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The Fuse Volume 2: Gridlock (Fuse Tp) Paperback – June 16, 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
The Fuse isn’t flashy, but it’s consistently good entertainment with solid, storytelling illustration and dialogue full of meaning and presence. It’s precisely the kind of thing comics should be — a glimpse into another possible world, one with realistic personalities experiencing events beyond the usual. The art and writing work together well to build new possibilities, and the skill behind them doesn’t announce itself unless you go looking for it.
In this case, the mystery turns twisty almost immediately. The racer’s body turns out to be that of the sport’s spokesperson, who was competing under an alias; she’s also the daughter of a privileged family. Then they find drugs near her corpse, which sends them into the Fuse’s slum, Smacktown. Plus, gridlocking, although illegal and very risky, is immensely popular, and there was going to be a huge money-making deal for broadcast rights, adding another potential motive.
As the detectives pursue their case, we get to see more of how this on-the-edge society works, both physically, as they investigate the station rigging, and politically, with various factions holding their territory. I really like this procedural for the way clues are naturally revealed and the way the setting becomes more real as the story unfolds. It feels dense, in a good way, with lots of information. Some comics are a quick read; this one demands your attention. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)
Despite this being second in a series, the world-building, or rather the description of such, is excellent; don’t feel like I need to see the first to get it. Also interesting was watching a crime scene investigation, now so usual on TV, in micro-grav. And despite the sci-fi setting we’ve got typical police detectives, with the typical hard-bitten banter, though with a German accent; funnily enough, one of the narc cops is obviously French. Lawyers, corporations, and slums also feature, just like Earth. And there’s regular shuttle service, so it’s not too far away; Mars is also mentioned a few times as possibly the Australia of its time, as in prison.
The plot flows from murder to drugs to terrorism and back. I don’t know if each issue has different writers, but at the beginning there was a lots of clichés in the dialogue. It also annoyed me that it took me a while to realize why the lead detective called her black male partner “Marlene,” but that’s just me. A blurb called the artwork “stark,” and that’s a good description, except from me that’s not a compliment. Still, overall it’s a fun read, a well-done mystery for a graphic novel.
There is an illegal sport on the Fuse called Gridlocking. Competitors race across the solar arrays on the outside of the station. Things go badly when the main star ends up dead and floating on the outside of the station. The question is who did it and why. It could be part of a terrorist plot on the station by a political faction. It could be a jealous friend or family member. It could be a few different things. Klem gets to be cranky and Ralph gets to be not so much of a rookie this time around. We get to see more of the inner workings of the station.
It's a fairly standard mystery, but in space. The space stuff is fine and adds to the mystery elements, but it doesn't really elevate it above an average detective story. There is some further plot development about our main characters, but it's in the final pages of the book. I like the series, but I think I liked volume 1 more.
I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
Well-written and quite enjoyable, it has reasonable artwork although I sometimes forgot who was who.