The Fuse #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

36000 km above the Earth in the retrograde geostationary orbit, a multi-level and vastly complex station housing a new frontier of mankind and technological advancement has to dispatch its only detective and her new partner, freshly arrived from his Kazak Orbital Flight, to a murder case. The mysterious death of one of the societies ‘cablers’ has Klem Ristovych and Ralph Dietrich baffled as they work together in a dark science-fiction landscape that continues to populate the gritty crime realities that birth lateral thinking and deeply flawed characters. These detectives unravel layers of lies and clues in a fog of riddles and missing pieces.

From Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood comes a brilliant mashup of classic ‘whodunnit’ with intricate and well developed or ‘lived-in sci-fi’ that sets an interesting new tone in their new ongoing from Image Comics. The Fuse plays with the neverending well of drama that is intrinsic in the mystery genre and puts it on a brand-new, cosmic stage where its tortured detectives have to fight for air in a pressurized environment while managing to glue together scattered evidence and half-truth testimonies. With a world intricately developed, The Fuse, offers up a really interesting look at the future of mankind and its old ghosts still continuing to haunt our progress inevitably.

Antony Johnston, the co-creator of Wasteland and Umbral, is a master world-builder and his speculative fictions always amaze whether they be apocalyptic, dystopian or fantastical. The Fuse is a story that takes place in a universe that has seen the amputation of certain sectors of its planet and the continued evolution and expansion of its inhabitants who now have terraformed an orbiting space station thousands of miles away from its conception. His ability to combine two incredibly vibrant genres and make them play so well off each other is a great strength of the book and the complexity of its countless moving parts make the Fuse a layered and enormous vehicle for mystery and intrigue.

Justin Greenwood, a contributor to Wasteland also with Johnston and the co-creator of Resurrection both from Oni Press, Illustrates the gray and mechanical world of the Fuse and its desensitized and jaded main players. The initial reveal of the actual space-station is a grandiose and hyper-detailed spectacle and is a great example of Greenwood’s talent. His design of the main levels of the world are like something out of a tamed Transmetropolitan meeting up with the rusted look of True Detective making for a real desolate and dark society that I had in my head as I read China Mieville’s descriptions of Beszel in the novel the City & the City. Really dank and desperate are the hubs of the Fuse and Greenwood’s work highlights the depravity well.

The Fuse is a new ongoing from a team that understands the crime and detective genre well and has decided to do something interesting with it that will absolutely please all BBC Masterpiece mystery fans as well as any Philip K Dick junkies.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior

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