The Fuse: Perihelion
Now that The Fuse issue #18 is out, I can talk about the entire The Fuse: Perihelion storyline. If you want to read the entire thing (and you haven’t been intrigued enough to start reading with the first two mysteries, The Russia Shift and Gridlock), the collection comes out at the end of April in comic shops, early May in bookstores. It reprints issues #13-18, and I’ve previously talked about issue #13, issue #14, and issue #17, so I will try not to repeat myself too much.
With the spiraling, interlocked storylines all set on the day of the space station’s biggest party holiday, I continue to be impressed by the world-building of writer Antony Johnston and artist Justin Greenwood. This storyline was the most complex yet, with short, basic criminal cases (such as a hostage-taker in a hospital) interwoven with more classic mysteries (a rich, cheating man poisoned). Instead of one, complex case, here we get a one-day cross-section of the diverse work the police do, even in a futuristic setting. In every case, Klem and Ralph manage to win through, but that’s expected, when you have such an experienced officer as Klem, who knows her home ground inside and out.
This is a translation of the procedural to comic form, and the genre’s popularity on TV shows how much people want to see unusual, twisty cases end up resolved by our society’s caretakers. The science fiction setting gives it freshness, the resolution is reassuring, and the six-issue story length allows for more cases to be presented and completed. Unlike those shows, the underlying serial killer plotline is (thankfully) not extended, with a breakthrough quickly followed up on to capture. I did find myself wondering how the justice system here worked, as in what happens to those arrested, which perhaps suggests room for future storylines (or a Law & Order-style spinoff).
Reading all the parts at once, instead of monthly, allows for easier recognition of the interplay of elements. This series isn’t life-changing — it’s merely well-done entertainment that reveals new detail on a re-read.
As for the series future, issue #18 ends with a two-page tease that sets up the next storyline, Constant Orbital Revolutions, out later this year, which explores more of new detective Ralph Dietrich’s background and motivations. He’s been something of a cipher so far, although there are numerous hints that he’s working a much deeper game, particularly when it comes to a rebellious political group.
The collected edition of Fuse: Perihelion also reprints a six-page backup. “Tabloid” was originally published in Fuse #7-12, one page per issue. It features other people playing in the universe; it’s written by Ian Mayor and drawn by Mack Chater. It’s about a journalist trying to find the story behind a body found in the outer hull of the space station, and it’s a marvel of economical storytelling. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)