Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Justin Greenwood
Release Date: February 12, 2014
It’s Dietrich’s first day working homicide on the Fuse, an orbiting man-made metropolis that looms 22,000 feet above Earth, and he’s already busy. Homeless “cablers” are turning up dead and the rookie cop and his new partner, Klem, receive no help from the rest of their squad, and even less from Earth. The resulting sci-fi cop story reads like what would happen if Law & Order got a bit too familiar with Blade Runner. Which is not a particularly bad thing; in fact, it’s quite promising.
Much like Dietrich and Klem’s budding partnership, The Fuse has a few bumps at its start. Occasional flickers of unnatural dialogue break the flow here and there, but those will presumably be smoothed out as things progress and characters settle into their voices. The only real hiccup, then, is the rift between Dietrich and Klem. These odd-couple partnerships aren’t just amusing, they’re a staple, but this pair’s differences struck me as overstated. He’s too taciturn, she’s too boisterous, he’s too young, she’s too old, he volunteered for the job, she’s long-since jaded. The personal schism that will inevitably close gapes open a bit too much.
Having said that, the series sits on as sturdy a foundation as can be hoped for. Aside from mashing up two long-loved genres, this debut chapter features a bustling steel city to look forward to. We’ve landed right in the middle of what should prove to be a rich culture of life on the Fuse. It’s no coincidence that writer Antony Johnston went with a character new to the city, so we get to experience this new interstellar hub for the first time with him. If the illustrations in the first issue are any indicator, then Justin Greenwood’s sharp, scratchy style will impart a strong sense of grit and moodiness to life on the satellite. At this juncture, the titular location is an empty canvas; it’ll be fun to see how he visualizes the city and those who live in it.
Though forming a concrete opinion after just one issue is like reviewing the first 15 minutes of a movie, the potential energy of The Fuse is likely to outweigh and eventually overshadow its few early shortcomings.