistresses are out there anyway? Can they all really be that creative when it comes to offing their lovers? I did like how Caruso whipped his sunglasses off about 20 times an episode though. That was a real power move.
Anywho. Today we have the mystery/thriller The Fuse #2. This issue picks up directly from the end of #1, as our intrepid detectives Ristovych and Dietrich investigating the mysterious murders of transients known as “cablers”. This issue does little to advance the investigation but does explain more about cablers and just who they are. Basically, homeless people that live in the walls of the city. Think C.H.U.D. but without the mutants eating everyone. We also get to see the political workings of The Fuse after our duo is stonewalled by the Mayor’s office. The issue rounds out with a twist involving the identity of our deceased cablers.
I will say that The Fuse, even through just two issues, already has some decent crime solving chops. The pace isn’t blazing fast and the suspense hasn’t had a chance to build yet, but I like the chemistry between our two extremely awkwardly paired detectives and the banter between them. Ristovych reminds me of the great Amy Sedaris performance in The Best and the Brightest, the wiry older witty overly amped personality that can zip one liners with the best of them. Yeah, I know that’s a pretty obsure reference but you’d be doing yourself a favor to check out that movie. It’s got Bridget Regan! And she’s hot! Heh, ahem, sorry, back to the review.
Greenwood’s art is an interesting mix of Jim Mahfood and Matteo Scalera. Maybe a little looser than Mahfood and tighter than Scalera. Two styles that I like with the right story but otherwise wouldn’t be crazy about. I like Greenwood’s style here as well. I think his linework has just enough energy to keep you interested and looking for details in every panel. His portrayal of Ristovych is mystifying. I know she’s supposed to look like an old cranky bat, but some panels I can’t decide if she’s a woman or that creepy dude from Phantasm. It’s not bad, but it’s not consistent either for such a quirky main character. Chankhamma’s colors (love that name!) are bright and well done, but are probably not completely suited to a book with this kind of tone. I’d expect a darker palette to compliment the content. But the craftsmanship here is fine.
I think Johnston knows this genre, but on the same note there’s a lot of details he’s leaving deliberately vague that I feel are important to the story. Like, for instance, The Fuse itself. By some visual clues, a few name drops and some reader deduction you could gather that the Fuse is either a large space station or an off-planet habitat. But, it’s never stated. It could be under the ocean or in the back of a VW bus for all we really know right now. I think one page of backstory would be nice and at least provide a framework for everything that’s happening right now. Otherwise I like his characterizations and his banter. And Dietrich really comes across as a super stiff German with a bratwurst shoved his rear end. He cracks me up.
I’d say give this series a shot if you like serial mystery/detective/cop show style books. I think I’ll hang around for at least the first arc to see where this goes and how deep the budding conspiracies get.
Score: 4 (out of 7) I bet Watson went home at night, kicked his dog a few times and then scrawled the word “Elementary” on his bedroom wall in red lipstick. Poor guy.
What did you think about this issue? Let me know in the comments or shoot me a Tweet (@lanzajr26)