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Five Fists Of Science Paperback – June 13, 2006

3.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics; 1 edition (June 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582406057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582406053
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The slug line is both simple and complex. Simple because it's a pretty straightforward story, complex because you can't be a dimwit or you'll have no idea what it's on about. You see, at the turn of the century, noted author Mark Twain and noted nutjob genius science Nikola Tesla both want to end war forever, and Tesla has an idea for how to do it. He's built himself a little gizmo that works like what we might call "virtual reality" or "motion capture." A man puts on a suit and when he moves while wearing it, a giant metal automaton performs the corresponding movement. Bingo! No men of flesh and blood need ever fight again. Twain figures if they can get each country to buy one, then everyone will have equal power, and they'll start leaving each other the hell alone.

Bad news for them is J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, Marconi (he plays the mamba), and Andrew Carnegie are in a Lovecraftian cabal who are building a tower to give evil a central action point for taking over the planet. Peace is bad for business.

If it all sounds a little crazy, well, that's because it's written by Matt Fraction, and despite his moniker, he doesn't do anything by halves, quarter, or thirds. Fraction is a go-for-it kind of guy. The thing is, when that kind of attitude finds the right outlet, it makes for a whole lotta fun for the audience. THE FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE is a whole lotta fun.

I wasn't sure about Steven Sanders' art from the preview pages I had seen, but seeing it printed in gorgeous color on glossy paper, all doubts were removed. My favorite thing about his work is the sense of color. Particularly in the big battles, when the big guys are tossing electricity around like silly string, I was really digging it.
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"Five Fists of Science" is another fine example of "steam punk" graphic novels or comics in which history is not only revised but turned on its head and spun around a few times. It is also another example of the fine and very tight writing of Matt Fraction, a name that will no doubt be associated with innovative story telling in comics for many years to come.

The story line is hard to pin down because it goes into some unexpected places and uses a very large map. And to say it's all over the map is not a criticism, but an observation as the story takes us to New York, Europe, Nepal and the mysterious land of...New Jersey. Most of the characters are well known from history; visionary OCD scientist, Nikola Tesla and perhaps America's finest humorist and author, Mark Twain team up to create a 19th Century Cold War using what might be described as Victorian-age, Reaganesque Star Wars technology. In a sense, it's all a sham (much like the Reagan's Missile Shield) or as Twain puts it, "showmanship!"

This improbable scenario is bested when the likes of Tommy Edison, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and for comic effect, Guglielmo Marconi, (who is suffering either from an eating disorder or a food hoarding compulsion) are portrayed as shape-shifting, evil wizards conjuring Cthulhu and his babies. Oh yeah, let's not forget to mention the Tesla coil pistols, the Abominable Snowman, giant remote control robots, a syringe shooting gattling gun and an early version of a hologram projector. There is a lot going on and while the basic story can be enjoyed in one sitting, it takes a few readings to get it all in. Fortunately, Fraction found the right artist to visualize this detail in Steven Sanders.
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I so wanted to like this. His work on Sex Criminals and Hawkeye is so fantastic. But, this is nothing more than a fetid turd that refuses to flush. No character development, no pacing, and very little sense. When we fist meet Tesla he's a masked vigilante, which is abandoned when Twain comes up with a plan to trick people into peace, and then...stuff happens...for reasons.
Oh and Edison is evil. Why? Because.
Pass this up and buy his superior books.
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Format: Paperback
Maybe it's just because I'm a big Tesla fangirl, but I loved this book. It's well-written, exciting and clever. Sanders' art and Fraction's writing complement each other very well. I only wish it were longer, or there were some indication it's being turned into a series. Five Fists was a pure delight to read.
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I first read about this book on Geek Dad (Wired.com) and it sounded great. It didn't hurt that the article was ABOUT a real-life lightning gun that some geek-guy made in his basement ("warning: do not try this at home" kind of thing). So the book sounded great and I had very high expectations.
Which crashed and burned when I actually obtained a copy and read it. It's okay, and I got a few laughs from it, but the plot was trivial and contrived. I enjoyed the art, but it isn't enough to warrant buying the book.
SO, if you know the authors, or love geeky science stuff - you MIGHT like this. If you're looking for a good story, give it a pass and spend your money more wisely.
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Format: Paperback
I was pretty excited about this comic when I saw Tesla and Twain on the cover. The comic is supposed to be funny by having Twain make wisecracks and have Tesla use his scientific prowess to make cool robots, or make cool weapons to stop criminals.

The comic is funny at times, specially with Tesla's quirks. However, the story is not very interesting and overall I was underwhelmed with this tale.

I did like the art and there are many cool panels in this book. It is just not a book I would recommend.
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