Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Federal Bureau of Physics

Graphic novels are a fascinating medium when they go beyond superhero vs supervillan (though there are some excellent storylines of this type). In addition to all the usual literary elements of plot, character development and so on, you have the added difficulty of visual elements, line, color, perspective, etc. To me, FBP, written by Simon Oliver and inked by Robbi Rodriguez and Nathan Fox, does a wonderfully entertaining job blending these two mediums in such a way that each supports and emphasizes the other.

We are all used to hearing about disasters and even living through them, from smaller such as localized flooding to bigger such as hurricanes. We are even familiar with federal agencies that deal with such events. But what if the disasters took a completely different form, say of the quantum variety? Enter the Federal Bureau of Physics and one Adam Hardy. The FBP gets called in on localized gravity failures, time dilations, quantum tornadoes, and bubbleverses in a world where the rules of physics are bending and breaking before our very eyes.  Special Agent Hardy is in on the front lines of these localized breakdowns, but has considerably larger issues than welding shut a gravity rift. The FBP is being pressured with threats of privatization, an old partner with an alternative agenda, a new partner that is standoffish and mysterious, and a conspiracy that started with his father, one of the founders in the field and one of the first casualties to it.

The artwork is bold and excellent, making use of a wild array of colors and styles that emphasize the chaos in a world where physics can just cease to work. Small details of the characters seem to vary more than conditions allow and the perspective angles seem designed to upset any sense of up and down.  

In all, this was a brilliant story, starting off with a classic conspiracy and ending with a classic bank heist, each with done with the panache possible in a universe where the laws of nature can take breaks. Fans of Chew, Hinterkind, East of West, and Saga should definitely enjoy this story. Be warned, this is only the first in the series and the others have yet to be published, so you may have to wait to see what happens Agent Hardy and the FBP after vol 1.

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