By Antony Johnston & Justin Greenwood
The Fuse is a detective/cop procedural with a sci-fi backdrop. Young ace detective Dietrich is transferred to the beat on an orbiting space station. Without a moment to become acquainted with his new home, he is thrust into a murder investigation and partnership with veteran detective Klementina (Klem).
The concept for this book sounded very promising, especially with writer Antony Johnston citing influences such as Aliens, Judge Dredd, Homicide, The Wire and The Killing. Sadly, the execution didn’t live up to it, at least so far. The comic feels like a re-hashing of the genre; it fails to establish itself as an original story. Having an interesting setting for a murder can’t be the only element that stands out. The narrative is full of genre tropes and cliché character archetypes that make it predictable and diminish the reader’s interest. For instance, the story pairs a young, arrogant guy with a career weary, pessimistic detective. This dynamic has been seen time and time again; hopefully things will evolve as the series progresses. It is intriguing to see that the older detective is female; this does put a spin on that character type. Also, the foreshadowing for the cliffhanger could have been handled with a little more finesse to make it actually shocking.
Unfortunately the art could not save this issue. This story is supposed to have a gritty, dirty sci-fi motif, but looking at the panels you can’t see that; there just isn’t enough detail the backgrounds. Also the colors are too bright and there is little use of shadows. Now, when the service tunnels are depicted, there is a glimpse of the approach, but it should be consistent throughout. The double full-page shot of the space station is stunning. It forces the reader to really tune in and pay attention at the beginning of the issue…very smart move.
This sci-fi detective comic is off to a rocky start. If you are interested, then, by all means, check it out. It will probably be a good idea to try and give this book a few issues to try and find its voice…fingers crossed.