The Fuse #1, from art style to writing, is a pulpy mix of a crime noir and near-future sci-fi. It feels like Judge Dredd in space.
I adored the asymmetrical aspects and angles the artist chose to use in the book. Many of the drawings were nearly cubist in nature, and this gave the story an alien feel. I also enjoyed the fact that every female in the book looked like a person instead of a pin-up.
What most impressed me in the artistic arena was Shari Chankhamma’s tight use of color. Each panel’s color seemed to fit the emotions of the story perfectly. The plot is executed well, but the dialogue can be a little clunky.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The pace feels mixed. After a rather violent opener, we are asked quietly to sit through what amounts to the opening credits of a movie, until the action can start up again, only to be abruptly halted and then started again. It’s difficult to want to keep reading a book when you have to stop every 5 minutes, so the main characters can take a water cooler/character development break. The idea of a 65-year-old female partner initially intrigued me; however, except for bits of insubstantial dialogue, the choice seem arbitrary. I love the fact that the author and artist tried to do something different; however, both characters fell flat, and their genders and ethnicities seem to be tacked on in a last-ditch effort to make the characters relevant.
Conclusion: I expect a comic book to grab me in the first issue if it wants me to keep reading it. At this point, I am not hooked on the book. For an introduction, The Fuse #1 offers little to entice me to keep reading it. That being said, if you are a fan of Judge Dredd and solid color and line work, pick it up. I have a suspicion that if the pace will pick up and the characters will continue to develop, it could be quite a fun time.