“The Fuse” #1 is a fresh breath of air in the cop procedural/crime comic book genre. Set 22,000 miles adrift planet Earth on an orbiting energy platform, “The Fuse” tells a story of the crime and corruption amongst half a million people living in Midway City — a five-mile-long steel pressurized environment. Completely emancipated from Earth, Midway City needs all the help it can get. Enter Detective Dietrich…
WRITTEN BY: Antony Johnston
ART BY: Justin Greenwood
RELEASE: February 12, 2014
Dietrich has just arrived in Midway City when a woman stumbles through the shuttleport and collapses to her death. He’s immediately thrust into the job, a job that requires him to protect a pressurized city that supposedly allows no guns. Yet cablers (homeless people with a twist, a twist we are left wondering about in the final pages of the issue) are being shot. The Fuse has a gun smuggling problem, but that’s nothing compared to Dietrich’s new partner problem.
Sergeant Klem, Dietrich’s new partner is an older female, completely hardened by the job. She’s the exact definition of a bitter, world-weary cop. While Dietrich questions her skill due to her old age, Klem questions Dietrich due to his young age. It’s the Odd Couple of ageism. But with a lot more hatred and violence.
They are immediately thrown into working with each other without any buffer, and the insults fly. That, combined with the cabler murders, makes for a seriously intense first issue. Crime comic books are a dime a dozen, but ‘The Fuse’ hits fast and hard, with unapologetic wit and a no-nonsense attitude toward different classes of people, an issue that is very apparent in Midway City.
Because of the strong voice and gritty art, ‘The Fuse’ which is technically science fiction, hardly feels that way. It doesn’t feel like you are reading some post-Earth, hundreds of years into the future, experimental society, tired sci-fi plot. It has more of a ‘Repo! A Genetic Opera’ feel, a storyline and concept so strong that it collapses the genre itself. I commend Johnston and Greenwood for accomplishing this very difficult feat.
The art is very stark, simplistic in style yet detailed in plot. No one is attractive, and no one is unattractive. They just… are. I find this to be a very important factor in the grand scheme of the issue. When dealing with a corrupt city in a troubled environment, exquisite art with beautiful people and rich colors would feel completely out of place. Or worse, might tamper with the tenacity of the writing. Johnston and Greenwood have struck a perfect balance to make you feel unease while simultaneously feeling fascination.
I’m excited to see what these creators have in store for us. This first issue wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty dang close. It’s clear that Johnston is playing his cards close to the chest, leaving many questions unanswered, keeping you hanging on to the final pages begging for more.
Reviewed by – Bree Ogden