I'll be completely honest. I wasn't exactly sure on how to judge the first issue of The Fuse by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood.
I picked it up based on the idea that it was going to have everything I love in the one story, and that the potential was there to be the perfect blending of ideas. Then I read it, and was torn between wondering if this was indeed a brilliant and highly thought out story with major potential or just another sci-fi comic with a lot of promise based on the idea, but missing vital elements that could have made it better.
Was it excellent, or just OK? If it's just OK, is it because I am in a bad mood? Or is it because it is actually just OK and not excellent?
I re-read issue one and then the follow up, and I am very glad I did, because issue two rocks the casbah.
For those who didn't pick up issue 1,The Fuse follows space cops Klem and Dietrich, as they investigate a series of murders in a city 22,000 miles above the earth. Issue two continues with the investigation and offers more depth into the mystery.
This is not Law and Order in Space though.
Think of it as more of a cross between Outland, Dirty Harry and Blade Runner, with a little Dark Angel (the Dolph Lundgren/Brian Benben actioner) thrown in. At its core, like most good sci-fi tales, this has the notion of being a western set in space. A frontier town, full of corruption, with a few decent people who know that justice must be served in order to make things right.
Issue two left me genuinely impressed with how the story was laid out. I mean, who on this planet doesn't love a well-crafted mystery? When one is put in front of you, are you going to ignore it? Of course not! The fantastic thing I am finding about The Fuse, is that not only have you got the overall mystery of the why's and the who's relating to the murders, but you also have the intriguing nature of the place and its inhabitants. There is very little given away, and when you think you're in for a bit of info, NOPE!
Antony Johnston is a clever bugger, I'll give him that much. He is smoothing out this story with a level of panache that is a rare treat in the world of comics. Justin Greenwood's work I can stare at for hours. It's so clean and precise, and perfect for this story. This was a big reason that made me want to pick up issue one in the first place. Reading issue two left me wanting more, with a need to see not only the resolution of the main mystery, but also the need to find out more about the characters and of The Fuse.
Here's the thing. Awesome artwork + careful, concise storytelling = great comic.
It's simple mathematics. I want everybody to know that if they felt like me and weren't entirely sure about the first issue, that they need to re-read it and pick up a copy of part two at their local.