THE FUSE VOLUME 1: THE RUSSIA SHIFT by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood (colors by Shari Chankhamma, lettering by Ed Brisson)
From Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood comes The Fuse, set on an orbiting energy platform high above earth our two leads one the gruff seen in it all veteran and the young fresh faced detective must contend with little to no help and an intriguing murder mystery in this new crime series from Image.
The Fuse leans on a lot of tropes that have been seen in this type of story; both of the leads are character archetypes that anyone who has watched a show like Starsky and Hutch or the Lethal Weapon series will have seen before. As the mystery unfolds you see some of the plot twists coming before they happen and some are genuinely shocking which is a great credit to Johnston that he throws a few red herrings in each issue so you are second guessing yourself when you are trying to figure the mystery out along with the detectives in the story.
The use of these tropes do not detract from the book at all, even with the more sci fi setting this is very much a buddy cop crime series that has been done to death however Johnston plays on these tropes to great effect. As ever with a story like this, the book is only as good as its leads, thankfully the two characters are fantastic Ralph and Klem’s personalities bounce off each other so well; they dry wit of Klem, the idealism of Ralph. The characters bring this together so well and in the next set of issues it will be great to see their relationship form and develop further as a lot of the character development is pushed aside for the case and allowing Johnston to establish the world of the Fuse and the world they inhabit before focusing too much on the characters themselves.
Justin Greenwood’s art fits this book wonderfully, the space station has that lived in feel with plenty of dark corners and hidden compartments that are just waiting to be explored. The characters are wonderfully expressive and Klem has a very distinctive design that instantly pops out on the page. The colours and use of shadows particularly when the characters are exploring the bowels of the ship where the cablers live radiates that creepy feel that you are being watched and something will jump out at you any second whereas the upper levels where the 1% live are very clean and pristine with bright bold colours, this is a space station with many different faces, something akin to Babylon 5.
The Fuse is a fun read, it does not break the mould on buddy cop detective stories but, it pulls off what it is trying to do with a great deal of style and overall a great sense of fun. I think this series will really gain ground as it goes on and the relationships between the characters are explored and the space station itself which is really a character in its own right. I urge you all to pick up this first trade and give it a go, the story has a wealth of places it can go and sets up what could be another great series from Image.
By Matt Deery
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